Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Modified Red Queen Hypothesis: Do we need conflict for our further evolution?

Consider this latest take on what made humans evolve so fast over 2 million years, compared to other animals:
Red Queen hypothesizing


"Inter-group conflict would certainly have placed a premium on such correlates of neural function as planning and throwing," Prof Tattersall explained.

"If we were somehow able to implicate conflict among groups as a selective agent for increasing intelligence within groups, this might explain the otherwise quite mystifying independent increases in brain size that we see in several different lineages within the genus Homo."

Such conflict could be seen as a form of predation. And, predation is regarded as a classic example of the "Red Queen" hypothesis whereby prey and predator become faster or more cunning in a self-reinforcing way.

So, extrapolating backwards, if we finally managed to prevent conflict  in our world, would that mean we would over time diminish our abilities as a species?

2 comments :

  1. In a word, no.

    Evolution doesn't work backwards (and that's not what the Red Queen's Hypothesis states.) In the absence of pressure to evolve, we would simply stay static, rather than regressing. The Red Queen's Hypothesis simply states that those species that do still face evolutionary pressures would continue to evolve, while we stand still.

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  2. Staying static if other entities evolve and conditions change is akin to regression - relative regression - and leads to loss, or possible loss, due to unfitness, not so? Eergo, relative reverse evolution ....

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