Blog 7

We may think that as humans we have reached the pentacle of evolution and that there is no more possible changes we can undergo. However this sort of thinking is misleading. We today are still undergoing evolutionary changes. These changes might be small or insignificant at the moment but they are changes that are still pushing us ever closer to a more evolved form of ourselves.

                When we get a fever or have a bad cough the most common reasoning behind this is that we are sick. Illness to most is believed to have been caused by some external force such as bacteria or a virus. While this is true that external forces can and do affect us. It is how our bodies respond to these forces that is unique. If we for a moment view these so called illnesses as perhaps evolved defenses we can appreciate them more and see that we are indeed still evolving. A fever raises our body temperatures well above normal. Yet this carefully raise facilitates in the destruction of pathogens. Research has been made to show that cold-blooded lizards when ill move to warmer places in order to raise their body temperatures. Those that cannot find a warmer place to raise their body temperatures are at an increased risk of death from the infection they carry within. A cough can also be seen as an evolved defense. A cough if viewed as defense trait shows a greater cause than simply an annoying gesture. When we cough we are attempting to expel and clear the lungs of any pathogens, dust, or pollutions that the body does not recognize as normal. In this sense we can see how a cough is an effective adaptation that we have acquired in order to better help us ensure our survival as a species.

                When looking at behavioral traits that we as humans have there are some that might deem as unnecessary or undesirable. Consider the trait anxiety and the perceptions it carries. This trait could easily be said to have originated as a defense mechanism in response to dangerous situations. This trait promotes the urgency of escape and avoidance. A study by Lee A. Dugatkin evaluated the benefits of fear in guppies. He divided the guppies into three groups the timid, the ordinary, and the bold. He then placed a smallmouth bass within each group. The timid hid, the ordinary simply swam away, and the bold stood their ground and eyed the bass. Each group was then left alone with the bass for sixty hours. After this time period the results showed that 40% of the timid survived, 15% of the ordinary survived and the bold had been completely ate. This experiment showed how fear or anxiety served as an excellent defensive trait that ensured survival. While it may seem as a bothersome thing to have today, this trait has helped human evolution by allowing us to survive and pass on our genes to the next generation who might also be needing the same traits to survive this harsh world.

6 thoughts on “Blog 7

  1. As I am reading your blog, I thought about the time when I went to Mexico and became severely sick. It was so bad I couldn’t go to my site for one day during the week I was there. I hate taking medicines as I have been doing more and more research about the human body. In an article written by a professor at UC Berkeley titled, “Antibiotic resistance: delaying the inevitable – Understanding Evolution” I have been trying to stick to natural remedies for sicknesses and pains. This article explains how the human body is becoming resistant to antibiotic and how through evolution the human body is evolving. Thus, I am interested to see how pharmacies and doctors will go about treating patients. Especially those who get an STD/STI as many are treated using an antibiotic.

  2. I like how you are looking at the viruses and sicknesses as different kinds of ways that are bodies may have evolved. I see this as a good thing, in my other comment on a post to one of our fellow classmates I talked about how with all the different technology and different ways in which that we can prevent these so called illnesses from happening I find it hard for us to evolve like our ancestors did. I say this because I think the new illnesses and diseases that are popping up are coming from our government making them trying to kill off people in a world that might become over populated. This could be wrong or it could be right, but the public will never know!

  3. I really loved your post as it had some similarities with mine. I especially loved your topic of anxiety. I also thought this was a trait that humans must have acquired recently due to the fact that there is so much on our heads. We are expected to do so much, it must take a toll on the body in many ways. One of which, as you said, is anxiety through biological means. I have seen people have anxiety to the point where they get heart palpitations and their body starts to biologically freak out. Aside from this, I really talked about how we are so technologically advanced and this allows us to understand and adapt more to all the problems we face as a species. Such as providing food for the world.

  4. Hello!
    I really enjoyed your behavioral trait example. I was thinking about adding one to my blog post but couldn’t really think of an example I can clearly suggest impacts evolution. Your other example about pathogens was excellent also. I also agree with your points about how our bodies are constantly battling colds and other diseases. I think there is a trait humans have adapted to speed up recovery to some of the more common pathogens around back in the older days and wouldn’t be affected by the pathogen as much as our ancestors would have. However, it’s more probable that the pathogens back in the colonial era have also evolved and are more efficient in spreading and survival in humans. This also probably is the reasoning behind new MSRAs we find.

  5. I really liked how you talked about the bodies fighting response to different diseases. When writing my blog response I did not focus on such a topic, and I found it interesting to read that view point on how are immune system responds. While we can watch different viruses and bacteria evolve at an incredibly fast rate, it is nice to take a step back and look at how our body responds to these threats. Our immune system has evolved to try and fight off these invaders to the best of its ability, like by heating up the regular body temperature in order to kill off a virus attack. I also never really thought about behavior as an evolved trait, and why we may have some of these behaviors. It was great to read and think about how that could have evolved and changed.

  6. Your comment made on coughing and fevers both as evolutionary adaptations is quite intriguing. Our bodies develop these new responses to diseases and human anatomical complications in order to better assure our survival as a species. I was actually born without wisdom teeth on the left side of my mouth, my dentist explained to me that the human anatomy has evolved to a point where it tries to protect its self from complications and reduce the energy it exerts. Apparently, being born without all or some of your wisdom teeth is your bodies attempt at reducing the energy needed to grow and maintain them as well as reduce the risk of possible dental complications that wisdom teeth create through their existence. It is truly amazing how our bodies slowly evolve without much of a phenotypical indicator.

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