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John Harmonic

What is the human body evolutionarily designed for?

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Are we born to be lean mean fighting machines in the wild? To be hunter gatherers? To be the best as possible at sex? What are our human bodies evolutionarily designed for up until this point in time?

Human_Body-Muscular.jpg

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You could reasonably argue that they are "designed" for making more human bodies.

 

Obviously, that requires a range of functions.

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3 hours ago, John Harmonic said:

evolutionarily designed

Not a good phrase, "evolved to do" might be better. The answer is in the OP. Hunter gatherers is our most recent long period of stable lifestyle. But you can't ignore what came before. The hunter gatherers evolved from forest dwelling tree climbing fruit eating apes, quite like Chimps and Bonobos. Our "design" owes much to those ancestors. We have forward facing eyes and opposable thumbs which were adaptations to tree climbing, although we took the thumbs to a more specialised form, presumably for manipulating tools and weapons. 

So we're an upright, tool and weapon-using ape, evolved recently to survive as highly social hunter gatherers. And of course, the most important thing about humans is our big brains, and we don't know exactly why that evolved as it did, but it's almost certain to be to do with social interaction, including of course, language. 

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I would say they were "designed" along evolutionary intertwining paths of reproducing successful offspring, and supporting that offspring, the current manifestation being a human body...a very poor and vulnerable "design" in some respects and absolutely amazing one in others.

Edited by J.C.MacSwell

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The picture you post begins to answer the question. All those muscles evolved and they're all vital. Plus every other part of the human body.

Why try and reduce a question with the most complex answer to a single sentence? The human body is evolved to do everything you'll read in a human biology textbook.

A better question might be to ask how we are different from, for example, the last common ancestor we share with chimps which existed about 6 million years ago. Which Mistermack's post addresses. 

And you'll get a different answer according to what species you choose to compare us against. For example you'd say we are evolved to have large brains to make advanced tools if you compare us with apes, but you'd say we are evolved to walk on land if you compare us with our fish ancestors.

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2 minutes ago, delboy said:

The picture you post begins to answer the question. All those muscles evolved and they're all vital. Plus every other part of the human body.

Why try and reduce a question with the most complex answer to a single sentence? The human body is evolved to do everything you'll read in a human biology textbook.

A better question might be to ask how we are different from, for example, the last common ancestor we share with chimps which existed about 6 million years ago. Which Mistermack's post addresses. 

And you'll get a different answer according to what species you choose to compare us against. For example you'd say we are evolved to have large brains to make advanced tools if you compare us with apes, but you'd say we are evolved to walk on land if you compare us with our fish ancestors.

Some aren't, though they may have been at other points in our evolution.

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5 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Some aren't, though they may have been at other points in our evolution.

Of course, I stand corrected.

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4 hours ago, John Harmonic said:

To be the best as possible at sex?

To be the best possible at sex there is a detail missing from your picture.

2450-2015_large.jpg.66eaac5c6c6506210c99225b653b8dda.jpg

Edited by michel123456

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Guys I know "evolutionary design" is not proper term but I am going to use it anyway because I don't know what else to say. Is the human body evolutionary designed for fist fighting? Are our bodies in a way designed for fist fighting and taking punches as well? Could knuckles be evidence of this?

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50 minutes ago, John Harmonic said:

Is the human body evolutionary designed for fist fighting? Are our bodies in a way designed for fist fighting and taking punches as well?

No - they are developed for it, not designed. We make use of what we have developed via evolution.

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1 hour ago, John Harmonic said:

Guys I know "evolutionary design" is not proper term but I am going to use it anyway because I don't know what else to say. Is the human body evolutionary designed for fist fighting? Are our bodies in a way designed for fist fighting and taking punches as well? Could knuckles be evidence of this?

Our closest relatives WALK on their knuckles, so it's almost certain that our ancestors did, before they started walking upright. So maybe our knuckles are still a bit more robust than they would otherwise be. Although the heel of the hand is less likely to fracture, if you want to hurt someone. Chimpanzees punch and kick, but stamping with the heel is the most devastating, and it's the same with us. 

Our bodies are a compromise, evolved for lots of things, and taking blows is sure to be one of them. Especially since our ancestors lived in trees, and were likely to fall on occasion. 

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6 hours ago, John Harmonic said:

Guys I know "evolutionary design" is not proper term but I am going to use it anyway because I don't know what else to say.

Adaptation. 

Humans, and their ancestors, have been exposed to multiple evolutionary pressures over millions of years. So the human body is adapted to breath oxygen (at a level of about 20%), eat a wide variety of plant and animal products, process language, produce art, invent and use tools.

Functions like fighting exploit the features the body has. But if a body were adapted (designed) specifically for fighting as the primary evolutionary driver then I suspect it would be very different: scales or some other protection for the skin, no exposed genitalia, thicker skull, venomous teeth, and so on.

 

Edited by Strange

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On 9/29/2018 at 5:30 AM, mistermack said:

Not a good phrase, "evolved to do" might be better.

That still implies a teleological component. 

4 minutes ago, Strange said:

Adaptation. 

That is the correct context. It is adapted to a complex set of environmental conditions. 

 

4 hours ago, mistermack said:

so it's almost certain that our ancestors did

Actually that is not that clear. There are two competing hypotheses, one which indeed states that a common origin of knuckle walking of the pan-homo group and gorillas. A second focuses more on the differences in types of knuckle walking and conclude that they arose independently and arose after the split. The former (formulated by Richmond and others ) has been around for longer (around 2000 ish), but the latter has gotten more traction due to some molecular data (though I am not familiar with the details).

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7 hours ago, Strange said:

Functions like fighting exploit the features the body has. But if a body were adapted (designed) specifically for fighting as the primary evolutionary driver then I suspect it would be very different: scales or some other protection for the skin, no exposed genitalia, thicker skull, venomous teeth, and so on.

One surprising thing I've noticed is that animals with a venomous bite rarely (or maybe never) use the venom in fighting their own kind. Maybe the ones that DID in the past got bitten as well in retaliation, so neither fighter survived to breed, so they evolved a fighting process that didn't involve biting. 

I suppose people will now quote exceptions. One I can think of is the Black Widow Spider, I believe that the females sometimes kill and eat the male that is trying to mate with them, or that has just mated. It's not the same as male on male conflict though.

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

One surprising thing I've noticed is that animals with a venomous bite rarely (or maybe never) use the venom in fighting their own kind.

While not that common, there are quite a few species including mammals (platypus and slow loris come to mind) where intraspecific competition  is at least assumed.

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Designed implies an agency or perhaps a creator.   The human body is just another successful way of surviving changing environmental conditions.  Evolution suggests all the human body has to do  is make it to the reproductive age, then reproduce.  After that age nothing really matters but there must have been some advantage to having extra bodies around.  The family or tribal group.  Lots of interesting bad designs within the human body.  Lots of wondrous marvels also.  Billions of years of evolution.

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19 minutes ago, HB of CJ said:

Designed implies an agency or perhaps a creator.

I mean it is always possible there is a creator right?

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1 minute ago, John Harmonic said:

I mean it is always possible there is a creator right?

It is always possible that a pink unicorn is following you around but whenever you look to see if it is there it moves so you can’t see it. And no one else wants to admit it to you. 

Anything is possible, but we should probably stick to things that there is evidence for. 

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3 minutes ago, Strange said:

It is always possible that a pink unicorn is following you around but whenever you look to see if it is there it moves so you can’t see it. And no one else wants to admit it to you. 

Anything is possible, but we should probably stick to things that there is evidence for. 

I agree. Possibilities are endless.

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On ‎29‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:30 AM, John Harmonic said:

What are our human bodies evolutionarily designed for up until this point in time?

So, forgetting the obvious error that we have developed and evolved rather than followed any design...  the answer in my opinion to the OP is '- Life on Earth'.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, John Harmonic said:

I agree. Possibilities are endless.

And therefore it is not wasting time on those that have no evidence. 

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3 minutes ago, Strange said:

And therefore it is not wasting time on those that have no evidence. 

One mans trash is another mans treasure.

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1 hour ago, John Harmonic said:

One mans trash is another mans treasure.

I will remind you that this is board focuses on science (as the name subtly implies). If you want to speculate outside the realm of natural sciences, there are better places for that.

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1 hour ago, John Harmonic said:

One mans trash is another mans treasure.

Not a scientific statement.

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