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From this he deduced that a previous, lucky mutation had arisen in the one line, a mutation which was needed before a second mutation could give rise to the new ability. Lenski argues this supports the view of the late Steven Jay Gould that evolution is quirky and full of contingency. I think the results fit a lot more easily into the viewpoint of The Edge of Evolution.
One of the major points of the book was that if only one mutation is needed to confer some ability, then Darwinian evolution has little problem finding it. But if more than one is needed, the probability of getting all the right ones grows exponentially worse. The task quickly gets out of reach of random mutation.
But Behe is exactly right: this research contradicts no ideas written about by ID proponents. Their paper concludes:. The fact that very large population sizes—10 9 or greater—are required to build even a minimal [multi-residue] feature requiring two nucleotide alterations within 10 8 generations by the processes described in our model, and that enormous population sizes are required for more complex features or shorter times, seems to indicate that the mechanism of gene duplication and point mutation alone would be ineffective, at least for multicellular diploid species, because few multicellular species reach the required population sizes.
In The Edge of Evolution I had argued that the extreme rarity of the development of chloroquine resistance in malaria was likely the result of the need for several mutations to occur before the trait appeared. Even though the evolutionary literature contains discussions of multiple mutations 5 , Darwinian reviewers drew back in horror, acted as if I had blasphemed, and argued desperately that a series of single beneficial mutations certainly could do the trick. Now here we have Richard Lenski affirming that the evolution of some pretty simple cellular features likely requires multiple mutations.
Sounding very much like Behe, in The Greatest Show on Earth Dawkins also argues that the reason the citrate mutation was rare is because it probably required multiple mutations to arise—two mutations in fact. Dawkins thus writes:. What if the necessary biochemical wizardry to feed on citrate requires not just one mutation but two or three? We are not now talking about mutations that build on each other in a simple additive way.
If we were, it would be enough to get the two mutations in any order. Either one, on its own, would take you halfway say to the goal; and either on its own would confer an ability to get some nourishment from citrate, but not as much as both mutations together would. That would be on a par with the mutations we have already discussed for increasing body size. But such a circumstance would not be rare enough to account for the dramatic uniqueness of Tribe Ara Svelte and handsome, Gebel-Williams would enter the ring bare-chested astride two galloping steeds, send tigers leaping through flames, lead a line of elephants through a tumbling act, cuddle up with panthers, and exit with a leopard draped around his neck—an image memorialized in a s American Express commercial.
Feld seemed on his way to restoring The Greatest Show on Earth to the height of its glory. But outside the ring, times were changing. The movie Born Free , about a couple who raised an abandoned lion cub and then set it free in Kenya, won two Academy Awards the same year that Feld bought the circus. Congress expanded the Animal Welfare Act in , charging the USDA with setting humane standards for treatment of warm-blooded animals by researchers, breeders, and exhibitors—including circuses.
Asian elephants made the endangered list several years later, and their import was banned under international conventions. The listing effectively shut down the supply line. By the time Irvin Feld died in , leaving his son, Kenneth, to run the show, animal rights organizations were proliferating.
But this was of little use to the circus, where direct interaction between humans and wild beasts is the point. Feld Entertainment faced a conundrum : The audiences still wanted to see elephants—but they wanted to see them treated nicely. Renowned Ringling Bros. Gebel-Williams got a makeover. Nonetheless, the sleight of hand worked.
The point is for pushing. The hook, inserted in the mouth or at the top of the ear, is for pulling. Both are sharp enough to pierce elephant hide. Having neither claws nor teeth, men make these things, and worse. Abusive techniques are absolutely prohibited. It was not pretty. In December of that same year, two attendants on the Blue Unit left the tour during a stop in Huntsville, Alabama. They called a local animal welfare office, explaining they had quit in disgust over the way the elephants were treated.
Her supporters organized protests outside performances and shot videos of trainers hitting elephants.
The attendants, Glenn Ewell and James Stechcon, had lived transient, sometimes troubled lives, working off and on for circuses. At Ringling, where they mucked out elephant pens and assisted with feeding, they claimed to have witnessed regular elephant abuse and more than a dozen extended beatings during their three months on the road. Sweet-natured but clumsy, Nicole would frequently miss her cues to climb atop a tub and place her feet on the elephant next to her, Stechcon said in his videotaped statement.
I mean, really hard. Like a baseball bat or something striking something not—not soft, and not hard…I turned around to look, and this guy was hitting her so fast and so hard [with the ankus], and sometimes he would take both hands and just really knock her, and he was just doing that. Benjamin, a precocious three-year-old, also suffered frequent beatings from his trainer, Ewell and Stechcon said. Able to balance on a wooden barrel, ride a tricycle, shoot hoops, play musical instruments, and paint a picture by holding a brush with his trunk, Benjamin had appeared on The Today Show and CBS This Morning.
His trainer, Pat Harned, told journalists that Benjamin had been trained thanks to rewards of bread or bunches of bananas. The whistleblowers told investigators that Harned also used force. Derby helped the men file a formal complaint to the USDA. In early January, a senior investigator and veterinarian followed up with a surprise visit to the Blue Unit, on tour near Miami. The USDA team found scars and abrasions on several elephants and a fresh puncture wound on another. But all five trainers and handlers named by Ewell and Stechcon denied abusing elephants or ever seeing anyone else do so.
I treat these elephants as my children.
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DeHaven, the animal care unit director, received a report from the senior investigator that none of the allegations could be confirmed. But he also received a complaint from the director of the Eastern regional office about the quality of the investigation. Vail advised against proceeding. And DeHaven closed the case , writing that he ultimately was swayed by the vehement denials of the accused trainers.
Their last stop was the night holding barn, where they found two baby elephants, restrained with ropes and chains, barely able to move. The elephants, month-olds named Doc and Angelica, each had lesions on their hind legs and scars from healed injuries.
The Cruelest Show on Earth – Mother Jones
In the morning, Harned let the elephants wander into a pond on the property. A little while later, Benjamin was dead. Harned says when he called to the elephants to get out, Shirley came, but Benjamin just dove underwater and died. Experts hired by Feld eventually surmised that he may have suffered a heart attack, though they puzzled over why such a young, healthy elephant would succumb. A senior USDA investigator interviewed the other witnesses who said Harned struck Benjamin with his bullhook while he was playing near the shore, which is why he swam into deeper water.
Once again, DeHaven and Vail saw no cause to act. A year before Benjamin died, Rider said he saw Harned strike the young elephant repeatedly with his bullhook in the presence of the adult elephants. Females are very protective, and Karen, an older elephant, began to clank her leg chains aggressively.
Harned stopped hitting Benjamin, the affidavit said. It just went on and on. Meyer proposed that PAWS file a federal lawsuit against Feld Entertainment, seizing on a provision in the Endangered Species Act that allows citizens to sue violators directly.
The Cruelest Show on Earth
Such citizen lawsuits had been used to protect endangered animals in the wild but not in captivity. A win would revolutionize animal exhibits. That same spring, two private detectives visited Derby. George, who died in August, received a pardon from President George H. Derby filed a civil lawsuit against Feld Entertainment for racketeering and fraud on June 8, , in the federal courthouse for the Eastern District of California.
About a month later, Meyer filed the elephant lawsuit in the federal district courthouse in Washington, DC. Soon after, lawyers for Feld approached Derby with a generous settlement offer on the spy case. They would donate elephants and cash to her wildlife sanctuary if she dropped the elephant lawsuit and refrained from publicly criticizing Feld Entertainment. She agreed. But the elephant lawsuit limped along with Meyer remaining lead counsel and Rider and seminal players in the animal rights movement—including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Fund for Animals, and eventually the Animal Protection Institute—as plaintiffs.
The appeals court overruled him in , at which point Meyer subpoenaed government documents and filed discovery requests with Feld Entertainment. Meyer prepared for a sizable document dump. But at the appointed hour the deliveryman left just two cardboard file boxes of press releases and other innocuous materials.
Instead of the detailed veterinary charts Meyer had requested, she got a page or two on each elephant. She pressed, but Feld Entertainment stonewalled. Meanwhile, the casualties at Ringling were mounting. In early August of , an eight-month-old elephant named Riccardo was euthanized after he broke two legs. This time, he lost his balance and fell. Investigators recommended that Ringling be found in violation for failing to provide adequate care after he fell.
On August 20 and 21, an anti-cruelty activist in Oakland, California, videotaped a Ringling handler repeatedly striking a seven-year-old elephant with a bullhook while it was chained. But Meyer saw an opening. Subsequently unable or unwilling to perform, Shirley was returned to the Center for Elephant Conservation and was impregnated before her seventh birthday. Orphaned, disrespected yet brilliant. This is P. Barnum, a showman on a mission for fame.
But when he gambles his circus, his wife and daughters and all his money on the Swedish opera star Jenny Lind, things become treacherous for Barnum. Will he leave everything he's got behind? In the late 19th century, P. Barnum and his troupe perform a show at the circus "The Greatest Show". In a flashback to Barnum's childhood where he and his father Philo, a tailor, work for the Hallett family, he becomes infatuated with their daughter, Charity. Charity explains that her father is sending her to finishing school, and she does not know what her future will be, but Barnum explains that he expects great things from his future, and reassures her that they will not be separated.
The two keep in touch through letters until they meet again in adulthood "A Million Dreams" , eventually marrying and raising two daughters, Caroline and Helen, in New York City "A Million Dreams" reprise.