Skip to main content

How do you experience evolutionary selection pressure?

Evolutionary selection permeates the consciousness of members of a species at a level higher than the individuals themselves. Everyone comes into awareness about the selection pressures and adaptations taking place across their population. This happens independently of who they happen to be.

Awareness of “life”, being alive, what it takes to survive, exist in each individual even when they lack it in some perceived manner e.g. being unattractive, having low self-esteem, being a failure. Indeed, it’s what enables self-deprecation and sometimes suicide based on some of these beliefs in an individual.

Each individual is not out for themselves, with the selection pressure encouraging them to succeed, but rather they are out for the collective they are part of, whether they realise it or not, whether they like it or not. It is detrimental to individuals to feel bad about themselves. However, this is the effect of collective selection.

Individuals therefore place themselves within that spectrum of being alive and aligned with the path of survival and reproduction – the literal path, and the ever-increasing figurative path in humans. Indeed, they aim to become increasingly aligned.

Eusociality is a popular example of altruistic behaviour with most individuals being unable to reproduce even if they wanted to. Despite e.g. humans being able to reproduce, the perception alone that they may not be worthy is enough to prevent them.

This awareness develops acutely during puberty, and causes the associated angst regarding one’s identity, value and place amongst others. Of course, as the selection pressures and direction of evolution itself changes, a delicate balance must be struck between meeting established ideals of survival, and being part of creating new ones through our own initiative and behaviour.

Individuals are therefore placed to constantly gauge the extent to which they may influence the evolutionary pathways of life, versus themselves being influenced by the established path. This is seen with people bargaining for their positions in the collective: balancing their perceived unattractiveness with increased service to others; increased humour or other valued features by established standards. Hence, a hybrid phenotype evolves that carries over an originally negative connotation by associating with an established positive connotation. 


Popular posts from this blog

By-products of Evolution - why not everything has a purpose

Last time we looked at how certain major adaptations such as hair loss have enabled humans to survive over the millennia in different conditions, and when faced with competition from other species. Not everything about the human body has a specific purpose, though, in the sense that we expect it to. One example of such thing is the philtrum - that little channel leading from the base of your nose to the upper lip. Recent research suggests that this development dates back millions of years, and has been inherited from fish. Apparently, when human embryos develop their face in the womb, all parts of the forehead, mouth, etc come together and fuse where the philtrum is located.

Some adaptations, on the other hand, are no longer relevant not because of their nature, but because the environmental selection pressure for which they evolved has disappeared. For example, an East Asian's typical eyelid shape evolved as a result of higher light intensities in that area of the world, yet the …

The evolution of the human body

In order to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and be able to answer the question "Why do I look like this?", we must look back to our ancestry and their lifestyle, over a very long period of time. For the purpose of this analysis, let's look at the human versus the neanderthal. Recently there have been found neanderthal genes within the human gene pool, but the two species are different enough to compare, yet not too different (human versus fly would be too different).

As you can see, the construction of the human pelvis and toes is different, and the human has less hair. This results in humans being able to run easily for long distances, in the detriment of short-distance running which we are worse at. We sweat better, so we can do more long-term effort. This feat is essential to better settlements, as we can discover a larger area with potentially better resources. It might seem counterproductive to not be able to run quickly for a short period, when it comes …

4 Reasons Google's Calico Won't "Solve Death"

The on-line world has been taken ablaze by Calico's bid to end ageing, and thus death itself, but is this what they will actually focus on, and will they achieve it?

The fact is ageing will be reversed, and death by "natural causes" will go with it. The questions are "When?" and "By whom?".

Until recently, not a lot was known about the approach Calico would take in this venture dubbed "moonshot thinking" - a term touted by Google as the source of all considerable human progress throughout history. This we don't doubt, but is this what Calico is all about?

CNN's Dan Primack has revealed details about Calico's plan, which hint at a less-than-moonshot thinking approach, and cast a serious question mark on its ability to deliver the punchy TIME headline. Here is why:

1. The man with the idea, Bill Maris, arrived at the conclusion that the root of all death-causing disease is simply ageing itself. Not only is this widely known in the ant…