Top of the heap.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-06-2013, 07:36 PM (This post was last modified: 12-06-2013 07:39 PM by Dom.)
RE: Top of the heap.
Their brains evolved differently because their purposes were different - for example a Gazelle that likes to sit around and contemplate things is a dead Gazelle.

And we really don't know about their level of consciousness, perhaps there are areas they are super conscious of/in, and we don't even know anything at all about them.

We are not all THAT smart, we do not know the thought processes animals have except when it comes to basic instincts. Just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it's not there.

I like Full Circle's comment:

Quote:I can imagine a pod of dolphins talking amogst themselves and pondering why it is that only they developed such amazing echolocation, speed, beauty and intelligence.

Or a pod of whales thinking that they must be the most special in all the seas because of their great size, echolocation, endurance and intelligence

Evolution develops the traits that are important to that particular species at that particular time.

If you had to live in the body of a Gazelle but with your own brain, I doubt you would live for very long.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 07:40 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 07:19 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(12-06-2013 07:13 PM)Chas Wrote:  The real difference in humans seems to be mind module(s) that provide a level of consciousness, foresight, and language. Our minds can hold and manipulate ideas and communicate them.

Memetics. Our minds are meme farms.

Other animals seem to have bits and pieces of these, but not to the degree or in the combination that we do. That, I think, is what makes us unique.

Exactly. So why only us? More to the original point, how? What was the unique difference in our evolutionary process that other species missed out on?

That is being intensely studied. One fruitful area seems to be the gene FOXP2. There are others, but I am not up to date on this. Maybe Bucky or Beard has more.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
12-06-2013, 07:46 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 07:19 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Exactly. So why only us? More to the original point, how? What was the unique difference in our evolutionary process that other species missed out on?

Who says they missed out on anything?

Maybe an eagle leads a much better, happier life than a human.

The animals we subjugated and are breeding for food or entertainment are the ones that missed out, they would have gone extinct if we had just eaten them without breeding them.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 08:08 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 07:46 PM)Dom Wrote:  Who says they missed out on anything?

Maybe an eagle leads a much better, happier life than a human.

I totally agree. Not quite what I meant by "missed out". I think you're looking at it more from the philosophical angle. Like chas said, our ability to understand and manipulate our environment is unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 08:26 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 08:08 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(12-06-2013 07:46 PM)Dom Wrote:  Who says they missed out on anything?

Maybe an eagle leads a much better, happier life than a human.

I totally agree. Not quite what I meant by "missed out". I think you're looking at it more from the philosophical angle. Like chas said, our ability to understand and manipulate our environment is unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

Philosophical, maybe, but just common sense too.

It is best for all life that there be a diversity of creatures, so if one goes extinct, another life form will survive. Most life forms depend on other life forms in some way.

So there is a need for all types of creatures. Our brain is not a good thing for most species. We may enjoy sitting here and discussing the purpose of the universe, they have other things to worry about.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Dom's post
12-06-2013, 08:28 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
Also Dom, I'm not meaning to come across as saying that we as humans are any better, or more special than other species. Just wondering about possible causes for the observable differences.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 08:34 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Also Dom, I'm not meaning to come across as saying that we as humans are any better, or more special than other species. Just wondering about possible causes for the observable differences.

And I gave you what I see as an answer.

All life forms are interdependent, we didn't evolve as a single unit, all other life forms evolved also. If every life form had evolved into a human, what would we eat? Each other?

What is magnificent is the diversity of life on this planet and how it all works together, and yes, how each has the type of brain best suited for it's niche.

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 08:40 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 08:34 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(12-06-2013 08:28 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Also Dom, I'm not meaning to come across as saying that we as humans are any better, or more special than other species. Just wondering about possible causes for the observable differences.

And I gave you what I see as an answer.

All life forms are interdependent, we didn't evolve as a single unit, all other life forms evolved also. If every life form had evolved into a human, what would we eat? Each other?

What is magnificent is the diversity of life on this planet and how it all works together, and yes, how each has the type of brain best suited for it's niche.

And I do appreciate the input! Smile I agree with everything you've said.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes evenheathen's post
12-06-2013, 09:09 PM
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 07:40 PM)Chas Wrote:  That is being intensely studied. One fruitful area seems to be the gene FOXP2. There are others, but I am not up to date on this. Maybe Bucky or Beard has more.

So if I'm understanding correctly (from what little of that scientific gobbledygook I can decipher) it may be pretty simple. Essentially a small mutation(?) of a couple of amino acids changes the neuroplasticity of our brains. No environmental or otherwise conditions are particularly needed.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-06-2013, 10:08 PM (This post was last modified: 12-06-2013 10:38 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Top of the heap.
(12-06-2013 06:25 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  So here's a question that I've had since, well, since I can remember. When I was a believer the faulty answer was actually one of the stronger arguments for god's existence in my mind. Now that the god answer is no longer satisfactory, I've been thinking about it again. Maybe some of you smartypants college edumecated types can help me.

How is it that humans' brains evolved so much more rapidly than other animals? What exactly were the evolutionary mechanisms that allowed for such a rapid leap in brain size and function from our earlier ancestors? It seems to be a Cambrian explosion of sorts, but just for our line of species.

I am under no delusion that we are the only highly intelligent animals on the earth. However I dare say there is a substantial gap between our intelligence and even that of our closest relatives.

I know that philosophers have probably been hammering away at this for ages, but I'm more interested in the hard science. The how, not the why. Are there any solid theories as to what circumstances moved this along?

Primates have the largest brain-to-body ratio (Encephalization Quotient) of any animal. This chart shows the EQ for several different species. The further away one is from the line the greater deviation in expected brain size. Note that male gorillas have a lower EQ simply because they are so darn big. Humans lead the pack.

[Image: brainsizechart.png]

There are several theories as to why primate brains are so big, all of which are connected in some way.

1. Social relationships - It takes a monumental amount of brain power to keep track of an ever-expanding pool of acquaintances--i.e. who is higher ranking then me, who is lower ranking than me, who is my friend, who is my enemy, who owes me favors, who I owe favors to, etc. For example, if you know 6 people, you have to keep track of 15 different interactions...

[Image: socialrelationships.png]

The number of interactions obviously goes up from there. Just ask yourself one question: How many people do I regularly talk to in my daily life and on the internet?

2) Food – Since apes are frugivores (primarily fruit eaters), it takes a lot of brain power to distinguish fruit from a sea of leaves. It also takes a lot to remember annual feeding sites and the various routs taken to get there.

3) Behavioral flexibility – Apes are far too intelligent to be mindless automatons that repeat the same actions day in and day out. Sticking to one set schedule is a good way to get eaten. So being behaviorally flexible and adapting to new situations gives one a survival advantage.

[Image: hominidbraincavitysize.jpg]

All of these are easily applicable to humans. If you view the fossil record, you will see that the earliest individuals on the lineage leading to humans all had chimp-sized brains. Our brains only started to grow beyond this in the last 2 million years or so. One theory is related to number 3 from above. Africa’s climate began to rapidly change starting after 3 million years ago. It shifted back and forth between lush forest and dry savannah. Being able to adapt in this unstable environment was key to survival. Another theory is that the development of fire made meat far easier to digest, thus introducing more protein into our bodies. This not only made us grow taller, but gave us bigger brains. I’m not too knowledgeable on the number of genetic changes that took place. FOXP2 and a few more recent mutations are the only ones I know of (I see the former has already been mentioned). But all of these took place after our brain grew to its current capacity.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like ghostexorcist's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: