iveca: 'Cooperation, not competition' is what prevails in nature, for otherwise we wouldn't be here. A-Team: howdy there, in a better world i would be bringing you a coff
That got cut off, coffee or coffin? Either way, timely and thx. Looking back, I came first here to learn and keep up, share what I had, get ideas on living even more simply, collaborate on topic coverage, help ride with Paul Revere on raising the alarm, but recently have moved on to merely bearing witness for the future, though lately it seems more like writing its obituary.
Bad behavior on the Lusitania and Titanic may not be the best precedent for climate change as 'food insecurity' is hardly encountered on cruise ships, so maybe Uruguayan Flight 571 -- the rugby cannibals of the Andes -- is more what to expect when there is not enough to go around.
There is quite a bit of cooperation with the animals around here. Very few species in the desert can make it on their own, they almost all move in herds or packs or pairs or flocks or coveys like the mule deer, javalinas, harris hawks, brewer sparrows, quail, and mourning doves, sharing food harvest and lookout duties. The birds -- and even the chipmunks -- have learned each other's alarm calls and startle as one organism.
Capitalism of course sees everything through its fogged little lens and has the birds at each other's throats. Yes we have bullies like the curved bill thrasher and predators like the fox and bobcat who aren't set up to eat the roots and berries, the latter requiring taurine at every meal.
But even here predators are doing the rodents a favor by keeping numbers at a level the land can support and helping along with rodent fitness by picking off the others.
Indeed when I was advising on the vertebrate genome projects, one of the first of many culturally unacceptable results
was that rodents have thousands more functional genes than humans.
Both genomes are riddled with junk DNA, over a million defective copies of virus-like replicative units; these expand faster than selection can get rid of them, with the pufferfish the only known exception. Our culture chokes though on straightforward science.
Like birds with their more efficient lungs and advanced neurons, mice had sharper vision, far more discriminatory olfaction, keener hearing and indeed overall more highly evolved proteins than humans (whose knees and backs are evidently just works in progress).
And that's thanks to the owl and bobcat for all that natural selection -- the mouse proteome is calculated to be 200 million years in the future on the timescale of human evolution. We're never going to get caught up.
Loki's Castle is another case in point. It's a deep sea vent south of Svalbard, see map corner in a recent post. Our closest living prokaryotic relative still lives in the anaerobic muck there, the Lokiarchaeum branch on the tree of life.
There's not a lot of energy to be gleaned in an autotrophic environment using molecular hydrogen as terminal oxidant with a nickel cofactor catalyst poisoned by early oxygen, but a big breakthrough from the anthropomorphic perspective came from a cooperative symbiosis
with a micro-aerobic planktonic marine α-proteobacteria, later to become a talent-sharing endosymbiont known as the mitochondrion.
And the rest is history: oxidative metabolism, 37 ATP from one glucose molecule instead of 1-2.
This bears a curious parallel to climate change or growth-has-no-limits, in that while the above ignoble origin of multi-cellular eukaryotes such as ourselves has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt*, there remains a very active pseudo-controversy about it.
The opposition cloaks itself in science-speak but it is religion-driven hostility that postulates that their divine (not yours) sparked the whole very special ascent of man, not bit-by-bit evolution. (Alternatively, maybe some evolution happened but it was purposive and predestined the natural order which is despotic white libertarian anglo-male rule.)
Monkey trials still go on in the US hinterlands (~ red states on election maps); this antagonism to the inconvenient truth about our lowly origins merely backs up chimps a couple billion years for the devout non-evangelicals.
Go ahead, break your spear on capitalism but it goes back much farther, to when we made up that bit about being given dominion over nature and our bogus separation from it, go forth and multiply, call the other animals 'game', display arrogance in announcing an Anthropocene instead of the Stupidocene. *Phylogenetic analyses at this distance, while giving the correct answer, need independent support as provided by recent gene family studies, notably the selenocysteine insertion system, the non-use of membrane lipid ethers in Loki, ribosomal protein similarities, tetrahydromethanopterin-based one carbon metabolism, RasGTPases and so on.