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View Diary: "Y-Chromosomal Adam" possibly farther back in time than thought (237 comments)

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  •  species are dead ends, not individuals (9+ / 0-)

    If you dont have children, either by choice or fate, this does not make you an evolutionary dead end. If you have nieces or nephews, they are carrying some of your genetic material due to the similarities between you and your siblings. "Inclusive fitness" is the term to describe how "aunts and uncles" participate in the successful rearing of offspring of their siblings thus insuring the DNA continues. In fact our species has a fairly large amount of genetic uniformity, so as your cousins reproduce they are also reproducing some of your genetic material. AN individual is not a dead end in evolution largely because evolution does not "care" about individuals.

    Paranthropus (Australopithecus) robustus was an evolutionary dead end. The species was very successful for hundreds of thousands of years but was displaced by the Homo species group and went extinct leaving no modern descendants. It was a bi-pedal species that specialized in eating seeds and nuts and the Homo group is just more versatile. They are gone. Nothing of them remains besides some bones. It was an evolutionary dead end.

    Evolution is not "life affirming". Its not something to bring "comfort and joy". "To" evolution, the purpose of life is to spread the DNA to the next generation. It doesnt care if you live or die. I know this sounds very cold...but the point is that evolution is not spiritual and that notions of "evolutionary dead ends" should never be considered on a personal level.

    BTW...apologies for anthropomorphizing "evolution'

    I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

    by Evolution on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:39:08 AM PDT

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    •  I won't apologize for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, Just Bob

      anthropomorphizing 'life', or for believing that it is the experience of life that is the purpose for living. Evolution is merely a process - like the climate or continental drift - that occurs across deep time as an effect of systems but not a cause of any of them. In any given time-slice past or future we wouldn't even be a factor for consideration. Neither the planet nor the universe give a shit, and we wouldn't be around to argue about it.

      The terminology in this is too solipsistic for my tastes, and imputes far more 'importance' to ourselves than our random existence truly deserves. That's all.

      This diary is about evolution - anthropomorphized evolution at that - so I recognize my plaint is just a tangent. It is my position that no homo sapien sapien who ever lived and died on this planet is or can ever be an 'evolutionary dead end'. Hell, no member of any species that EVER existed can really be an 'evolutionary dead end'. All life forms in any time frame exist, experience life on this planet, then die when their time here is over. Pieces-parts recycled, that whole conservation thing. Over deep time species will come and go as well. Process, nothing more.

      What happens to exist here and now is of no importance to the overall scheme of things, and holds no meaning to anyone or anything apart from us. Using the term 'evolutionary dead end' suggests that here and now does have particular meaning and importance beyond any other short-term slice of here and now. Even worse, it suggests there's some kind of purpose/ direction/ end product of the process. There is not. It's just process, nothing more.

    •  Who says evolution is not life affirming? (0+ / 0-)

      Who says it's not something to bring comfort and joy? How do you know life doesn't care if we live or die? And from what possible basis can you assert that evolution is not spiritual?

      Also, if one individual or a small family is the genetic reservoir for a unique trait and does not outbreed, that trait runs smack up against an evolutionary dead end, at least from a DNA standpoint. Whatever functionality the trait conferred could certainly manifest again in a population via convergent evolution.

      YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

      by raincrow on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 02:19:25 AM PDT

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