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(Phys Org2)   If dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct, Jesus might still have a reliable form of transportation   (phys.org) divider line
    More: Unlikely, Primate, Dinosaur, Human, Brain, Human brain, Africa's fauna, Evolution, Africa  
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652 clicks; posted to STEM » on 27 Nov 2022 at 2:50 PM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



22 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-11-27 2:07:23 PM  
I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.
 
2022-11-27 2:54:13 PM  
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2022-11-27 3:03:21 PM  
FTA: Imagine the asteroid had missed, and dinosaurs survived. Picture highly evolved raptors planting their flag on the moon. Dinosaur scientists, discovering relativity, or discussing a hypothetical world in which, incredibly, mammals took over the Earth.
This might sound like bad science fiction, but it gets at some deep, philosophical questions about evolution. Is humanity just here by chance, or is the evolution of intelligent tool-users inevitable?

Voyager
did it.

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2022-11-27 3:07:31 PM  
They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.
 
2022-11-27 3:25:17 PM  

born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.



The church tells it differently:

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2022-11-27 3:29:29 PM  
Extreme caution is urged if one attempts to ride Madama Vastra...

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\if that's your thing...
 
2022-11-27 4:01:45 PM  
"In Africa, and Africa alone, primate evolution took a unique direction. Something about Africa's fauna, flora or geography drove the evolution of apes: terrestrial, big-bodied, big-brained, tool-using primates. Even with the dinosaurs gone, our evolution needed the right combination of opportunity and luck."

Sci Fi can be amazingly predictive
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2022-11-27 4:18:30 PM  
I seem to remember that Jesus walked everywhere he went.
 
2022-11-27 4:52:00 PM  
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2022-11-27 4:53:13 PM  

jso2897: I seem to remember that Jesus walked everywhere he went.


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2022-11-27 5:11:09 PM  
 
2022-11-27 5:19:27 PM  

born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.


Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this decades ago.  He made a compelling argument that what we call "progress" is not inevitable, and that if you ran evolution all over again you could just as easily get a world full of bacterial mats as one populated by advanced tool users.
 
2022-11-27 6:58:27 PM  
And if we had some ham, we could have ham & eggs.  If we had some eggs.
 
2022-11-27 7:02:09 PM  

CrazyCurt: They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.


Just replace "dinosaurs" with "non-avian dinosaurs" and read it again.

-----

I also dare say that the world would be very different if the trilobites survived the end-Permian extinction.
 
2022-11-27 7:12:14 PM  

Raoul Eaton: born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.

Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this decades ago.  He made a compelling argument that what we call "progress" is not inevitable, and that if you ran evolution all over again you could just as easily get a world full of bacterial mats as one populated by advanced tool users.


And Gould was being fairly conventional when he said it. Ernst Mayr used to point out that astronomers were a lot more optimistic about there being nearby intelligences than biologists are.

Also see Nick Lane's The Vital Question for the case that the evolution of eukaryotes was very unlikely. It was more than just swallowing the precursor to mitochondria.
 
2022-11-27 7:57:40 PM  

TheMysteriousStranger: Raoul Eaton: born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.

Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this decades ago.  He made a compelling argument that what we call "progress" is not inevitable, and that if you ran evolution all over again you could just as easily get a world full of bacterial mats as one populated by advanced tool users.

And Gould was being fairly conventional when he said it. Ernst Mayr used to point out that astronomers were a lot more optimistic about there being nearby intelligences than biologists are.

Also see Nick Lane's The Vital Question for the case that the evolution of eukaryotes was very unlikely. It was more than just swallowing the precursor to mitochondria.


Are We All Actually Archaea?
Youtube 7LdmcFoYQtU
 
2022-11-27 8:54:09 PM  

TheMysteriousStranger: CrazyCurt: They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.


Just replace "dinosaurs" with "non-avian dinosaurs" and read it again.


Crocodilians are dinosaurs, too, no?

The base of Archosauria splits into two clades: Pseudosuchia, which includes crocodilians and their extinct relatives, and Avemetatarsalia, which includes birds and their extinct relatives (such as non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs).
 
2022-11-27 10:07:52 PM  

Raoul Eaton: born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.

Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this decades ago.  He made a compelling argument that what we call "progress" is not inevitable, and that if you ran evolution all over again you could just as easily get a world full of bacterial mats as one populated by advanced tool users.


That bacterial mat world would have its day in the sun and then continue to evolve into higher life forms.

Stromatolites once ruled the Earth.
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They still exist today, but have mostly been replaced by humans in beach condos.

Evolution is unavoidable.   Nobody says "Damn these lions are getting out of hand, I'd should evolve a bigger brain so I can reason, develop language, build a civilization, and buy a high powered rifle".

It just happens.  Nothing stands still.

Something will eventually replace the humans as well.
 
2022-11-27 11:24:48 PM  

iron de havilland: TheMysteriousStranger: CrazyCurt: They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.


Just replace "dinosaurs" with "non-avian dinosaurs" and read it again.

Crocodilians are dinosaurs, too, no?

The base of Archosauria splits into two clades: Pseudosuchia, which includes crocodilians and their extinct relatives, and Avemetatarsalia, which includes birds and their extinct relatives (such as non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs).


Crocs are NOT dinosaurs.  Birds are considered dinosaurs because they are descended from dinosaurs. Crocs are not descended from dinosaurs. (Most biologists use cladistics as the proper method of classification. What this means is that only proper groups consist of a common ancestor and all of its descendents. So basically if your descended from any member of a taxon, you are part of that taxon--no exceptions.)
 
2022-11-27 11:45:44 PM  

TheMysteriousStranger: iron de havilland: TheMysteriousStranger: CrazyCurt: They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.


Just replace "dinosaurs" with "non-avian dinosaurs" and read it again.

Crocodilians are dinosaurs, too, no?

The base of Archosauria splits into two clades: Pseudosuchia, which includes crocodilians and their extinct relatives, and Avemetatarsalia, which includes birds and their extinct relatives (such as non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs).

Crocs are NOT dinosaurs.  Birds are considered dinosaurs because they are descended from dinosaurs. Crocs are not descended from dinosaurs. (Most biologists use cladistics as the proper method of classification. What this means is that only proper groups consist of a common ancestor and all of its descendents. So basically if your descended from any member of a taxon, you are part of that taxon--no exceptions.)


TheMysteriousStranger: iron de havilland: TheMysteriousStranger: CrazyCurt: They're birds now.

/ I thought we've finished this argument.


Just replace "dinosaurs" with "non-avian dinosaurs" and read it again.

Crocodilians are dinosaurs, too, no?

The base of Archosauria splits into two clades: Pseudosuchia, which includes crocodilians and their extinct relatives, and Avemetatarsalia, which includes birds and their extinct relatives (such as non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs).

Crocs are NOT dinosaurs.  Birds are considered dinosaurs because they are descended from dinosaurs. Crocs are not descended from dinosaurs. (Most biologists use cladistics as the proper method of classification. What this means is that only proper groups consist of a common ancestor and all of its descendents. So basically if your descended from any member of a taxon, you are part of that taxon--no exceptions.)


OK, I think I'm getting it. Birds and crocs both descend from archosaurs, but the point I'm missing is that archosaurs aren't dinosaurs? It's just a common ancestor birbs and crocs have?

Some crocodilian species were contemporaneous with dinos, though, weren't they? On the order of having been around in the same evolutionary niche for a couple of hundred million years, right?
 
2022-11-28 12:19:13 AM  
Dinosaurs were warm blooded.  They had to be.

With such a high mass to surface area ratio it was impossible to kick start their metabolisms by laying in the sun like reptiles.
 
2022-11-28 9:57:33 AM  

Raoul Eaton: born_yesterday: I would disagree that the evolution of intelligent tool users is 'inevitable'. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution selecting different traits after several cataclysmic extinctions would argue against that.

Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this decades ago.  He made a compelling argument that what we call "progress" is not inevitable, and that if you ran evolution all over again you could just as easily get a world full of bacterial mats as one populated by advanced tool users.


I'm kinda torn about that. On one hand, I don't think that tool-using intelligence is a necessary end result of life, but it's hard to imagine life finding a steady-state and sticking with it for billions of years. Seems much more likely it would use up all the available resources and flame out.
 
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