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Author Topic:   What bothers me about the evolution of Man
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 142 (642862)
12-02-2011 10:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by frako
12-02-2011 7:48 AM


Why did we evolve so much brainpower how was such a over boost helpful to a society that used speers and farmed and gathered for food. Why did brains that can understand the basic laws that govern our universe evolve in a society whose basic needs where food sleep and procreate.

Sometimes unexpected results/outcomes happen when another thing is selected for. Have you heard of that Russian experiment where they tamed silver foxes?

All they did was select the tamest foxes for breeding, that is, the ones that reacted least violently towards people. It lasted like 50 years or so. After many generations, they noticed that not only did the foxes get tamer, but their coats changed to different colors, and there was an increase in Neotony, i.e. barking, etc. (its actually a very interting look into how dogs probably came about from wolves)

The point is that the particular trait you're looking at didn't necessarily have to be the one that was being specifically selected for. Things can "go along for the ride" so to speak.

Another thing that I didn't see brought up yet is sexual selection. Maybe the chicks just dug the guys that exhibited traits that resulted from bigger brains.

It doesn't alway have to be that the particular trait in question shows an obvious advantage and there can even be traits that seem disadvantages that end up getting selected for anyways.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by frako, posted 12-02-2011 10:55 AM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 13 by Jon, posted 12-02-2011 11:07 AM New Cat's Eye has responded
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 142 (642866)
12-02-2011 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by frako
12-02-2011 10:42 AM


Our brains are so of the charts compared to the animal kingdom that it begs the question why was so much brainpower needed we could dominate the world with much less brain power.

Maybe it wasn't needed, see Message 7.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 142 (642880)
12-02-2011 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by frako
12-02-2011 10:55 AM


This could passably be the best answer probably not the only one, even if the brain power could not be fully utilized, the brain that could come to solutions faster would be the one selected for even though there was not allot of basic knowledge the brain could deduce from like we have in the present. The more "space" the brain had to store real world scenarios, the easier it was to store and more data was available to process.

But you're still trying to find a need to fill for a positive selective pressure towards bigger brains. The point was that there might not even be that need there in the first place.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 142 (642883)
12-02-2011 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Jon
12-02-2011 11:07 AM


Oh yes... all those ladies thinking 'damn... can't wait to squeeze out one of his big-headed babies!'

That assumes they associated pregnancy with sex... I wached Pururammo the other night and those tree people in New Guinea still don't.

On a more serious note: What traits do you suppose would have been the selected-for traits that only consequentially led to a more powerful brain?

The same kind of shit chicks still fall for today: creativity, cleverness, comedy, art, you know...

Not that that's the be all end all. Honestly, I bet its a result of a very convulated response to a wide variety of factors that cannot be pinpointed as being a result of "this".

My point was to show frako that looking for a need to fullfill for the positive selective pressure to act on, and then failing to come up with one, shouldn't really lead him to think that it would be some difficulty for evolution.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 142 (642908)
12-02-2011 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Straggler
12-02-2011 12:46 PM


The human brain uses a lot of energy. It requires a lot of feeding.

Without any positive selection pressure it seems unlikely that such an "expensive" organ would evolve purely as a side product of other factors in the way I think you are suggesting.

The same goes for the peacock tail... they don't need it, it resulted from other selective pressures. That's what I'm talking about.

That might be how it started out. But some sort of selection for bigger and bigger brains does seem to be required to explain the result we have ended up with.

Sexual selection seems a viable candidate. Big brains are sexy.

But females can't see the males' brains directly, so there must be some other thing, that big brains goes along with, that the females would be selecting for.

That's what I was trying to get at.

We don't have to speculate about what kind of need for a big brain there is to select for.

The OP reads as asking why the brain is so big when we don't need it to be like that. I'm saying that's the wrong question.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 45 of 142 (643148)
12-05-2011 10:35 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Tangle
12-04-2011 1:53 PM


Why it only happened once in all of the animal kingdom is a little surprising too.

There have been multiple species in the Homo genus that were fairly intelligent and not our ancestors. It happened more than once.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 48 of 142 (643171)
12-05-2011 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Tangle
12-05-2011 1:27 PM


Catholic Scientist writes:


There have been multiple species in the Homo genus that were fairly intelligent and not our ancestors. It happened more than once.


Well maybe,

No, for real.

but I'm not sure that we know that all/any other Homo were conscious beings - which I'd say was the break through.

Your cat is a conscious being.... I think the word your looking for is sentient.

But if we could show that other Homos were big brained and conscious or even just very intelligent I'd still say that it has only happened once.

Why? Sentience happened more than once...

There are no other examples of real intelligence in the animal kingdom - either now or before.

There's the other species in Homo and also, australopithecus exhibit traits of sentience. I don't know about that "real" qualifier, but chimps and dolphins and elephants all exhibit traits of sentience as well.

But we know that other massively useful adaptions have evolved several times in several groups - eyes, flight etc.

I'm not arguing against the proposition that our brain evolved, I'm simply saying that it's interesting that such a useful thing isn't more widespread.

We killed them.

Seriosuly, start getting competitive with us and your species goes down.

ABE:

From Message 49

quote:
i would strongly argue that on a scale of 1 to 10 where we are 10, the next highest qualifying intelligence would be less than 1 by a long, long way. And until you can find an example of a species using any form of technolgy cleverer than a pointy stick and/or language higher than a few grunts, shreaks and pings, i'd say nothing even approaches the scale.

So, you don't know what you're talking about then...

Neandertals were pretty sophisticated.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 52 of 142 (643189)
12-05-2011 3:44 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Tangle
12-05-2011 3:29 PM


Yup - they had fire and everything. But they evolved from the same line as us, so I'll stick with what I said, our level of intelligence and sentience/consciousness has only evolved once.

But now your claim is vacuous...

ABE:

Seriously though, if Homos split into two different species that both exhibit sentience, what's the point in saying that because they both came from a common ancestor that it only happened once when its clearly being shown that it happened more than once?

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 53 of 142 (643191)
12-05-2011 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Rahvin
12-05-2011 2:58 PM


You vastly underestimate the difference in intelligence shown between humans and other species.

The level of disparity in adaptive intelligence is so large that there lacks a sufficient scale.

That depends on what you're talking about...

If you take one average human and put him in a room with one average Neandertal, they could use the same scale.

However, if, like you're doing, you take the technological advancements made by billions of humans and compare it too extant species, then yeah, the scales don't compare.


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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 55 of 142 (643201)
12-05-2011 4:19 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Rahvin
12-05-2011 4:03 PM


I'm only comparing modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens to other extant species.

Why? In the context of something "that only evolved once" that seems to be begging the question.

Our ability to share information with other members of our social groups on an abstract, as opposed to demonstrative level is part of what sets us apart intellectually.

Maybe a better word would be "knowledge" than "intelligence".

Haven't you heard of a particular chimp being said to have the intelligence of a 3 year old human, or something like that? That's using the same scale that you're saying no other animals are even on...


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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 57 of 142 (643211)
12-05-2011 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Tangle
12-05-2011 4:31 PM


I'm sorry, I not used to discussing at this level of pedantry.

Please try to accept a general, high level point when you come across one.

What point? Your pointless one?

If you know of any non-ape descended animal that has developed anything even approaching our level of intelligence or consciousness (or bloody sentience if you prefer), please name it.

More of them or the same ones again? Dolphins and elephants were mentioned and they are pretty damn smart...

But really, there's no point. The fact that non-apes haven't developed as much intelligence as humans doesn't mean a whole lot. Especially in the context of the evolution of the brains of man. More especially, in the context of the fact that other non-man species also evolved similiar levels of intelligence.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 74 of 142 (643322)
12-06-2011 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Rahvin
12-05-2011 7:57 PM


Reread my posts. I never claimed or agreed that human-level intelligence "only evolved once." I've only pointed out that human-level intelligence is vastly out of proportion with extant species, and specifically is absurd overkill for "normal" environmental challenges in terms of selection pressure, particularly with the downsides of growing and fueling a human brain. I've been talking about the specific, likely selective pressure that would cause human-level intelligence to evolve. You're confusing my arguments for other people's statements.

No, I'm trying to tell you that you're talking past the people you're responding to. We know that above, we don't disagree with it, we were responding to the claim that intelligence only evolved once.

Not really. It's the ability to acquire and process knowledge that provide advantages, not knowledge itself.

Its both. There weren't any skyscrapers 10,000 years ago not because man was less intelligent back then, but because man had less knowledge.

3-year-old human brains aren't fully grown yet. The human brain finishes it's primary development around 20 years after birth.

Comparing immature humans to animal intelligence is patently absurd.

Then why do biologist do it when assessing a chimps intelligence? (by saying they're as smart as a 3 year old)

One could argue that a 1-week-old horse is smarter than a 1-week-old human child because the human child doesn't even have full control of its limbs yet, while the horse will be walking. Insects are mobile from birth, while newborn humans can't even crawl.

Now that's absurd.

An adult human is incredibly more intelligent than an adult chimp. It's not even a close comparison, despite them being some of our closest extant relatives.

Yeah, so you compare them to less developed humans. I guess its just a little nicer to use immaturity than, say retardation. This chimps 'bout half-retarded


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 79 of 142 (643344)
12-06-2011 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by Tangle
12-06-2011 11:41 AM


My claim is that our kind of conscious intelligence has only evolved once.

Which is wrong... unless you beg the question by dscounting extinct species or define intelligence a way that suit your claim. And which point, your claim is unimportant. Other animals have "our kind of conscious inteligence" but it is the degree that makes us different.

Our kind of bipedalism equally only evolved once. So what?


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 83 of 142 (643367)
12-06-2011 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by Tangle
12-06-2011 12:46 PM


I've said this at least three times now. I'm not excluding extinct species except ape descendants - for the obvious reason that we are ape descendants ourselves and are therefore likely to have the same brain.

In that regard, feathers only evolved one. BFD. Like I said, its a vacuous claim.

What about Gorillas?

quote:
During the course of the study, Koko has advanced further with language than any other non-human. Koko has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs. Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. Koko initiates the majority of conversations with her human companions and typically constructs statements averaging three to six words. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered "normal." Michael, the male silverback gorilla who grew up with Koko, had a working vocabulary of over 600 signs.

sauce

I've said this twice now - I'll accept any mainstream definition.

Unless it suggests that human intelligence is not unique You even had to qualify what you were talking about as "real" intelligence.

So it's very interesting and it's useful to ask the question "why?" It's what science does I believe.

You haven't even gotten us that far... All we've got is:

"Herp, real intelligence only evolved once, derp."

Can you think of any other single adaptation that delivers so much competitive advantage that only exists in a single species?

Well sure, the peacock's tail has already been mentioned in this thread. But you're back to a single species now... Neandertals were a different speicies with the same intelligence that humans have so this adaptation does not exist in only a single speicies.

It depends on how you want to limit your sample. If we discount all bird decedants, we could say that feathers only evolved once.

But this is getting pretty ridiculous. You're point is not profound or anything. I think you were just talking in passing. Clumsy word choice and cluttered thinking.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 86 of 142 (643373)
12-06-2011 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Tangle
12-06-2011 1:28 PM


For a while there I thought there was nothing we were going to agree about.

You genuinely think that our intelligence is no different than that of other sprecies? I mean really?

Of course its different. But its different by degree, not by kind.

And other (extinct) species have had similiar degrees so it isn't unique to humans.

You seem to be suggesting that humans have a unique kind of intelligence to a unique degree... that's just not true.


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Replies to this message:
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