Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Evolving Humans on the Menu

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the tastes-like-chicken dept.

307

Ant writes "BBC News is reporting that a popular view of our ancient ancestors as hunters who conquered all in their way could be incorrect. This was according to researchers who told a major United States (U.S.) science conference. They argued that early humans were on the menu for predatory beasts. From the article: 'This may have driven humans to evolve increased levels of co-operation, according to their theory. Despite humankind's considerable capacity for war and violence, we/humans are highly sociable animals, according to anthropologists.'"

cancel ×

307 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So we only get along in confrontation? (4, Funny)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766039)

Thats how I read it. So what we basically need is some huge interdimenionsal squid to be teleported into a large populated city, killing nearly everyone and the whole world will be united (at least until people read Rorschach's Journal).

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (2, Insightful)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766053)

Yes. If intergalactic lizards invaded earth tomorrow, I'm quite sure most political and religious conflicts would be forgotten pretty soon. ...until the lizards were defeated, that is.

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766135)

"Respectfully submitted for your perusal --- a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown. Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment we're going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone...

A cryptographer's favourite!

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (1)

chris_sawtell (10326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766100)

"interdimenionsal squid"

Interesting euphemism for Uranium-235

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (1)

ddopson (940155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766119)

Plutonium works better. Larger fission cross-section. But they're both more fun when their friends deuterium and tritium join the party.

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (4, Informative)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766123)

Actually I was referring to the watchmen [wikipedia.org] . :p

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (1)

gijoel (628142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766231)

mmmmm interdimensional squid.... Arrgguurhhh!

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (5, Interesting)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766457)

Well, according to Leo Strauss [wikipedia.org] : "... a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat; and following Machiavelli, ... if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured." I believe Napoleon said something along the same lines - and at least, acted in that fashion.

Re:So we only get along in confrontation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766568)

Unity, you say? Well then, I volunteer your city for squidal destruction.

Heh. Right.... (5, Funny)

kassemi (872456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766041)

we humans are highly sociable animals, according to anthropologists.

Anthropologists don't hang out with the /. crowd, I guess...

Re:Heh. Right.... (1)

scott_good (314368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766227)

How to sell the idea that humans were fodder for other predators?

MMMMM Humans..... Finger licking good!!!
Humans.... The other white meat!!!
or how about
Humans.... They ARE what's for dinner!!!

Re:Heh. Right.... (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766305)

I was always under the impression that humans had little meat and really just didn't taste that great. Yes, I'm serious.

Re:Heh. Right.... (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766458)

Yes, and that is an evolutionary advantage...

Re:Heh. Right.... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766585)

I've heard we actually taste like spam/pork.

Jaysyn

Ancestors of Homo Sapiens Hunted by Birds (2, Informative)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766044)

As previously discussed [slashdot.org]

How they figured this out (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766316)

They found a book written by prehistoric birds called "How to Serve Man"

Re:How they figured this out (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766456)

No, it said "how to serve FOR man".... there must have been some space dust on the book when you looked... crazy

Well, obviously (2)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766049)

Don't mind the fact that mass extinction of megafauna occurred simultaneously with the introduction of humans into any geographic area... No, magical fairies terrorized prehistoric humans and ate their flesh.

The argument simply holds no water. Sure, sometimes man bites dog, but usually it's the other way around.

Re:Well, obviously (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766064)

No, that all happened only a few kiloyears ago, long after we'd become human and moved to the top of the food chain. Before that, our ancestors were cat food.

Re:Well, obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766158)

How can this explain the long lifespan of humans compared to other mammals. Often preyed upon animals tend to have short lifespans.

Re:Well, obviously (1, Redundant)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766229)

Think about that for a second.

Re:Well, obviously (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766271)

No, magical fairies terrorized prehistoric humans and ate their flesh.

Well no, there are no such things as fairies. It were leopards. We kinda got the chew marks on the bones to prove it.

A Homo Sapiens with a pointy stick is about the most fearsome thing in existence and when going up against a lion the lion had better be a pretty sharp cookie to come out of it alive.

But the technical term for an Australopithicine who has just had a leopard that outweighs him drop out of a tree onto his head is "lunch."

KFG

Re:Well, obviously (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766352)

A Homo Sapiens with a pointy stick is about the most fearsome thing in existence and when going up against a lion the lion had better be a pretty sharp cookie to come out of it alive.

Most likely humans had most impact on the predator population when they started raising domesticated livestock. Since systematic extermination of predators has an obvious benefit.

But the technical term for an Australopithicine who has just had a leopard that outweighs him drop out of a tree onto his head is "lunch."

However if the Australopithicine is part of an organised group the leopard might not live long enough to enjoy his or her meal...

Re:Well, obviously (5, Insightful)

alicenextdoor (910558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766277)

These guys are talking about human evolution way before the megafauna extinctions. In the article thet mention Australopithecus afarensis, which is 3.2 million years old [archaeologyinfo.com] ; a ccording to the Australian Museum's Tim Flannery [amonline.net.au] "the Megafauna became extinct up to 50,000 years ago in Australia and New Guinea, around 10,900 years ago in North (and presumably South) America, about 1500 years ago in Madagascar, and between 900 and 600 years ago in New Zealand. This pattern closely follows the current chronology of human expansion around the world."

Maybe it's because we developed those social skills early on that we became so dangerous more recently?

Re:Well, obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766334)

...it's not like carnivores has higher level of cooperation (on avarage) than herbivores either.

Pleistocene Holocene Megafauna extinction (5, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766358)

I just read an article stating that humans had nothing to do woth the extinction of megafauna, and in fact it was due to rapid climate change [suvalleynews.com] .

" The Pleistocene Holocene transition took place about 11,000 years ago and caused the extinction of a large number of animal species including mammoths, mastodons and ground sloths. The Holocene looked very different from the Pleistocene."

Re:Well, obviously (4, Funny)

lorelorn (869271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766446)

Never before have I come across a user ID so fitting. That truly was a bad analogy, guy.

Mmm, Good (3, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766055)

So I'm not the only one who thinks supermodels are tasty.

Re:Mmm, Good (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766060)

If supermodels were chickens, they'd make the worst buffalo wings evar.

Re:Mmm, Good (2, Funny)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766083)

Send a couple dozen over, I will sample them
extensively, and let you know how they are.

Re:Mmm, Good (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766203)

So I'm not the only one who thinks supermodels are tasty.

They're low fat, but you eat more of them...

Hufu The great taste of friends...

Re:Mmm, Good (1)

scott_good (314368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766246)

SO how do you sell the idea that humans were fodder for other predators?

MMMMM Humans..... Finger licking good!!!
Humans.... The other white meat!!!
or how about
Humans.... They ARE what's for dinner!!!

Re:Mmm, Good (2, Insightful)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766323)

So I'm not the only one who thinks supermodels are tasty.


Blecch. Supermodels are all skin and bone. Now figure skaters, on the other hand... ;)

Re:Mmm, Good (2, Funny)

Odin's Raven (145278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766506)

So I'm not the only one who thinks supermodels are tasty.

Odd - the ones I eat always seem to have a slick texture and an unpleasant papery aftertaste.

Early Menu Entries (3, Funny)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766062)

So if a lion entered a restaurant say about 10,000 years ago he would find menu entries like:
"Roasted Human Family...29.95"
"Baby Humans with Cashews and Potatoes...24.50"
"Human a-la-carte - create your own dish out of fresh human body parts and side dishes ... 35.99"

Re:Early Menu Entries (2, Funny)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766107)

Fast food was called serve yourself back then.

Re:Early Menu Entries (2, Insightful)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766166)

Fortunately, human protein tends to come with pointy and/or stout sticks, thrown rocks, and other things making it too dangerous a diet for predators.

Re:Early Menu Entries (1)

jthayden (811997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766270)

Fortunately, human protein tends to come with pointy and/or stout sticks, thrown rocks, and other things making it too dangerous a diet for predators.


I think that is kind of the point of the article, one human with a stick and a rock, "mmmm...mmmm good." Lots of humans with sticks and rocks, "hmmm...I think I feel like a gazelle today." Early man, I'll call him 'Harry', realized this. So Harry made a few hunting buddies.

Re:Early Menu Entries (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766298)

I think that is kind of the point of the article, one human with a stick and a rock, "mmmm...mmmm good."

Especially given that lions typically hunt cooperativly.

Lots of humans with sticks and rocks, "hmmm...I think I feel like a gazelle today."

Or something else which dosn't cooperativly defend against predators.

Early man, I'll call him 'Harry', realized this. So Harry made a few hunting buddies.

A while later on Harry and co are enjoying lion cub kebab...

Re:Early Menu Entries (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766328)

So Harry made a few hunting buddies.

Don't you mean hunted buddies?

depends what kind of restaurant (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766349)

The Japanese restaurant had several human sashimi selections -- most were quite good, though the supermodel toro was considered stringy and overpriced. For those on a budget there's also Raw Men noodles and another noodle soup with freshly killed human called "U-done." The Indian restaurant had a spicy cheese dish made with unionized actors called the SAG paneer. They also had a really tasty stockbroker vindaloo. Mexican tacos de cabeza del hombre was all the rage among early predators. The Greek place on the corner had some great grilled heroes.... OK, OK, I'll stop. No, it's OK, really, I'll stop. What? OK, OK, I'm leaving.

In prehistoric russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766493)

...FOOD EATS YOU!

Well, duh (5, Insightful)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766067)

Was there anyone who actually thought that the human line(s) immediately dominated the hunting scene the instant they became geneticly distinct from the other primates?

Re:Well, duh (2, Funny)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766079)

Humans aren't primates you silly Satan worshipper.

Sarcasm aside, what makes you think ignorance is a binary function?

Re:Well, duh (1)

inter alias (947885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766240)

I read the source.

Re:Well, duh (1)

Fortress (763470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766525)

Hell, I'd say humans are still on the menu for some predators; people are still attacked somehwat regularly by tigers in parts of Asia.

As to the other issues in the article, I think it's fairly obvious that cooperation among humans is one of the big reasons for our dominance on this planet. The division of labor and the use of tools are the secrets of our success.

Pretty Obvious (4, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766068)

It would be clearer to say that humans were not always apex predators. Many predators are themselves the prey of other creatures, and it is not exactly revolutionary to suggest that this may have been the case for humans and our proto-human ancestors for a long time.

Re:Pretty Obvious (5, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766098)

Exactly. For example, small cats are efficient predators but are also hunted by coyotes.

I also question the blanket assumption that humans are unique in our cooperativeness. Baboons collaborate against leopards, and macaques and bonobos form tight social groups.

Further, it's not clear how valuable hunting was. Contemporary hunter-gatherers get more calories, more regularly, from gathering than from hunting. Raising the question, were the first weapons primarily defensive?

Re:Pretty Obvious (5, Informative)

tmossman (901205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766278)

Further, it's not clear how valuable hunting was. Contemporary hunter-gatherers get more calories, more regularly, from gathering than from hunting. Raising the question, were the first weapons primarily defensive?

I don't have an answer for you regarding the weapons, but hunting is considered rather instrumental in our evolution as a species. Access to greater amounts of animal fats in our diet allowed us to deveolp the much larger cranial capacities than those from whom we evolved, helping put the 'sapiens' in homo sapiens, so to speak. From this paper: [uark.edu]
More animal fat in the diet meant not only additional energy, but also a source of ready-formed long chain PUFAs, including AA, DTA(docosatetraenoic acid (DTA, C22:4, w-3), and DHA. These three fatty acids together make up over 90% of the long chain PUFA (i.e. the structurally significant and biochemically active fat) found in the brain gray matter of all mammalian species. (Sinclair, 1975)

Re:Pretty Obvious (0, Redundant)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766434)

Jurassic Park... Raptors... eek

The menu (4, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766207)

It would be clearer to say that humans were not always apex predators. Many predators are themselves the prey of other creatures, and it is not exactly revolutionary to suggest that this may have been the case for humans and our proto-human ancestors for a long time.

May have been the case??? Make no mistake about it there are still critters on this earth that look at a human and think "mmmmmm... FOOD!" Well knonw examples are polarbears tigers and bullsharks. All of these animals regularly hunt humans for food. When I got my weapons license the instructor in the class on hunting ethics started out by telling us that there are three valid reasons to kill an animal:

1) The animal is sick so you kill it to prevent the disease from spreading.
2) You want to eat the animal.
3) The animal wants to eat you.

That list may seem a bit funny at first glance but basically those rules are as true today as they were during the stoneage.

Re:The menu (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766590)

Well knonw examples are polarbears tigers and bullsharks. All of these animals regularly hunt humans for food.

Odd... That's not what I have been told. Big sharks, like bullsharks (and other so-called human eaters, usually mistake us for their normal prey. Their diet is high-fat, like seals and the like. Usually, they attack and release ASAP because we taste afwul to them. The first bite is usually a taste bite. Alas, their kind of tasting involves a lot of razor-sharp teeth which is very hazardous to our health. More information here [howstuffworks.com]

For Polar Bears, I don't know, but it might be part of the fact that they have much less prey in the regions that they live and thus "anything with meat on it is good enough". My guess is that they'll eat anything that moves...

Tiger-eating humans usually turn out to be old or wounded tigers that physically can't tackle their usual prey. Thus they revert to the easily killed naked apes. They probably don't like us at all, but it's better to eat a bad-tasting ape than to starve to death. More information here [wildlywise.com] (They do talk about an exception, though.... which I didn't know of)

I'm not saying that we're not "prey", but more something like "second-class prey".

Re:Pretty Obvious (1)

EtherealStrife (724374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766267)

Indeed. This is REALLY old news in the anthro field. Or rather an old theory, which has been spreading rapidly. More recently with sites like Zhoukoudien, China (where H. habilis was snacked on by giant hyenas, biting through the faceplate to get at nutritious brains), we're realizing that even early Homos were on the menu (article mentions Australopithecus, not its progeny H. habilis).

As my phys anthro professor put it:
1. Lions
2. Hyenas
3. Humans and carrion birds

(that refers to H. habilis and before, H. erectus on up were off the Hyena menu afawk)

Re:Pretty Obvious (1)

EtherealStrife (724374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766291)

Zhoukoudien is an H. erectus site, my bad. Habilis was snacked on occasionally throughout the world, but Zhoukoudien is the only known site where H. erectus was snacked on. It's one of those toss up sites, an equal number of anthropologists support it as disregard it.

Sorry, it's been a long day. :)

Or... (3, Insightful)

Kra Z Joe (803519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766069)

This concept:

"... also discovered that his subjects seemed to have enhanced memory for those people that did not reciprocate in the experiment."

Could explain this:

"... humankind's considerable capacity for war and violence..."

Funeral customs (5, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766071)

Someone mentioned to me several years ago, that nearly all human societies have customs for disposing of dead bodies that would tend to prevent predators from knowing that humans were something to eat. Burying someone six feet deep, for example, makes it rather unlikely that a lion or a bear would smell the body and dig it up.

-jcr

Re:Funeral customs (2, Insightful)

microarray (950769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766101)

Maybe, or perhaps the custom arose out of a necessity to prevent the spread of infectious diseases (where they were the cause of death) or other harmful organisms that consume the body. Or maybe both are a factor. Perhaps dead bodies just smell bad :)

Re:Funeral customs (4, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766121)

Or how about just the psychological trauma to see your grandma or parents rotting in the ditch close to your hut? Not very pleasant I suppose. "Oops, checked on paw-paw this morning -- looks like the maggots finallay got to him... bless his heart!"

Re:Funeral customs (1)

ingsocsoc (807544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766188)

Maybe we've evolved to not like the smell of rotting humans, therefore buryingthem is a good idea :)

Re:Funeral customs (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766165)

An interesting thought, but in that case funerals must have evolved after humans stopped being a prey-species. If the all the predators were eating humans on a routinely basis then there would be no need to hide the fact that we are fairly tasty.

By the way the dead of the parsees (Zoroasters followers), were traditionally been given to vultures.

OSS vs Proprietary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766078)

Ah finally! This _proves_ that proprietary (competitive) licenses are more primitive than Open Source Software Licenses (co-operation) -- which is essentially a more evolved form of licensing. :P

Hunting and co-operation? (1)

LordRPI (583454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766086)

It's clear we've evolved to get our fix of food at fast food restaurants.

Huh (2, Funny)

pmc257cool (956059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766109)

*Fire in the hole!* die you son of a... *GO GO GO!* got your camping n00b ass.... *Storm the Front!*.. huh? what? oh, I beg to differ

comment doesn't make sense (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766111)

"Despite humankind's considerable capacity for war and violence, we/humans are highly sociable animals, according to anthropologists"

war and violence are contradictory to being sociable? war and violence are social activities. nonsocial animals would have nothing to do with one another, including violence. there is love, hate, and then not caring. not caring is considerably different than hating

reminds me of an old saying:

"Diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means." Zhou En Lai

in other words, being social is simply a way of resolving disputes without drawing blood... althought there is also "social intercourse," which is human social behavior as courtship. so at its psychological root, all human social effort is really just violent or sexual in nature

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

Fengpost (907072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766197)

There are 2 ways of looking at it

1. Social interaction breeds confrontation. If this is so, then we are no better than a pack of wolves.

2. We socialize as a mean to confront other human or animals

Either way is sad....

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766339)

No, it isn't. Conflict being the only driving force of change, and change being the only source of improvement, I'd say that your statements actually qualify as the best news I've heard all day.

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766359)

all human social effort is really just violent or sexual in nature

Why "or"?

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766472)

Zhou En Lai? What kind of commie propaganda have you been reading? That's a quote from the Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz.

Read On War [clausewitz.com] , by the great man himself.

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

steveoc (2661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766536)

Actually, Clauswitz defined WAR as being a continuation of Policy .. which was a pretty radical concept at the time, since the Europe before the Napoleonic period may have defined war as merely an instrument to set the stage for yet another royal wedding.

Zhou Enlai comes along about 100 years later and makes a quote that Diplomacy is a continuation of War.

subtle difference, but you are half right at least - Clauswitz certainly deserves credit for the foundation of Zhou Enlai's quote.

Re:comment doesn't make sense (2, Insightful)

Paua Fritter (448250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766537)

Zhou En Lai was deliberately misquoting Clausewitz. Read the quote again and you'll see that Zhou inverted it.

Re:comment doesn't make sense (1)

JemalCole (222845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766605)

So in replying to your post, am I trying to kill you or sleep with you?

Not suprising... (4, Interesting)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766133)

Stuff was bigger back then. We were smaller, and weve always been naked squishy monkeys. Something interesting along these lines, the universal dragon myth, in which similar creatures (dragons) exist independently in different cultures (asian, european, even native american), is thought to stem from an amalgamation of early human predators left over in some sort of instinctive memory. Lions' jaws and claws, body of a snake, wings of an eagle (yes, eagles were big enough to prey on humans), and fire.

Re:Not suprising... (1)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766228)

dragon myth ... exist[s] independently in different cultures (asian, european, even native american)

You forgot about the Strongbadia [homestarrunner.com] culture!

Re:Not suprising... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766578)

People miss another obvious answer to the question of dragon stories...for example, here in China, dinosaur fossils CONTINUE to be used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and they are unambiguously called "dragon bones".

early humans? (3, Interesting)

opencity (582224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766137)

Will Durant (I think) suggested civilization began when, instead of eating our vanquished enemy, we enslaved him. AANAAnthropologist but what are the preditors back before agriculture? My guess, the big cats. My other guess, tribalism was probably based on banding together for protection against the really big hungry guy - who was a fellow early human.

So? (1)

jesterpilot (906386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766138)

It's quite usual for future violent domination to start as an effective defence against the current violent domination.

Old news (4, Insightful)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766146)

> humans are highly sociable animals, according to anthropologists.

Aristotle said this in another form (Man is by nature a political animal) in about 300 BC.

Hey batta batta (0, Troll)

DamnedNice (955496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766150)

Hey submitter, way to just quote part of the article. Lazy bum. Now, all we need is a sociable way to wage war. Why don't we all sit down for a massive multiplayer game of Stratego? It seems that even now, we're pack hunters.

idiotic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766204)

This is almost as idiotic as the "theory of evolution". Too bad people cannot spend time on real evidence.

No Sh*t Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766219)

Even today with all our "technomology" and "do-hickies", things still have an appetite for the occasional human.

This typed while eating cow AND pig in front of my laptop :)

War and violence (4, Insightful)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766236)

"Despite"? Try fighting a war someday without a high degree of organization and cooperation. War requires society, it does not occur in spite of it.

Re:War and violence (1)

jthayden (811997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766283)

Yeah, try playing Planetside without TeamSpeak. The TeamSpeak squads will kill ya everytime. You have to be able to call down the thunder.

Re:War and violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766365)

Try fighting a war someday without a high degree of organization and cooperation.
Like the one your president lied to start?

Re:War and violence (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766411)

Animals hunt in herds and packs too. Are they a society too?

Does it matter? (1)

pato101 (851725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766237)

I would like to know if humans were also the most important human "predator" yet.

does this statement not make sense to anyone else? (4, Insightful)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766257)

from TFA and TFSummary:
'This may have driven humans to evolve increased levels of co-operation, according to their theory.'
Statements like this bother me...a lot.

Organisms cannot be driven to evolve. They can either have the trait that is advantageous for survival or they can die. Humans had the trait, probably for adaptation (perhaps through creative thinking) and developed sociability as a means of survival. They were not driven to evolve sociability and cooperation. They were driven to use these traits that they already had.

In other words, they were driven to adapt.

[semi-offtopic rant]It is statements like these that make some people think that intelligent design is a plausible scientific theory. These kinds of statements give people the idea that evolution has a goal and because of this it must have been designed. Evolution is a combination of natural selection, genetic (in)stability and mutations, environmental factors, and random chance (like natural disasters) all acting together to dictate that the organisms with the best traits for a given environment will have the best chance of survival and pass those traits on to their offspring. It is a number of simple rules and factors working together to make intricate (and beautiful, if I may say so) complexity. No designers needed. Sorry for the off-topic rant.[/semi-offtopic rant]

Re:does this statement not make sense to anyone el (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766332)

Evolution is a combination of natural selection, genetic (in)stability and mutations, environmental factors, and random chance (like natural disasters) all acting together to dictate that the organisms with the best traits for a given environment will have the best chance of survival and pass those traits on to their offspring.

Once humans developed language you also get evolution operating through mechanisms other than genetics. Since accumulated knowlage can be relevent to survival. Including knowlage of things which have not been seen firsthand by any member of a given group.

Re:does this statement not make sense to anyone el (4, Insightful)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766367)

Firstly, evolution is not entirely encompassed by natural selection. The mechanisms outside of natural selection do not require that things die. Take, for instance, any form of acquired behavior.

Secondly, even in the case of natural selection, death is by no means required. The reproductive rate of the advantaged group just has to be (at least) marginally higher than that of the disadvantaged species.

Thirdly, organisms can't be driven to evolve. Populations, however, can, which is, you know, what people are talking about when they say "humans" in this context. The only reason you have a problem the statement is because you're purposefully misinterpreting the statement (for the express purpose of having something to be pissed about, I might add).

Normally I don't feed the trolls, but I was bored today.

Re:does this statement not make sense to anyone el (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766518)

It is statements like these that make some people think that intelligent design is a plausible scientific theory.

It's statements like that which make some people think Darwin's evolutionary theory and intelligent design are the only two plausible explanations for the population of living creatures on the planet.

If someone wants to believe that some sentient being guided the course of existence, you're not going to convince them otherwise; that line of thought is based on an entirely different set of principles (faith) which science cannot prove or disprove. However, that should not dissuade us from being skeptical of Darwin. His theories are not predictive when it comes to natural selection; they take a result and assume the action that led to it which is a questionable approach.

Darwin being wrong does not prove that God made the world. It's just as likely the truth has not yet been discovered.

The news? (3, Interesting)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766304)

Not to be harsh, but this theory is around since at least middle '80s. They taught it to me at primary school, here in Italy.

Competing to cooperate? (1)

Msdose (867833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766310)

Since evolution is the success of the successful, we must compete to cooperate. This must be why the world is so hard on those who don't cooperate to compete.

Nothings changed. (2, Insightful)

DesertEagleMan (835040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766319)

Honestly, has anything really changed? I bet ya that if we dropped slashdotters in the African wilderness, they would still be on the menus of some of natures meanest beasts... add to that the fact that many here devolved and lost their sociable characteristics and BAM!.. bottom of the food chain.

Wolf Pack, Cow Herd, Human Tribe (1)

Soong (7225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766351)

We are a community animal. We really can do more working together than sepearately. I think that radical individualism (libertarians, ayn randies) as a broad philosophy is a recent aberration. If we were really clever we'd resist those who try to divide and conquer. Now if I can just get the idiots on the other side to see it my way we'll all be much better off united under my enlightened ruleleadership.

Obvious? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766376)

Isn't this bleeding obvious?

I mean, evolution is based on adaptation to environment. If early humans were sufficiently well-adapted to their environment that they dominated it, what forces would be acting on them to propel evolution?

evolved....... (1)

Jonny_Madness (794455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766377)

Ok, so humans were supposed to be different back then how? We still die to lions and snakes and sharks and bears etc. When that happens we don't get a new evolved "power" we just keep going. Why then and not now? And another thing if we evolved with the thought of survival of the fittest how did we get an appreciation of art music and beautiful scenery? Animal don't sit and stare and enjoy only humans.

Re:evolved....... (1)

Arcys (99663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766564)

Ok, so humans were supposed to be different back then how? We still die to lions and snakes and sharks and bears etc. When that happens we don't get a new evolved "power" we just keep going.

The number of people killed by lions/snakes/bears/etc are not too significant, and so won't put as much pressure as say diseases. For diseases however you can see new "powers". If you look at sickle cell anemia you can see that it only really occurs in populations that are exposed to malaria.

Why then and not now?

At that point predation was a major cause of death.

And another thing if we evolved with the thought of survival of the fittest how did we get an appreciation of art music and beautiful scenery?

Well that could be a side effect of a combination of increased information assimilation and curiosity. The assimilation is needed for advanced processing of visual and cognitive information and curiosity provides pressure to expand/open new resources/find new methods. Both are very important for survival in a human.

Animal don't sit and stare and enjoy only humans.

My parents told me about ravens that would flip upside down while flying, just for the heck of it. To me that sounds very similar to what you are trying to describe: A useless task that enriches our existance.

Now wait a minute! (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766401)

You mean the sabre-tooth tiger, and it's descendants, crocodiles, and all the other flesh-eating machines ACTUALLY ATE PEOPLE?

OH, MY GOD! What a stunning turn of events!

(Once again, the intellectuals dazzle me with their stupidity. EVEN TODAY with all the guns, traps, laser beams, humans are still on the menu. Do these guys ever get outta the lab?)

How much did we have to pay for such obvious things? Where can I go to sign up to do a study? I'm thinking about proving the clitoris has something to do with female orgasms. That should be worth enough to get a new car, house, and slick new ride....and I'll take notes along the way.

Ya gotta stop believing everything these people say.

Re:Now wait a minute! (2, Funny)

nick1000 (914998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766479)

I'm thinking about proving the clitoris has something to do with female orgasms

Really???
F.U.D.

... and this is still going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14766556)

Check this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/ [imdb.com]

Some of us are still on the menu. By their own will.

Intelligence is the main 'driver' in this case (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14766558)

Plenty of other animals do this as well. At its most basic level a shoal of fish is merely a group of prey banding together so that they are less likely to be eaten, similar to herds of gazelle on land. In neither case does this lead to mor3 advanced social systems. More likely is that we had the intelligence to see the results of such co-operation more quickly and improve upon this. You see high levels of co-operation among elephants and dolphins for example, even to the extent of routinely raising each other's offspring. If a group of early humans figured out how to kill or scare off all the large predators that group will have a higher survival rate than groups which couldn't co-operate. It doesn't take much smarts to see the benefits of a good night's sleep compared to keeping watch waiting for footfalls in the night...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?