Image Credit: GeMS/GSAOI Team, Gemini Observatory, AURA
Processing: Rodrigo Carrasco (Gemini Obs.), Travis Rector (Univ. Alaska Anchorage)
thought for the day;
I just read an article in Scientific American about Ardi and Lucy(australopithacines). The article basicaly shows a Ardi decendent living at the same time as Australopithacines. The suggestion, or point, is that we can't just find our common ancestor by finding a bipedal ape. And, that there were two bipedals running around at the same time.
Lots of times, I hear physical anthropologists suggesting that by finding fossil bones of our ancient ancestors, we can learn something of how intelligence arose in today's Homo Sapiens. I've always been a bit skeptical at this notion. Maybe if someday we make a Jurrasic park of Australopithacines and now Ardipithacus, and Homo Erectus, then maybe we can somehow study the evolution of human thought. There's other things to say about intelligence though.
Seems to me that life is intelligence. All life reasons its' way around. One could even say that bacterial swapping of genes is like mixing and matching of ideas. But, what caused mankind to perform art, science/mathematics, and technology(a bit of a bungaboo also; spiders make webs, birds make nests, beavers make dams). Our intelligence seems a step above(how many people today know deductive logic?).
Let me point out an observation of mine; Renaissances appear to happen after a dark ages. Everyone knows of of the 1500's(with overlap into the 1400s; actually, there were two Renaissances; one occured around 1000 A.D. with the translations of Arab translations of Greek works in Arab Spain; it was pretty much shortshifted by the 'black plague') in Italy(also partly due to the migration of Greeks from Constantinople). But, what few people note is that the Greek enlightenment that everyone thinks of when the word "Greek" is mentioned, was after a Greek dark ages. This is the dark ages after the fall of the civilizations that led to the legends of the city of Troy(maybe real, but the story is legend). What's more, before the Greeks, there was the Babylonian mathematical spring. Then, they went into a dark ages, only they never really went into a Renaissance; they became a giant dictatorship in the Persian empire to combat the upstart Greeks because the Greeks were doing weird things like mathematics and democracy. But anyways, point is that intelligence in our species doesn't seem to occur without some stimulous. Like, how about competition?
All life much less bipedal primates grew up knowing how to forage/hunt for its survival. It doesn't need to do science or technology generaly. Most physical anthropologists I would imagine would raise their hands and say 'environmental forces.' Yet, this doesn't make total sense with the long timespans in technological innovation in the evolution of bipedal primates to Homo Sapiens. Reading this latest Ardi stuff may suggest a reason why some primates that obviously led to us somehow maybe thought to make some new technology at least!
Certainly, when this certain lifeform decided to make technology, it had a more generalisable skill set. Or, the topology of the bipedal primates lent itself to greater technological potential. And, the use of that technology took a while to affect the biology to change and require more brains and more technology. But, maybe it was competition that led somebody to decide to make technology in the first place!
-------------------------------------crazy science/technology for the day