What can we learn from animals

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In terms of science, humans themselves are considered animals too. An animal with efficient language, high intelligence by comparison, complex social networking and specialized tasks for each individual within the network. Because of the complexity of human social networks, it is really hard to develop a model that explains human behavior. In psychology, we've learned that we can use animals to conduct experiments to get simpler model of human behavior. Furthermore, we should use animal behaviors to reflect our own behaviors, and question ourselves: are we logical?

When we look at the evolution process in nature. We can see that though natural selection, some species become stronger by fight over the right to mate, and some become more colorful by picking the most colorful male/female to mate.bird.jpg I think many people will agree, that the selection where the stronger traits get selected is more useful than the selection towards colorful in terms of which trait will be more likely to survive in nature. colored_pencil_lion.jpg
If there were a traits of lions that pick the most colorful mate instead of the strong ones, it would not win the competition to the traits that picks strong ones.


Now when we look at our own evolution, how do we pick our own mates? Should we pick the smart ones? Or the rich ones? Is richness determined by genes at all? What about our muscle size? Are those mainly the result of working out or genetic factors played a major role in that? Are picking the ones that have pretty face to be our mate really benefit our species? Should Love be the main factor of picking our mate instead of genetics? Because of our complexity, the evolution in human is quite messy in comparison to other species. The future of humanity, still an uncertain.

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What if color is a representation of good genes? Only the best genes can produce dramatic colors. Is fighting always a good thing? Might more diversity in genes survive if there was less physical competition? When might brawn not be important?

I agree with Prof. Manor. Bright colors etc. are usually indications of genetic traits that favor them in reproduction, that's why these modifications exist. It is actually fascinating to analyze physical attraction in humans as well. Often a person's appearance can give genetic clues about the reproductive abilities of someone. For example, the hourglass shape idealized for females has wide hips and large breasts that are useful in childbearing.

Good or bad, I think those terms are opinionated, thus makes them political. In my opinion, words like "good" or "bad" should be avoided when addressing the nature of an event. We should describe and analyze evidences (in this case, some birds evolved to be colorful) as what they are; what effects do they have, and etc.

A colorful phenotype would help birds to camouflage themselves, and hide from predators if the birds' habitat is also colorful, but this is certainly not the case, most of the colorful bird species were found in Rain Forests, which are green. The phenotype perhaps could make some of the predators think that those birds are poisonous, but I doubt that's the reason, because the birds select the more colorful (or having better voice/better at dancing/having the longest feather) traits to mate. I would say this type of selection decreases the survivability of the specie. Yes, like Prof. Manor said, I think the cause is the lack of intense physical competition. The environment of the rain forests provided a safe habitat for birds to practice this type of selection. The thick trees provided excellent cover for birds to be hunted by other birds like eagles, and the tallness of the trees prevents mammals from preying the birds. As for the claim reppx011 brought up: "Bright colors etc. are usually indications of genetic traits that favor them in reproduction" I don't see a correlation between bright color and strong reproductive system from your claim, and I don't think there is a causation either.

Now back to humans, we do not live in a physically competitive environment, and that allows us to have our unique selection process, where money, power, religion, and social status are considered. Do all those have anything to do with our genetics? Are we practicing the selection of the "survival of the fittest" when money, luck, love(emotion), religion, culture, and all of these non-genetic determined factors are part of our selection? Aside from brawn, intelligence is also a key to survival, humans became the dominant specie relayed mostly on it. How do we measure intelligence?

Well this is a lot of comment, I've been typing for probably an hour, I would probably do a paper and try to get it published in the future, well hopefully :)

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This page contains a single entry by zhao0338 published on February 19, 2012 10:48 AM.

Have Scientists Developed the Key to Consciousness? was the previous entry in this blog.

I'm not blind, I can see with my ears! is the next entry in this blog.

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