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Thread: Why hasn't evolution created the perfect species?

  1. #1 Why hasn't evolution created the perfect species? 
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    Evolution created the Turritopsis Nutricula, aka the Immortal Jellyfish, a family of jellyfish which, upon reaching sexual maturity, has the ability to revert back to its polyp form, completely resetting its life cycle. Theoretically, this can happen an unlimited number of times, rendering the jellyfish biologically immune to death, though it can still die to predation, disease, etc.

    Then, there's the Tardigrade. An extremophile, the Tardigrade, aka the Waterbear, is exceptionally resilient to all kinds of hazardous environments. Can withstand lethal doses of radiation and anywhere from near absolute zero to several thousands of degrees Celsius temperatures. It can also thrive in massive pressure, such as that found in the oceanic rims around the Pacific. These creatures were even taken into outer space and tested under constant UV bombardment from the sun itself. If the environment becomes too unforgiving for a waterbear (too hot or cold, no food or water, etc.) it can simply halt its entire internal metabolism, practically dying until conditions become more tolerable, at which point the waterbear "revives" itself. The waterbear can even procreate and give birth to completely normal and healthy offspring under all these listed circumstances!

    Then, there's us. The only technologically capable and intelligent species on the planet. Aside from our big brains, we are nothing to all the other animals in the world. If it weren't for our ingenuity, we'd be sitting at the very bottom of our local food chain, likely even have been long extinct.

    So why hasn't evolution combined all the strengths of all these exceptional species to create one super species? Intelligent, immune to death (at least in a biological standpoint), and extremely resilient to all kinds of hazards?


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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Because there aren't selection pressures that exactly match what you happen to think is "perfect".

    Every species is a good fit for its environment. That's all evolution can do.


    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  4. #3  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Because natural selection doesn't design, it destroys.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rladngus View Post
    So why hasn't evolution combined all the strengths of all these exceptional species to create one super species? Intelligent, immune to death (at least in a biological standpoint), and extremely resilient to all kinds of hazards?
    Evolution is not intelligently driven.

    Your ideas of perfection are only a personal concept.

    Lastly, the complexity involved in what makes a higher animal inhibit the probability of stumbling upon biological immunity or extreme resilience. There are trade offs there of what works and what doesn't.

    If evolution was intelligently driven, perhaps we might see super species. Designed species. None of the genetic flaws and medical problems we do see.
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  6. #5  
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    "Why hasn't evolution created the perfect species?"

    Because as the various species evolved, they invariably became barbaric in nature and thus always rescinded gains by the perfect, which by their perfect nature resisted barbarism.

    jocular
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    define perfect - horses aren't very good at flying, salmon are terrible runners, and bats wouldn't dream of going scuba diving
    every adaptation means you give up the option of being good at something else
    sculptor and MrCarlSagan like this.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  8. #7  
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    In fairness, one could argue that the closest observed species to perfection is Numquamus Volaticus.
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  9. #8  
    who sees through things
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    "evolution created" = oxymoron
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  10. #9  
    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    In fairness, one could argue that the closest observed species to perfection is Numquamus Volaticus.
    Lucidus Somnilumnus is not far behind......
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    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  11. #10  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Because there aren't selection pressures that exactly match what you happen to think is "perfect".

    Every species is a good fit for its environment. That's all evolution can do.

    Just looking at what Strange put makes me think that if for example "we" as a species were to gain near invulnerability and near immortality from evolutions perspective we wouldn't be heading towards perfection, but indeed infact away from it. This is because we have a limited amount of space to live in so for evolution the goal here is to produce adaptions which would mean a species doesn't live so long as to be able to over populate and thus overwhelm the amount of living space within it's enviroment. It is the goal of evolution to create a species which best fits it's enviroment, not a particular member of that species. What this means is if a species still has many surviving members after a thousand years it makes no real difference to evolution if those surviving members have had life spans of 50 years or 200 years, what matters is the species survives at a managable and suitable number for it's enviroment.

    What we should consider as our population continues to expand and eat up the resources of our enviroment that evolution may actually work against us, at least in terms of an individuals longevitiy, rather than appearing to work for us by making us more resilent.

    Ironically it may well be more of a case of mankind using it's own intelligence against nature to help us survive in the future. One of the things our intelligence is allowing us to do is to biologically engineer ourselves so that we are capable of giving ourselves the abilities we may desire to help cope with our future enviroments, rather than just being dependant on an evolutionary ability to adapt. Also we can begin to use biological technologies, through biomimicry, that have already been designed by evolution for our convenience but without having to directly engineer these particular abilities into our own bodies, this can give us access to some of the advantages they provide without having to suffer any adverse side effects that might ordinarily accompany such 'natural' abilities.

    This is what we must also remember, there are no such things really as advantages or disadvantages. What evolution has taught us is that there are traits that are useful one enviroment and detremental in another. The point is it's swings and roundabouts, no good or bad, just what is best for one situation over another. This means if it were the case we were given some of these other abilities by evolution, then we as yet don't actually know what some of the flipside problems such abilities could also cause us.
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  12. #11  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    "Perfect" requires that something be complete. Since evolution is an ongoing process, nothing "perfect" can ever arise from evolutionary processes.
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  13. #12  
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    nothing "perfect" can ever arise from evolutionary processes.
    I really don't get the idea of "perfect" anyway. The shingleback lizard in South Australia's outback is ideally suited to its location. Its mating behaviour is unusual among lizards. But how could anyone say it's better, or worse, or "perfect" compared to blue tongues or stumpy tailed lizards living in slightly different environments just as successfully.

    Which bird is better, worse, boring, perfect among penguins, wrens, boobies, vultures, geese, hummingbirds? I just don't see it.

    And how do you judge seals against rattlesnakes against kookaburras against meerkats against beavers? The whole idea's pointless.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  14. #13  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    In answer to the OP.... because Karl Pilkington isn't in charge of the R&D department of life.

    Karl Pilkington Ultimate Animal - YouTube
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    The environment is diverse and an organism does not need to be perfect at anything let alone at everything to simply reproduce. The moment an organism has one advantage the other advantages automatically become less critical if that single adaptation/advantage suffices to allow reproduction.

    If human ancestors had venomous blood and rock hard exoskeleton laced with venomous quills and could digest anything goats can, odds are we would be dumb as an animal and not as mobile/versatile (swim, run, climb trees) and it would not be surprising if we were all as nearsighted as Mr Magoo, because it would not be important to see as well or be a nimble or to be intelligent, we would be likely to survive just fine.

    Also note that from our point of view, what we see is the final stage of evolution, *This* is what evolution achieves, but this is subjective, a point of view placed at a previous point in time would have no organisms able to travel faster than 1mm per hour, then you would have *some* organisms able to travel at incredible speeds (from an amoeba's perspective) of a sea slug! Then able to travel out of water that is incredible, then Fly! Then have some being able to walk swim and fly(some fish eating birds). There's nothing to say that a billion years from now (if the ecosystems arent destroyed by humans or extinction event) a few organisms would not be much more adapted/able than what we see now, even if never perfect.

    Another thing, that is unrelated but worth considering, is that all the amazing capabilities that animals have compared to bacterias, are from one perspective, due to how the cells are diversified and organized in a way that grants emergent properties to the collective of cells that are orders of magnitudes greater than a bunch of bacteria that are not organized to interact in complex fashion. And a human is much more capable, (with its organized cells that interact in a variety of complex ways, in turn made of organized molecules that interact in a variety of complex ways), than a cloud of hydrogen gas drifting in space, whose atoms have not been in the same interaction rich environments as the atoms that make up your human body.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    It is the goal of evolution to create a species which best fits it's enviroment, not a particular member of that species.
    A very good post- but with the caveat of a redirect notice to Alec Bing's post, above.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    It is the goal of evolution to create a species which best fits it's enviroment, not a particular member of that species.
    A very good post- but with the caveat of a redirect notice to Alec Bing's post, above.
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  18. #17  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    But there has been perfection in evolution....just ask my friend's cat Anabel.



    She is quite certain of her own perfection.
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    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  19. #18  
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    Death is an advantage. That's why.

    In education people say the most important thing to learn is: how to learn. In evolution, the most important ability to gain is: the ability to evolve.

    You can't evolve rapidly if the older generations are too resilient to death. You need their genes to vanish so the new genes can replace them.


    I'm glad you made this thread, though. You've pointed out that there's no fundamental law of nature that says a species can't be immortal. It's an arbitrary decision which evolution made for us.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
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    it would seem that at least 2 people in here think that they are perfect species unto themselves.............
    hmmmmmmmmmm
    should this thread be in the psychology section?
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    it would seem that at least 2 people in here think that they are perfect species unto themselves.............
    hmmmmmmmmmm
    should this thread be in the psychology section?
    I'd recommend genetically anthropology.
    In time, we may be able to emulate the perfect ones to improve the rest of humanity.
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  22. #21  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    nothing "perfect" can ever arise from evolutionary processes.
    I really don't get the idea of "perfect" anyway. The shingleback lizard in South Australia's outback is ideally suited to its location. Its mating behaviour is unusual among lizards. But how could anyone say it's better, or worse, or "perfect" compared to blue tongues or stumpy tailed lizards living in slightly different environments just as successfully.

    Which bird is better, worse, boring, perfect among penguins, wrens, boobies, vultures, geese, hummingbirds? I just don't see it.

    And how do you judge seals against rattlesnakes against kookaburras against meerkats against beavers? The whole idea's pointless.
    Agreed. Though my point was more based in the semantics of the word "perfect".
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