Skip

Why there are still monkeys
August 25, 2008 1:15 PM   Subscribe


 
This post was inspired by the question towards the end of this article:

A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
posted by homunculus at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2008


Why are there still monkeys if humans evolved from monkeys?

I dunno. If Christianity supplanted Judaism, why are there still Jews?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:24 PM on August 25, 2008 [42 favorites]


As long as there's YouTube...
posted by Wolfdog at 1:25 PM on August 25, 2008


Why are there still monkeys?

Think of the organ grinders, man!
posted by jonmc at 1:26 PM on August 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are more of us than there are of you.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2008 [18 favorites]


Because we haven't extincted them all yet.
posted by clearly at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2008


Because Planet of the Apes is an accurate depiction of the future.
posted by oddman at 1:30 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Real answer: Divergent evolution likely through sympatric speciation.
posted by clearly at 1:31 PM on August 25, 2008


"why are there no monkeys?"

clever.

but... why did god create monkeys? what good are they to us? why not big, fat tree-dwelling pigs like exploding bacon pinatas?

now that's a model of creation i could get behind.
posted by klanawa at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


...or under
posted by klanawa at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


What is "Because we both evolved from a common ancestor", Alex?

Shit, that one's only worth $100 in the "Common and Easily Debunked Creationism Arguments" category.
posted by yhbc at 1:37 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]




"Damn you all to Hell!"
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's still some Shakespeare left to write.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on August 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


It always bugged me when people said that Humans did not evolve from "monkies" and this passage captures why:
On this subject, by the way, there has been way too much pussyfooting. Apologists emphasize that man cannot be the descendant of any living ape—a statement that is obvious to the verge of imbecility—and go on to state or imply that man is not really descended from an ape or monkey at all, but from an earlier common ancestor. In fact, that earlier ancestor would certainly be called an ape or monkey in popular speech by anyone who saw it. Since the terms ape and monkey are defined by popular usage, man’s ancestors were apes or monkeys (or successively both). It is pusillanimous if not dishonest for an informed investigator to say otherwise (1964, p. 12).
Anyone who saw the common ancestor of monkeys and man would almost certainly consider it a monkey.

What is "Because we both evolved from a common ancestor", Alex?

That don't make any sense at all. Modern Humans and Neanderthals evolved from a common ancestor, and yet there are no neanderthals around. Two things having the same common ancestor does not mean that they are both still around.
posted by delmoi at 1:43 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's still some Shakespeare left to write.

Ah, but to replace the monkeys we have rednecks + shotguns + alcohol + stop signs.
posted by inigo2 at 1:47 PM on August 25, 2008


there are monkeys because the first law of comedy improvement, "Add a monkey to it," requires them.
posted by mwhybark at 1:51 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Daybream Believer.

I'm a Believer.
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I went to Catholic school growing up. We learned about evolution; hell, my high school biology teacher even had us watch a "scientific" film from the Creationist camp and had us debunk it for an assignment. The first time I ever met someone - a neighborhood friend of one of my classmates - who didn't believe in evolution, it took him like half an hour to convince me that he wasn't pulling my leg. And I think that on some level, I'm still not entirely sure that Creationism isn't some elaborate joke played by fundamentalists on the rest of us, because surely so many people can't be that stupid in the face of such obvious evidence, right?

I'd also like to mention that I'm not just saying "LOL XIANS." While I'm no longer a Christian or a Catholic, I never saw any evidence for incompatibility between religious beliefs and evolutionary science, and still don't, nor did any of my Catholic school science teachers, and I was similarly confounded when I first came across people who believed that the entirety of the Bible was literal fact, rather than spiritual metaphor (metaphor being another concept taught in Catholic school). I mean, you don't see people reading Luke 13 and stating that it's mandatory for Christians to become mustard farmers, so it's not like the concept of parables, metaphors, etc. should be completely foreign.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:52 PM on August 25, 2008 [16 favorites]


*Daydream Believer*

No more monkeys pounding out typos at the typewriter, except for those intent on fulfilling the dream of more "Shakespeare left to write!"
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because poo flinging is not yet an Olympic sport.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where are the unicorn bones?
posted by plexi at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2008


Evolution is not "heading" toward some goal, and humans are not any "farther along" than are monkeys. A faulty teleologic assumption about evolution lies at the root of this silly question.
posted by Mister_A at 1:57 PM on August 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


And, lo, Jesus and the disciples walked down the path towards Nazareth, but lo, the trail was blocked by a gigantic brontosaurus.

And the disciples went running and screaming, "What a big fucking lizard!"

"I'm sure going to mention this in my book," said Luke.

"I’m sure going to mention this in my book," said Matthew.

"I’m not sure what I saw," said Thomas.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:58 PM on August 25, 2008 [28 favorites]


I haven't followed the link to RTFA yet, but I will say that, flippant though it may sound, clearly's answer is the most correct one. Monkeys still exist because they have yet to go extinct. Any line of thought attempting to determine the "purpose" of monkeys presupposes a guiding plan, which in turn requires a planner, thus putting you right inside the creationists' framework where they want you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:59 PM on August 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


"Pusillanimous" is one hell of a word.

I don't really see what this is all about.. creationists are using the "general ancestor" terminology to counter-attack the "humans evolved from apes" theory? Isn't that just.. language? I mean, does it really matter if that ancestor is called a monkey, an ape or a banana? It seems to me this particular discussion is mostly about labels.

Also, taking this kind of question to the extreme: why are there still single-sell organisms, if they evolved to complex life forms? This strange, singular view of evolution obviously makes very little sense: life diversifies by mostly random events, but if there's a niche to fill, there's no reason for 'old models' to die out.
posted by Harry at 1:59 PM on August 25, 2008


"I never saw any evidence for incompatibility between religious beliefs and evolutionary science"

Can we not go here?
posted by clearly at 2:01 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Because Bush needs to get his 25% from somewhere?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:04 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


What is the half-life of a monkey?

And why are there still Ford Pintos when we all know they explode?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:06 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because it's cool when things blow up.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:11 PM on August 25, 2008


Because monkeys are delicious.
posted by device55 at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because evolution is not a zero-sum game.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:15 PM on August 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


""I never saw any evidence for incompatibility between religious beliefs and evolutionary science"

Can we not go here?"


All I meant was that as a kid going to Catholic school, I was shocked to find out that there were Christians all up in arms about a debate I had assumed long-settled.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:17 PM on August 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


That don't make any sense at all. Modern Humans and Neanderthals evolved from a common ancestor, and yet there are no neanderthals around. Two things having the same common ancestor does not mean that they are both still around.

Well, no, but it means that there's no reason why one might not still be around.

After all, pigeons and penguins have a common ancestor, yet both are still around. Why? Because pigeons are shit swimmers, and penguins don't handle New York taxis very well.

Humans, in our cousins' natural environment, die reasonably quickly; we certainly can't move through trees with any meaningful speed. We survive only when we can take control of our environment and start manipulating it with our tool-obsessed brains. Sure, we've gotten pretty good at taking over environments, but we can't just move into a jungle and live like chimpanzees do - we're not Superchimps; we're humans. Chimps do well in their natural environment; we do well in ours. Only difference is that we learned how to build our environment out of raw materials.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:18 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ook ook ook ook ook oook ook.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because cats still need washing?
posted by jocelmeow at 2:21 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only difference is that we learned how to build our environment out of raw materials.

And, should it be practical or convenient, dead monkeys.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on August 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


Chimps do well in their natural environment; we do well in ours. Only difference is that we learned how to build our environment out of raw materials.

Yeah, but when they figure out how to drive stick-shift, we're fuckin' doomed.
posted by ninjew at 2:22 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Monkeys remain because we are monkeys, and so are chimps, orangs, and all those other primates.
Quoted for truth Greg Nog.
posted by nowonmai at 2:26 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't followed the link to RTFA yet, but I will say that, flippant though it may sound, clearly's answer is the most correct one

Yes. The same answer is given in greater detail in the FA.

This is yet another example of why posting the title of an article all by its lonesome makes for a FPP that leads to a bad thread.

Many people who did not RTFA are assuming that this is a creationist article, not an article that's a witty, eloquent response to a frequent creationist question.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:26 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wilkins writes that, "we end up with an increase in the diversity of life, which is, I think, the single most important point Darwin ever made." But Darwin actually anticipated the extermination of the higher apes as well as what he considered to be the lower races of humans:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.--Chapter 6 of The Descent of Man.
posted by No Robots at 2:26 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


All I meant was that as a kid going to Catholic school, I was shocked to find out that there were Christians all up in arms about a debate I had assumed long-settled.

Hear, hear. The Bible's not a science textbook, and all that.

Also, there are still monkeys because who else are we going to record drinking their own urine, or eating their own excrement, and then upping it to YouTube?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:29 PM on August 25, 2008


I read the links. But it's more fun to respond to the question posed in the title than the article itself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:31 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


No Robots, that was an extraordinarily stupid and racist thing that Darwin said, but that doesn't make Wilkes wrong about the evolution ---> increased diversity being one of the best points Darwin ever made.

Darwin contradicted himself quite often. Sometimes he was onto something important, and other times he was just being an asshat. The difference between studying science and scripture is that when you're studying science, you're encouraged to pick out the useful stuff and point and mock at the asshattery.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:32 PM on August 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I read the links. But it's more fun to respond to the question posed in the title than the article itself.

Yes.

Jokes are funny. Earnest restatings of the point made in the article, not so much.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on August 25, 2008


Why are there still monkeys?

More importantly - how did one get elected President of the United States twice?
posted by loquacious at 2:41 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, snap, loquacious!
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:45 PM on August 25, 2008


More importantly - how did one get electedappointed President of the United States ...

Fixed that for you.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:46 PM on August 25, 2008


Wow, The Smirking Chimp has changed a lot! Can it really be 4 years since I visited that site...
posted by Chuckles at 2:50 PM on August 25, 2008


A few years ago, a 2 year old child I knew was playing with a stuffed Dodo and a plastic dinosaur.

I asked her what they were doing.

Her answer, in character: "We're being extinct together."

The much more important question for the creationist loons who ask questions like this is "why are there still people who believe patent fairy tales written 2000 years ago and disbelieve factual evidence they can witness in the present with their own eyes?"

Monkeys are smarter than these people. That's why there are still monkeys.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:52 PM on August 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


PS -- I RTFA, and enjoyed it. Good post. But the question is just too juicy not to elicit jokey answers. Many of these answers, by the way, would be effectively used in debates with creationists before your local school board.

Also: BUT CURIOUS GEORGE WAS A GODDAMN CHIMPANZEE.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:57 PM on August 25, 2008


But the question is just too juicy not to elicit jokey answers.

Wrong - you must never, ever respond with humor to a post about evolution.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:59 PM on August 25, 2008


Mmmm, monkeys.

Tasty, tasty, monkeys.
posted by kcds at 3:00 PM on August 25, 2008


jocelmeow : Because cats still need washing?

This is one of those good news/ bad news kind of things. The bad news is, that a lot of us were wrong; there is a god. The good news is, that she isn't mad that we've been questioning her existence, she actually appreciates that we are trying to figure all this out.

The thing is, we got one thing really, really wrong. We are not the top species on this planet, not by a long shot. The whole point of this place is actually to be are really nice home for Siamese cats (God's favorite). And the monkey here in this video is trying really hard to explain to us that we are doing it wrong. We are spending way too much time killing each other, and trying to figure out which mistranslation of her words is most inaccurate, and questioning if evolution is right or if we should just be stoning gay people or whatever.

We are doing wrong and have been for years. We are supposed to be bathing the little white kitties. It's what we were put here for.

Now get to it.
posted by quin at 3:04 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Because nothing else has successfully usurped control of their ecological niche.
posted by Flunkie at 3:07 PM on August 25, 2008


Yeah, but when they figure out how to drive stick-shift, we're fuckin' doomed.

70% of the people I work with don't know how to drive a stick-shift.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 3:16 PM on August 25, 2008


So that we can have monkey butlers, obviously.
posted by cgomez at 3:19 PM on August 25, 2008


Hell, I don't know how to drive a stick-shift. Thank god for monkey chauffeurs, am I right?
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:19 PM on August 25, 2008


From the linked article:

apes (simia, literally "the similar ones")


No. It's from a Greek word meaning "snub-nosed." If you're going to be debunking unscientific theories, try not to perpetrate others.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled poo-flinging.
posted by languagehat at 3:31 PM on August 25, 2008


Because evolution is not a zero-sum game.

Either you're alive and are lucky enough to have a chance to reproduce, or you're extinct and you don't get to play. I think that's about as zero-sum as a game gets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on August 25, 2008


Either you're alive and are lucky enough to have a chance to reproduce, or you're extinct and you don't get to play. I think that's about as zero-sum as a game gets.

Hmm...

Monkeys: alive, still reproducing, +1
Humans: alive, still reproducing, +1

My math must be wrong, I'm getting 2?
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on August 25, 2008


Humans are playing for their own survival -- just like the monkeys, in their own way -- just as the insects, protozoa, parasites, etc. do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:49 PM on August 25, 2008


I dunno. If Christianity supplanted Judaism, why are there still Jews?

My mother has a friend who grew up in a tiny village in Minnesota. She was taught, at school and/or church, that Jesus was the last Jew. Not in the "Jews have been supplanted by Lutherans as the chosen people" sense, but in the "there haven't been any Jews on the planet for the past two millennia" sense. After high school she moved to a comparatively huge city, discovered there were Jews there, and was completely taken aback.
posted by decagon at 3:56 PM on August 25, 2008


I would love to have a pet monkey dressed in overalls and a spinner hat.


Did I say that out loud?
posted by HotPatatta at 4:03 PM on August 25, 2008


Well, y'all are bein' rational and the folks that sure didn't descend from no stinkin' ape are bein' emotional. My anecdote: When a student, I was watching a fine gorilla in the London zoo and later ran into a bunch of Mormons as I sheltered from the rain in their church. I innocently told them about the gorilla and said How can any one look at so many similarities between them and us and doubt that we are related? They shuddered in horror that I could think such a thing. I have subsequently found that people who reject evolution are emotionally invested in keeping H. sapiens widely separated from the rest of creation. I'm not sure why.
posted by binturong at 4:06 PM on August 25, 2008


Because we need them to be our monkey butlers.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2008


The monkeys, not the Mormons.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2008


Humans are playing for their own survival -- just like the monkeys, in their own way -- just as the insects, protozoa, parasites, etc. do.

Exactly. Evolution is not a zero-sum game because the survival of any given species is not in the general case dependant on the failure of another.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:23 PM on August 25, 2008


Evolution is not "heading" toward some goal, and humans are not any "farther along" than are monkeys. A faulty teleologic assumption about evolution lies at the root of this silly question.

I was at a science museum recently that had the best evolutionary diagram I have ever seen. (Side note: I love scientific meetings with boozy social events in science museums.) Anyway, this diagram showed a cute little amorphous blob, which gives way to adorable little one-celled critters, and so on. Until finally, at what seems to be an endpoint or at least a thesis of some kind, evolution produces AN ASTRONAUT. There's no generic human there. There's just a little person in a spacesuit. I took it as not only a possible misconception of the process of evolution, but also as a commentary on human society and the perceived relative worth of various accomplishments. The rest of us are genetic dead ends, it seems. Like the poor monkeys and all those goddamn beetles.
posted by Tehanu at 4:40 PM on August 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


Because everybody's got something to hide 'cept for John Lennon and his monkey.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 PM on August 25, 2008


We are doing wrong and have been for years. We are supposed to be bathing the little white kitties. It's what we were put here for.

Metaphorically speaking, yes.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:47 PM on August 25, 2008


Monkey songs.

Older monkey songs.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:57 PM on August 25, 2008


Because they don't use oil.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 5:00 PM on August 25, 2008


flapjax at midnite, I think you mean that everybody's got something to hide 'cept for MeFite #17339.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:03 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Either you're alive and are lucky enough to have a chance to reproduce, or you're extinct and you don't get to play. I think that's about as zero-sum as a game gets.

Hmm...

Monkeys: alive, still reproducing, +1
Humans: alive, still reproducing, +1

My math must be wrong, I'm getting 2?


Because you're both missing Option #3, which is "find another evolutionary niche in which to frolic." Humans and monkeys are both alive and evolving today because their evolutionary paths diverged -- the ancestors of bonobo chimps didn't need to grow big brains to be happy munching on fruits and nuts. Coyotes, ravens, pigeons, rats, squirrels and various other animals have flourished in the wake of humans because of evolutionary advantages that favored them over wolves and passenger pigeons, for example.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:06 PM on August 25, 2008


Monkeys can go anywhere.
posted by homunculus at 5:09 PM on August 25, 2008


No Robots, that was an extraordinarily stupid and racist thing that Darwin said, but that doesn't make Wilkes wrong about the evolution ---> increased diversity being one of the best points Darwin ever made.

Actually, I don't think its necessarily true because there are cases in which natural selection produces monocultures or even, extinction.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:15 PM on August 25, 2008


Until finally, at what seems to be an endpoint or at least a thesis of some kind, evolution produces AN ASTRONAUT.

Well, duh, astronauts are HOW GAIA REPRODUCES!
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell - That wouldn't get me 0.
posted by Artw at 5:19 PM on August 25, 2008


Cool Papa Bell: There is a brilliant scene in Attenborough's Life of Mammals when he's pointing out that there is a half-dozen different monkey-species living in the same rainforest canopy, all with their own little niche.

And the amazing part was, they all evolved to recognize each other's warning calls. When one said "hawk" all of them dropped into the lower canopy. When one said "jaguar" you had two different species side by side taunting the jaguar.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell - That wouldn't get me 0.

/me looks back at Artw's previous posts.

OK, so you said, "Ook ook ook ook ook oook ook."

To which I cleverly respond, "Oooga, booga argh grug kooj."

Do you get it now, numbskull? Here, let me say it another way:

Ook ook ook ook ook oook ook.
Oooga, booga argh grug kooj.

Fixed that for you, you goddam knuckle-dragger. Probably still bashing chicks over the head and dragging them back to your cave.

f'n cro-magnons. just because a homo sapiens can use a sling doesn't mean they know where to aim. jesus, where the hell is Ayla with my lunch...? If she's with that Jondalar jackass again...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:37 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


All I meant was that as a kid going to Catholic school, I was shocked to find out that there were Christians all up in arms about a debate I had assumed long-settled.

It makes more sense when you consider that the "evolution vs. magicked-into-existence-by-bearded-sky-god" debate is a symbolic battle between enlightenment and endarkenment forces. The latter are angsty and unhappy because of lots of things going on in the world and society, e.g. gay marriage, but they have seized on creationism as a sort of badge of faith / wedge.

Maybe there's sort of a half-realized feeling that "if we just manage to get this excised from the books, the whole secular edifice falls apart."
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:39 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oooga, booga argh grug kooj.

Oh it's like that is it?

/touches monolith.
/beats shit out of Cool Papa Bell with tapir jaw bone.
posted by Artw at 5:53 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's right people, I just invoked the SPACE GODS. Where is your punctuated equilibrium now?
posted by Artw at 5:55 PM on August 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thus Spake ArtW.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 PM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


What else are you going to mix with gopher guts, porpoise pus, and little birdies' dirty feet?
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:12 PM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry to break with the humor, but I have a question: Did the various human races evolve at the same time from a common ancestor or from different ancestors, and/or did the races evolve (branch off) from the first humans? I'm thinking along the lines of African and Asian elephants ("The genetic differences however are so great that they actually cannot be interbred.").

Really interesting post, homunculus. The comments after the essay are worth a read also.
posted by sluglicker at 6:34 PM on August 25, 2008


sluglicker: Well, the theory that has the most current support proposes that all modern humans are descended from a single African ancestor somewhere between 200K and 100K years ago, with most population groups outside of Africa descended from a common ancestor 60K years ago. So genetically speaking it breaks down to three African populations and everyone else. At any rate, there is more genetic diversity across Africa than among Eurasian and American populations.

An alternative hypothesis proposes that an African group hybridized with existing Neanderthal and Homo erectus populations. It's not the strongest theory but there isn't quite enough evidence to rule it out.

Either way, American definitions of "race" which divide humanity into White, Black or African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Native Alaskan, Hawiian or other Pacific Islander, none of the above, and more than one of the above reflect history and culture rather than genetics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:55 PM on August 25, 2008


KirkJobSluder , I was surprised to learn that African and Asian elephants can't interbreed despite how similar they seem. I'm aware of the cultural aspects of defining "race" and I appreciate your comment. Of course, all humans can interbreed so there is not much difference genetically. I was also wondering about Australia aborigines and whether there might have been spontaneous genetic transformations occurring in different areas of the world (possibly separated by large or small amounts of time) that were not dependent on each other. Could you steer me in the direction of the alternate hypothesis you mentioned? I would like to read more about it.
posted by sluglicker at 7:22 PM on August 25, 2008


I read that all of humanity outside of Africa evolved from a group of 150 people that left africa 60,000 years ago.
posted by empath at 7:33 PM on August 25, 2008


Because we need jockeys for the dolphin races!
posted by humannaire at 7:37 PM on August 25, 2008


slugliker: wikipedia is a start, although I seem to remember that both National Geographic and Scientific American have done features on the debate in the last few years.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:39 PM on August 25, 2008


BUT CURIOUS GEORGE WAS A GODDAMN CHIMPANZEE.

Interestingly enough, Curious George has de-volved. The original George - no tail. Chimpanzee. Definitely.

Currently era George - tail. Very much a monkey.

Evolution working backwards in a beloved children's story character. What does this mean for the rest of us?!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:43 PM on August 25, 2008


Thanks, empath. Some interesting ideas that I wasn't aware of. I've heard these time frames used and mostly it doesn't seem long enough (to my uninformed thinking). Nothing much has changed in the approximate 6000 years of recorded history, and 60,000 years, even 200,000 years...in the vast scheme of things...is a blink of an eye. Well, I've got some reading to do.
posted by sluglicker at 7:48 PM on August 25, 2008


Wait just a goldurn minute. I remember (even without checking it out on the interweb thing) very early pictures of Curious George hanging by his tail from a branch. He was, therefore, not just a monkey but a NEW WORLD monkey to boot.

I think. Maybe I just made it up, and I should check wikipedia.
posted by yhbc at 7:51 PM on August 25, 2008


Okay, cursory internet research leads back to us. Talk about chasing your tail.
posted by yhbc at 7:57 PM on August 25, 2008


Either you're alive and are lucky enough to have a chance to reproduce, or you're extinct and you don't get to play. I think that's about as zero-sum as a game gets.

What sort of logic is that?! That has nothing to do with zero-sum or not.

And of course, ecology and evolution is hardly a zero-sum game. It started with basically zero, a few organisms floating around in a primordial soup, and now has eaten huge amounts of the earth's mass and energy - it's a very positive game, overall, thanks to the huge energy input of the Sun.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:05 PM on August 25, 2008


Sluglicker, i picked up that tidbit from this book. I downloaded it from iTunes. It's a bit dry, but there's a LOT of information there about the evolution of man, how we migrated out of africa, the development of languages, and writing, etc.
posted by empath at 8:11 PM on August 25, 2008


Okay, cursory internet research leads back to us. Talk about chasing your tail.

Why are there still monkeys MeFites?
posted by homunculus at 8:20 PM on August 25, 2008




Why are there still Britons when there are Americans?
posted by Kiwi at 4:34 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, so you said, "Ook ook ook ook ook oook ook."

To which I cleverly respond, "Oooga, booga argh grug kooj."


I thought he was just speaking a dialect of orangutan..
posted by jb at 10:13 AM on August 26, 2008


Also, there are still monkeys because who else are we going to record drinking their own urine

Bear Grylls?
posted by inigo2 at 11:27 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Humans are playing for their own survival -- just like the monkeys, in their own way -- just as the insects, protozoa, parasites, etc. do.

Apparently the concept of symbiosis hasn't penetrated the colonies yet.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2008


But Darwin actually anticipated the extermination of the higher apes as well as what he considered to be the lower races of humans:

"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world..."


Perhaps not what you have in mind, but at every turn, whenever the higher apes have been in competition with human for resources (land), the apes have been wiped out of the area and replaced by humans. No contest. Many apes are on the verge of extinction because their habitat today is limited to the drib and drabs of land that humans have not yet moved into.

And since we're talking about the dude who saw the world in terms of survival of the (retrospectively) fittest, I not sure that this form of killing (taking their resources until they perish and are replaced by us) wouldn't fit under his idea of extermination.
At any rate, while this passage has been described as racist and stupid above, I'd also be happy to add "but surprisingly insightful for the times" to that list.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:13 PM on August 26, 2008


following on from sluglickers post in a way. If we think about genetic difference / interbreeding. Is there any scientific evidence of sufficient genetic difference between two 'humans' to stop interbreeding?
posted by mary8nne at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2008


There is a lot of poorly lit videotaped research on this topic, mary8nne.
wocka wocka waaaow
wocka wocka waaaow
posted by Mister_A at 7:26 PM on August 26, 2008


Is there any scientific evidence of sufficient genetic difference between two 'humans' to stop interbreeding?

Not Homo Sapiens -- you'd have to have an isolated population of humans for 100,000 years before that would happen.

But Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens couldn't interbreed, I don't think.
posted by empath at 7:34 PM on August 26, 2008


The same story was posted on Digg yesterday and the comments to the story, seem to have a different flavor to Metafilter's comments as you can see here . So I posted to Digg kind of in response to Digg's comments (and achieved zilch response), so if my following comment seems somewhat out of context, to Metafilter's comments, that is why. So here in it's entirety is my recycled comment.

There is a way out of this sorry mess, it is called Pantheism.

It was started by a Jewish/Dutch philosopher called Spinoza, it earned him
death threats by the Jewish establishment and an attempt was made on his
life.

Basically what he said was "god did not create the universe, god *is* the
universe".

Then the problem becomes becomes where did the universe come from?

No problem if you believe what Nietzsche said.

"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your
loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have
lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ...
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon
who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you
would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more
divine."

What Fred is suggesting is, that the big bang was caused by a big crunch and
the future is caused by the past, which was also believed by the Mayans.

The happy thing is, none of you remembered me saying this a trillion zillion
years ago and I'm also glad to surmise, none of you will remember me saying
this in a trillion zillion years time.

So it goes, Pantheism with eternal recursion and a dash of the final anthropic
principal and you have it licked.
posted by dollyknot at 5:05 AM on August 27, 2008


Is it me or are these flickering shadows on the cave wall getting awfully uppity?
posted by waraw at 5:27 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


« Older Don't forget to do your play time.   |   Nun of the Above Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post