Tuesday 29th of November 2022

a ride towards progress.......

THE SELF-MODIFYING UNFINISHED AND UNSATISFIED MONKEY

We are a funny lot. Some dude, Desmond Morris, called us, the Naked Ape, but this is limited in scope of intellectual visualisation — a bit like the naked mole. 

Could we not be satisfied with what nature made us? Nature isn’t a decisive actor. The nature of life is accidental, self-generating and to some extend changing with a trend for variety. No intent here, just an existential random, but structured, directionless development. I say structured because the major component of life is PRECISELY structured: DNA mostly, which defines all living creatures from birth to death. DNA decays with an inbuilt obsolescence, only counterbalanced by rejuvenation through duplication. Thus while DNA as life in general is continuous, its generated individuals are time-span limited. No face-cream has yet been able to stop the personal decay.

Yes, we could not be satisfied to live in a tree, like chimps who could have seen us as ugly competitors and could have thrown us out. On the ground, we could not keep on knuckle-dragging. One of our first improvement was our feet became adapted to running rather than grabbing branches in the forest from where those annoying chimps might have pushed us out, because we looked weird and hairless. We are not hairless mind you and this is why they invented the hair removing machine and the beauty salon. We have as much implanted fluff as a polar bear, but unseen due to the short length, apart from our hair in the you-know-where adult region and on the head. Our females developed more hair around the scalp than a male lion could dream off. Our males had to start shaving because a moustache and a beard, not only looks bizarre on a naked ape, but it makes eating very messy. 

We had discovered, like the chimps, that organised hunting and gathering made survival a bit easier, as who was going to look after the kids, once the hunter and gatherers were hunting and gathering. 

Many animal species need others of their own kind to loosely form societies of sorts. This does not mean that cooperation is not interfered with superiority complexes and submissive attitudes. There is a pecking order.

In some small steps, we became self-modifying by being reactive to our needs that soon modified into the habit of wants, in an environment that would allow or restrict a humanoid social evolution. We had to make choices to satisfy our survival, but we had passed the threshold of mere subsistence. From then on, we were never going to be satisfied — especially with our invention of ideas. Our memory grew to find ways to satisfy our unsatisfied status, so we invented tricks to temporarily satisfy our wants to do “better”— probably with the least amount of effort. This want to do better is the stylistic invention that is still guiding us today. We call this progress. Yes, we are still the relatively self-modifying unfinished and unsatisfied tail-less monkey — otherwise defined as ape — and we call ourselves Homo sapiens, because we think we can think.

 

AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. 

 

Yet we need to work hard at understanding each other. We need to work hard at understanding “our” environment — the place and its molecular supplies that has provided MANY other species the chance to evolve in accordance with the genetic make-up of such species and the feed-back mechanisms.

It has become apparent that our species has taken kingdom over most of the surface of this planet. The biggest group of species that is still far bigger than humanity is the plant group, without which we could not live much. But there are other associated groups, such as fungi, microbes and bacterias that are larger and play an important part of the maintenance of the survival disequilibrium of life. I say disequilibrium because without it, nothing would change. The whole system is under various stresses, in order to evolve.

 

AND WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION, BECAUSE WE CAN OBSERVE THE CHANGES AND WE NEED TO KNOW THESE CHANGES IN ORDER TO LIMIT HARM TO OURSELVES AND TO THE PLANET.

 

There is no planet B. 

Certainly not in the near future. Even if we dream of “colonising” other planets such as Mars (it’s the only one near us that could be “colonised”) this dream has a vastly limited scope of success — or even reality. The moon, well, we’ve been there… We need to say here that humans on the moon was more than 50 years ago and limited to 12 individuals, whose life was under threat due to the impossibly harsh environment of cosmic rays, temperature extremes and the moon dust which created more problems than imagined. 

 

Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were the first human beings to walk on the Moon. Four of America's moonwalkers are still alive: Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17)

 

Meanwhile a planet like Venus is out of the question to establish a human “colony”…. It’s too (bloody) HOT.

 

And space “travel” is a hard task-master. It has a tendency to render us physically weak because we’re not suited for long stint in gravity-less situation — and possibly bored, because of limited opportunity to change things without crashing the shebang. This could be like evolution in reverse: devolution. 

 

Some people think that robots would be far better suited to do space stuff, like exploration and “mining”…. Mining? Imagine having to bring back to earth a spaceship full of say barely 150 tonnes of ore at 25,000 km/h…. The extinction of the dinosaurian humans beckon…. And don’t we have enough stuff to deal with here?

 

Yes, I know, WE WANT WHAT THE OTHER GUY HAS…..

 

WHERE TO FROM NOW?

 

We have to streamline our evolution without diminishing our cultural differences. Yet, we are still bickering like packs of wolves fighting over what bit of the kill belongs to the top dog, or like male wildebeests fighting over the right to copulate. 

 

But we do this in style, with bigger and bigger weapons, the latest of these able to wipe us out entirely…. Our entire history would become obsolete.

 

But we still find some things amusing…

 

GL

Atheist.

 

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elvis the pelvis…..

The wide, basin-shaped human pelvis is a defining physical feature of our species. Without it, we couldn’t walk upright or give birth to big-brained babies. Now, a new study of human embryos has pinpointed the window in embryonic development during which the pelvis begins to look humanlike and identified hundreds of genes and regulatory RNA regions that drive this transformation. Many bear the hallmarks of strong natural selection for bipedalism, the authors conclude.

“It is a really impressive study, especially the genomic part, which uses all the bells and whistles of state-of-the-art-analysis,” says Marcia Ponce de León, an anthropologist at the University of Zürich (UZH) who was not involved with the work, which was reported this week in Science Advances. The results, she adds, support the idea that evolution of- ten produces new physical features by acting on genetic switches that affect early embry- onic development. Such predictions are “easy to state but very difficult to actually dem- onstrate, and this is what the authors did,” she says.

The pelvic girdle in primates consists of three major parts: blade-shaped bones, called ilia, that fan out to form the hips and, below those, two tube-shaped fused bones known as the pubis and ischium, which give shape to the birth canal. Great apes have relatively elongated ilia that lie flat against the back of the animals, as well as relatively narrow birth canals. Humans have shorter, rounded ilia that flare out and curve around. The reshaped ilia provide attachment points for the muscles that make upright walking more stable, and a wider birth canal accom- modates our big-brained babies. Terence Capellini, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, says those pelvic patterns were already emerging in early human ances- tors such as the 4.4-million-year-old homininArdipithecus ramidus, which had slightly turned-out ilia and is thought to have at least occasionally walked on two feet.

When and how those features take shape in human gestation had been mysterious, however. Many of the key human pelvic fea- tures, such as its curved, basinlike shape, are already developed by week 29. But Capellini wondered whether they might emerge earlier, when the pelvis has not yet turned to bone, but instead has scaffolding made from cartilage.

With the consent of women who had legally terminated their pregnancies, the researchers examined 4- to 12-week-old embryos under a microscope. They found that roughly around the 6- to 8-week mark, the ilium begins to form and then rotates into its telltale basin- like shape. Even as other cartilage within the embryo starts to ossify into bone, Capellini’s team found this cartilage stage in the pelvis seems to persist for several more weeks, giving the developing structure more time to curve and rotate. “These aren’t bones, this is cartilage that is growing and expanding and taking that shape,” Capellini says.

 

 

READ MORE:

https://www.science.org/doi/pdf/10.1126/science.ade4426

 

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