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on humans and nature - the evolution one

Discussion in 'Philosophical Musings' started by martinss01, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. martinss01

    martinss01 blissfully stupid

    there are two stances on how we as a species came to be. in this thread we assume we evolved from something else into what we are today. please redirect any god talk to the other thread.

    basic premise of mine that may or may not be correct. we as a species, when lined up next to every other creature on this planet, flat out do not belong. we are not just unlike everything else on this planet. we are absolutely nothing like anything else on this planet. let me explain...

    if you look at a zebra or a dolphin or a house fly. every single species on this planet is perfectly adapted and evolved for its role in its given ecosystem. they all have physical adaptations/evolutionary traits (depending on what term you want to use) that perfectly suit them for the role they play in the food chain.

    we humans seem to have absolutely 0 physical adaptations to any ecosystem found on this planet. we don't have claws of any significant value or mighty fangs. we don't run particularly fast, we can climb... but not in any way resembling positively competitive when compared to what you find elsewhere in nature. worst still, i can't think of a single climate region a human being could be expected to survive in without any form of technology. without access to clothing or fire or any other type of technology, every climate zone on this planet would literally kill us simply from exposure.

    so if you assume we evolved into what we are today from something else and that something else (whatever it was) somehow was more in tune with what we see in nature. why did it evolve into us in the first place? its not like we have any adaptations at all that somehow increase our ability to survive in any eco system found on this planet. in fact, if anything we have devolved from something more capable physically to something less capable. even with the idea that our evolution to "super intelligence" made us lazier and somehow less dependent on physical ability. why would we have devolved so quickly and in such radically silly ways?

    further, why did that de-evolution cause pretty much all of mother nature to stop seeing us as prey? its not like we just disappeared while we were devolving from something all hairy and animal-ish then showed back up as fully formed humans as we are today.

    then there are all these "left over" bits from our pre-evolutionary past. hair and reaction instincts and all these other evolutionary bits. can someone explain arm hair to me? how about the places we have a decent amount of hair? on top of our heads and other... "regions"... sure it helps keep us warm-ish and could be left over bits of fur from our previous state that we just held over. but why aren't we covered in it at birth like everything else on this planet? why does it take months, and in some cases years, to grow something to "protect us" from the elements? why would we not have these things from the get go? you know.... when we are at our absolute weakest?

    further, we would have had to have had many of our "super intelligence" bits prior to evolving into us today. clothing and fire and hunting and at least limited domestication of animals as well as plant life would have had to have occurred prior to evolving into us today. otherwise... why would we have evolved in the first place?

    am i alone in thinking there are serious plot holes in our current theories on human evolution or am i missing something?

    BUCKYLE Washed

    Our brains are our super weapons. Our claws, so to speak.

    Also, we're the best distance runners on the earth.
    BigJim and OSU_Buckguy like this.
  3. TDunk

    TDunk The Dunk Abides

    Zurp likes this.
  4. martinss01

    martinss01 blissfully stupid

    its almost a chicken and the egg argument though isn't it? at some point we were so stupid we needed claws. but when we had them... what did we need with intelligence and therefor a need to evolve into something that had more of it? after all, iq is irrelevant without knowledge. if you take the smartest person to ever live in their physical prime and drop them off in the most hospitable conditions on earth. then remove their clothing, tools, food, water and all knowledge on how to obtain those things. how long do you expect them to survive? my money is on less than a week.

    if there were no otherworldly or godlike interference (talkin straight evolution), someone was the first. whoever that someone was didn't have clothing fire or tools. nor did they know how to make them. i understand the concept of the "missing link". however, it seems accepted evolutionary science believes that animal domestication and what we would recognize as language and farming were very recent things. things that came about after we evolved into pretty much essentially what we are today. im not sure i buy that. from a physical stand point we are almost certainly going to be less capable than what existed prior to us from a place in nature standpoint. so mentally we potentially evolved and physically we almost certainly devolved. i would have to think that also separates us from every other creature on this planet.

    i can't think of any creature, that over the centuries, has become physically less adapted to its surroundings other than maybe us. as far as animals cognitive abilities i doubt anyone can speak to that. maybe they are all getting smarter, don't know. we have so little information in this area in our current age and practically 0 valid information prior to the last 10 or so years. even if you look at our closest "relatives" in primates. their concept of tools is beyond rudimentary at best. further, there is no evidence that that have progressed much on this front in the past ever. sure, shoving a stick in a termite hole to collect a few bugs is tool use. depending on your point of view it might have even been a breakthrough on their part. but they haven't exactly gone anywhere with that concept and it likely was not built upon a previously unknown technology. its kinda hard to get less technologically advanced than a twig you found on the ground.

    better than wild dogs? you might be right on that, i honestly don't know. i will have to check into that. but assuming that is true, im not sure how that would be beneficial in any way. sure, migration is fun and enjoyable while being occasionally needed to find food and or water sources and or better climates. but being able to run great distances really slowly isn't going to help you hunt. it certainly isn't going to protect you from a predator. so yeah, i guess we're in the running for "least useful phsyical skill" award... :p

    random survey idea!! take a picture of every creature on this planet including humans. show people two random creatures of any type and a picture of a human. make note of the animals shown where the test subject chose something other than human and what they chose. can't say i have any idea how that would turn out, but the results i think would be interesting...
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  5. OSU_Buckguy

    OSU_Buckguy Senior

    can't remember the tribe in africa (maybe more than one), but they kill their prey by running them to exhaustion. that's probably the most awesome form of hunting.

    interesting thing about the human body is something known as the mammalian diving reflex. by submersing just your face in ice cold water, autonomic changes occur that, in essence, create a superior diving human that can dive much deeper than otherwise possible. like super-human depth and length of time.
  6. Steve19

    Steve19 Watching. Always watching. Staff Member

  7. martinss01

    martinss01 blissfully stupid

    thanks for the link!!! reading about this now. probably the most interesting tidbit imo:

    "There is evidence that Western peoples, in the absence of hunting tools, have reverted to persistence hunting, such as the case of the Lykov family in Siberia."

    i would think this type of strategy would be far more difficult to perform in cooler climates, which is absolutely shot out of the water based on this information.

    ummm.... i would probably argue it is the least awesome form of hunting as im not a huge fan of distance running :p. not sure if it would matter, just wondering out loud. the areas where this form of hunting is being performed. are there predators in the area such as african wild dogs that use the same tactics? just curious if both exist side by side and if so, what type of conflicts exist and or success ratios on hunts for both species.

    though completely off topic, assuming this is a viable hunting strategy (and i have no reason to believe otherwise currently), with humans and african wild dogs both inherently being pack animals. its certainly plausible that this could have directly linked to the domestication of dogs. its has been discovered by wildlife filmmakers that in the absence of a pack. african wild dogs have been noted to "make" packs with other species ranging from hyenas to jackyls.

    ive heard this before. though im not certain i understand how it could be particularly useful currently. is there a time component on how long the face has to be submerged before the changes take place? can the rest of the body be in contact/underwater as well? if its reasonably immediate and the rest of the body can be submerged when the cold water is encountered. there is the possibility humans were/are utilizing the thermocline which is found in fresh water.

    this would actually help to explain why we develop hair over time rather than being fully covered with it completely and at birth. though in fairness, im not 100% sure i see a need for a creature that runs really slow for long distances then jumps into deep water for a long period of time. kinda like creating a creature that runs really fast on land but can also soar really high... you would think those skills would be at least semi mutually exclusive. but maybe not *shrug*

    BUCKYLE Washed

    I'm not an evolutionary biologist but I don't think need has anything to do with it.
    kinch likes this.
  9. martinss01

    martinss01 blissfully stupid

    yeah, "need" is the wrong word to use there. just trying to wrap my head around how those two evolutionary abilities would work together. not that they absolutely have to i suppose. just seems odd that our evolutionary super powers seem, to me anyway, to be completely independent of one another.
  10. kinch

    kinch Wash me Staff Member

    I am probably just slow, but what two evolutionary abilities are you talking about? I can probably help on this subject.

    Edit: I should have said I would have something to say, as opposed to "help," perhaps. :)
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  11. martinss01

    martinss01 blissfully stupid

    kinch, in the wonderful web of human evolution (assuming it occurred of course). there seems to be two fairly interesting traits that we humans posses. and by "we" i mean "you people" because distance running is NOT my thing :p.

    buckyle and osu_buckguy noted that humans seem to have the ability (which appears fairly confirmed) to run extremely long distances at relatively low speed. on the surface this seems fairly useless but there appears to be strong evidence that this is a viable hunting strategy. including in cold weather climates.

    in addition to this we also seem to have the ability to dive extremely deep for significantly longer periods of time than other primates should the face/head be submerged in cold water somehow related to the dive. this one i had heard of previously but hadn't really considered it until they brought it up.

    i guess my... not sure how to word this... inability to draw a line between these two abilities is what makes me ponder this. i don't doubt these abilities mind you, i simply find their existence in the same creature curious.

    sure, on the surface both seem "semi" useful. maybe not overly so as compared to other species, but potentially effective in allowing humans to carve out a niche for ourselves when it comes to physical survival without the aid of any form of technology. i guess im just not following why/how these two skills/abilities would develop in the same creature. not that they necessarily "must" have some link to one another. just seems odd that the same creature would develop two potential niche skills that don't seem to have any real involvement with the other.
  12. kinch

    kinch Wash me Staff Member

    Well I was wrong. I have no idea how those correlate.

    I do know that distance running seemed to be an advantage in certain hunting strategies, and has been used to explain some evolutionary adaptations. I don't really know anything about the diving thing. Maybe we really, really liked clams or something.
  13. Zurp

    Zurp I have misplaced my pants.

    I'm late to the party, but here's what I have to bring:
    1. No "help from aliens in the evolutionary process" theory allowed? Just creationism (in another thread) vs. "natural" evolution? I'm mostly joking, as I don't believe in it. But it does bring up some interesting ideas. (And "interesting" is an adjective that I'm using very loosely.)
    2. Did you ever hear of the aquatic ape theory? Another interesting idea, but not one I believe in, wholly. (Again, I'm using the word "adjective" pretty loosely.) But it basically points out how humans differ from all other primates, and how they relate to the evolution of humans coming at least partially from an aquatic environment. I doubt that I can name them all, but things like 1. Bipedalism - the only other primates that walk on two legs are some monkeys or apes when they walk through water. 2. We are the only "naked" primates - what other mammals are naked? Whales, dolphins (both aquatic), pigs, elephants, rhinos (according to the theory, supposedly most scientists agree only recently evolved out of aquatic environments, if you believe that), seals, walruses (both mostly aquatic). 3. Our body fat content is much higher than any other primate and it more closely resembles whale blubber than it does fat from primates. I don't know what the difference in blubber and fat is, but that's the way I hear it.
    3. You say that we (humans) wouldn't survive without any technology at all. I'll assume you're talking mainly about clothing and shelter and hunting with tools. I know that this isn't "proof" that we survived without technology, but we don't really need to hunt - humans can survive just eating what they find in the wild. Sure, not to 7 billion people, but small pockets of clans can survive. Same without clothing or shelter. I'd imagine humans would migrate with the seasons to survive.

    But I think you're right - we are kinda alone in our niche. What other species has made extinct all competitors for its resources, like we have with all other near-human relatives (Neanderthals, Australopithecus, to name a few)?
  14. Zurp

    Zurp I have misplaced my pants.

    Something else I was thinking about last night. And I don't know if this belongs in one of these threads, since it isn't really supporting either, in my mind. But I find it funny that virtually all land animals (or all, as far as I know) need fresh water to survive, when the world is covered with so much salt water. Why wouldn't at least SOME animals be able to drink salt water? If there are some, then never mind. But why not all? I mean, it's like oxygen, in a way. If I remember 10th grade science, there was a time when oxygen was just a byproduct. It was fairly toxic - nothing could use it. Then something adapted and evolved that could use it. That animal thrived in a world full of oxygen. Now all animals, as far as I know, need oxygen. Shouldn't it be the same with salt water?

    BUCKYLE Washed

    There are many animals in the ocean.

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