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Old 08-20-2013, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
I'm beginning to understand what you are getting at. I think what you are asking is why are human babies born so helpless and reliant on their mothers in comparison to other species.

I think the answer is down to our physiology, our anatomy and our social development.

Here's one which explains offers an explanation about the anatomical reasons why this may be:
Why are human babies so helpless? | CHONPS

Basically a human female gives birth after 9 month gestation because that is as much as her metabolism and anatomy can take.

But I think in addition the reason has to be social. A baby born fully developed would perhaps be a very different kind of species - a far less social species than the one that evolved.
The interaction between an human mother and her child necessitates a long period of nurture and bond between the two. Social interaction is the foundation of human society.
As hunter- gatherers our success lay in our ability to collaborate in unified groups. We are less adapted than most other animals to survive alone in the wild. We have no natural weapons or protection - claws, sharp teeth, armour etc like other animals so our survival depended on our ability to think, communicate and interact with others.
The long period of nurture after birth establishes a strong human bond and time to teach complex interaction between individuals.
Yes! what you're suggesting is also the same conclusion that I've reached based on thinking a bit more about my question, as i wrote in post #18

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Old 08-20-2013, 09:58 AM
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Thank you Thinker and esp. Cruithne for a pivotal post and Capo's 1st class input.

Yes, while it would seem advantageous for a human babe to be able strangle vipers in the cradle, the nurturing seems to be linked with the strong social bonds that is a feature of the success of the human species and at least the survival of the other primates.

It is interesting that, while humans don't usually understand dogs, the dog social instinct often kicks in when they become part of a human social group. The barker and snarler very often develops because in the human group 'everyone else is taken' as the saying goes and pack - guardian is about all that's left as a job.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:06 AM
Location: NJ
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I think the simple answer (which has been said) is that it just wasn't needed. Humans don't need to be able to immediately walk because it is simply not necessary for survival. Although the instinct is there eventually, just not right away.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:45 PM
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
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Might I suggest that instead of observing this question in the context of contemporary humans, why not look back at evolutionary patterns, more specifically Neanderthal and Early Cro-Magnon, as two examples. In a context of survivability without the social rules of the 21st century, Cro-Magnon did in fact have instinct and also had to use it daily. It was his ability to reason, make tools, improve on them, learn from mistakes and adapt that set him apart from the Neanderthals. It is hard to measure instinct, as pointed out in other posts, when humans are nurtured and provided for from the cradle. However, Paleolithic man was an animal and was human. But this is again, hard to measure comparing a random animal instinct to a 21st century human.
In terms of modern humans, we have seen evolution which is socially influenced (antibodies, the need for an appendix, wisdom teeth amongst others) and of course, we as humans still have too much of a fight or flight thanks to our animal-like Sympathetic Nervous system. I would suggest, and I do not say this to degrade anyone, but look at the prison populace, because many of the prevalent sociopathic and personality disorders present in the residents of these facilities mimics animalistic behavior at it's most basic. These humans in this subgroup do in fact have a predatory and instinctual outlook on life, necessary for day to day survival. While socially unacceptable to the rest of us, it is the closest example I can imagine by which to compare.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:00 PM
Location: Downtown Raleigh
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Or they were smoking weed.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
Wouldn't it make more evolutionary sense as far as survival if we had evolved into not needing much after being born? Why do we have fewer of the 'instincts' i mentioned, than the next animal?
Different strategies in terms of investment in few strong offspring vs many weak ones. You also have to work with what you have, not what you'd like to have. We couldn't fit the head of a more developed foetus through the pelvis, so they're bornrelatively helpless and have a relatively long childhood. The advantages of bipedalism obviously outweigh the disadvantage of immature newborns.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
you misunderstood. I'm not using the word 'sense' as in the product of a reasonable plan. i know that there isn't a plan, and i understand the general concept of evolution. It is however reasonable to state that living things have evolved and adapted to best survive under the given circumstances....given that, as i stated earlier, it would make more evolutionary sense for us (or any other animal for that matter) to need as little as possible upon being born. Why does it make more evolutionary 'sense'? because that way, the chances of survival are increased, and therefore the specie as a whole as a better chance of moving forwards as opposed to being extinct. So, in an evolutionary sense, it would have been more beneficial for our ancestors to evolve into self sufficient, independently functioning animals...similar to turtles for instance. So my question again is....what led to us not having those instincts, at least not having as many of them as many other animals?
Because we're way more complicated than turtles. If we were born fully functioning we wouldn't have become human, we wouldn't have needed to learn to think because it was all there already. Of course, if everything's preprogrammed and then the environment changes, you're buggered. It's our background as social scavengers that gave us our big flexible brains, and our big flexible brains have let us invent pop tarts and ipads.

I certainly agree that we wouldn't evolve what we didn't need and these days I am thinking that we don't have anything, physical, emotional or mental that wasn't evolved and thus has some survival purpose (is it any wonder that faith in religion or any other cause is often linked with one's feeling of being worth something?)
Not everything has a survival purpose. Maybe it's a weak point for a mutation, not quite deleterious enough to kill you or a hitchhiker with a useful trait. Look at sickle cell. It's not good for survival, but it's a hitchhiker with malarial resistance for hetero people.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:52 AM
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That's correct, of course. The overwhelming number of mutations that occur millions of times a week, so I recall it was estimated, have no survival advantage at all and some would be positively unhelpful. Others, like the sickle cell, would be helpful in some circumstances but, without the circumstances, don't become apparent. again, others that do give a survival advantage don't evolve us, because we adapt conditions to suit ourselves and so we are not under any ecological pressure to adapt.

The remark I made suggested that any characteristics we do have, including those we take for granted, like music, art and poetry, religion, fear of the dark, death and ghosts and a hope for an afterlife, are all evolved traits with some survival -giving advantage (or the result of them), or we wouldn't have them.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:34 AM
Location: Vernon, British Columbia
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I think Grandstander is bang on in this thread. Evolution through natural selection is random with many mutations occurring over time. Some are advantageous and some are disadvantageous, but if the mutation reduces the organism's chances of survival, the mutation's chances of survival is also reduce. The reason that human babies are more dependent on their mothers than other species is that a wild animal born without certain instincts would die whereas a human baby would not.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Thinking-man View Post
hello friends....
i was thinking this morning about a topic and i wasn't able to figure out a possible answer to it......thought i'd try my educated friends on here.....

Why do some animals have "Animal instincts" when they're born (like hunting, fighting predators, flying, walking, etc.) while other animals (ie. humans) do not? (Strictly from an evolutionary standpoint.)

The wording of this question is quite strange to me. It's like asking, why didn't plants evolve brains? Well, they don't need brains to acquire their food!
The answer though, is easy. Humans have done quite well evolving a large neocortex and all that entails(pipedalism, opposeable thumbs, etc). There are no selective pressures in our environment past or present, that would favor humans with wings, or a great ability to smell, or to be able to echolocate, etc.....
Of course, humans would most likely not be able to evolve these structures anyway.
In short... ask yourself, what is the minimum needed for humans to survive? The neocortex is more than sufficient. Who would argue that it is not the most powerfully evolved thing ever on earth?
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