Originally posted by ldyserenity
reply to post by theophilus40
I often wondered and asked in class before why did only monkeys develop to the intelligence homo sapiens? Why don't we have dogs and cats and dolphins
walking upright and talking if evolution is true why then is only the monkey's path to evolve into an intelligent upright speaking species???
The whole paragraph above has a single flaw prevalent in its undertones, that of intelligence being the aim of evolution. (I am ignoring "monkey to
Monkeys, dogs and dolphins are as intelligent s they need to be to survive in the environments they inhabit.
If we look at a possible scenario for the evolution of us from a common ancestor (NOT A MONKEY)
At some point, the animal that eventually evolved into us and the other primates was separated from its kin.
Separation is the key element that allows speciation to occur. For branching speciation, where a single ancestor spawns multiple species, you need
physical separation. For a single species to evolve into a different species from it ancestor without branching, you need separation by time.
At the time that our ancestors tree branched off into the line that became the primates, an observer would not have been able to find a physical
difference between the group that was to become us, and the group that was to become the other apes.
However, this hypothetical observer, with hindsight, might watch the groups and notice how one group often strays onto the Savannah in search of food
where as another group rarely leave the safety of the trees, and draw a conclusion that the more inquisitive group on the savannah, is more likely to
be the group that evolves into us.
We know that in order for this animal to become us and the other apes, they cannot stay together. If they stay together, breeding is likely to occur
which will ensure that the tribe evolve together.
SIDE NOT - there is a third option for a separation that accelerates evolution of a species without necessarily causing branching, and that is
extinction. Extinction doesn't have to mean the entire species being wiped out. In the example I am positing, a disease could have wiped out all of
the animals that preferred the safety of the trees, removing their genes from the breeding pool and leaving the genes of the more inquisitive savannah
dwellers. Or it could go the other way and perhaps a savannah based predator could perform the same removal of the more inquisitive savannah
It is more than likely, that in actuality, the separation of the tree and savannah dwellers was due to distance. As the savannah dwellers became more
comfortable in their new environment, they just stopped returning to the trees.
We know have the same species of animal, living in two different environments, and natural selection can begin to operate on each group, and each
group has a more limited the gene stock available.
Genes survive to reproduce, and will use whatever is the most appropriate vehicle to do so. A different set of skills and characteristics are required
to survive in the trees, than those that are required to survive on the plains.
If an animals environment rarely changes, natural selection will hone it into the perfectly evolved animal for its niche. As a species, it will
prosper and very little change would be observed over time.
While it is easy for us to imagine that intelligence is the ultimate survival attribute in any environment, I would argue that our ancestors
inquisitiveness and nomadic nature placed it onto multiple environments where problem solving (i.e. intelligence) was the best survival tactic.
When an animal is displaced, and forced into an environment that is far different to its usual habitat, it quite often struggles to feed it self, or
even defend itself, as it has no concept of what is food or what a predator is in the new environment.
In order to migrate into differing environments an animal needs to be able to work these things out. In other words, it needs a certain amount of
All species survive merely by individuals living long enough to reproduce, whether it be by running faster or killing quicker. I would argue that for
our ancestor, it was the speed with which they could solve the problem of not being the fastest, strongest or best hidden.
Our intelligence is not the aim, goal, or even the pinnacle of evolution, its just another phenotype of genes to ensure the survival of the gene. And
it might not be enough to do even that.
ETA - a good example of speciation happening right now is Ensatina
, From one end of the horseshoe to
the other, each group of salamanders can produce offspring with either of its immediate neighbors. However the groups at the ends of the horseshoe
are unable to produce offspring. They are different species/
edit on 7-2-2013 by idmonster because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-2-2013 by idmonster because: Grammar check - Very poor, see
me after class!