Doing a scholarship about animal suffering and was wondering if humans are animals.. if so maybe I could use humans as an example for this competition?
Doing a scholarship about animal suffering and was wondering if humans are animals.. if so maybe I could use humans as an example for this competition?
Why wouldn't humans be animals?
People aren't above other living things just because we were clever enough to invent religion (the very thing that tells us we are better- how anthrocentric are we?!)
while it is an undeniable biological fact that humans are animals, when it comes to ethical questions such as suffering it becomes far less clear that human ethics can be applied to (all) animals
Or, to put it another way, humans may be animals, but that does not mean animals are humans.
The average human is actually a collection of organisms from all 6 (or 5/4) kingdoms.
That sounds interestingOriginally Posted by spuriousmonkey
Would you mind expanding with an example for each?
As from an ethical standpoint, it is not important that humans are animals.
What you want to ask is are animals moral persons. Or as Kant would put it, moral agents. Can an animal act unethically? Can an animal be treated unethically?
What makes human beings moral persons.
Jeremy Singer's philosophy may help you, he wrote an entire book called Animal Liberation in which he argues in favor of animal rights. Singer's point of view is that pleasure is good, pain is bad. Animals feel pleasure and pain, so animals can be wronged by inducing pain.
the difference between humans and the rest of the animals is that humans usually have recourse to the lawcourts to defend their rights when they are infringed - the other animals usually don't have this option
Originally Posted by John Galt
cats are people too!
Actually, my cat has had almost no contact with other cats and when he does he doesn't get along with them when they do normal cat things. I know it's commonplace to anthropomorphize your animals, but when a cat reacts more favorably to bad human behaviours (like harassing him for fun :P) than he does to a social cat behaviour, like cleaning, doesn't that say something?
Now the next step is getting him to stand on two legs and wear a fez- then I'll really be rolling in money!
yes.Originally Posted by Molecular
It's kind of an interesting concept though that they are still fighting on how many kingdoms there actually are, and that currently there is a difference between British and American textbooks.
I'm afraid i can only give an answer to the question two posts ago when the person requesting information makes a choice on the number of Kingdoms he prefers.
I think it would be a nice homework assignment for all of us 'thescienceforumers' to find examples then.
OK I will start :POriginally Posted by spuriousmonkey
1. Eukaryotes - Humans (Easy one)
2. Prokaryotes - Mitochondria which are the power stations of our cells providing us with oxidative phosphorylation.
You can't count mitochondria, since they're not autonomous.
But you can count the plethora of species that live in the colon and help us digest
Not sure about plants or fungi. At least not in a "normal healthy" person living in the industrialized world.
Prokaryotes: E coli
Tapeworm is a rare parasite. It is not part of a healthy functioning human.
E Coli and other bacteria in the gut, on the other hand, are important for bowel regulation.
I think we should limit ourselves to only symbiotic and commensal relationships.
On the subject of humans being animals, here is a story.
Alfred, a psyhciatrist, was travelling by train and fell into conversation with another passenger. This passenger revealed that his sister thought she was a hen.
Alfred listened to the details then declared - "You know I believe with modern psychiatric techniques we can cure your sister."
The other passenger looked aghast. "Cure her! Goodness me no. We don't want to cure her."
"Why ever not?" asked Alfred.
"We need the eggs."
I honestly don't care about what you think. You seem to be blinded by the idea that the living conditions in a modern first world country reflects on the basic state of the average human being.Originally Posted by Numsgil
In fact in many parts of the world helminthic parasitism is endemic. And that is a fact.
Anyway pinworms are a common eukaryotic parasite in developed countries, they sometimes cause appendicitis, but usually are asymptomatic. Toxoplasma as well.
You also have a few species of yeast living on you.
So then we're just missing some plants (I'm assuming there's probably some archea in the gut).
No need to be rude. I was simply saying that a parasite like a tapeworm is waaay to symptomatic. You need something more in the commensal range. Something where if an alien species familiar with Earth abducted some humans for a zoo, they wouldn't remove it.I honestly don't care about what you think. You seem to be blinded by the idea that the living conditions in a modern first world country reflects on the basic state of the average human being.
Would you mind expanding why you can't count them? Mitochondria are controlled by outside forces such as exercise so why can they not be included? They have their own DNA too.Originally Posted by Numsgil
I would say because mitochondria are both 100% dependent for survival on existence within humans and, they cannot (as far as I know) be passed from one adult individual to another. Many of the genes for products essential to mitochondrial functioning are found in the nuclear genome as well.Originally Posted by Molecular
There are probably innumerable pathogens that exist on and within us at relatively low and harmless densities thanks to the normal functioning of our immune system. When a person becomes immune compromised, these pathogen populations can expand quite quickly.
Would a pregnancy count for one or more chordates living inside someone? That's a pretty common condition in both the third and first world.
No offense spurious but you did say average human.Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
Considering the vast numbers of people living in third world countries, tapeworms may in fact be the "average" for all humans on the planet.Originally Posted by gottspieler
Considering the vast numbers of people living in third world countries, tapeworms may in fact be the "average" for all humans on the planet.Nearly 1.4 billion people carry roundworm. Nearly 1.3 billion carry those naughty intestine ravaging hookworms. Even these examples are not of the "average" person. There are nearly 7 billion people living on this earth and the majority of them do not have parasites. What we do have is a relationship with e-coli, l. acidophilus, etc, in our intestines. Since we eat fungi in mushroom and other forms that can possibly be said to be a part of most humans. There are also naturally occuring fungi as part of our human flora. Motile cilia are found in the lining of the trachea, where they sweep mucus and dirt out of the lungs.Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
Thus we "average" humans contain members of the Kingdoms Protozoa (cilia), Fungi (candida in gut) and Bacteria (e. coli, l. acidophilus, etc). As far as I know, we normally don't have any plants or animals living within our bodies. I would argue that the average human is a collection of various members of 3 Kingdoms living within a single animal. Much like other animals.
Our skin is probably crawling with nematodes.
The mitochondria is not a Chromist, it's not even descended from a Chromist. Also, cilia are cellular processes not separate organisms.
As for parasite distribution, parasites tend to be tropical organisms, if you looked specifically at populations of North Africa, Central Asia, and South East Asia, you would probably find that they do become the average. The parasite levels tend to be controlled in Southern Europe and the Gulf Coast of the USA by proper water treatment.
Also, studies conducted in the USA have found pinworm incidence rates between 30-80% in caucasian children. The parasite is generally considered to be ubiquitous, you can imagine infection rates in countries with limited access to sanitation and healthcare would have higher rates. This organism is highly adapted to living in humans, it causes no disease except for rare appendicitis. The female worm lays it's eggs on the peri-anal skin and secretes an inflammatory compound to make the skin itchy, so that a person will scratch and then facilitate the transfer of the eggs by spreading them to everywhere you touch. So, wash your hands before you eat
I'd be very, very surprised if this is true. Do you have numbers on that somewhere?Originally Posted by gottspieler
Quite a broad range, no? Not very conclusive at all.Also, studies conducted in the USA have found pinworm incidence rates between 30-80% in caucasian children.
That doesn't matter. They are still protozoa. No one stipulated that they had to be seperate organisms.Also, cilia are cellular processes not separate organisms.
Do you have access to studies proving me wrong?I'd be very, very surprised if this is true. Do you have numbers on that somewhere?
I never said that it was. Mitochondria derived from endosymbiotic prokaryotes.The mitochondria is not a Chromist
There actually seems to be a hypothetical link between a lack of parasites in western society and allergies.
Allegedly parasites like tapeworm prime the immunesystem to give a proper response to foreign bodies. And without the exposure to them on normal levels this just doesn't happen leading to an increase in allergies.
Yep, or that our co-evolution with a massive helminth burden means that we were being positively selected for a twitchy, over-reacting Th2 response. Which promptly goes nuts over very little. That's evolution for you. Change the environment and a beneficial mutation becomes a detrimental one. I think it is still hypothesis, but certainly plausible.Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
I *cough* blogged on it way back.
Does this mean then that infecting yourself with Platyhelminthes with cure your asthma/allergies or is it something that has to happen early in life you think? It does sound pretty reasonable. I am just curious; doesn't the life cycle of Platyhelminthes include domesticated pigs or is that just coincidental?Originally Posted by TheBiologista
I know there are some immunology labs here in Ireland looking into that question but I don't think anyone's about to recommend "a worm a day". Naturally, they'll be hoping for some easy molecular basis that they can patent :wink:Originally Posted by KALSTER
Good luck to them then!
There is some suggestion that BCG vaccines (live attenuated mycobacterium vaccine against TB), may provide protection against allergies.Originally Posted by TheBiologista
Lupus susceptible mice injected with BCG showed significant decreases in autoimmune disease symptoms. I don't think we'll be giving TB vaccines to our children anytime soon though.
It's also interesting that autoimmune disease seems to strike women a lot more often then men.
Edit: Margulis, though most would agree with her endosymbiotic theory for the mitochondria, is completely nuts. Cilia are not spyrochetes, her entire idea is based off the fact that termites have co-opted spyrochetes that function similarily to cilia. However, the eukaryotic tubulin protein is homologous with the archael FtsZ. Her argument just doesn't hold up. Cilia are not of bacterial origin. As for protozoan origin, I don't know of any evidence to support that, especially since some single celled protist actually have cilia, so it's much more likely cilia were retained through evolution.
As for cristae, I don't see how that could be a chromist. The mitochondria is likely derived from an early proteobacter, which would have had 2 membranes to begin with. Over time a more heavily folded inner membrane was selected for because it allowed for greater surface area and thus more efficient energy production through the ETC.
Heh. I skimmed that as "4 Kilograms". Now I'm curious if anybody reckoned the total load?Originally Posted by gottspieler
I think the estimate is around 10 times more cells than human cells, however bacterial cells are much smaller and don't contain things like collagen stores that require high amounts of water to be osmotically stable. They likely don't weigh too much, maybe a couple pounds?Originally Posted by Pong
Thanks. That's all the perspective I was itching for.
Whoops! I misread. Tubular christae are features of the haptophyte Chromists...I read it as meaning our mitochondrion's cristae were Chromists..I never said that it was. Mitochondria derived from endosymbiotic prokaryotes. However, the cristae are Chromists.
That means we're down to Protozoa (cilia), Fungi (candida in gut) and Bacteria (e. coli, l. acidophilus, etc).
I think plants are the nail in the coffin. There just aren't any colonies of algae growing on our skins. It's actually rather interesting considering how many other kingdoms are highly successful being parasitic on mammals.
And we also thought the mitochondrion were once merely organelles. The cilia could very well have once been seperate organisms. There is so much we still don't know. The cilia in our bodies reminds me a lot of the Ciliates, a kind of Protozoa characterized by having cilia.Also, cilia are cellular processes not separate organisms.
I think you might have hinted at the problem. For them to be plants, they have to photosynthesize, no? So they would have to be close enough to the surface of the skin to be able to catch some sun. I can't think how they could be very motile in these conditions or even how they could get there in the first place.Originally Posted by Numsgil
Would a non-photosynthesizing life form descended from plants be considered a plant?
On a purely theoretical level, I can imagine crusty planet material maybe matting in an animals fur, with roots into the flesh extracting moisture that way...
Do seeds count? Many plants depend on animal ingestion to complete part of their life cycles. Though we humans don't play nice at that game do we?
The coat of sloths is loaded with plants.
http://itotd.com/articles/450/the-hi...ves-of-sloths/The Value of a Green Back
What I find most interesting about the three-toed sloth is the symbiotic relationship it has with other organisms. One effect of the sloth’s languid pace of life is that it can’t be bothered to groom itself. This turns out to be beneficial to several varieties of algae and mold that grow inside the sloth’s hollow hairs. The algae effectively turn the sloth green, giving it excellent camouflage among the leaves. The camouflage is crucial to the sloth’s survival, because its inability to move quickly makes it an easy target for the harpy eagle.
But the symbiosis doesn’t end there. The algae in the sloth’s fur provides food for a great many insects. (I should point out, incidentally, that sloths have extremely long fur, making them appear much larger than they really are.) Beetles have been found by the hundreds living on a single sloth. Another insect that calls the sloth home is a type of moth—Bradipodicola hahneli (or “sloth moth” to most people). The sloth’s fur provides both food and protection for the moth. Not only does it feed on the algae, but it also deposits its eggs in the sloth’s droppings, where they pupate and hatch, and then fly off to look for another sloth to live on.
I have a large amount of plant DNA running through my body everyday in the form of tea and coffee :-D
You all must of heard the story about if you eat an apple seed it grows inside you. Mums are not wrong you know!
If you hold on to what you said then you can say that a stone for example is a collection of several organisms too. Let's not confuse young students with that!Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
There are actually parasitic plants that prey on other plants, they have a kind of washed out appearance because of the lack of chlorophyll.Originally Posted by Numsgil
The pinkish vine is the parasitic plant.
Now back to cilia, I find it much more reasonable to think that the reason ciliates and animals both have cilia, is because animals and modern ciliates share a common ancestor that probably closely resembled current ciliate protozoans. Cilia lack genetic material, or anything at all that suggests they are of endosymbiotic origin. Let's not jump on the Lynn Margulis wagon and call every organelle an endosymbiont just because mitochondria and chloroplast are very much likely to be.
Edit: Like hell the Latvians are the next world champions.
Thank you. I wanted to know more about the Ciliates. I don't think cilia in out bodies themselves are endosymbiots but what about them being a feature of a structure that is? (in our bodies) Does that theory hold any water? What exactly are the cilia attached to in the trachea?Now back to cilia, I find it much more reasonable to think that the reason ciliates and animals both have cilia, is because animals and modern ciliates share a common ancestor that probably closely resembled current ciliate protozoans. Cilia lack genetic material, or anything at all that suggests they are of endosymbiotic origin. Let's not jump on the Lynn Margulis wagon and call every organelle an endosymbiont just because mitochondria and chloroplast are very much likely to be.
"Ciliated columnar epithelium
These are simple columnar epithelial cells, but in addition, they posses fine hair-like outgrowths, cilia on their free surfaces. These cilia are capable of rapid, rhythmic, wavelike beatings in a certain direction. This movement of the cilia in a certain direction causes the mucus, which is secreted by the goblet cells, to move (flow or stream) in that direction. Ciliated epithelium is usually found in the air passages like the nose. It is also found in the uterus and Fallopian tubes of females. The movement of the cilia propel the ovum to the uterus."
Termites have endosymbionts that act as ciliated cells in the gut.Originally Posted by gottspieler
However, cilia themselves are membrane bound cylindrical structures made of tubulin, they are connected to the cytoskeleton and are an interesting organelle but that's all they are.
unless they are also the hand of God.but that's all they are.
Last edited by mustafa korkutata; June 19th, 2013 at 09:18 PM.
Is this what you were trying to communicate?Originally Posted by mustafa korkutata
Maybe humans are animals. Maybe not. Humans are similar to animals. Of course, humans are capable of higher reasoning, while lower animals are not.
Consider that there are more microbial cells in/on the human body than human cells - the other cells being made up of memebrs of kingdonms (in US thinking) Fungi, Protista, Archaea, Bacteria - add mites and other metazoan parasite so Animalia. So 5 are easily imagined. Maybe Planta too.
Originally Posted by gottspieler
Thanks for demonstrating those stronger thinking skills gott haha
who said something about insects what? Peritrophic membrane is what gets pushed by the stomach epithelial cilia, if i recall (and I probably don't)
I know..stop me before I get all Shakespearean on everyone's ass...lolThanks for demonstrating those stronger thinking skills gott haha
If this is what he meant he makes a fundamental error.Originally Posted by gottspieler
Every animal has something it is exceptional in. That's what defines it as a species. To arbitrarily pick a characteristic and claim it is boundary between humans and animals is a folly. An artificial construct to make some people feel better, or whatever 'human' reasoning lies behind it.
It is not a biological valid method of reasoning.
Whales are animal, so is a pod of whales. Humans are animal, humanity isn't.
A mob of humans is.
Humanity isn't? isn't what? Animal? So whalenesss is?
What fatuous silliness.
A cromulent observation.
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