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Anthony Morris

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Everything posted by Anthony Morris

  1. With most animals that make island-fall there is the benefit of multiple offspring per birth. This enlarges the gene-pool very quickly, thereby reducing the loss of genetic diversity in the new population. A human pair would have a harder time building a healthy population. Humans just do not breed rapidly enough to that. In-breeding would mount the defects up pretty quickly if there are any.
  2. I think it's possible the humpbacked whale in question just doesn't like orcas and is willing to thwart them whenever it can. I imagine a whale might have free time on it's flippers to spend doing fun or obnoxious things (point of view here) to while away its day. I have never bought the idea of animals as not being thinking and feeling creatures.
  3. Intelligence is not just a genetic condition but environmental as well. Individuals with little opportunity for education will likely have fewer resources to change their birth rate. Women in many cultures have little or no self-determination with regards to their own bodies and are often neglected educationally. This does not make them stupid or unintelligent merely ignorant. Education is often the biggest factor in determining birth-rates. Other factors include religious upbringing, politically leanings, economic position, physical and mental health conditions. The best way to control population growth is to educate the population including women especially.
  4. Cats and dogs both benefit from some forms of vegetable matter in their diets. Fiber being one item of importance for both. While they can get some of this from fur or feathers they will often supplement with grass. Raw food CAN be a source of parasites but healthy cats and dogs have strong stomachs evolved to handle the bulk of parasites. Reasonable caution and attention to your pet's health will usually be sufficient. My cats and dogs have always eaten a fair amount of leafy plants. These seem to be the only part they really want so including roots and fruits and grains is probably unnecessary. That said, domestic cats and dogs are actually quite capable of deriving more nourishment from carbohydrates than their wild kin can. Over multiple generations of living off of our ancestors table scraps has given them some adaptations to OUR diet.
  5. No one is certain why some species have hard parts per se, but there are good reasons for things like shells, bones and exoskeletons. It is believed that early multi-cellular life needed calcium for certain functions and began acquiring it from the sea water around it. Those species that could store some of this calcium survived better in general and became more dominant than others. Later as predators arose and spread, those species that were able to develop shells or carapaces had an evolutionary edge and since calcium sequestration was already commonplace in some lineages these species used the calcium they already had to form their armor. Some species used their calcium to produce internal skeletons that gave their musculature leverage thereby enabling them to swim away from predators and to also pursue prey. As vertebrates explored shallower waters for food and safety, some didn't need to swim quite as much and some species began to develop methods of holding on to their surroundings. Hands, feet, fingers and toes developed. Some of these species then began to make use of the shoreline and then later the shore itself. This required support against the much tougher environment out of the water. Since these animals already had bones, they adapted these for the new environment. Insects evolved their exoskeletons in a similar way ultimately reducing the calcium content in favor of chitin which is lighter and cheaper to make on land. "Squishy" life often manages to survive. Calcium sequestration or storage is not an essential aspect of life but species that do have it have some advantages in a great many habitats.
  6. Not accurate. Life arose from the conditions in which it was formed and as such was adapting to said environment. Nothing miraculous.
  7. Most evolutionary adaptations develop over generations by SMALL degrees. It is rare for a macro-mutation (like the sudden development of fur or feathers or great pressure tolerance) to develop all at once. A population of fish living at the surface will likely have the general adaptability to survive a range of pressures with some individuals having a greater range of tolerance than other individuals. Individuals with a greater range of tolerance might sometimes be outcompeted for resources closer to the surface and so may forage for food and mates lower down the water column but they are not actively seeking out the greater pressure per se. Sometimes greater food resources may exist in the deeper portions of their environment and individuals that can tolerate the greater pressure may fare better than their surface dwelling neighbors. Under such a change in regime, one would expect the population to change genetically over generations with the depth appreciating members having more offspring than the pressure sensitive members. This will change the depth to which the population will forage for resources. However conditions may once again change in the favor of the surface dwelling members of the population and they will begin having more offspring. Much of evolution involves these little back and forth changes in gene frequency due to shifting transient environmental changes. Most evolutionary changes are subtle. The larger a population, the less likely any of the minor mutations will have any significant effect on the evolution of the species into a different form. A small group of individuals that are separated from their main population could establish a new form or behavior more easily due to the reduced competition from other genes. Macro-mutations are often lethal or otherwise prevent an individual from reproducing.
  8. Considering that snow is not usually a constant in most environments it is not surprising that a species might not evolve the ability to use tracks in snow as a method of tracking prey. Mammals tend to rely on smell as that is more regularly usable in most environments and they already have the equipment for it. Mammalian vision is generally "poor" compared with humans (also mammals). Humans have a finer resolution than most mammals and can see in a wider range of colors than most other mammals. Naturally, we have evolved this ability to track visually as we reduced our sense of smell. I pointed out a heron to one of my dogs once and the more I pointed and whispered to her the more frantic her efforts to smell the GROUND became. Mammals are not wired for a visual form of hunt. Birds have better vision than humans do in general as they can also see into the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. From what I understand birds of prey use this vision to track the passage of prey animals but not particularly their footprints. Urine trails and trampled vegetation are more usual readings. At least some reptiles and mammals can also see into the infrared portion of the spectrum. Tracking via heat trails would be rather efficient and would allow a sense of timing of the passage of the potential prey item.
  9. Humans are probably the main reason most large animals died out in South America. Climate change probably helped but humans not only hunted these animals but altered the habitat and possibly introduced diseases that these animals could not counter. The extinction was not likely to have just one cause.
  10. Be sure to buckle up before they climb up the wall
  11. By your logic then, we are also reptiles as mammals descended from reptiles, ergo we are already using "reptiles" as pack animals via camels, donkeys and cattle.
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair "In Asia, red hair has been found among the ancient Tocharians, who occupied the Tarim Basin in what is now the northwesternmost province of China. Caucasian Tarim mummies have been found with red hair dating to the 2nd millennium BC.[5] Red hair is also found amongst Polynesians, and is especially common in some tribes and family groups. In Polynesian culture red hair has traditionally been seen as a sign of descent from high-ranking ancestors and a mark of rulership."​ I know one should be careful when citing Wikipedia but perhaps the links above will be of some help.
  13. I've read about this a little bit. Seems the iron has to be deposited in swift-moving current or the algal-bloom removes all of the oxygen from the area. As long as the current moves swiftly, the iron and the algae it fosters spread out over a wider area. I think the original intent was to sequester carbon in the algae as it sank to the ocean floor but there had been at least one report that a recent salmon harvest was enormous compared to previous hauls. I don't recall hearing or reading that the carbon sequestration was all that significant though. I think the improvement to fish population growth would be more than sufficient if the end result could be guaranteed to belong to the iron-depositors. Governments might opt to do this for the sake of their fishing rights perhaps. The potential for abuse of the tactic by the under-informed however could result in dead-zones in the oceans. Environmentalists would probably be difficult to pacify over that especially with the increase of fish manure in the waters potentially outgassing nitrous oxide. I have not seen any evidence of this however in the literature but I haven't really seen much about it either. The whole idea of "hacking-the-planet" is anathema to many in the environmental arena. This idea is however potentially useful for preserving various species of fish and marine mammals and birds. I think the NO outgassing would be relatively minor compared with the benefits as only the most active portions of the oceans would be used for this.
  14. I think it would be faster to start with a planet that has microbial life already and simply colonize it with more developed life forms from Earth and possibly Europa or Mars if they have any. The process of making a world livable from scratch is just too long. I would not object to injecting life onto any empty world but I just wouldn't wait for it to get around to my level of comfort. Artificial habitats would be quicker and more certain. Not all worlds with life on them would be good bets for colonization either. All life on Earth has a left-handed chirality which would make us incompatible ecologically with life forms that had a right-handed chirality. Many left-handed molecules will not interact normally with right-handed molecules and vice versa. If we ate a melon that was based on right-handed chemistry, we would gain almost no nutrition from it beyond the water and a few of the symmetrical molecules it might possess.
  15. If there had been maggot flies that found both apples and hawthorns suitable then the species would not likely have sorted out into two separate species without some reason to select for separate breeding. I'm not up on the species and not sure which came first but let's say the apple maggot fly population existed first. Mutations that encoded for hawthorn preference would have to be recessive or in some other way not acted upon or the first individual to be born this way would have found no mates on the hawthorns with which to breed. Recessive genes can continue within a population quite well. When individuals are born with twice the recessive genes for hawthorn predation they will go look for hawthorns on which to feed and breed. Over generations the individuals with two copies of the hawthorn predation gene will occur frequently in batches if for no other reason than they were all born to the same parents each of whom must have carried the hawthorn predation gene. Considering how many offspring one pair of insects can produce in a season, there could be quite a large number of such offspring. Inevitably some of these individuals will encounter each other and having no better options will mate with each other. All of their offspring would then have the two copies of the hawthorn predation gene. Other genes they carry would stand a good chance of also being present in two copies each. In one generation the population would have a high level of homozygosity on many characteristics. Subsequent generations would produce more heterozygosity as more individuals are born from the original apple population. After a while the hawthorn population will develop new traits that are more useful on hawthorns than they might be on apples. As new individuals from the original apple population continue to bring in apple-effective genes, the hawthorn population will need to develop breeding selection methods to thwart this or their offspring will not improve their reproductive success. If the population succeeds in finding a mating preference that prevents these invaders in their gene pool from reproducing successfully, the population will then evolve away from the apple type and restrict the options for any new apple-born hawthorn eaters putting a pressure on those new incomers which either starve from completion and lack of reproductive partners. If the hawthorn maggot flies do not produce a means of reproductive isolation then they will continue to be apple maggot flies feeding on hawthorns and not biologically or even genetically diverse from their parent population and probably not as reproductively successful either. Selection pressure does push for biological diversity in close quarters when it does happen. But most evolution is caused by new locations. Hawthorn trees are not the same "place" as apple trees for animals as small as flies. There is also a limit to the numbers of apple flies that can survive on one apple tree. Apple trees produce toxins to reduce infestations. There are also predators of apple flies (one presumes) and so there are stresses on the apple flies that encourage the reproduction of some specimens as it discourage it in others. The hawthorns would have presented new stresses for the hawthorn eating flies. Sure there might have been plenty to eat but it might not have been as good for them as apple trees would have been. If the population can prevent or reduce the influx of new DNA from the apple population they would have a chance to adapt to the new environment by the accumulation of mew mutations some of which might be more useful on hawthorns. With possibly fewer predators and less competition early on, they would be able to accumulate quite a bit of genetic diversity much of which would likely be hidden or very slight in function. Flies breed fast and produce lots of offspring making this an almost certainty. Stressors like the environment itself (despite all that food) and competition from all of those other hawthorn eating flies will produce the changes that we call biological diversity. Biological diversity is not the same thing as genetic diversity. Biological diversity is produced from the genes and the environment jointly. Genetic diversity is not dependent on the environment particularly for the most part. I think puppyppower might be referring to assortative mating strategies. Assortative mating Assortative mating is a mating pattern and a form of sexual selection in which individuals with similar genotypes and/or phenotypes mate with one another more frequently than would be expected under a random mating pattern. Examples of similar phenotypes include, but are not limited to, body size, skin coloration/ pigmentation, and age. Assortative mating - Wikipedia, the free ... ​Some species do select individuals that look more like themselves. This is more common in birds and may be due to imprinting on their parents and other flock members. Not all sexual selection would work this way though as bird's of paradise have wildly differing appearances and yet females do not know what their fathers or other males looked like particularly. They still usually pick the right males by appearance which is likely genetically hardwired. (Hybrids are common between the various species and even genera. Males know what females look like but the females of most of these species look a lot alike. That and males tend to be less fussy anyway. Some females may possess recessive genes or new mutations coding for a new or old preference.) Mammals usually use their sense of smell, preferring to mate with individuals with a similar smell to what they grew up with.
  16. I've given some thought to this subject ever since I became a nonbeliever. I suspect the most primitive religions are the placeto start. Mostparts of the world had ancestor worship long before they had religion as most people think of it today. Ancestor worship does not entail gods or God. What our ancient ancestors most likely percieved when they were feeling watched or that a predator might be near (HADD) was the presence of a spirit and probably that of a deceased relative or community member. This could even have occurred before language evolved as language is not necessary for abstract thought. As language evolved, this tendency would be reinforced by talking about these feelings and other events such as dreams. It's easy to see this sort of thing today. My family relates stories about our ancestors, some of which a bit fabulous and probably not accurate but that is the nature of story-telling. An example might be reminding a child that his deceased mother would want him to eat his vegetables. We have a tendency to extrapolate from our experiences. The notion of spirit might have taken some time to evolve but once it did it would have stuck for the simplicity of it. The notion would have evolved through speech. Speech transports notions (memes) and discourse winnows the more "fit" memes from the less fit ones. A genetic selection may have occurred as well thereby reinforcing the social bond that was evolving at the time. Those individuals that were able to accept the memes being delivered by the more powerful majority (parents, siblings, neighbors and leaders) were best able to adapt to the social environment in which they found themselves. Differing populations subsequently evolved their own religious memes as their environments changed and some schisms may have led to some populations leaving their neighbors for safety's sake. These differing populations would continue to evolve their religious beliefs and spawn new populations in turn that would slowly change their beliefs as well. At some point ancestors would become heroes and later some of them would become gods. As populations intermingled some of them would share their stories of ancestors, heroes and gods. Some would conflate their stories with each other. Some would go to war against each other. Stories would evolve and rituals as well. All of the cultural paraphernalia would evolve in its own way under individualistic conditions. Ancestor spirits are generally believed to be capable of altering conditions for descendants if they are propitiated properly. It is easy to see some ancestors becoming associated with wind, rain, courage, battle, light, dark and the beasts and plants. These attributes would become the basis for some of the titles of gods. Polytheism would be simple gradation from ancestor worship. Single-god religions would be the winnowing of conflicting, opposing or inconvenient gods from the roster. Judaism is known to be derived from the local polytheistic religions of the Middle-East. Some gods disappear from loss of worshippers because the god or the religious observances were no longer appreciated or because the followers died. Some group of worshippers likely decided to get rid of some of the gods and their temples to consolidate power. After a while, there was only one left. Of course, This one religion began to spawn more sects and still does. Christianity especially develops sects with abandon despite the struggles of each sect to prevent this. Most of the processes involved in the evolution of religion are still going on today. The idea of someone inventing religion is a stretch from a more gradual and hence less obtrusive artificial creation of religion. Granted people do invent religions today but the concept and "need" for religion has been here for a long time already so creating a new one is not a stretch although getting converts can still be difficult as most people will not change their beliefs no matter how "reasonable" or "rational" the new religion may be or seem. Most people grow up in their religion and do not make reasoned decisions about their religious membership. There are some however who do change their religious views. Some out of guilt or fear or depression, individuals who may be susceptible to coercion in some form or other. Some, like me, simply are more resistant to religious needs. I have very little need for religion and am more interested in science and evidence. I simply was not indoctrinated enough. Religion was not a major topic of discussion in my family and I was encouraged to read a lot. Many atheists I have talked with have said similar things about their own upbringings albeit not all. Religion in my opinion evolved as a result of genetics being laid over with memes. I sometimes feel as if I'm being watched. I can usually shrug it off after a bit. It would be nice to let myself think my grandmother and grandfather were watching me. I think that is the root of religion's hold over us. Being "sure" that your loved ones are still there watching out for you is a powerful way of keeping you focused on the lessons they taught you. That can keep you alive longer than being down because they are gone. If you don't think your deceased mother is worrying about you, will you eat your peas? The difference in survival is slight but that is how evolution works. Small benefits are more likely to yield positive results and hence better survival and more surviving progeny.
  17. I always loved the bussard ram-jet idea but understand that there would be a pile up of ions in front of the ship. What if those ions were directed around the ship's sides and pushed behind it using electromagnet arrays all along the ship? Like some species of bacteria that use little flagella to push against the water they are in. no need to carry propellant. nuclear or fusion power plants to provide power.
  18. Over a short period of time a deleterious trait can actually spread even though it harms the individuals. In many places now, predators have been reduced in numbers. This may enable an albino to survive longer and to reproduce. Over time, if predators return then the population will be selected depending on what is left. If all of them have albinism (for instance) they will need to adapt or they will die out. I've read about this. The first time I read an article about changing the laws regarding specimen size, I thought "well, of course." Unfortunately some don't believe in this thing called evolution. And some don't care.
  19. Correct. Which is why we don't develop cancerous tumors at the drop of a hat. Radiation is still considered a significant mutagen all the same. There are other causes including chemicals and heavy metals and even temperature changes can cause transcription errors from some of my reading. Apparently freezing can cause transcription errors as well. Lots of ways to cause mutations. The original post was asking about radiation specifically which is why I answered the way I did.
  20. More and more people have cameras on their person at all times now. The more people you put out there with photo capabilities the more shots of unusual things you will get. Then there is the photo-shop capability. Can not rule that out.
  21. Escape is an answer for them. Or are you one of those who wants to let nature collapse so you can say "told you so?" Yes huans are collapsing the ecosystems as we know them. That does not mean we should let them collapse. I for one am working to preserve them.. I m not one of the evil ones.
  22. Not quite true. We can decide which species to save and we can save quite a large number of them. Cockroaches and rats are probably not in need of help just yet. White rhinos and bush elephants are in much greater need of help. While the preferred method is to keep them alive in their natural habitats, their natural habitats are vanishing. During previous environmental changes, large animals like these just moved to new habitats that suited them better. In this manner they populated 5 separate continents and evolved into numerous species. We would merely be using nature's own techniques to spread life and increase biological diversity. Diverse ecosystems are stronger and more responsive to climate changes than more spare ones. Re-wilding is not the only method but is the best in my opinion as it revitalizes ecosystems that have been damaged for hundreds or thousands of years and is something we can do right now with careful planning. De-extinction of some species is another method that could be done but can not be done reliably right now and probably not for a hundred years or more on a steady basis. Collecting and preserving DNA from thousands of specimen of thousands of species can be done now and they can be saved for the future when we can bring them back and give them wild homes. Doesn't mean we should let the ecosystems go to pot though. In the mean time we should re-wild with different species of plants and animals to fill the missing niches in the changing areas. Desert plants should be introduced into drying areas as well as salt-tolerant species since many desert areas will form in our croplands where irrigation is used too much with too little drainage. It should not matter if they are native or not. All species were invasive species at one point. They destroyed habitats for another species that they displaced and extincted species that could not adapt to them. Granted few were as invasive as mankind but they were also guilty of the damage they did to their environments. With our help they can all contribute to keeping our forests green and absorbing CO2 and releasing O2. They can contribute to holding water in soil and fertilizing the soil. They can spread seeds and control weeds and other pests. Clean air, water and food are important and more easily and cheaply done by living ecosystems. It does not matter if the ecosystem is the native one or artificial. Biological diversity is the key and many environments on this planet have lost much of their diversity of plants and animals both. If we do not help them, we will be more culpable than if we spread them and something else gets ruined. Damned if we do and damned if we don't. It's better to be damned for doing than for not doing.
  23. Reality can sometimes be dramatic but thinking seldom is, alas.
  24. meat does get charred but I've eaten plenty of crappy burned steaks in my time. no one died and it tasted okay actually : ) Every time I try to search for leopards and fire at the same time I get information for fire companies and other macho crap. I know I've seen this behavior on documentaries about Africa's savannah habitat. That's all I can give you. But it does figure that the fire goes one way and animals on the "back" side of the fire might have an advantage at finding cooked food.
  25. Humans get together for varied reasons. Someone down on his or her luck might seek shelter and companionship with another human who is not of the same species. Love also springs from weird combos. But if two populations were having it off together a lot, one would expect to see more of their DNA and more varied forms of it if they were the same species and reproduction wasn't an issue even if this was the result of war wives or rape.
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