A little bit about dogs and us, but mostly us.
As my blog background suggests, I like wolves. Simply from a visual standpoint, there’s something very noble about them that gives them this almost magical quality. It’s not something I could put into words besides those. Unfortunately, for most of my childhood I had terrible allergies and could thus never have pets, so I can’t say I understand when people tell me how much they love theirs. I think it’s because of this I found the genes reading much more interesting than the dog excerpt.
In regards to dogs, though, I couldn’t help but think back to Dr. Nelson’s example of the Russian strays that had only in a few short generations undergone devolution, or a process that resembles it, from dog to wolf. Until now I had considered evolution in the Pokemon sense – once it happens, there’s no going back. But now I see that it’s a little more complicated than pressing B.
The article we read brought up the idea that no species is ever perfectly equipped to deal with its environment. I believe this is true and the evidence is right here. My personal theory is that we would never “evolve” into diseases like diabetes and cancer. That goes against the idea that we adapt to survive.
This is tangentially relevant to our reading, but I thought this would be a good place to discuss it. The idea has been brought up in class that cancer is our response to overpopulation. With some level of firmness, I reject that idea. To me, that implies that there is a sort of collective consciousness that governs which traits do and do not develop. As we learned in last week’s reading and as many of us are likely aware, a species can diverge into multiple species. In that sense, the history of our evolution, I believe, is more tied to our families in much the same way that my Ukrainian roommate can handle his vodka better than I can and has a high metabolism that forces him to eat three meals a day or starve (Keeping ones energy up in those harsh Russian winters). In other words, no matter how closely related my roommate and I are, one could say that my family and his represent different paths of the same species and that therefore we have different traits. He comes from his environment and I come from mine. We both, however, could get cancer at some point in our lives. What I mean to say is this—I don’t think our genes could be aware of overpopulation. That seems like a learned trait, not a genetic one. And if it isn’t a mechanical culling of sorts, what is it? I think that’s where our reading comes in.
What I would instead say is that these diseases (Cancer, diabetes) are the product of scientific progress that has outpaced evolution—we introduce poisons into our systems that our bodies are not yet equipped to handle. I believe that over time, and I certainly think this to be true of diabetes, we will evolve to process artificial sugars and carcinogens such as those in soda better than we do today. By then, of course, we will have new problems to adapt to.
There’s my rambling for this week. Hoping it made at least a little sense.