Jump to content


Senior Members
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Blackfin

  1. I'm sorry, but that just gave me a really funny mental image of three lizard heads. XD
  2. I think any animal with nervous tissue and a brain or pseudo-brain could be considered to have emotions. Fear is a good example of a complex emotion that most animals seem capable of feeling. Have you ever seen the butterflies, like a monarch, that display warning camouflage because they're poisonous and taste foul? If a young bird eats that butterfly once, they associate the color pattern with the taste and learn to fear it - and, thus learn to fear and dislike that taste and avoid eating anything with that coloration pattern. I think in terms of intelligent mammals, a most complex emotion is embarrassment. Why do we feel embarrassment, or shame? It's an emotion based solely on what we think other people think of us - one that, I assume, evolved purely in a social context. I know dogs can feel shame as well; Lord knows I've seen the expression on a dog's face after they've done something wrong, like had an accident or destroyed something. This may be an emotion solely restricted to social animals (I can't see a monitor lizard feeling shame, for example, regardless of its intelligence). To talk about emotion, I suppose you must put a specific motion in context for there to be any headway.
  3. Um, no, actually. H. neandertalis existed alongside H. sapiens just 35,000 years ago, and they were just as human as we are. We lucked out in being more flexible and adaptable, becoming the only extant members of Hominidae. That doesn't mean that other humans never existed. Neanderthals used tools and buried their dead, too - and showed obvious signs of sentient intelligence, regardless of whether they survived or not.
  4. reverse: I'm not even going to touch that statement. It would break all the forum's rules about polite posting. Kristy: Great idea, but tell me, when you stick a hydrophone down into the water, how are you gonna tell one dolphin's chirps from another's if there's eight of them in front of you?
  5. If all the oceans were fresh, well, you could essentially say life would not exist - because obviously water-soluble salts could not exist on the planet or they would dissolve into the ocean and make it salty again - and about 75% of a human's body mass is a saline solution. o.O Tears, blood, anyone? Sodium/potassium pumps? ...When I first saw this question, my first impulse was to write, "They'd get salty again." XD
  6. Instead of Phyla, plants tend to be classed under "Divisions." Otherwise, they are the same as an animal. The scientific name of a plant would be the same as the plant that it grew from, since it's just, yanno, a ripened ovary. >>' I don't think there's any fancy scientific name for a fruit itself, however.
  7. Mokele is right on the how of this question. The lateral line organs (and in sharks, ampullae of Lorenzini - small pores that detect hydrostatic changes and electrical charges int he water - as well) are how fish sense changes in pressure and low-level vibrations, like a thrashing, injured animal. The why of this is most likely that they are sensing weather patterns - like the severe drop in pressure would be associated with an approaching tropical storm down here in Florida, and the fish would seek deeper water to stay out of the turbulence of the storm surge.
  8. This leads me again to the conclusion ... It's not what something is that matters so much as how it compares to other things. Systematics, systematics, systematics, people!
  9. That would be a never. Wild dolphins are just like tigers and lions, very large wild animals that have the ability to be dangerous and are ultimately unpredictable. It's also against federal law to harass a marine mammal, a la the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. If you want, schedule a trip for your family to Discovery Cove in Cape Canaveral. Their site can be found at : http://www.discoverycove.org/ If only it were so easy. Wild dolphins and wild orcas especially have been studied in the wild seriously since the late 1970's. There's yet to be developed a safe, non-invasive recording device that can actually be attached to a dolphin, and while dolphins are incredibly intelligent, they also chatter like a pack of schoolgirls. There's been many tapes of dolphins recorded both in wild and captivity, but as of yet, there's been no real conclusions on tapes of wild bottlenose dolphins (to my knowledge). There has been some effort made in terms of orcas which was more conclusive, but still, we don't exactly have a dolphin-to-English dictionary yet.
  10. True, Donald Johansen uncovered A. afarensis and A. africanus years ago, and we have studied some fossils much higher in quality than those previously found... but there is no absolute view on paleoanthropology. The interrelationship between A. afarensis and H. habilis are a 2 million year blank in the fossil record, unless something new's been found that I am unaware of. We still don't know what came between the two.
  11. It's times like this I wish there was a mathematical basis for language. I know there are statistical figures for trends in language, as in, estimating numbers of words two languages have in common by virtue of relation and how long they've been seperated... but never any mathematical basis for syntax and vocabulary. While "I want to talk to dolphins" is the kiss of death for any marine biologist, it still plagues us to no end. This, like paleoanthropological family trees of hominids, is something we just don't have sufficient understanding to answer yet.
  12. Well, apparently NASA found one, with pictures from the orbiting Mars Express. The theory goes that a catastrophic event released a great deal of liquid water at some point, which flooded the basins and formed pack ice. Later, dust drifted down and covered the pack ice, preventing sublimation. I think this is rather interesting, personally. I mean, if the first step towards life were prions, viruses, and viroids, what about endospores of primitive microorganisms in this frozen sea? Possible, certainly. There's a link below with the full article. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4285119.stm
  13. Why do you think they won't let pregnant or menstruating women swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove here in Orlando? The smell of hormones in the water drives the dolphins a little nutty, and they can get playful - and a swimming torpedo with a baseball bat for a nose is a bad thing to have playfully pushing and shoving you around.
  14. Dolphins kind of have double jeopardy working against them. On one side, there are fishermen who view them legitimately as competition for their catch. Fishermen conveniently forget, of course, that apex predators like dolphins are important because they keep the catch there in the first place. No predators -> population explosion of prey -> overexploitation of resources -> massive die off. Try explaining to a fisherman that he will make a few thousand dollars less in fish so he can have fish to catch in the future, and he will tell you he has to feed his kids NOW. There is no easy solution. On the other hand, thanks our wonderful friends at Anheuser Busch, most of the public now views dolphins as Disneyfied saviours of the seas. Shamu and Flipper are gentle, happy souls put here on Earth to help people! Go swim with the dolphins. You'll learn the secrets of the universe. (This is ironic, because in 1998 a man trespassed into Sea World Orlando after dark to go swimming the orcas and was found dead and naked draped over the dorsal fin of the large male, Tillikum, the next morning. So much for swimming with whales, huh?) The truth is that trainers have not swam with the big male orcas for at least the past ten to fifteen years, due to cases of aggresion towards trainers - i.e. more than one trainer being drowned. Dolphins are smart, and as a result, dangerous. Remember the whole thing about dolphins liking eating fish and having sex with other dolphins? Well, they're also curious, and may view a floating human as an interesting, if clumsy, living toy. People either want to kill dolphins, or go up to them and give them a hug. Neither is the correct approach. But, asking people to view an organism realistically and objectively would be too much. This is why sharks are still struggling for protective legislation, because people just don't like them the way they love Shamu.
  15. Honestly, I don't know. That's why I made this post in the first place - to see how other posters would react. So, guys, drop a word as to how you'd feel about having a seperate ecology forum. I honestly would love to see one, but I haven't been around long enough to know whether there's a great interest in it or not. I thought I'd ask anyway. Asking never hurt anyone, now did it?
  16. I've noticed that almost every major branch of science here is covered, EXCEPT for ecology and environmental science. Especially in the biology forums I've noticed a certain lack of knowledge among members in their post about environmental concepts, esp. in regards to evolution, as well as a certain lack of interest in it altogether. Sure, atoms collide and a species evolves, but what about the big picture? This is just a request/inquiry. I think ecology & environmental science deserves its own forum, but if there's no interest in it, things are fine as they are.
  17. Another thing most have failed to mention - to be good in English, or even to be a decent writer, you need to read. A lot. Fiction, nonfiction, the newspaper. It really doesn't matter. The more you read, the better you become at writing because you begin to see the tricks authors use. Also, fiction is ALWAYS going to be subjective. If you hate subjective literature, read historical fiction, or better yet, nonfiction. Personally, I can't sit down any day of the week to an abstract on vertical migration of plankton within standing saltwater basins. I have to be in a very serious put-on-my-robe-and-scientist-hat kinda mood. But Stephen King? I could sit down to read him any day of the week. National Geographic, too. I just felt like somebody needed to defend English class. I wanted to be a novelist before I decided to become a scientist. And, haven't you guys noticed something? Scientists write papers, to get published, to contribute to their field! If you want to contribute to science, you have to write. If you want to learn science, you have to read. Get over it, and go put on your robes and English hats.
  18. Then why, pray tell, would we dive in the first place?
  19. The theory goes that there was too much competition on land and plenty of food in water, so the ancestors of whales eventually evolved back into marine organisms. Cetacea has actually been proposed as a suborder of Artiodactyla (even-toed herbioves) because of molecular and physiological similarities (both have a compartmented stomach, for example). That, and fossil evidence supports the evolution of Cetaceans from Artiodactylans. Anyways, the only true cetacean carnivores at Odontocetes, as said above. You'd have to classify Mysticetes as omnivores because they do not differentiate between eating zooplankton and phytoplankton. Not to be nit-picky, but aren't we ignoring an extremely important mollusk? What about the squid? If you take a look at the evolution of mollusks, it starts out with the very simplest, the bivalves - stuff like clams, scallops, and oysters. Their organ system are extremely simple and they're really just benthic organisms. Also, the biggest trait marking them as the "primitive" mollusks are their shells - they completely enclose the organism. Despite its effectiveness, in evolutionary terms, this was the very earliest body plan for mollusks. Next, you get into Gastropods - snails and slugs - that generally have only one shell used for protection. They're still mostly benthic (bottom dwellers), but they're more capable of active motion that bivalves are. Also, there are some shelless gastropods that make magnificent marine predators (nudibranchs & sea hares being good examples). There organ systems are also somewhat more complex than bivalves' are. You see a general evolution away from the body plan of a mantle producing a shell. This is even more apparent in an octopus, which is made up entirely of muscle and has only remnants of a vestigial internal 'shell'. The cephalopods are far more advanced because of their physiology - they have closed vascular systems, more complex organ systems, a concentration of nerves that passes for a brain - and they are adapted for active motion. They are also all predators. Now, you could argue a squid is more advanced than an octopus because it's a better swimmer and dwells actively in the water column, but I think it's more of a case of divergent evolution where octopuses occupy a niche preying on benthic species and squid prey on nekton. While squid and octopi are both quite aware and intelligent for invertebrates, I find it highly unlikely they will ever develop intelligence comparable to our own. They might very well be intelligent, but as they aren't social, I don't see how we'll ever understand or quantify it from the point of view of a species whose entire evolution has depended on social interaction for survival.
  20. Well, you know that and I know that, but who says the average biology student does? I know I actually had to ponder the meaning of some texts before getting the actual meaning between the lines. It seems pointless to debate, yes, but I just wanted confirmation from other individuals.
  21. My name's Blackfin, and I was referred to this forum by Mokele. I'm a junior in high school, and right now I'm busy surviving AP Bio, AP Environmental Science, and Marine Bio I. My interests lie very strongly in the area of marine biology, my specialty being marine mammalogy energetics. I also want to study apex marine predator ecology - organisms like mackerel sharks, orcas, etc. because I think the predator/prey relationship gets glossed over and that we are screwing over prey species by eliminating predator species, and generally weakening ecological resilience overall. ^^; I'm only 17, so, forgive me if I'm not up to par with some of the professionals. I work hard at being well-read and gaining practical experience, but I have only so much opportunity being at the high school level. A little bit of history... I fell in love with science in 9th grade during my first Bio I H class. To me it is an entire way of looking at the world, and I think it takes a lot of guts to willingly question everything and abandon the complacency of taking things at face value that plagues so many people today. That's why anyone involved in science - a student, a scientist, a lay person who watches the Discovery Channel - gets my respect, because they're brave enough to question and put forth the effort to see the world as it is, not how it's just "supposed" to be. I will do my damndest to back up every post I make with some sort of source or documentation, and I will also do my best to challenge and clarify misconceptions about certain biological concepts. I will also do my best to call other forum members on their bluffs, and debate them if they state something as a fact without sufficient back-up. I will put forth my best effort to critically evaluate all of my own conclusions and make sure I've thought through an opinion before I post it, and if you can show me I'm wrong, I'll admit it readily. Currently I plan to attend Eckerd College to get a B.S. in marine biology, and then attend graduate school at USF College of Marine Science. My end goal - the final ultimate goal - is to become a professor of marine biology, hopefully somewhere here in Florida.
  22. I'm actually quite fascinated with the AAT, especially because of all the physiological evidence for it. (Humans are the only land mammals who can voluntarily hold their breath, our fat is in larger proportion to our lean body mass in comparison to other primates, we can dive, babies float, etc.) However, it could very well be coincidental, and there's always the fact that the AAT is looked down upon because Elaine Morgan was an author with no formal scientific background and drew her conclusions based only on reading, the work of another scientist who formed a similar proposal, and her own resentment of the savannah theory.
  23. I'll go pop over to that thread and post, then. :3
  24. Eeeehhhhh. WRONG. Cetaceans must also compensate for drag (60 times greater in water than air) and learn to deal with buoyancy issues. It's unfair to compare energetics of whales and humans without taking into consideration how different the mediums they move through are. We move side to side, back and forth. Whales can move up, down, back, forth, and side to side - an entirely extra dimension in movement. I should think it's a little more complex than fluke slapping. Also wrong. Please see the dolphin intelligence thread for an explanation of my thoughts.
  25. Eckerd College, right here in St. Pete. Or the University of Miami. Depends on who accepts me and how far in debt I wanna get before I turn 20. :3
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.