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End of the Universe?
Posted: 23 July 2012 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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DarronS - 22 July 2012 05:36 PM

Dinosaurs reigned on Earth for 200 million years. Homo Sapiens Sapiens has been around for two million years and dominant only for the past 10,000 or so. There is no evidence big brains are a better survival adaptation than big teeth or the ability to scurry about in the dark and eat dead stuff.

That idea has always bugged me.  Dinosaurs are a superorder (Dinosauria), whereas humans are a species.  Comparing a superorder that ruled the earth for 200 million years to our species which has only ruled it for 10,000 years is incredibly misleading on a couple of levels. 

1) Dinos never ‘ruled’ but were simply very successful, whereas humans actually ‘rule’ by consciously controling many aspects of the planet and some of its systems (biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere),

and, more relevant to the way the statement is typically used,

2) comparing a single species to a superorder that likely contained many thousands of distinct species (for a list of just the genera, look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dinosaurs) doesn’t make sense- it’s an apples to oranges kinda thing.

Sorry for being so nit-picky, but I hear that comparison all the time and it’s a meaningless one that misleads instead of informing.  (I hope I’m not overstepping the bounds of a newcomer here.)

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Posted: 23 July 2012 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Good points, Pi.

Let me amend that. Dinosaurs were around a lot longer than apes have been around. I promise to stop referring to dinosaurs as a species. I further promise to stop using the inaccurate “rule” analogy and also quit being so ethnocentric. Our ape cousins deserve some recognition too.

My main point is there is no evidence big brains are going to be a successful long-term survival strategy. Dinosaurs had a far longer run than apes have had, and by the looks of things a longer run than apes will have.

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Posted: 23 July 2012 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Of course the insects have been around a few years also, not because they are smart or strong. But because they can adapt and are very mobile.
As Hellstrom said, there are only two species on the increase, man because he can control his environment, and the insect which can adapt to anything man can do to alter the environment.
I place my bet on the insects.

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Posted: 23 July 2012 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I’m in with you on the bet for the insects.

Roaches über alles!

Edit: damn auto-correction

[ Edited: 23 July 2012 07:37 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 23 July 2012 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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DarronS - 23 July 2012 07:04 PM

I’m in with you on the bet for the insects.

Roches über alles!

LOL

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Posted: 23 July 2012 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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3point14rat
1) Dinos never ‘ruled’ but were simply very successful, whereas humans actually ‘rule’ by consciously controling many aspects of the planet and some of its systems (biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere)

a) For a large organism to be successful is never simple.
b) Humans live under the illusion that we are consciously controlling anything. Instead of controlling anything, we have managed to spoil and pollute the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. Until we acquire wisdom, we are no more than a virus to the geosphere, which will be here long after man has disappeared.

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Posted: 23 July 2012 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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A planet meets the Earth:
Planet: “How are you? You really don’t look well!”
Earth: “Oh, yes, I am terribly sick.”
Planet: “Easy to see. What actually is it?”
Earth:“Couldn’t be worse. I’ve got Homo sapiens!”
Planet: “Don’t worry, this will pass off!”

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“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 24 July 2012 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Quoting 3point14rat:

2) comparing a single species to a superorder that likely contained many thousands of distinct species (for a list of just the genera, look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dinosaurs) doesn’t make sense- it’s an apples to oranges kinda thing.

As I recall from my Zoology class in 1949, the order is reptilia.  Darron’s post is still reasonable - all we have to do is replace the species, homo sapiens, with the order, mammalia.  Then it’s the same kind of fruit, just the difference between navel and valencia.  smile

The argument used to be that mammals had the advantage of being warm blooded so they could survive n a wider range of thermal environments, but some recent work seems to show that dinosaurs may have been warm blooded, too.  That sort of makes sense since birds are warm blooded.

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Posted: 24 July 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I still have issues with the comparison even after only(!) changing sapiens to mammalia.  But we can chat about that some other time.  And my money is on bacteria to outlive everything else - size and complexity matter, and they have both on their side when it comes to surviving.

As for the end of the universe, nothing’s going to be able to adapt to a string soup at absolute zero environment.  Life and all its remnants will have long been erased by the time things get to that point.  I don’t really get how the Big Bang was supposed to have been initiated or how it might happen again.  But when talking about big enough numbers even the most unlikely event, like another Big Bang, is bound to occur.

My intuition is that there won’t be any preservation of information if/when another universe pops into being.  There’ll be a totally clean slate for chance and contingency to work with.

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Posted: 24 July 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Buy a new one.  Add it to the National Debt.  Pay it off in 30,000,000,000 years.

psik

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