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Enviromental and Cultural Adaptations

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posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 02:23 PM
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Human adaptation remains an insufficiently studied part of the subject of climate change...Short-term responses to changes in land-based activities, which are identified as coping mechanisms, are one component of this adaptive capacity...According to the Inuvialuit, these observed changes are having an impact on hunting, fishing, and other subsistence activities as well as on guiding sport hunters and traveling on the land.

Adapting to Climate Change: Social-Ecological Resilience in a Canadian Western Arctic Community


And that's just to start things off, because although the Inuit are one of the best examples of adaptation, there are many more examples. I'd love to hear what anyone else has to say on this Inuit subject or of any other adaptations...

Analyzing this Inuit adaption further though - consider this - the Inuit are often mistaken as being obese, for the most part (and I'll argue this in a moment) this is not historically true. They consume high fat meals but their rate of metabolism is off the charts, and they actually use their stored fat for warmth and increased blood circulation.

Culturally, they have adapted to accept ritualistic consumption of raw seal flesh. Once killed, they will often open the seal over ice and allow it to cool off and then dig in...but...with the Americanization of these Inuit tribes, they are now introducing foreign starches and sugars to their diets from non-native foods, thus Americanizing their health...heart disease, diabetes, and true obesity are now just a small reflection of the troubes we have brought to these peoples...

Please post your thoughts - I think this could be an active debate


[edit on 7/1/2004 by EnronOutrunHomerun]

[edit on 7/1/2004 by EnronOutrunHomerun]




posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 02:47 PM
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Of course these adaptations happen in the animal world as well...
Fruit Flies
I wouldn't quite call this evolution, but rather a process of it...sort of like Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium...
punctuated equilibrium

[edit on 7/1/2004 by EnronOutrunHomerun]



posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 03:06 PM
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Surely some of you have seen "Adapatation"
www.technofile.com..." target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>
Maybe we can discuss this phenomenon in terms of your interpretation of the movie...a man struggling to be just like everyone else and has to change along the way just to be the same...

Am I sparking any fires here?



posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 07:11 PM
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I can think of a couple of common adaptations such as the sicle cell blood disease (enabling people to survive malaria) and hyperlean body mass in Africa.

I'm a bit too brain-immobilized right now to think of a more coherent reaction, but nowthat I thik of it, AmerInds in general tend to be short and stocky with broad faces. There were a lot of variations, of course, but even the photos from the 1800's show them as a heavyset, stocky population.



posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 08:10 PM
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Thanks for the post Byrd

Also interesting about American Indians that you started to touch on is their skeletal features...much broader bone structures in "mongoloid" (I hate that word) or rather, Asian craniums. African Americans tend to have much deeper and wider eye "holes" -
- forget the word for that...magnum, I think - and Caucasians tend to have more indented nasal structures...what are all these for? Do they serve a purpose? Do they justify racism? (No, I'm not a racist...just posing the question)



[edit on 7/1/2004 by EnronOutrunHomerun]



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 02:29 AM
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Adaptation, great film.

You want to talk adaptaion? Check out the story about the peppered moth!



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 02:36 AM
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Totally awesome adaptation and completely skipped my mind - thanks Scat...
This may be familiar for those who paid attention in biology...
Some moths live in polluted areas, others do not...these guys like to hang around trees - trees turn colors due to pollution - birds eat moths that hang out on trees - moths thus adapt to their environment to hide from birds...


So this brings into play adaptation for survival...any thoughts?



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 07:50 AM
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Enron touched on the differences in the skulls of different ethnic groups.

I would say, as most physical anthropologists do, that race is a political rather than a biological concept. The skull is about the only place on the human form where you can make a connection with ethnicity. People have tried to connect the proportions of the femur, humerus, or ischia w/ race, but never with any success.

There's an Osteology lab manual by Bass that has all of the statistical measurements. I think it's in Bramblett & Steele also.

Take the nasal indentation of european skulls: what purpose does this serve? Well, I have a very short nose, while my wife, who is of middle eastern descent has a stronger nose. When I go out in the winter, my nose doesn't get nearly as cold as quick has hers. I know that seems trivial, but when I hunt, I notice it in my companions who have larger and more aesthetic noses. If you think on the temperature pressures in NW Europe, that kind of makes sense.

I have a lot more trouble with allergies than Frau Dr. Does. If you think about it, my nasal passages have more of a crook in them; a great place for particles to get trapped and make me sick. I miss a week of work every Spring due to sinusitis which leads into a bronchial infection.

****************************************
I collect old anthropology books. Its a hoot to spot some of the screamers that leap off the page today, but were sensical at the time (i.e. piltdown).

One thing the intro texts try to do is give an example of a variation among populations that is NOT adaptive. This is to show that mutation is a separate function from selection. Mutation needs to be random, and then selection removes the negative mutations.

The trouble is, it is hard to find a variation that is adaptively neutral. I have an old book (early 1950's) that goes on and on about eye color. Eye color, it says is random and non-adaptive. No one gets sick or dies or starves to death because their eyes are the wrong color.

But wait. My college textbook (1985) has a chart of the visible spectrum that different colored irises respond to. It shows that blue eyes tend to contract more and faster when looking at a white field. This actually affects how quickly the eye is affected by "snow-blindness," conjunctivitis caused by staring at sunshine on snow.

It turns out that green eyes are prone to colorblindness, but see oh so slightly better in low light and grey light. Most green eyes are most common in NW europe.

As a hunter, I can tell you that the best hunting is right after a snowfall. The tracks make it obvious where animals are! There is no point in hunting while snow is falling, because it fills the tracks. But after the sun comes out, its the best time. I got snowblindness in highschool from hunting on a sunny day after a blizzard, so it is a real issue. And yes, I bagged one and nobody else did.

If you are following an animal than knows it's being tracked, they will often cut through a thicket, and then try to pop out the side of the brush once you've entered. Being able to see in low light, to spot the slightest movement is way more important than color vision at a time like that.

SO there ya go. Even eye color can have adaptive pressures on it.



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
I would say, as most physical anthropologists do, that race is a political rather than a biological concept. The skull is about the only place on the human form where you can make a connection with ethnicity. People have tried to connect the proportions of the femur, humerus, or ischia w/ race, but never with any success.

Absolutly! But I have to admit a perverse amusement in then saying to my fellow anthropologists, "so.. what about these skull differences that seem consistant with what we think of as 'race'"? So far, I haven't gotten any answers.


There's an Osteology lab manual by Bass that has all of the statistical measurements. I think it's in Bramblett & Steele also.

I saw that online, and it's a REAL treasure! I haven't taken forensic anthro yet (hope to) but was studying up on anatomy in case I had the chance to take it in the near future.


Take the nasal indentation of european skulls: what purpose does this serve? Well, I have a very short nose, while my wife, who is of middle eastern descent has a stronger nose. When I go out in the winter, my nose doesn't get nearly as cold as quick has hers. I know that seems trivial, but when I hunt, I notice it in my companions who have larger and more aesthetic noses. If you think on the temperature pressures in NW Europe, that kind of makes sense.

That's an intriguing observation!


****************************************
I collect old anthropology books. Its a hoot to spot some of the screamers that leap off the page today, but were sensical at the time (i.e. piltdown).

Oh yeah. Of course, we have some real screamers in the modern field, too. (postmodernism would be my personal favorite, but that's just me being a tad bit biased.)


But wait. My college textbook (1985) has a chart of the visible spectrum that different colored irises respond to. It shows that blue eyes tend to contract more and faster when looking at a white field. This actually affects how quickly the eye is affected by "snow-blindness," conjunctivitis caused by staring at sunshine on snow.

It turns out that green eyes are prone to colorblindness, but see oh so slightly better in low light and grey light. Most green eyes are most common in NW europe.

As a hunter, I can tell you that the best hunting is right after a snowfall. The tracks make it obvious where animals are! There is no point in hunting while snow is falling, because it fills the tracks. But after the sun comes out, its the best time. I got snowblindness in highschool from hunting on a sunny day after a blizzard, so it is a real issue. And yes, I bagged one and nobody else did.

If you are following an animal than knows it's being tracked, they will often cut through a thicket, and then try to pop out the side of the brush once you've entered. Being able to see in low light, to spot the slightest movement is way more important than color vision at a time like that.

SO there ya go. Even eye color can have adaptive pressures on it.

Absolutly fascinating! Thanks for the insights!



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 01:55 PM
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generalizations about skulls into three or four ethnic groups, is, I think, sensible. European, Asian, Negroid, probably covers it for me. But notice that each of those "races" contains a billion people. Plenty of leeway for generalizations.

The trouble starts when you try to come up with more 'races.' In other words, when you try to say something concrete, you get into trouble. For instance, "the mexican race." How many ethnic groups are there in Mexico today? Probably 2 or 3 in Yucatan, Several in the Highlands, Yaqui and groups along the pacific coast. Then Spaniards, Germans, Italians. And those spaniards will include greeks, blonde kelts like Charo, Basques and 'french'. And then maybe one of you can define "mestizo"

The German "Race" is even funnier. Since Germany has no natural boundaries. And probably 4 major ethnic invasions. Plus guest-workers. Despite Hitler's view of "Der Beherrschen Ras" as blue eyed blondes, there are probably 10 obvious german types. Lets see what I can do.

1. Auburn haired, tall and stocky, with large heads. call 'em "Bavarian"
2. Barrel-Chested, stocky with blue eyes. "Dutch-thick"
3. Tall and lanky with straight blonde hair and high cheekbones: "Dutch-thin"
4. Tall, with thick lips and very curly red hair, "Danish"
5. Exetremely pale skin with black hair and sky-blue eyes "bohemian"
6. Dark skintone and heavy set, with large jaw and deepset eyes "Tyrolian"
7. Blonde hair, pinkish skin. Short with blue eyes: "swiss A"
8. Tall and Blonde, with stocky frame "swiss B"
9. Short and dark, thin. North German
10. Claudia Schiffer. (a race of her own, definitely!)

There. 10 races of germans. And none of you can disprove my racial theory either. (because there's no way to test it!)

You get my point. You can do this with any racial group.

I could be even more accurate: Hey, how about 6.4 billion races, so I cover absolutely everyone!

It's the whole linaean fallacy of grade and clade, supcategories and systems to describe unique individuals. The system ends up describing no one at all.

I always cringe at "caucasian" because of Francis Galton's racism. Most Caucasians have never been within a thousand miles of that mountain range, and neither have their great-grandparents.



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 01:59 PM
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seriously, if you ever get the chance, spend some time with African physical anthropologists.

As a typical white man in America, I grew up thinking of Africans as a solid, monolithic ethnic group.

Imagine my shock when talking with a group of anthropologists from a major university in Africa, and learning that they distinguish between four subsaharan races of "black." I'd never even considered such a thing! I'll see if I can find the nomenclature they used . . .



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 03:39 PM
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Probably most of these variations and adaptation options are built into all of us. They are expressed when some population of our species is exposed to certain environmental circumstances over a long period of time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we all come out of Africa in two migrations. One about 100,000 years ago and another 50,000 years ago? We were all black back then, now due to diverse environments various pre-existing attibutes are expressed. We're all still the same species. In fact compared to other species we are a bit incestuously closely related. There is more genetic difference between any two chimpanzees then between any two humans. I have heard that we are all no more than 16th cousins of one another. Mono-culture is risky, one virus might wipe a species out.

We are a wickedly intelligent and competitive species and feel free to use any excuse to sell our little portion of the species as 'better'.

Let the arms race of the intellect begin. (aka religion, politics, status, etc.) We do battle by flashing mental images at one another. Pretty silly when it's just empty competition. Intelligence I think runs at a slower pace. Testing and re-testing it's foundations. Standing on them when it sees them to be solid. It moves slower but stands taller.



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 05:16 PM
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Slank, I'm wondering about your numbers.

You mentioned that any two chimpanzee are more divergent genetically than any two people.

Hard for me to believe, since there are less than 10,000 chimps but 6.4 billion people. And some of them, like Basque versus Australian aborigine, have not had contact in at least 4000 years. hmmm.

I thought the common ancestor of humans was much further back, like 2million years or so.

Maybe you could point me in the direction of your sources, I may have a lot to catch up on.



posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 05:32 PM
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Originally posted by slank
I have heard that we are all no more than 16th cousins of one another. Mono-culture is risky, one virus might wipe a species out.

Here's an incredible recent adaptation that shows off that minute genetic difference...

Of course it's an isolated event and may not be permanent....but incredible none the less...Here's the story: Mokney Apes Humans by Walking on Two Legs

dr_strangecraft - thanks for your input man! You've really helped to "flesh" this out for me - I'll get around to commenting specifically in another post....unfortunately I lost my entire post a few moments ago by accidently going to another page, so I'm a bit perturbed right now...

Regarding your comment on the diverese cultural customs and social adaptations of African tibes - I had an excellent prof on this topic, Dr. Bruce Grindal - he lived for a combined 6 years with the a tribe in Sisalaland in Northern Gahana of West Africa - he had some incredible stories

Byrd - I had no idea you'e into anthro - There's more here at ATS than I would have assumed - I'm guessing your'e and undergrad or a grad or just interested? Cool beans tho



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