Mammal evolution, literally
Posted Nov 20, 2012 21:39 UTC (Tue) by man_ls
In reply to: Experimenting on the BSDs
Parent article: Crowding out OpenBSD
Good point, and one that I cannot resist. It is hard to compare between different living groups: birds may have a slight advantage in eye resolution, but hardly in nocturnal sensitivity or in fact in many other senses: hearing (bats, dolphins), smell (pigs, dogs) or taste are arguably topped by mammal representatives, owls notwithstanding.
In fact adaptation to different ecosystems is the only measure of success that we may objectively use. We might focus on how our group of previously dwarvish creatures (less than a metre long) have invaded almost all ecosystems, often becoming their apex predators. Birds have not colonized the seas, for example, other than flying above them; and yet they have a whole continent (Antarctica) to them.
If we follow this line of reasoning, we might argue that bacteria are the living champions and that we should devolve to single cell organisms, since we have 10 times more bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells...
But the particular thing I had in mind was that crazy habit of laying eggs around and then abandoning small birds to their luck after at best a few weeks. This is way better than fish just lying eggs around, but much worse than our viviparous system. By "evolving into mammals" I was specifically thinking about breast-feeding their offspring, which allows us mammals to create affective bonds and teach every new generation the old tricks. That is the indubitable advantage of primates which humans have taken to an extreme, by living several decades with their parents.
So our friendly penguin-like operative system should evolve towards the breast-feeding dolphin and not backwards to the offspring-eating shark, even if some of them are viviparous.
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