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Author Topic:   Behold the Homind
Max
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 73 (222912)
07-10-2005 3:54 AM


and so we dropped from the trees as the climate changed and began to stride out on the savannas, the veldts of Africa.

Was it our bipedalism, our opposable thumb, our tool making abilities, maybe several groups began to develop language....what made us different....?

also as a side note, and I see this number mentioned often. Would you agree that man..as we know him, arrives about 125,000 years ago?

Enquiring minds, want to know?


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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 73 (222942)
07-10-2005 12:40 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 3 of 73 (222964)
07-10-2005 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Max
07-10-2005 3:54 AM


It would appear that the earliest known hominid in our line was bipedal -- she walked upright. This species, Australopithecus afarensis, showed no other characteristics that we would associate as distinguishing humans from the non-human apes.

This site has some interesting data on early hominids and their fossils. It appears that our modern form of H. sapiens appeared perhaps as long as 200,000 years ago. Depending on whether you consider H. heidelbergensis to be a member of our species, our species may actually extend to as far as 500,000 years ago.


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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 4 of 73 (248852)
10-04-2005 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Chiroptera
07-10-2005 2:20 PM


So how do we explain the presence of more then one hominid species at one time. Like the Homo neanderthalensis and the Homo sapiens have apparently both been found inside the same timeframe of existance. How and why is that? Meaning to say, how does one evolve into something that's already here?

NOTE: I'm not a biblical creationist, I only seek understanding


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 5 of 73 (248854)
10-04-2005 1:28 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ausar_maat
10-04-2005 1:22 PM


We have species A. A small subpopulation of A is isolated from the rest of A, and this subpopulation evolves in species B. Now we have two species existing at the same time. Maybe another subpopulation of A is isolated and evolves into C; now we have three species. A eventually goes exinct, and now we have B and C as two closely related species existing at the same time.

Maybe the isolating features end, and B and C then move into the terroritory formerly occupied by A. Then we even have two related species existing in the same place at the same time. If B and C evolved to occupy slightly different niches, then they wouldn't directly compete, and so they may be able to coexist for a long time.

Edited to add:
It doesn't matter whether or not you are a Biblical creationist or not, ausar_maat; it is a good question, and even some of those who accept the theory of evolution may not be aware of possible answers to this.

This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 04-Oct-2005 05:33 PM


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 6 of 73 (248877)
10-04-2005 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Chiroptera
10-04-2005 1:28 PM


I understand,

but another I would have is, what would cause these species to have a need to evolve? Specifically in the case of hominids, what warrants intelligent evolution or the evolution of intelligence? I don't really grasp it. I understand that species can die off, but between NS providing giraffes with long necks to reach leaves on higher trees and H.Sapiens developping the level of intelligence to fly to the moon, I don't see the need there? Like before I even ask for the purpose of developing higher intelligence, I wonder what was the purpose of becoming bipeds? Apes seem to be doing ok. We could have survived without the level of intelligence we presently reached it seems. So I don't see how that transition and selection was "natural"?
Can someone explain this transition scientifically please. The notion of "Intelligence's purpose" and need.

Also, it may seem like a dumb question, but Apes are only one type of life form. Why hasnt higher intelligent developped in other species, like in bigger mammals who would have a big enough brain to evolve in that direction for whatever reason.

thank you

This message has been edited by ausar_maat, 10-04-2005 02:29 PM

This message has been edited by ausar_maat, 10-04-2005 02:32 PM


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jar
Member
Posts: 30996
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 7 of 73 (248880)
10-04-2005 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by ausar_maat
10-04-2005 2:28 PM


but another I would have is, what would cause these species to have a need to evolve?

There isn't.

Evolution is far more a history, it's what did happen.

It's not directed, there's no plan, no goal.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 8 of 73 (248885)
10-04-2005 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by ausar_maat
10-04-2005 2:28 PM


quote:
what would cause these species to have a need to evolve?

Species do not evolve because there is a "need". In any population, the individuals vary in their physical characterists. Some physical characteristics make it more likely for an individual to survive or to mate (and thus pass on these characteristics to its offspring), some make it less likely that an individual will survive or mate, and thus it characteristics will not be passed to the next generation. So the next generation will have slightly more individuals with the "good" characteristic, and slightly fewer individuals with the "bad" characteristic. There is no teleology here -- if you look at all the coyotes that live in a certain area, each one will be slightly different that any of the others, and perhaps these slight differences will allow one a better chance to avoid a predator, catch prey, or find a mate than another individual.

-

quote:
giraffes with long necks to reach leaves on higher trees

So a pre-giraffe with a slightly longer neck could reach food that a pre-giraffe with a shorter neck cannot. So a longer necked pre-giraffe can not only survive in dense forests where there is plenty of underbrush, but can range into more open grassland, where it can reach the leaves of short trees and the bottom leaves of slightly taller trees. A shorter necked individual is pretty much stuck in the forest, where there might be more competition for other individuals -- the longer necked individual can find food that no one else can reach, so it is less likely to go hungry. Thus, in the next generation, there are fewer short-necked pre-giraffes and more long-necked giraffes.

-

quote:
H.Sapiens developping the level of intelligence

Primates are social animals. They live in groups and act cooperative. Often, there are hierarchies among the individuals. Those in the upper levels in the hierarchies are more likely to get first dibs on available food as well as have more access to mates. A slightly more intelligent ape will be better able to keep track of alliances and perhaps figure out the consequences of its actions in regard to the reactions of the others in the tribe. So a "smarter" individual is more likely to produce offspring than a "dumb" one. (Eventually, of course, we get a positive feed back case where a smart individual is more likely to able to make long term plans, make tools, and use more sophisticated communication).

-

quote:
Why hasnt higher intelligent developped in other species....

Like dolphins (which, incidently, are also social species)?

At any rate, intelligence is not an automatic advantage to the one that possesses it. Higher intelligence requires a larger brain, which then requires more energy, energy that cannot be used to run faster, climb higher, or breed more often. Also, why would intelligence be an advantage to, say, aardvarks? It wouldn't: all anthills are pretty much the same, the same techniques will always suffice to get into them, aardvarks do not have hands so tools would be unavailable to them -- pure instinct will suffice for the relatively simple aardvark world, so more intelligent aardvarks would not necessarily replace less intelligent ones.

The question is not "why aren't all species, or all species of apes, intellgent?" The question is, "why did intelligence prove to be advantageous to human ancestors?" And we may never know the answer to that. If we suppose that natural selection is the main driving force of evolution, then all we can say is that a population of our pre-Australopithecine ancestors were in an environment that larger brains and more intelligent gave the individuals with those traits an advantage over the others. Quite possibly, in that environment there would have been a number of different traits that would have been advantageous; however, since mutations are random, it was the mutations that led to greater intelligence that appeared first, and so this is the direction that our species took.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2100 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 9 of 73 (248891)
10-04-2005 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by ausar_maat
10-04-2005 2:28 PM


it's not that they need to evolve so much as one day someone is born being able to do something more and that helps him eventually have more children which just happen to show that trait. it's pure and delicious accident (at least on the part of the organism in question). to him is is just dumb luck.
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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 10 of 73 (249037)
10-05-2005 8:33 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by macaroniandcheese
10-04-2005 3:28 PM


quote:
The question is not "why aren't all species, or all species of apes, intellgent?" The question is, "why did intelligence prove to be advantageous to human ancestors?"

The notion of "advantage" or "survival", does it have a biochemical root in the NS process? At some level,I have a hard time understanding how an insect develops the "advantage" of looking like a leaf to ensure it's "survival". The same way I don't see how our H.Sapien brand of "intelligence" proves to be an "advantage" in for a social type. Many types of social groups exist, we found many behavioral similarities among several of them, although they may be different from each other genetically, namely ants and bees, daulphins and wolves. They develop systems, even complex ones, such as collective intelligence among ant colonies and bee hives, but no other species has developped "intelligence" as an "advantage" on the H.Sapien level. Yet I so no reason for it?

can someone explain?

This message has been edited by ausar_maat, 10-05-2005 08:38 AM


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 11 of 73 (249041)
10-05-2005 8:43 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 8:33 AM


Hello, ausar_maat.

I am a bit confused. I thought I already answered each of these questions in my previous post. Was I unclear? Do you disagree with what I said?


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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 12 of 73 (249042)
10-05-2005 8:53 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Chiroptera
10-05-2005 8:43 AM


yes,

but I didn't see how this explination resolved my subsequent observations. Which is why I quoted the key sentence for which I needed further elaboration.


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Thor
Member (Idle past 4083 days)
Posts: 148
From: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 12-20-2004


Message 13 of 73 (249044)
10-05-2005 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 8:33 AM


They develop systems, even complex ones, such as collective intelligence among ant colonies and bee hives, but no other species has developped "intelligence" as an "advantage" on the H.Sapien level. Yet I so no reason for it?

can someone explain?

I'll try, at least how I see it. Humans don't really have much else going for them. We are relatively slow, weak, have no real natural defences like claws or razor sharp teeth, we can't see very well in the dark, our sense of smell is nowhere near as acute as many animals, and to top all that off, we lost a lot of our trees that were our home for so long!

When the African forests shrank and some of our ancestors had to learn to survive in the grasslands some developed a particularly good awareness of their surroundings, the ability to communicate and cooperate as a group, and the mental capacity to use tools and weapons as an extension of their less-than-adequate bodies. These were the ones that survived and passed on these traits. We are here today because our specific type of intelligence was what was needed to survive in the environment our ancestors faced.

As for the insect looking like a leaf to ensure it's survival (slightly off-topic, but since you mentioned it), I think you're looking at it backwards. Rather than looking like a leaf to ensure survival, I'd phrase it that the insect is still surviving because it happens to look like a leaf. Look at insects, there are a lot of different body shapes, colours, sizes, abilities, etc. This suggests that many other different types have been 'experimented' with in the past. Some survive, some don't. Those insects such as our leaf-like friend and those stick-like ones, they survived because of their camouflage advantage. Not really all that complicated when you think about it.


The probability that someone is watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your action.
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Yaro
Member (Idle past 4668 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 14 of 73 (249045)
10-05-2005 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Chiroptera
10-04-2005 3:09 PM


I hear we were housed in an alien petting zoo for millions of years then released back into the wild. Anyway, good post ;)
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ausar_maat
Member (Idle past 3671 days)
Posts: 136
From: Toronto
Joined: 10-04-2005


Message 15 of 73 (249047)
10-05-2005 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by ausar_maat
10-05-2005 8:53 AM


There is also another aspect of this question of developped "intelligence", which puzzles me. What is the minimal neurological configuration of the brain size and structure, that would be considered necessary for a hominid to be considered, "intelligent" on the H.Sapien level. Meaning to say, for example, would an Zinjanthropus boisei, who existed between 2 and 1 millions ago, if brought back to the futur through Doc Brown's time vehicle, be able, under tutelage, to learn to fonction just like any other human being today. Like get a job Burger King or study Civil Engineering, developp the swagger of Ricky Martin with the ladies, etc. If so, then how do we differentiate him from an H.Sapien, other then through physiological factors. If not, then what are the neurological constraints that would prevent him from doing so? And more importantly, what NS process, through isolation or other relevant factors would warrant this "advantage". I'm also unclear on how an "advantage" is not a need, or how an insect simulating the shape of a leaf is an "accidental" mutation but yet, bestows a specific natural "advantage" to it's recipient.

please debrief..I am but a novice on the=is subject. So I ask alot of obvious questions, thank you for your patience.


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