I dont think we really have a place anymore... We'd probably be extinct if we didnt have any brain power because we arent really adaped to live anywhere except for our inteligence, which allows us to be flexible.
Well the not so unique thing about humans is that we are able to define our own niche. When compared to the rest of the animal kingdom we are by far the most adaptable of all higher animals. We do not merely fit comfortably into any one particular set of conditions as we are able to manipulate the environment around us to better suit us. This is likely a result of the evolution, perhaps environmental changes at the time caused natural selection of a bigger brain so that we could deal with a changing world. This is perhaps a testable hypothesis, one would need to be able to observe a correlation between cranial size increase and evidence of area manipulation in the archeological record. As far as I know there is evidence to support this so it may be the case.
Post by electroshock on Aug 25, 2008 17:59:29 GMT -7
pem, i think you mean a more complex brain, and not a bigger brain. Whales have gigantic brains, but i don't see any whale cities. and if you mean proportionately, with Mice, although being the 2nd most successful mammalian genus on earth, most of their body is comprised of brain.
I don't think we are the most adaptable species. We force the environment to adapt to us. and example: we go up to the middle of a forest that has been virtually untouched by human civilization. So what do we do? We build a completely unneeded forest retreat there. In doing so, we cut down trees to make space. Forcing the cute woodland creatures to adapt to less living space. Back to human-vision, we need to build a road through the woods to get to the retreat. so we cut down more trees and pave a road. this causes the fuzzy, if not cute, woodland animals to retreat further, introduce air pollution (which the trees now have to cope with) and cause the ground to be less able to absorb rain water/ acid rain. and from that, the human influence pushes farther and farther out causing the creatures to retreat further and more trees cut down and turning the once serene forest into a bustling, polluted and environmentally unfriendly city. So nature has to adapt to us.
getting further back, we didn't need to build huts/houses. we could've stayed in our perfectly protective trees/caves.
Thank you electroshock that is what I meant about the more complex brain, although don't kick those whales they may not build cities but they certainly are very intelligent creatures. After reading your description you know what I am reminded of? The social insects (ants, termites, bees, etc...). These creatures work together to build massive colonies, go to war with each other, and can greatly impart the environment surrounding them. Although we may not have a queen, we are prone to select a leadership of some kind of which we then follow, although perhaps, not as intently or as obediently. Perhaps our niche is similar to the humble ant? I know from experience people do not enjoy being compared to animals but it seems very fitting with the system of living we have become accustomed to.
Oh and in all honesty I don't think we can ever return to trees/caves we have evolved to far, and evolution never works backwards. We don't have the bodies for tree and the cave is just a found hut/house and not a built one.
I agree with Pem there, I dont think we'll be able to return to living in the trees or the caves. I mean, half the population would probably puke at seeing a dead animal, let alone having to kill an animal and rip it to pieces to eat it. Second, ever thought that Whales only lack the means than the capacity?
Post by electroshock on Aug 26, 2008 22:00:33 GMT -7
i'm not saying we should return to the trees, I'm just saying we should have never left them those thousand upon millions of years ago.
but that idea that we are the larger version of ants/bees is intriguing. but that's not what i'm getting at. in the niche, a species takes AND GIVES BACK to the environment. we take trees and we eat animals and we use up the environment's resources. but i don't exactly se us giving back as much, if not more than we take.
beavers, as an expample, gnaw down trees to build there homes. in doing so, though, they create no pollution, and introduce many seeds to the soil and then use their homes until they deteriorate and the nutrients return the soil. humans on the other hand, cut down trees using gas-guzzling, pollution-creating behemoths to cut down trees, chop up trees in chemical-wasting plants, then are used to make homes until the homes are no longer liked and are torn down. see the difference?
It's not a crime to strive for better, is it? And like I said, I don't think we originally knew we were destroying nature. How long did we burn fossil fuels before we found out that it was bad for the environment?
The ability and the drive to strive for better came before the advancements in other areas. This included stuff like medicines and everything else that has improved greatly over the last couple of hundred years, but also a couple of other things maybe? Such as realising that we're destroying the world we have to live in XD
Post by electroshock on Mar 5, 2009 15:11:07 GMT -7
Unfortunately, most of the world tends to forget the fact that we're, as you said, destroying the world we have to live in. All they care about is being pandered to and entertained, they don't care that their Hummer is "killing" the ozone, or that their home was built over an ecosystem once teeming with life, or the simple fact that knowledge is important.