have we stopped evolving?
October 14, 2019 at 4:55 am #28875
Short question: should we act more like chimps, or bonobos?
Accidentally was (while researching something else) offered a video to watch by some YouTube algorithm (are they in my head, yet?) but took a chance and found it very interesting:October 14, 2019 at 5:49 am #28876
@ Unseen..Cats are subject to feline leukemia at an alarming rate. They also are subject to feline immunodeficiency virus, cancer and heartworm to name a few. The immune system is the organism’s biological defense network against infection and disease. So while cats seem pretty well adapted to exposure from their own waste they are not particularly adept at defense against disease.
In terms of Neanderthal’s fitness in defending against pathogens v. ours? I think it is no contest. Evolution is an arms race between hosts and pathogens. It does not occur in a vacuum. In the intervening 40,000 or so years since Neanderthal’s extinction homo sapiens have been in this ongoing arms race but have in addition added pathogens through the developments of modernity. There are far greater quantity of gotchas now than there were then.
While i get your point about hygiene and sanitation it is also true that ancient peoples were on the move. That would tend to mitigate the ill effects of ignorance. So in retrospect it may have been a less dangerous environment than today in some parts of the modern world in which poverty has rendered unfortunate people subject to horrible hygiene and sanitation. If we could utilize time machines to go back and forth i think the modern homo sapien fetus raised by Neanderthal parents 60,000 years ago would have a better shot than the Neanderthal fetus raised by the Unseens.
As far as the concept of devolution i cant recall which authors but i know i have read that it is a misnomer-no such thing.October 14, 2019 at 7:07 pm #28877
As far as the concept of devolution i cant recall which authors but i know i have read that it is a misnomer-no such thing.
I like the term devolution as it still conveys meaning intuitively, e.g. in-breeding generally undoes evolutionary “progress” by reducing variation in the gene pool. Imo it should work when used within a pop context, until people become more familiar with standard scientific jargon.
Speaking of inbred, a lot of cat breeds are intentionally inbred, and a higher than usual percentage of those inbred also suffer from maladies. Probably even more true of dogs, bred more than cats for their behavior/personality in addition to appearance. And other pets also tend to be more inbred than their wild counterparts.October 14, 2019 at 10:14 pm #28879
Indeed “de-evolution” simply doesn’t make sense. It’s confusing progress with adaptability. No species systematically becomes less adaptive to their environment unless there is a useful trade-off and recently acquired traits are only lost when they are no longer useful or at least aren’t worth the benefit vs. cost. You cannot de-progress with evolution. It’s not an up or down scale. It’s a “this species has survived and adapted or it hasn’t and it’s extinct”. Those are the only two qualitative comparisons you can make with evolution. They lasted or they didn’t. Anything else is highly subjective and biased conceptualization of a non-progressive system.October 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm #28880
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
It’s confusing progress with adaptability.
Exactly. Believing that Evolution has “intent” as a driving force behind it is one of the common misconceptions about the Theory.October 16, 2019 at 4:13 am #28910
Exactly. Believing that Evolution has “intent” as a driving force behind it is one of the common misconceptions about the Theory.
I don’t see any posts in this topic inferring “intent” as a driving force behind evolution. However, since you brought it up…
When one coalition of people commit genocide against another coalition of people, it affects the gene pool of the latter. That is most definitely intentional behavior that affects the evolution of the latter gene pool. Sure, such behavior is an example of cultural evolution, which affects genetically-based evolution and yes, some posters (here in this topic) may have decried a lack of progress in that kind evolution.
It’s so easy to conflate the two (and other) types of evolution, and it confuses discussions.
There sometimes is intent–dare we even say purpose–in cultural evolution, characterizeable as “forward” or “backward” depending on opinion, but I’ll be the first to support the statement that there is no intent behind “evolution”, which by default usually means the genetically inherited kind.
Another obvious type of genetic vs cultural-with-intent evolution is the breeding of plants and animals.
(So far I’ve dodged actually responding to the point about whether genetic evolution can be said to have “progress”. Maybe sleep will improve my response. Or maybe not.)October 17, 2019 at 2:48 am #28921
I like that alpha males are not automatically bullies, Pope B. At least in Chimp world. You think we can get Erdogan to watch that video?
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