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(io9)   Why can't mammals live without sleep? When did our capacity for, and dependence upon, sleep evolve? Do invertebrates ever nod-off inadvertently? Does bacteria sleep in the same way that humans do? Here comes the CHRRRR-ZZZZZZZZ   (io9.com) divider line 63
    More: Interesting, invertebrates, mammals, bacteria, sleep evolve, Caenorhabditis elegans, animal behaviorist, biological clocks, circadian rhythms  
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5067 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Apr 2013 at 5:36 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-18 07:01:02 AM

Wolf892: Why did we evolve the need to eat meat when other mammals can become just as big and bigger and stronger than us with just a plant based diet?


See this wonderful thing you are currently on?  You know, instant communication across thousands of miles, all the information of the world at your fingertips, so you can make statements like this.

Eating meat helped with that.
 
2013-04-18 08:12:28 AM
We need sleep so we can reset soap opera storylines with the "everything you saw in the last x years happened in a dream" excuse.
 
2013-04-18 08:19:35 AM
Sleep is necessary because it would suck to exist in this world consciously until we die.
 
2013-04-18 08:22:16 AM
Ed Grubermann:

God damned threadshiatter.


I will give him some credit though, I can't nail him down as to what exactly he is.   My current theory is it's Bevets under a new account as that guy would do similar things in science threads.

Although from his language and syntax he has little to no understanding of what he's talking about beyond very SciFi concepts of a given subject.

He's also not as much fun to play with as Bevets is/was.
 
2013-04-18 09:25:51 AM

HairBolus: That's a purty explanation full of trying to be incomprehensible big words.


I'll try to dumb it down for you. An organism only has so much energy available to it. Low-grade garbage collection takes processor cycles and energy. The central ganglion, i.e. brain, already has to deal with sensory inputs and other higher-level computation functions. Doing garbage collection at the same time would slow down its processing and possibly interrupt survival-related processes. So... instead of wasting time and energy doing defrags and indexing when it should be eating and mating, the organism stores everything in a temporary memory space until it can find a safe location to run those processes. At the same time, it can also do things that would take energy away from running and moving, like digestion.

Also, in a computer you're dealing with binary flip-flops made of magnetic bits and lots of silicon. Magnetic sectors don't have any refractory time between states, and silicon doesn't wear much during the process. Organic materials are different. Neurons have a charge-discharge-recharge cycle with their neurotransmitters, and carbon is softer than silicon. As much as you'd like to make organisms out of something with immediate refresh rates and durable construction, you really can't. Neurons get "tired", they can get damaged, they can wear out. They can be repaired, but that, once again, takes energy and processing cycles. Best to just wait for a lull to enter a diagnostic state and get it all done at once.

So, does that make more sense to you? Or should I use single-syllable words?
 
2013-04-18 09:29:55 AM

Vaneshi: I will give him some credit though, I can't nail him down as to what exactly he is.


He's just a goofball who likes to poke at anthills with sticks. He prefers space threads and 3D printing threads for that. He's not dumb, he's not a troll, he can actually have decent conversations. However, he does have a large neurosis about his own mortality, and an incomplete understanding of exactly why the immortality of atoms doesn't translate into immortality for entropic information systems. It's a nice stick to poke at him with.
 
2013-04-18 10:40:03 AM

theorellior: Vaneshi: I will give him some credit though, I can't nail him down as to what exactly he is.

He's just a goofball who likes to poke at anthills with sticks. He prefers space threads and 3D printing threads for that. He's not dumb, he's not a troll, he can actually have decent conversations. However, he does have a large neurosis about his own mortality, and an incomplete understanding of exactly why the immortality of atoms doesn't translate into immortality for entropic information systems. It's a nice stick to poke at him with.


I'd add orbital mechanics to the list of things he doesn't understand.  Perhaps clouds as well... maybe he's The Stig?
 
2013-04-18 10:45:28 AM

Vaneshi: theorellior: Vaneshi: I will give him some credit though, I can't nail him down as to what exactly he is.

He's just a goofball who likes to poke at anthills with sticks. He prefers space threads and 3D printing threads for that. He's not dumb, he's not a troll, he can actually have decent conversations. However, he does have a large neurosis about his own mortality, and an incomplete understanding of exactly why the immortality of atoms doesn't translate into immortality for entropic information systems. It's a nice stick to poke at him with.

I'd add orbital mechanics to the list of things he doesn't understand.  Perhaps clouds as well... maybe he's The Stig?



SteveB?
 
2013-04-18 12:17:38 PM

Begoggle: Because that's how God made us.


8/10
 
2013-04-18 03:33:10 PM

Ned Stark: Reproduction would slow drastically


Why would it? There is no reason why a species that is immortal would reproduce slower than a mortal species. It would make sense from a resource distribution standpoint (too many organisms, too little resources) but nature doesn't really care about resource availability on fertility until it becomes critical for survival (fertility drops during famine). As we already have immortal organisms running around at the moment where evolution might start selecting against fast breeders, the organism would already be doomed from the onset. The fast breeders will keep on existing alongside the slow breeders because the very first generation is still around, and thus the available resources will be outstripped by the demand (a hungry pack of wolves wouldn't think twice about eating the last herd of deer).

Assuming that the organism is a farmer (or at least not a hunter-gatherer) we'll see the population die until the numbers drop just below the sustainability threshold (not counting war over the resources). Once production is restored the numbers will start increasing again, creating an eternal boom and bust cycle. Unless there is some sort of administration that would keep track of accidental deaths and gives out breeding licenses at random for every drop in population. That way they could make sure that the population never grows too large or drops too low.
 
2013-04-18 03:49:37 PM

xria: Asking why something evolved doesn't imply intent, it is asking what net advantage it confers, and therefore why creatures that don't sleep are selected against.


It might be a side path from a way a different part of the brain works/worked. Or something that is the direct consequence of something that worked quite well and only left this option open (which would be why you see it in so many species). It could be that sleep is forced upon us by the way the first neurons were constructed. At first it worked but once those neurons needed to do more they tended to burn out. Along came some critter somewhere along the line for whom sleep was the first "attempt" to solve the burnout issue (and which prevented it from running around in low vision environments where predators were around). It worked so well that it out bred every other option that was "on the way".

On a side note: evolution doesn't just confer benefits. Things that are neutral to survival/reproduction chances don't get actively selected against but might force the direction of future mutations in a direction through interactions that do inhibit/advance survivability. There are even attributes which inhibit survivability which get passed on but which have enough of a grace period that the organism still gets to breed, just less often (for example heart disease that hits around age 30). That way bad genes take longer to be removed from the gene pool but might still force the direction of future mutations.
 
2013-04-18 04:09:17 PM

DerAppie: (and which prevented it from running around in low vision environments where predators were around)


Not to jump on you in particular, but this is total crap. Predators work whenever their prey is active, but its easier to avoid them when it's dark outside. A lot of animals are nocturnal and a lot of animals don't rely on vision as their primary sensory channel. Your pedigree as a diurnal primate is showing.

As a matter of fact, mammals survived during the age of dinosaurs mostly by being nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dusk/dawn). The mammal lineage developed better hearing and smell and lost its color vision as a result. Only the primates have re-evolved color vision, mostly because it helps identify which fruits are ripe and able to be eaten.
 
2013-04-19 03:37:18 AM

Ed Grubermann: Quantum Apostrophe: theorellior: Quantum Apostrophe: Derp, derp derp derpity derp! Because derp!

The difference in life cycles between prokaryotes and even single-cell eukaryotes is so vast that even you could comprehend the difference. But I suppose you'd prefer immortality as an E. coli cell to your present existence.

Sort of like derpity derp derpy derp durr hurr derp derpity derp Earth's air, gravity, water, pressure, temperature and the deadly derptiness of potato?

Good Christ. What the feculant planet of F*ck does this have to do with space? Oh, yes. Nothing.

God damned threadshiatter.


COME ON GRUBERMAN, BOOT TO THE HEAD!!
 
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