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Our poor stomach - peak of digesting ability?


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#1    Rolci

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:03 PM

Ok, this topic is not supposed to be another battleground between creationists and evolutionists, we have plenty of those. But my question for tonight is: if we've had natural selection for all these billions of years, and we're supposed to be the end product of a long line of evolutionary development, how is it that, although all the apes can eat all kinds of flowers, insects, slugs, and drink rain water or water from ponds, we, humans, who are supposed to have "developed" from apes, and have only existed on this planed in the last blink of an eye in earth history, have low tolerance for most foodstuffs found in nature as well as natural water. Why do we "need" our water cleaned, cleared, filtered and chlorinated? Our food washed? You look around in nature, all the mammals (and every living being really) doing just fine eating food and drinking water dirty, but we get poisoning or at least an upset stomach and internal infections. Is this supposed to be favourable by nature as a survival "skill"? Falling ill from everything? Doesn't seem to be an evolutionary advantage. The question for God-believers would be, of course, why give humans, the image and likeness of God, a poor immune system that gives us so much suffering when trying to survive in nature? I'm watching these BBC documentaries like

and

and, quite honestly, I'd swap with them ANY day. If only I could manage with my stomach - the peak of elovution. (?) Explanations and a cure please. Thanks. :)

Edited by Rolci, 27 March 2012 - 10:07 PM.

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#2    The Lone Ranger

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 10:36 PM

It probarly has something to do with the fact that we are not used to these conditions, however i dont know if we could get used to it and lets hope that we will never need to find out.
According to science we evolved from other hominids, and before that from the apes. well what would be the point of losing strenght?
i mean in order to survive you would have to be both strong and smart right? so why would we be getting less strong?

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#3    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:52 PM

Quote

well what would be the point of losing strenght?

muscle takes a lot of calories and protein to maintain. therego, if its not being used to its full extent it will be selected against overtime. especially in our world... where we have force multipliers. lol, i remember an old western quote. "god made all men. mr. colt made them ever." in todays world (and it has been this way for quiet a while already), its no longer the strongest that survives, but usually the smartest/most clever individuals. therego, pure brute strength is being selected against.


#4    karmakazi

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:25 AM

View PostRolci, on 27 March 2012 - 10:03 PM, said:

drink rain water or water from ponds, we, humans, who are supposed to have "developed" from apes, and have only existed on this planed in the last blink of an eye in earth history, have low tolerance for most foodstuffs found in nature as well as natural water. Why do we "need" our water cleaned, cleared, filtered and chlorinated? Our food washed?

People who didn't have access to having water cleaned, cleared, filtered or chlorinated survived just fine, they eventually lead to present day us.  We don't actually need it either, however there would be a greater incidence of sickness and even death from drinking naturally occurring water if it is tainted. This would make those who do survive better able to tolerate tainted water so if we lost the ability to clean our water then ultimately the humans left would be those who could drink whatever is available.

Thanks to our technology there are people alive today who would not have been here as they would have died from injuries or diseases we are presently able to cure or treat.

Evolution of the genome takes a long time but by comparison natural selection can occur relatively quickly.


Edit:   I also wanted to add that I have eaten some things that probably should have made me sick, but my stomach didn't even flinch :D   My sensibilities do though, so no bugs for me.  I barely tolerate meat.

Edited by karmakazi, 28 March 2012 - 01:29 AM.

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#5    FurthurBB

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:46 AM

View PostRolci, on 27 March 2012 - 10:03 PM, said:

Ok, this topic is not supposed to be another battleground between creationists and evolutionists, we have plenty of those. But my question for tonight is: if we've had natural selection for all these billions of years, and we're supposed to be the end product of a long line of evolutionary development, how is it that, although all the apes can eat all kinds of flowers, insects, slugs, and drink rain water or water from ponds, we, humans, who are supposed to have "developed" from apes, and have only existed on this planed in the last blink of an eye in earth history, have low tolerance for most foodstuffs found in nature as well as natural water. Why do we "need" our water cleaned, cleared, filtered and chlorinated? Our food washed? You look around in nature, all the mammals (and every living being really) doing just fine eating food and drinking water dirty, but we get poisoning or at least an upset stomach and internal infections. Is this supposed to be favourable by nature as a survival "skill"? Falling ill from everything? Doesn't seem to be an evolutionary advantage. The question for God-believers would be, of course, why give humans, the image and likeness of God, a poor immune system that gives us so much suffering when trying to survive in nature? I'm watching these BBC documentaries like

and

and, quite honestly, I'd swap with them ANY day. If only I could manage with my stomach - the peak of elovution. (?) Explanations and a cure please. Thanks. :)

A lot of times evolution is a trade off.  Like, we birth babies with big heads because more developed infants have a greater chance of survival, but we have small pelvises to help us run from predators faster which makes birthing big headed babies very dangerous.  Natural selection can only work on what is available and often times one trait is lost to make room for others that help an organism be successful in its niche.


#6    Fergus

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 02:57 AM

On a somewhat related note, I have often wondered why and how we lost our ability to travel much faster on all fours. I understand the need to stand on 2 legs evolutionarily (is that even a word?) speaking, but given that walking and running on 2 feet is VERY inefficient from a scientific standpoint compared to doing the same on all fours, why did we not keep the ability to do both?

Sorry to get a bit off topic but I didn't think it needed a whole new topic for it.


#7    Englishgent

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:16 AM

IMO the reason we cannot tolerate the sort of conditions that apes can is because we have this obsession with cleanliness and food hygiene. All this rubbish about shelf life of foods, and sell by/use by dates. Most of the food that supermarkets throw away is actually quite safely edible.
I agree that this is needed to some extent but not to the extent that we have today. We live in a bubble and as soon as we walk outside that bubble we are attacked by all sorts of things which previously our bodies could probably tolerate.
There are probably many things that apes eat that we could also eat. We have become very fussy eaters. Karmakazi says he would not eat bugs, but bugs are a great source of protein and a large number of them are quite safe to eat. Again, it is just us Westerners who refuse to eat them, whereas African tribal people and Aboriginies still use them as an important source of nourishment.
Here in Thailand they eat many varieties of bugs but generally they are eaten cooked, rather than raw.
If we were to eat the same things our ancestors ate, we would be much more tolerant to them.
Or, is it that our bodies would probably still tolerate these foods. It is our mind which wont tolerate them.   :)


#8    Odin11

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:44 AM

View PostFergus, on 28 March 2012 - 02:57 AM, said:

On a somewhat related note, I have often wondered why and how we lost our ability to travel much faster on all fours. I understand the need to stand on 2 legs evolutionarily (is that even a word?) speaking, but given that walking and running on 2 feet is VERY inefficient from a scientific standpoint compared to doing the same on all fours, why did we not keep the ability to do both?

Sorry to get a bit off topic but I didn't think it needed a whole new topic for it.


This is not true. Studies were done showing "no consistent differences in energy-cost between bipeds and quadrupeds of any size."  My link

Our ancestors would wound an animal then run it until it collapsed then kill it. We did not need to run fast, we needed endurance, and thats what we have.

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Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing "Does not!" ~Author Unknown

#9    ninjadude

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:52 AM

View PostRolci, on 27 March 2012 - 10:03 PM, said:

Ok, this topic is not supposed to be another battleground between creationists and evolutionists, we have plenty of those. But my question for tonight is: if we've had natural selection for all these billions of years, and we're supposed to be the end product of a long line of evolutionary development, how is it that, although all the apes can eat all kinds of flowers, insects, slugs, and drink rain water or water from ponds, we, humans, who are supposed to have "developed" from apes, and have only existed on this planed in the last blink of an eye in earth history, have low tolerance for most foodstuffs found in nature as well as natural water. Why do we "need" our water cleaned, cleared, filtered and chlorinated? Our food washed? You look around in nature, all the mammals (and every living being really) doing just fine eating food and drinking water dirty, but we get poisoning or at least an upset stomach and internal infections. Is this supposed to be favourable by nature as a survival "skill"? Falling ill from everything? Doesn't seem to be an evolutionary advantage. The question for God-believers would be, of course, why give humans, the image and likeness of God, a poor immune system that gives us so much suffering when trying to survive in nature? I'm watching these BBC documentaries like
and, quite honestly, I'd swap with them ANY day. If only I could manage with my stomach - the peak of elovution. (?) Explanations and a cure please. Thanks. :)

I think the root of your quandry is thinking that we are the "peak" of evolution. There is no such thing as a pinnacle or height or best or peak of evolution. We are simply the last iteration. And even that changes constantly. Humans evolved to success in environments. Our environment today, antiseptic, in-doors, separated from nature has changed our bodies (evolved). We've learned thru science that bacteria can cause disease and shorten our life span. So we endeavor to eliminate that to live longer. Apes, not so much. Oh and we and apes have a common ancestor. We did not evolve from them. So, of course, apes have different abilities than humans.

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#10    Cybele

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:59 AM

View PostRolci, on 27 March 2012 - 10:03 PM, said:

how is it that, although all the apes can eat all kinds of flowers, insects, slugs, and drink rain water or water from ponds, we, humans, who are supposed to have "developed" from apes, and have only existed on this planed in the last blink of an eye in earth history, have low tolerance for most foodstuffs found in nature as well as natural water. Why do we "need" our water cleaned, cleared, filtered and chlorinated? Our food washed? You look around in nature, all the mammals (and every living being really) doing just fine eating food and drinking water dirty, but we get poisoning or at least an upset stomach and internal infections. Is this supposed to be favourable by nature as a survival "skill"? Falling ill from everything?

That's nothing to do with natural selection or what we "need"; it's related to our modern culture, technological advances and the way we grow up.

Actually, humans in other parts of the world do readily eat all the things you mention above. Many insects, in particular, are very nutritious: high in protein and low in fat. Many types of flowers are edible (we occasionally use them in the West as garnishes in salads and desserts).  As for getting sick from dirty water, that's also to do, in part, with what you grow up drinking and develop a resistance to. Tourists from the U.S. can get terrible GI problems from drinking the water that native Mexicans drink every day. My dad spoke of similar issues when he was in Vietnam.

You assume animals are "just fine" eating dirty food and drinking dirty water, but I think it's a safe bet that most wild species harbor far more parasites and live shorter lives than domesticated animals. Your post implies that humans have always chlorinated their water and kept it as free from microbes as possible. For most of our history, the opposite is true. We don't "need" water to be as pure as it is out of the tap in order to survive as a species, it just makes our quality of life better.

Actually, there is something immunologists call the "hygiene hypothesis", which states that modern, ultra-sterile environments can be detrimental in some ways because our immune systems evolved to be constantly fighting off invasions from parasites, bacteria, and viruses. It's thought that conditions such as asthma and seasonal allergies are the result of an immune system that becomes "bored", for the lack of a better term, and starts attacking harmless things, like oak pollen.

Edible Flowers and Insects:
http://homecooking.a...y/blflowers.htm

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Entomophagy

Hygiene Hypothesis:
http://www.scientifi...-the-h-11-04-06
http://www.pbs.org/w...4/l_104_07.html
http://www.fda.gov/b...s/ucm167471.htm

Montezuma's Revenge: :devil:

http://www.mexadvent...nking_Water.cfm

Being from the U.K., I realize you may not be familiar with the above.

Travelers often get diarrhea from eating and drinking foods and beverages that have no adverse effects on local residents. This is due to immunity that develops with constant, repeated exposure to pathogenic organisms. The extent and duration of exposure necessary to acquire immunity has not been determined; it may vary with each individual organism. However, a study among expatriates in Nepal suggests that immunity may take up to seven years to develop—presumably in adults who avoid deliberate pathogen exposure.[6] Conversely, immunity that American students acquired while living in Mexico disappeared, in one study, as quickly as 8 weeks after cessation of exposure

http://en.wikipedia....uma.27s_revenge

Edited by Cybele, 28 March 2012 - 06:27 AM.

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#11    karmakazi

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

View PostEnglishgent, on 28 March 2012 - 03:16 AM, said:

Karmakazi says he would not eat bugs, but bugs are a great source of protein and a large number of them are quite safe to eat.

Karma is a she :)   And yeah... though I know in my head that they are actually very nutritious, I just can't do it! lol  I am quite a picky eater when it comes to "normal" foods too.  People have been teasing me about it all of my life :D


Quote

Or, is it that our bodies would probably still tolerate these foods. It is our mind which wont tolerate them.   :)

I think this is the case.  Even with the water, all the stuff we do to it is usually more for taste than implied safety.  Though there are a lot of germophobes these days...

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#12    karmakazi

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:50 AM

View PostFergus, on 28 March 2012 - 02:57 AM, said:

On a somewhat related note, I have often wondered why and how we lost our ability to travel much faster on all fours. I understand the need to stand on 2 legs evolutionarily (is that even a word?) speaking, but given that walking and running on 2 feet is VERY inefficient from a scientific standpoint compared to doing the same on all fours, why did we not keep the ability to do both?

Sorry to get a bit off topic but I didn't think it needed a whole new topic for it.


Less speed but much better ability to carry things off to store them, much better ability to reach higher without climbing, see farther without climbing, etc.  So where we may have lost one thing we gained many other benefits... and for whatever reason it was beneficial in the habitat of the time for our ancestors to change this way.

One of the really important but often overlooked factors of natural selection is that it does not always mean better, stronger, bigger, faster.  It means more adapted to current environment.  Sometimes selection towards what seems a weaker trait is actually more efficient in a given environment, hence the reason some creatures became smaller over time.  Smaller creatures get by on less food, could be less easy for predators to spot, etc.

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#13    Englishgent

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:16 AM

View Postkarmakazi, on 28 March 2012 - 10:44 AM, said:

Karma is a she :)   And yeah... though I know in my head that they are actually very nutritious, I just can't do it! lol  I am quite a picky eater when it comes to "normal" foods too.  People have been teasing me about it all of my life :D




I think this is the case.  Even with the water, all the stuff we do to it is usually more for taste than implied safety.  Though there are a lot of germophobes these days...

Apologies for the gender error :)


#14    Rolci

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 11:22 AM

Wow, thanks for all the valuable replies, articles and studies posted, very informative. By the way I also live in the UK, although not natively, and I can see what it's doing to me. It's funny to think that those Mexicans that trink their "different" water can manage anywhere in the world, with any water, and us, poor citizends of the western world, have to take bloody precautions of suffer the consequences. Also I think we can, indeed, drop the whole evolution bit now, since, like I was gonna say but Englishgent said it first, tribesmen and aboriginals nowadays, and our recent ancestors a few decades and centuries ago, drank the same water as these monkeys in the wild I posted the videos about, and they don't/didn't follow the same hygiene guidelines we do nowadays. (What for?) I can't see how living a few years longer makes it worth giving up a more independent life with a stronger immune system, especially with those extra years being added to the end bit (obviously) of our lives, when we're too fragile to do anything anyway, so what's the point? I'd rather live a shorter but freer life, dunno about you guys. The study about those expats seems promising though. But like Englishgent said, "Or, is it that our bodies would probably still tolerate these foods. It is our mind which wont tolerate them." There's probably some truth there. Man, what has modern living done to us? Slowly put is in a cell, caught up in a ratrace all about money, material wealth, status, position, career on the personal level, and a ratrace and building this machinery called civilization with all the cities and everything that's in them. All stuff we don't really need, like living in the matrix, citizens of a prison who lost their freedom. Try to build your own house and live off the land and the authorities (who gave them power) will tell you you can't, or pay taxes, because it's their land (who gave them the land). I feel like we're devolving into drones. Is this what being a conscious (maybe even spiritual) human is supposed to be all about? I know I've diverted from my original post, but somewhere this is the root of my original query, the loss of our freedom, not only by being caught up in "civilization" but also phisiologically now, being dependent on the "system". Where is this going to? Brave new world?

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#15    karmakazi

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 02:47 PM

View PostEnglishgent, on 28 March 2012 - 11:16 AM, said:

Apologies for the gender error :)


It's quite alright :)


View PostRolci, on 28 March 2012 - 11:22 AM, said:

I can't see how living a few years longer makes it worth giving up a more independent life with a stronger immune system, especially with those extra years being added to the end bit (obviously) of our lives, when we're too fragile to do anything anyway, so what's the point? I'd rather live a shorter but freer life, dunno about you guys.

I completely agree.  I would much rather live the nomadic lifestyle of our ancestors and risk dying much sooner.


Quote

The study about those expats seems promising though. But like Englishgent said, "Or, is it that our bodies would probably still tolerate these foods. It is our mind which wont tolerate them." There's probably some truth there. Man, what has modern living done to us? Slowly put is in a cell, caught up in a ratrace all about money, material wealth, status, position, career on the personal level, and a ratrace and building this machinery called civilization with all the cities and everything that's in them. All stuff we don't really need, like living in the matrix, citizens of a prison who lost their freedom. Try to build your own house and live off the land and the authorities (who gave them power) will tell you you can't, or pay taxes, because it's their land (who gave them the land). I feel like we're devolving into drones. Is this what being a conscious (maybe even spiritual) human is supposed to be all about? I know I've diverted from my original post, but somewhere this is the root of my original query, the loss of our freedom, not only by being caught up in "civilization" but also phisiologically now, being dependent on the "system". Where is this going to? Brave new world?

The problem we encounter is that the majority seems so caught up in the rat race that they think it makes them happy, or that it is required, or they just can't see any other way to exist.  So as they're running around their hamster wheels, they are happy to have whomever in charge of them as long as they feel it gives them certain securities and protections.  As long as they feel protected, they'll continue on doing what they are doing.  

Then there are those of us who feel the way you do.  We'd gladly give up the protection in order to not have the trappings of society.  I don't care about owning things or some sort of status within society, I don't care to be protected from lead in toys or possible contamination of vegetables (I'd just grow my own), and I'm capable of constructing a basic shelter from natural materials if I need to.  But, like you said, it's nearly impossible to get out of the system because every inch of the planet belongs to someone.  Even Antarctica as uninhabitable as it is has claims laid to every inch of it by various countries.  And they seem to be eyeing up Mars & the moon too.   So in order to live anywhere on Earth you have to abide by the rules of some country and pay for a spot, IF they let you in to begin with.  To me, this is the most absurd thing imaginable.  That and people paying for food and water when both should be possible to hunt/forage for.  (but that is a question of overpopulation as well)


Honestly I think most people realize this, at least subconsciously.  It explains why westerners get very worked up over various apocalyptic scenarios - everyone wants to be one of the few who survive and start over, being faced with real challenges and real things to overcome, rather than having to turn to hollow "made up" challenges like trying to get rich or get the hottest boyfriend/girlfriend or whatever.

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