of no fixed subtitle
September 30, 2005
Gorillas have been seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild
Scientists were particularly amazed that they were able to post extensively on a certain metafilter clone site.
15 years ago
Don't like the look of that Ai chimp much. I think it may have been possessed by demons.
dude, gorillas != monkeys, with or without the capital M. Ahem. Interesting article!
Interesting to see that environmental factors are causing the apes to utilise tools in this fashion; something which has been postulated as an influencing factor on the development of the Australopithecine's physical adaptations and subsequent descendant species' tool use.
Don't like the look of that Ai chimp much. I think it may have been possessed by demons.
You'll note that he's sitting in front of a computer monitor.
, it's always about the environment when it comes to adaptation or natural selection. Brachiation won't save your ass from the ligers on a treeless savannah. I find that more discoveries with nonbipedal tool use serve to complicate current chicken-and-egg thoeries that bipedalism frees up the hands to enable tool usage. Primatefilter: Sucking up termites with a stick.
Whoa! Not only is the article interesting, but it's fascinating that Chyren posted a 39 word sentence using only 21 one-syllable words of which NONE of which were "fuck."
Get them playing baseball and I'll buy a ticket.
"..it's always about the environment when it comes to adaptation or natural selection."
Well, naturally. But that is not the be-all and end of it. For instance, we now know that ancestors of the Chimp were living in the same areas and time as Australopithecine, presumably under the same environmental stresses, but they
make any of the same morphological or (debated) tool use adaptations. So the question really is why the environment influences some evolutionary tactics in some species, and not others. I tend to think that there's another hidden variable at work. It has to come from the environment, but what part of it?
Isn't the simplest explanation that some Aussie's brain had a lucky mutation in an area where the pre-Chimp's hadn't? Isn't it the increased ability to exploit the environment that brings survival success? And wouldn't that success help the mutation to be passed on? Which brings up a question. Does anyone know whether hominids have/had a higher frequency of mutation than other apes? Increasingly efficient use of tools is just one of the things that distinguish us from Ali and the others. (I have not much knowledge, but a bit of opinion, as you may have noticed.
That's the assumed mechanism, but it has never been observed, unless we are observing it right now in chimps and gorillas. And there is the question of whether the mutation arises randomly or in response to some environmental influence. For instance, is increase in brain size and the operation of a larger brain due to the hominid increased intake of more protein rich food, or a requirement of it, or both? Why do some species remain relatively unchanged for millennia in rapidly changing environmental conditions, while others change very quickly?
Chy - again, frequency of mutation seems a reasonable explanation. My guess it that mutations arise randomly, so that some cause die-off, while others bring success. I doubt that they arise based on the environment (unless you believe in purposeful, directed evolution, akin to Intelligent Design) but that they use the environmental changes more succesfully, even if by accident. And, my guess is that the species which mutates more frequently has a better chance of doing that, as well as a better chance of more dead ends. As far as you're aware, have there been more hominid dead ends over the eons than there have for the other apes? If there have, that would be a sort of observation. And, to get there before bluehorse does: Monkeyfilter: I have not much knowledge, but a bit of opinion, as you may have noticed.
The fossil record is not complete enough to make a clear determination about hominid dead ends; in some cases it's blurry which species lead on to which. As to hominid vs ape mutation rates, man evolves phenominally fast, and there is no accepted explanation for this. Apes haven't changed a hell of a lot since they split off from our common ancestors, yet we have. The random mutation model for evolution doesn't explain some observed changes. Some species seem to go thru many changes over relatively short periods of time, while others remain bafflingly unchanged for ages, as I mentioned, and this raises questions about the pattern of mutation in lifeforms as a whole, viz randomness. Natural selection has a hard time explaining the unprecedented development of the human brain. It's way way more sophisticated than it needed to be, based on just random favorable mutations, and evolves really fast. As for environmental stress influencing mutations being akin to ID, that does not follow at all. Obviously evolutionary theorists avoid this whole area quite a bit because of the problem with creationism rearing its ugly head. We know that chemistry can be altered by elements in the environment, and there are several theorists who propose that hominid brain evolution was at least partly spurred by things they were ingesting, for instance. However, there'll probably never be any proof for this, and my guess is 'all of the above': random mutation and successful exploitation + environmental factors yada yada. It's a bit of a mystery why certain changes took place when they did, for instance Cro Magnon jumps in tool manufacture 150k years ago used to be thought pretty much happening at the same time they were coming out of Africa into Europe, but now it appears they were around for tens of thousands of years earlier before they started making sudden technological leaps forward pretty much everywhere at the same time, and nobody really knows why this is. What were they using those 50% bigger brains for, for all that time? We don't have to introduce the spectre of ID into this, but the evolution of man doesn't accord very well with 'classical' Darwinism. The vast majority of mutations are bad ones, and big mutations are largely bad for a species and not likely to survive, yet we have man making these astronomical leaps forward. It only takes 6 million years to go from ape to man; that's really fast in evolutionary terms. These kinds of mutations are supposed to happen very slowly, and in isolation, yet that doesn't seem to be the case with man. This is why some theorise an environmental factor that spurred the changes, maybe there was a chemical that precipitated in the environment that caused a sudden burst of growth somehow.
I dunno Chyren - the genetic differences between man and ape are very small, so apparently you don't need a lot of changes to get a long way, at least as far as human brain development is concerned. Also, at least if I understand
correctly, the mutations that led to the modern human's brain were so beneficial, that they spread throughout the population exceedingly rapidly. That is, rather than a high background rate of mutation, beneficial changes got passed around really really quickly (it was probably helped along if, as is apparently the case, human beings went through a population bottleneck in the recent past).
What's interesting to me is that any one change must have been a mutation within one individual that bred true in later generations. How likely is it that the same mutation would show up in more than one - especially concurrently? Unless Chyren is right, and nutrition advantages predisposed our ancestors to develop parallel mutations, it must have been a long, long road. Though, I suppose that if one who had a tool using mutation bred with another with a predeliction for language use (or any other combinations of good mutations,) things might have speeded up from synergy. The
aquatic ape theory
has some interesting implications, but has been generally spurned. Polychrome's Panda's Thumb article indicates that the main (only?) factor in human evolution was brain size. I'm sure that's a hugefactor but not the only one. Dolphins have brains proportionally larger than ours, but they still don't build cities or raise food. Polychrome's Panda's Thumb article indicates that the main (only?) factor in human evolution was brain size. I'm sure that that's the factor but not the only one. Polychrome's Panda's Thumb article indicates that the main (only?) factor in human evolution was brain size. I'm sure that that's the buggest factor but not the only one. Dolphins have brains proportionally larger than ours, but they still don't build cities or raise food.
My brain is too small to post comments.
But they do have complex language. What humans often fail to consider is that different intelligences will be profoundly different. Just because we use tools, build cities and have wars doesn't mean that other sentient species will do the same. Cetaceans have no need to manipulate their environment in order to survive; everything is there for them and they are superbly adapted to it. Or maybe I'm wrong about them not using tools: recently dolphins were observed using sea sponges to rake up stuff from the sea bed.
I dunno, but it almost seems as though you're thinking of them as the new "noble savages." Sloths probably have no need to manipulate their environment, nor do Komodo dragons - they're quite perfect in their natural states. And, hominids could have survived in a less developed state. I agree that dolphins are intelligent, and appear to enjoy learning, but do they "initiate," any more than chimps or gorillas? And, my cats have a fairly complex language. :)
An Infinite Number of Monkeys Ronald Koertge * After all the Shakespeare, the book of poems they type is the saddest in history. But before they can finish it, they have to wait for that Someone who is always looking to look away. Only then can they strike the million keys that spell humiliation and grief, which are the great subjects of Monkey Literature and not, as some people still believe, the banana and the tire.
"Evolution" is BULLSHIT. Yeah, I'm drunk. So WHAT? It's YOUR problem, buddy. Anyway, we should stop "evolving" and go back to being one-celled parameciums - we were happy back then, not like the goddam miserable assholes that you people are now. Yeah, I'm drunk.
aaaaaAAAND it makes CNN two weeks
. U! S! A! U! S! A!
Human links may be seen in gorillas' tools
Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling Poachers' Traps—A First. "Very confident" four-year-olds outsmart hunters and protect their clan.