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Thread: Vision Quest

  1. #1 Vision Quest 
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    From Caroll's book The Making of the Fittest:

    3 human opsins (vision genes)..SWS, MWS, LWS

    V1R (olfactory genes) fossilized- 50%- The more fossilized, the better vision gets...

    Birds have 4 opsin genes

    Humans rely less on pheromones in mate selection than other animals.
    Since males primarily are visually attracted to females (moreso than by smell-unless you're just a freak- or any other sense), did intraspecific competition ensue in hunter-gatherer societies, in which males who were better hunters due to better vision were more likely to survive and reproduce in the past? Since the animals we consume are generally large and easily seen in nature, did we not need to rely on smell as much to find prey?


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    We have had a nocturnal evolutionary past.

    Weird that someone like carrol overlooked the basics.


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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    We have had a nocturnal evolutionary past.

    Weird that someone like carrol overlooked the basics.
    No, that was mentioned as well. I just omitted it...genes have undergone many sequential changes over time..I was wondering about the more recent past...
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Recent past doesn't matter if limits were created before that time.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Recent past doesn't matter if limits were created before that time.
    Oh...what kind of limits?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Like not having the gene.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I think what spurious means is that primates as a group favored increased visual sensitivity and lost smell sensitivity, probably because of the group's past as small, nocturnal, arboreal, insectivorous animals. The trichromatic visual system that humans have is shared by all Old World primates (who probably became trichromatic instead of dichromatic around the time we moved to diurnalism - dichromatic vision is actually better if you're going to be nocturnal). A human's vision is not significantly more or less sensitive than that of a baboon.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Truth be told, I think our way of life has taught us not to use or noses so much and instead rely on our other senses. Apparently humans still have the ability to be highly adept sniffers and can make use of it if they practice. I was always impressed by Jilly Goolden's sense of smell (a reference for those of you who may have watched BBC tv in the 80's and 90's).

    As always, some light reading from an open access journal: The Human Sense of Smell: Are We Better Than We Think? (More of a "food for thought" type article than anything else really).

    I found this article quite interesting myself - and raised my eyebrows a little when it said that the human sense of smell is more sensitve to odour molecules than a gas chromatograph.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    There's a pure hardware difference, if you will. It's not that we've been "taught" anything.

    Prosimian: (primitive primate - brown lemur)
    Notice the long snout (room for large numbers of scent receptors) and the wet nose (better for "grabbing" smell particles out of the air)


    Primate: (black and white colobus)
    Much shorter snout, and dry nose. Simply not as good for sensitivity of smell.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    That's not really how I was using the word "taught". I just meant that humans do indeed have a great sense of smell, but for some reason or another rarely use it to its full potential. You can learn to use it (or unlearn not to), if you see what I mean?

    The central claim of the opening post is one that some biologists are trying to re-examine. Just how important is odour in primate life? And why do we, with so few olfactory receptor genes, manage to sense odours often just as well as animals with 1,000+ such receptor genes?

    The article I linked to has some interesting comments on nasal architecture too and even proffers a suggestion as to why our noses are small and dry. I know it's just all guess work really, but... perhaps there's some truth in there?
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    We cloud our senses of taste and smell with rich flavors and smells of food. It would do to eat bland foods like rice, grits, oatmeal.

    You cherish the sweetness of an apple more if you don't eat brownies. You taste it more, it might be a mental thing, it might be the phisical stimulation of nerves, either way it helps to put conscious effort into it to awaken unused nerves and refresh overused ones.

    nerves become numb when subject to static conditions... if you eat rich foods, bland foods are that much blander.

    practice meditating, and fast for a day, your nerves will be very active quick to respond. you will feal anxious because of the overwhelming amount of information that is usually distracted from by bodily functions like digestion. After a day of not eating an apple smells and tastes amazing.

    I don't know if this is what is actually happening, I've never read any studies on it, but from experience and basic yoga understanding, it realy does seem to be whats going on.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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