I started this page with very little information about "the survival of the fittest" and without knowing how to get it or where the information might be. Now, I know more, now, I have more question than before.
There are two fictional charaters that demonstrate "survival of the fittest" "THE ALIEN" and "THE PREDATOR"
I found some good books that got me started. For anyone who needs to get up to date on "science", then read "MAGIC UNIVERSE" by Nigel Calder.
To help you do some critical thinking, read, "What it means to be 98% chimpanzee" by Jonathan Marks.
You could then read
The Ascent of Mind, by Willim H. Calvin
The impact of ice age climates and the evolution of intelligence.
p. 53 Our big brains are a prime example of rapid evolution: they have increased fourfold in size in a mere 2.5 million years.
p. 92 Winter, then is likely to be of great importance in hominid evolution, once hominids started attempting to live year-round in the temperate zone (which, on current fossil evidence, is between 1.1 and 1.4 million years ago- call it a dozen ice ages). Without the ice ages to expand and contract the habitat size, the evolution of hominids might have been slow going.
The Riddled Chain by Jeffrey K. McKee
This book evaluates CHANCE, COINCIDENCE AND CHAOS (initial conditions) in human evolution.
p.83 The apparent coincidence of many changes occurring around 2.5 million years ago has excited a number of imaginations.
... a later climatic event around 900,00 years ago preceded the start of another pulse of change in the fauna, perhaps setting the stage for the earliest Homo Sapiens.
p. 239 As the face reduced, for whatever reason, so did the snout. A reduced snout left less area for the membranes ond nerve endings responsible for olfaction-the sense of smell. With fewer nerves to accommodate, the olfaction lobes of the brain also reduced in relative size. ... humans have a pathetic sense of smell.
Mapping Human History by Steve Olson
p. 83 The lack of evidence for interbreeding between modern humans and Neandertals is a mystery. Species that have been separated for much longer than Neandertals and modern humans can still interbreed.(ie. common chip and bonobo have been seperated for more than 2 million years.)
p. 86 The earliest clear evidence for modern behaviors comes from Australia, which modern humans apparently reached as early as 65,000 years ago.... Middle east about 45,000 years ago.
p.87 The basic body plan of modern humans was already established 100,000 years ago.
07 June 2007
New info for consideration.
23 July 2008
Sean B. Carroll has addressed the role of DNA in his book, “The Making of the Fittest”. He even has an excerpt on the web.
The Making of the Fittest
Martin Kenneth Jones has written about:
“The molecule hunt: Archaeology and the search for ancient DNA.”, London: Allen Lane
Those educated in the new field of Bioarchaeology are probably aware of the work being done at … The George Pitt-Rivers Laboratory for Bioarchaeology. It accommodates a diverse range of projects from various parts of the world.
More scientific references are available here.
The rest of this page will demonstrate my ignorance. I urge you to read further and to enlighten me.
MUTATION and ADAPTATION
A mutation could be the cause of an adaptation and therefore, we could say that there occurred an evolutionary step. When refering to evolution, it is understood that we are refering to increasing the ability of a specie to survive in its ecological nitch. We climbed into the trees and should have evolved to be the best of the foragers in the tree tops. What happened? We fell out of the trees. We did not evolve. We mutated.
MUTATION would be something that occurs at the DNA level. (i.e. the lost of a gland). The magnetic reversal probably had an impact on mutations. A good book on this is:
"The Magnetic Field of the Earth" by R.T. Merrill, M.W. McElhinny, and P.L. McFadden (Academic Press, 1996).
I'll quote a few things for your interest. p. 182 has a chart of the magnetic reversals for the last 18 M. years. In the last 10 M. years there have been 46 magnetic reversals. (.780, .990, 1.070, 1.770, 1.950, 2.140, 2.150, 2.581, 3.040, 3.110, 3.220, 3.330, 3.580, 4.180, 4.290, 4.480, 4.620, 4.800, 4.890, 4.980, 5.230, 5.894, 6.137, 6.269, 6.567, 6.935, 7.091, 7.135, 7.170, 7.341, 7.375, 7.432, 7.562, 7.650, 8.072, 8.225, 8.257, 8.699, 9.025, 9.230, 9.308, 9.580, 9.642, 9.740, 9.880, 9.920 ). Data from Cande and Kent (1995) which includes both marine magnetic anomaly records and magnetostratigraphic sections.
p. 184 There is an other time scale showing magnetic changes to 160 M years.
p.196 The Cretaceous Superchron, which extends from approximately 118 M years to 83 M years (Cande and Kent, 1995).
p. 244 Has a chart showing the Relative variations in the Earth's diople moment for the past 4 M year as determined from deep-sea sediment cores. There are 25 accepted magnetic reversals and drifting poles in this time period.
Another good book, "Reversals of the Earth's Magnetic Field", by J. A. Jacobs, sec. edition 1994, Cambridge University Press
From the present to .780 M. yrs.( identified as Brunhes/Matuyama) there are 10 contested observations of the variations of the magnetic poles. The times are: Githenburg flip 12,350, Mono 28,000, Lake Mungo 30,000, Laschamp 50,000, Blake 110,000, Lake Biwa I 176,000, Biwa II 292,000, Biwa III 380,000, Big Lost 575,000, and Delta 645,000.
My observation: In the last 65 M. years the evolution of the mammals had a lot of help/hinderance from the sun ( 46 times). I think that we had a lot of bad luck. The mutations, which, most of the times are bad, did happen to us. (The following are still within our DNA and could be reactivated.)
Loosing your tail instead of developing it into an other grasping hand, as do the monkeys, for swinging through the branches was a disadvantage. Then to make things worst, the feet get modified so that you cannot grasp branches with your feet. It is a wonder that our ancestors who fell out of the trees, managed to survive among all the predators on the ground.
As I understand it, the lack of a ozone protection layer does not mean the death of all the living orgasms nor does it mean that there would result viable genetic variations in every living thing. However, the odds are that something would have changed and survived. Here are three ways of obtaining a change to the DNA. First, and least likely, from an alpha or betta particle disturbing a sperm or an egg. Second, from the food chain which has been changed so that the chemicals are capable of affecting the DNA. (Remember the thylamide babies and the present concerns over genetically modified foods.) Third, and I think, the most probable, the DNA modification could have occured in a virus which would then do a DNA modification in the human.
We are presently in a phase of needing a DNA modification, a "punctuated equilibria" phase. Will we get lucky? The majority of existing humans on earth will become extinct because they cannot survive the attack from AIDS unless we can find a cure. The future generations will be composed of the decendants of those who are not affected by AIDS and who can produce children who have this same resistance to AIDS. With our knowledge of medecine, there is a chance that pockets of non-resistant humans will be able to survive for another 10 generation. There is one virus that can wipe out AIDS. A deadly epidemic of the FLUE. It would elliminate the people that do not have a healthy immune system and therfore prevent the spread of AIDS to all of our specie.
Madeline Drexler, in her book, "Secret Agents", by Peguin Books 2003, gives good background information of the role of virus etc. in the evolution of mankind.
Maybe, the primate time scale will fit with the possible influx of cosmic radiation...? All that is needed is one woman or man to have a viable DNA modification. For instance, Mitochondrial Eve who lived in Africa about 150,000 years ago (Lake Biwa I 176,000). And the Neandertals who died off 30,000 years ago. (Lake Mungo 30,000)
" many changes occurring around 2.5 million years ago"... coincide with 4 magnetic reversals. (1.950, 2.140, 2.150, 2.581)
The is a good article in Scientific America by Luann Becker. It combines the information of impacts, volcano eruptions and Mass Extinctions. It is available on the net at COMETS
Another good reference is "Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets" by Duncan Steel,John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1995.
p. 103 ... conclusion that the last wave arrived within the past 1 to 5 million years ago.
p.107 The idea of "punctuated equilibria" being the mode through which the evolution of life forms mainly takes place, rather than the gradual changes visualized by Charles Darwin ... Advances in our understanding of the influence of impacts are now showing that the equilibria may be "punctured" rather than punctuated, the puncturing agents being asteroids and coments that every so often invade our territory, wreaking havoc as they do so.
ADAPTATION would be something that happens to what is already existing. (i.e. not using the forelegs for walking)
1) Did you know that all mammals (well! almost all), have a baculum? It's still in our DNA.
I would like to know when humans (mutated) lost this important tool. It has to give an evolutionary advantage since it is so widely used by all other creatures.
2) Did you know that all mammals use estrus, and pheromones to signal to the males that it is time for copulating/REPRODUCING? (Going into heat.) It's still in our DNA.
Humans had this ability in the past. I would like to know when we lost (mutated) this ability. Almost all reproducing living creatures use this mechanism. It is the most successful mechanism invented for the reproduction of the species, and we don’t have it. For millions of years the life expectancy of primates was 18 years. That implies that the age of sexual maturity had to be lower than 13 years, as with us, because there would not be enough years available for child rearing. Fewer years to get to estrus would also mean fewer years of being able to think without having the interference of the pheromones. Since we are the only ones not "going into heat" and we are the only ones "capable of thinking" it seems obvious to me that there must be a relationship. Now, that is bad luck. Losing the universal mechanism for reproduction.
3) Did you know that humans are the smelliest creatures on earth?
We have two types of glands that produce smell; the sebaceous glands, and the apocrine glands. Those are the glands that make us sweat and gives us an oily skin.
Being so smelly gives us two strikes against survival. First, any predators that use his nose to find a human prey would have no trouble finding and hunting humans. Secondly, any prey that uses his nose to avoid predators would be far gone before we got within attacking distance.
4) Did you know that humans are the only mammals that have 40% physical stimulus and 60% mental stimulus for achieving ejaculation?
The ability to make and to interpret symbols must come from an exceptional cause, such as, THE SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIE. Procreation is the strongest pressure that I can think of that would make our brains evolve.
I would like to know if anyone has done any studies that would make the link with the fact that humans DONT go into heat and that we have evolved the ability to "think".
I am presuming that males lost their penis bone and their ability to detect a female going into heat and that the females lost their ability to go into heat, prior to the enhancement of their brain capabilities. The start of the runaway brain expansion of 200,000 years ago is probably when we lost our ability to go into heat.
I credit the female as being the one who made the first breakthrough that put humans on the path of "intelligence". The survival of the female was probably linked to her ability to have children from the alpha male. If she could not go into heat, she could not attract the alpha male or any males for that matter. This would have resulted in the end of that specie. Therefore, she would have been obliged to observe, and to determine that a male was stimulated by an other female, and, therefore, interpose herself and presented herself as receptive even though she wasn't in heat.( Ability to "think"). I assume that the male did eventually wake up and realized that the female was trying to "communicate" a symbol by her actions. Eventually, the offsprings would evolve this action as a substitute to going into heat. As a result, today, most of our sexual stimulus comes from our brain.
Another possibility is that we evolved sex as a social behavior before losing our ability to go into heat. Just like the bonobo are doing. For more information on the bonobo go to BONOBO AND SEX
Like the bonobo, who enjoy the stimulation of their sexual organs, our human forefathers (mothers) had to have developed such a mechanism prior to losing "going into heat" to assure the continuity of the specie. A good book, to get you prepared for the above statement, is "What's Love Got To Do With It?", by Meredith F. Small, Anchor Book, 1995.
5) Did you know that humans and chimpanzees have the same DNA (98%) and that the 2% difference is in the brain?
I would like to know what is the amount of shared DNA with chimpanzees and the Neanderthal.
6)Did you know that males have evolved to be taller than females?
In would appear to me that the evolutionairy advantage would be because the female learned to stand up first and straighter than the male. Since, copulation was from the rear, then only the males who had a six inch advantage would be sucessfull at ejaculating prior to withdrawl of the female.
7)Why did most mammals not retail a hymen?
I would assume that the retention of the hymen had a significant role to play in the evolution of humans. The pain that the male would cause, upon penetration would certainly be sufficient to stimulate an evolution of standing up on the rear legs.
8) Did you ever stop to think that humans have not evolved or adapted to occupy all of the environmental niches that we do?
We are not built to be hunters, (carnivours). We do not have the evolved tools such as teeth, claws, eyesight, smell, hearing, taste, and digestive tract of the carnivours. We do not have a fur coat to protect us from the cold, rain, snow, and heat.
Due to competition for food and due to the predators some mammals were forced to go and climb trees to survive. They adapted and became apes and monkeys. (Of course, the apes all lost their tails which monkey still have and the use of the tail as a fifth hand.) Due to genetic changes, losing the ability to hold on to branches with our feet probably drove us out of the trees. We are adapted, and poorly at that, as root eaters and grub eaters. We were the runt of the pack. We could not keep up with our pack. because we humans had lost the ability to hold on to a branche with out feet. There are footprints that are dated at 4.5 million years old. If these footprints are too old to be that of our ancestors, then the only conclusions that I can think of is that apes have been falling out of the trees more than once and that they were not able to survive the hard conditions of being on the ground, of having deformed rear legs, of competing for resources, of surviving the predators. So, then, yes, we would be the latest to have fallen out of the tree.
To this day a gorilla or a pack of baboons would make minced meat out of us. We were competing on the ground for food. The lucky ancestors of man must have fallen on the ground and quickly found their way to a safe and secluded area where there was no competition for food and where the predators could not reach them. This must have been a safe place to evolve and adapt for hundreds of years.
9) Did you realize that there is a massive die off with every evolutionary change?
The first predator that changes and adapts by becoming faster, stronger or better than his relatives gets to eat while his unadapted relatives starve. If his changes gets passed on to his offspring then that makes the problem worst for his relatives. Of course, the preys get eaten. In real life, the lion king feast and the rest die.
10) Why is sexual maturity different for human male and female? (two to three years delay for males.) What is the evolutionary advantage/disadvantage?
11) Why do mammals of different species reach maturity at different times? Who would you bet has the evolutionary advantage? Lions or primates?
Let us take an IDEAL example. A couple of predators has a litter of six every two years for 12 years. At the end there would be 1034 predators of various age. A primate couple has a child every two years for 12 years. At the end there would be 6 imature primates of various ages. Yet, with all those odds against us, we are here! We must have landed in a protected zone.
12) Did you know that we had a tail? When did we lose our tail?
Tails are on most mammals. They have been specialized into all kinds of special purposes by the kangaroo, monkeys, porcupines,and beavers. Tails are very usefull to keep away biting flies from the anus. Tails are usefull for keeping the nose and the anus warm. Not having a tail is an evolutionary disadvantage. For humans, not having a tail was probably the reason that loincloths were invented. From that we now find ourselves having clothes and a fashion industry.
13) When did we lose our fur coat?
A fur coat is necessary to be able to keep warm and to keep cool. It is definitely an advantage.
14) What is the use of having 98% scrap/useless DNA ?
I can think of one advantage to having the 2% of usefull DNA. In the center is the usefull DNA and surrounding it is the 98% useless DNA. Surrounding this egg are all the non reproductive DNA in all the cells of the body. A high energy particle, which could damage the DNA, would have very little chance to reach the usefull DNA. Would 2% chance sound right as a maximum probability? Just like a meteorite has only 25% chance of landing on solid ground because 75% of the earth is ocean.
I am sure that if 98% of the DNA was missing, that the human shape and size would not have the same appearance. We might even have the consistancy and translucency of a jelly fish.
15) Did you know that all living things are born with the knowledge of their parent(s) encoded in their DNA? The seeds - They know what to do to survive and reproduce.
The virus, bacterias, fungus - They can clone and wait until conditions are right to reproduce.
The birds and the bees etc. - Are born with the knowledge of how to get food and build nests.
Being born with the knowledge of your parents is a definite advantage to survival.
Ask yourself, "Did we have it? How and when did we lose this ability of transfering our "knowledge" to our children?
MY OTHER PAGE (my favourite) THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE
You are the visitor to this page .
Last updated 23 July 2008