Evolution toward Technology

triteritzyBiotechnology

Dec 14, 2012 (4 years and 7 months ago)

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Evolution toward Technology

FYOS


Lecture 5


Evolution of Human

Your Presentations next week!

Cultural &
Technological
Evolution


Dramatic changes


cultural evolution : via transmission of
accumulated knowledge



Cultural evolution

o
is far more important than natural evolution..

o
accelerates over time



Beginning a new trend?


Technological evolution
:

increased technology


new discoveries


more
advanced technologies






Active Evolution:

o
genetic engineering

o
modern medicine

o
not limited by Darwinian evolution anymore…


During the past 40,000
years, we did not make
any significant
evolutionary changes…


Is
intelligence
inevitable
?


“No”

o
biology might be common…

o
we (human) are the only one with Technology
in the Universe (or at best, extremely rare)

o
over 3.5
Gyr

of life, only 200 years of
technology

o
our existence is due to some chance events


evolutionary stress from extreme environs or
mass extinction impacts…


no mammal domination if there was no
asteroid impact 65
Myr

ago.


“Yes”

o
evolutionary pressure for intelligence

(lions and gazelles)

o
even if there was no human, other
technological species might have emerged
instead.

o
Convergent evolution


intelligence


Convergent
Evolution


Dolphins and Sharks

streamlined “torpedo
-
shape” body form


greater speed for better survival to catch preys



Eye
-
sights

o
most multi
-
cellular animals can “see”

o
eyes evolved independently 40 times!



Flights

o
bats, birds, pterodactyls, some insects…



Sonar (echolocation)

o
whales/dolphins, bats

acquisition of the same
biological trait in unrelated
lineages


natural
selection often produces
analogous adaptations.

Bioluminescence


It has evolved independently at least
40 times!


E. A.
Widder

(Science, 2010, 328, 704)

Bioluminescence has resulted from some
intriguing evolutionary adaptations.

(A)
In the deep
-

sea anglerfish
Linophryne

coronata
, bioluminescence from the
esca

is bacterial in origin, whereas
that from the chin
barbel

is an
unidentified intrinsic chemistry.

(B)
In the octopus
Stauroteuthis

syrtensis
,
its suckers are
photophores
.

(C)
In the tunicate
Pyro
-
soma
atlanticum
,
luminescence originates from
putative bacterial
endosymbionts
.

Crabs : convergent evolution!

All crabs look quite similar… but DNA
information tells us that they are
from many different ancestors (from
shrimps, lobsters, etc.). Crablike body
and walking must be an outcome of
the convergent evolution.


What’s the benefits of these traits?

acquisition of the same biological trait in
unrelated lineages


natural selection
often produces analogous adaptations.


more details from

student presentations!

Measuring
Intelligence


Encephalization

Quotient
(EQ) =
the ratio of the actual
brain mass to the expected
brain mass of a typical animal
that size



Human : 7


Chimpanzee : 3


Dolphins : 2.5
-
4.5


Hippo : 0.27


Raptors : 5.5


Troodons

: 5.8


Evolution of
Intelligence


A trend toward increasing
intelligence?



Factors encouraging intelligence


high, effective metabolism (2% body
weight uses ¼ of energy)


long period of parental care (to pass
down knowledge)


Natural selection on intelligence

o
gazelle + lion : mutual pressure

o
intelligence comes with a cost


high metabolism and handling
heavy head.

If only for survival, for given limited resources, other capabilities can be
equally good


faster running, better fighting, etc.

Pass down accumulated knowledge to next generation!

Technology:
inevitable?


A pathway from higher brainpower
to
science and technology seems apparent…



For technology, there are some other needed
traits (e.g., dexterous hands)

o
dolphins : with intelligence and social structure.



need to manipulate complex tools!!



Even for advanced civilizations, do they head
toward interstellar radio communications or
space travels?


What about the Woodpecker’s niche?

Need to find an evidence of alien technology on other habitable worlds!

Human : Only intelligence on the Earth?


What will happen if the human disappeared
from the Earth?



Will it be the end of intelligence or
technology on the Earth?