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Passions in Poetry

Apes

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Brad
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0 posted 07-01-2011 09:15 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Amazing World, Creatures of Wonder!

We are apes.  

And from that point, we begin to understand what we are.


evolution

evolution

Ron
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1 posted 07-01-2011 12:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Your link doesn't work, Brad, or rather it leads to no where useful.

Are we supposed to wait for it to evolve?


serenity blaze
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2 posted 07-01-2011 01:43 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

It's possible that we could do both.
Brad
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3 posted 07-01-2011 05:56 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Oops.  It should work now. And then I put the wrong one in there.  I think my brain needs to do some more 'volven'.
Balladeer
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4 posted 07-01-2011 07:54 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Leave it to Brad to monkey around
Uncas
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5 posted 07-02-2011 04:18 AM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


Why concentrate on a dead branch of the evolutionary tree Brad? In terms of major evolutionary changes humans and primates are about as likely to 'evolve' as crocodiles, wouldn't it be more interesting to  try to work out what's likely to replace us as the dominant species now that our evolving days are over?

.
Brad
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6 posted 07-02-2011 03:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well,  I think if we can make it through the next couple of centuries or so, our next step will be self-directed evolution:

1. multiple species (the key point is sentience or the awareness of awareness), not DNA.  

2. robots and computers

---------------

But if we don't make it,  I'd put my money on rodents in the short run.

For the long run I've been influenced by the Future is Wild series so I'll go with cephalopods.

serenity blaze
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7 posted 07-02-2011 04:48 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

In this water? I think they'd have to do some pretty fast adaptation to keep up with the pollution we're dropping on 'em.

I'll go with the roach or palmetto bug/beetle.

They are already one up on us--they can fly.

I've got enough to do trying to slow down my self-directed de-volution.

Uncas
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8 posted 07-02-2011 04:49 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


Rodents or cephalopods?

They're dead branches too Brad, what about insects or plants or a descendent of the ultra successful bacteria (not part of the animal kingdom but that hasn't held them back so far)? All of them have the prerequisite - the ability to hybridize inter-specially.

.
Brad
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9 posted 07-02-2011 05:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yeah, but if you go with bacteria, they already overrun the planet.  Insects and arthropods as well.  

Hey,  I just heard this, haven't checked it yet, but is it true that scorpions are particularly resistant to radiation?

At any rate,  I chose rodents because they are great adapters and have the capacity for intelligence (don't see that happening in insects or bacteria).  I chose octopuses because they look really cool swinging through trees -- and have long term possibilities for human-like intelligence.

I agree that humans are not a particularly robust species (due to the bottleneck that hit us about 60,000 years ago) -- a modern example is the decimation of American Indian civilization after the introduction of smallpox, measles etc. -- and that's why I think we'll have to do it ourselves.

But let's not get too depressed here:

you won't be missed


Balladeer
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10 posted 07-02-2011 05:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You are right, Karen. Don't ever sell roaches short. The only living things found within ten miles of ground zero in Nagasaki and Hiroshima were cockroaches....go figure!
serenity blaze
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11 posted 07-02-2011 06:09 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze



I wish I had time to play, today. It seems I was also right about the plumbing wall in our home as well though.

sighs, shrugs, and groans...

I'm gonna go mop somethin'.

I'll be following with interest, though.
Brad
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12 posted 07-02-2011 06:23 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are good examples of Nature's resilience.  Chernobyl, too.

But what I really wanted to get to was the idea that seeing ourselves as apes puts our achievements in a more optimistic light.

Oh well.

On the bright side, we have now eradicated another scourge:

1. Small pox

2. Rinderpest(a disease similar to measles that infects cattle)
Mysteria
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13 posted 07-03-2011 12:26 AM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

And thank goodness I won't live long enough to be around rodents!
Krawdad
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14 posted 07-03-2011 03:53 AM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

Uncas, your generalizations leave me wondering what you mean.
Why concentrate on a dead branch of the evolutionary tree Brad? In terms of major evolutionary changes humans and primates are about as likely to 'evolve' as crocodiles, wouldn't it be more interesting to  try to work out what's likely to replace us as the dominant species now that our evolving days are over?


Curious.
What makes an evolutionary branch dead?
What is a major evolutionary change?
Why are our evolving days over?
Uncas
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15 posted 07-03-2011 05:26 AM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas

Krawdad,

quote:
What makes an evolutionary branch dead?


Apart from the obvious - when a species is out competed by a competitor - two things:

The achievement of an almost ideal state for any given niche.  Examples of these would be crocodiles, sharks and cephalopods. Evolution is driven by the natural selection of one body type over the other based on the ability of the new shape or type to outcompete the incumbent type. At some point though an ideal is reached - the shark isn't called 'the perfect killing machine' for nothing and it's hard to improve on perfection. At that point natural selection tends to stall, or to be more precise the incumbent tends to outcompete any possible challenger.  What you end up with is a body type with minor evolutionary changes, more teeth, increase or reduction in size etc. etc.  but the basic form stays the same.

The second reason is that, in my opinion, hybridisation is more important to speciation (a major evolutionary change) than most people would think. Dawkins argues that evolution is a continuing steady process; Gould argued that the fossil record doesn't reflect that and that a state of punctuated equilibrium better fits the evidence.

I think that they're both right but that they've missed an important evolutionary trick.

Minor evolutionary change, called microevolution, occurs continuously, sharks over time get bigger or smaller, evolve sharper teeth or even less teeth dependent on the requirements of the environment. This constant change can, over a very long period, lead to major changes, or macroevolution, that's where the cumulative changes are so great that the animal you end up with looks nothing like its antecedents - it is in fact a new species.

Gould noticed however that the fossil record indicates that at several points in the geologic record speciation seems to be accelerated - the Cambrian explosion being one major example, he thought that the mechanism was an increase in the rate of natural selection with micro evolution speeding up leading to macro evolution and speciation. I believe the viability of hybridisation between species is the driving factor during those punctuated events in the normal equilibrium. A species unable to hybridise under those circumstances is, to all intents and purposes, a dead branch.

.

[This message has been edited by Uncas (07-03-2011 07:59 AM).]

Brad
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16 posted 07-03-2011 08:23 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Damn it, Uncas.

I was on your side until the last two paragraphs.  What do you mean by hybridization?

Yes, we(humans) can do that.

No, except at the bacterial and archael level, I don't see it happening.

We are the first species to fight back. Am I wrong?

I don't deny the war.  I argue that we are making a significant attack.  Bacteria will adjust to us, not the other way around.

Have a good one!
Brad
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17 posted 07-03-2011 08:29 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Krawdad,

Well done.  I'll let you guys go.  Next time, let's go.  
Uncas
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18 posted 07-03-2011 11:12 AM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas

quote:
I was on your side until the last two paragraphs.


That's not surprising, up to that point I was just regurgitating the generally accepted theory of evolution by natural selection in which hybridisation doesn't play a big role. I think that's a mistake, in my version of evolution hybridisation is critical.

  
quote:
What do you mean by hybridization?


I mean a mating of two distinct animals to create a third, and equally distinct, animal type.

Think Donkey - Horse - Mule.

And before anyone plays the sterility card - don't - sterility in mules is the norm due to the resulting odd number of chromosomes in the offspring, but it's not unknown for exceptions to occur. The fact that it is the norm is very very important too though.



Hybridisation can only occur between two animals that are relatively close on the evolutionary tree, the further apart they are the less likely it is for hybridisation to occur. Horse's and Donkeys are close enough to hybridise, so are camels and llamas and, theoretically humans and higher primates. In the first two cases the offspring, if able to reproduce, could compete with their parents and, depending on environmental force, could actually gain dominance. That's highly unlikely with a human/primate hybrid - even if the ethical obstacle to actually produce a hybrid was overcome  it's unlikely that the offspring could usurp humans. Our evolutionary branch is dead in that respect.

But that isn't true for some species.

I believe that there are special cases, like the Cambrian explosion, where Hybridization was/is the driving factor of evolution - cases where random genetic mutation simply can't explain Gould's punctuations of accelerated evolution. In those cases the ability to hybridise is the difference between success and extinction.

Bacteria?

Interesting that you see the interaction of bacteria and humans as a war Brad given that the number of beneficial bacteria far outweigh the nasty varieties. In fact, humans have such an important symbiotic relationship with bacteria that without them we'd actually struggle to survive.

Here's an interesting fact to bore your friends and neighbours with though - the human body contains ten times more bacterial cells than human cells and their ability to evolve is phenomenal - if we are at war with bacteria my money's on them.

Essorant
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19 posted 07-03-2011 04:44 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Who doubts it?  Probably not this man/monkey.
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1692448486035
Brad
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20 posted 07-05-2011 12:42 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

"They have the numbers; we, the heights"

--Thucydides, spoken by the Spartan commander at Thermopylae.
Uncas
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21 posted 07-05-2011 02:01 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


Was that just before Leonidas and the Spartans were annihilated Brad?

Essorant
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22 posted 07-05-2011 03:04 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

You might like Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World.   It is an enlightening book about the human experience with bacteria and learning to understand and get along with them better.
Brad
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23 posted 07-05-2011 03:21 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, it's hard to argue with a 4.2-billion-year head start, isn't it?

Still I'm not convinced that fatalism in any form is justified yet.  The odds are against us, sure, but give us a couple more centuries and see what happens.

By the way, that we are symbiotic with bacteria (and viruses) is a good point.  I don't see why we can't continue to add to and improve on that symbiosis.
Brad
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24 posted 07-05-2011 03:40 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I like this proposal, Ess:

quote:
The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves. Despite the frightening death toll, Sachs's summary of promising new avenues of research offers hope.


The frightening death toll?  I'm always a little surprised by the constant fear-mongering here.  

Are we not in a better position today than we were a hundred years ago?
 
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