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American Mammalia circa 10k B.C.E.

R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,733
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11/25/2016 7:57:53 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
About the time ancient Americans were crossing the Bering Straight, the quaternary extinction event was underway. It could have been humans directly, or else climate change, disease, or even meteors - but something killed off all these creatures. The vast majority of all Megafauna across the world (with the curious exception of africa) died off forever; here are a few that roamed the United States about 5 times as long ago as Plato was writing his Republic:

- glyptodon
Think of an armadillo, but massive - they weighed about a ton!

- American cheetah
Built more for climbing than for running like African cheetahs.

- American Lion
One of the biggest cats in earth's history - 25% bigger than the African lion (although probably more of a panther or jaguar than a lion).

-dire wolf
25% heavier than the surviving species but with shorter legs.

-mastodons and wooly mammoths
Elephant-like creatures like in the Ice Age movies

- short-faced bear
Like a grizzly bear in stilts. Its legs were a third longer than the surviving species today.

- American horse

-ground sloth
Like a sloth but 2200 lb! This must have been a fantastic beast...

- American camel
A 1700 lb llama-like creature

-giant beaver
2.5x bigger than modern-day beaver, but similar in lifestyle.

It's scary to me to think that we are in the tail-end of a major extinction-level event, and almost certainly preventing the next explosion of evolution from occuring. Are we supposed to be the next evolutionary explosion ourselves, to replace the lower creatures? Or are we preventing what's best for everything and everyone by failing to allow nature to take its course? My biggest fear is that our survival will depend on us replenishing nature, but too many of us will succumb to worshipping technology and consumption and we'll die off ourselves as natural resources continue to diminish. Perhaps our societies are destined to crumble, and it will be the post-apocalyptic survivors who learn how to control the binging and abuse of technology and overpopulation.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
janesix
Posts: 3,465
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11/26/2016 8:56:40 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/25/2016 7:57:53 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
About the time ancient Americans were crossing the Bering Straight, the quaternary extinction event was underway. It could have been humans directly, or else climate change, disease, or even meteors - but something killed off all these creatures. The vast majority of all Megafauna across the world (with the curious exception of africa) died off forever; here are a few that roamed the United States about 5 times as long ago as Plato was writing his Republic:

- glyptodon
Think of an armadillo, but massive - they weighed about a ton!

- American cheetah
Built more for climbing than for running like African cheetahs.

- American Lion
One of the biggest cats in earth's history - 25% bigger than the African lion (although probably more of a panther or jaguar than a lion).

-dire wolf
25% heavier than the surviving species but with shorter legs.

-mastodons and wooly mammoths
Elephant-like creatures like in the Ice Age movies

- short-faced bear
Like a grizzly bear in stilts. Its legs were a third longer than the surviving species today.

- American horse

-ground sloth
Like a sloth but 2200 lb! This must have been a fantastic beast...

- American camel
A 1700 lb llama-like creature

-giant beaver
2.5x bigger than modern-day beaver, but similar in lifestyle.

It's scary to me to think that we are in the tail-end of a major extinction-level event, and almost certainly preventing the next explosion of evolution from occuring. Are we supposed to be the next evolutionary explosion ourselves, to replace the lower creatures? Or are we preventing what's best for everything and everyone by failing to allow nature to take its course? My biggest fear is that our survival will depend on us replenishing nature, but too many of us will succumb to worshipping technology and consumption and we'll die off ourselves as natural resources continue to diminish. Perhaps our societies are destined to crumble, and it will be the post-apocalyptic survivors who learn how to control the binging and abuse of technology and overpopulation.
It was probably a meteor or something else cataclysmic. The temperature went up 15 degrees in a matter of years and the ice caps melted.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,014
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11/27/2016 10:48:09 AM
Posted: 1 week ago
The current fauna of America is even more interesting.

Americus Republicanus - a large, often bloated ape-like creature not capable of rumination, or any other sort of thinking. Most specimens are white.
Americus Democraticus - an equally large ape-like species. Many specimens are not-white.
Homo non sapiens - see A. Replicanus.
Homo Touristicus - Wide ranging variant found world-wide. Unpopular with indigenous species everywhere who consider them noisy oiks but pretend otherwise and take their money.
Homo Floridus - not a separate species but senile individuals of A. Rep.
Homo Kentuckyus - While believed to be capable of repreroduction outside their family group, out-breeding has not been observed.
Homo Californicus - the name is self-descriptive, deary.
Homo President Trumpus - a new species, once believed to be impossible but people now just have to get use to.
Homo Idahous - Survives entirely on a diet of potatoes.
Homo Mississippius - Best diet of all American species. Some can read and write.
Homo NewYorkus - who wants to know, ya bum.
Homo Evangelistus - Insane variant prone to hallucinations. Dominant individuals are generally even more sexually deviant than regular members.
Homo Survialisticus - Paranoid variety of any of above.
v3nesl
Posts: 4,493
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11/28/2016 4:06:43 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/25/2016 7:57:53 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
... Are we supposed to be the next evolutionary explosion ourselves, to replace the lower creatures?

Well, if Darwinian evolution is correct, there's no "supposed to be" about anything, so eat drink and be merry while awaiting your personal extinction event. Besides, what you do is what your DNA codes for, and your DNA is the way it is because it was stacked close enough to the previous domino to continue the chain reaction. So you have no choice anyway, is the point. Relax. And if you find you can't relax, maybe try to figure out what the real story of existence is.
This space for rent.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,014
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11/28/2016 8:00:57 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 4:06:43 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/25/2016 7:57:53 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
... Are we supposed to be the next evolutionary explosion ourselves, to replace the lower creatures?

Well, if Darwinian evolution is correct, there's no "supposed to be" about anything, so eat drink and be merry while awaiting your personal extinction event. Besides, what you do is what your DNA codes for, and your DNA is the way it is because it was stacked close enough to the previous domino to continue the chain reaction. So you have no choice anyway, is the point. Relax. And if you find you can't relax, maybe try to figure out what the real story of existence is.

Do I detect a touch or irony and sarcasm in there, v? In any case I would dispute what you say. Drawinian evolution is correct, and it tells us how we (and all our fellow critters) got here. It doesn't tell us where to go next because for probably the first time in the history of the planet there is a species that can plan for the far future and take steps to bring it about.

For 3 billion years natural selection was all there was to shape the future, but now there is also human will. The rules of the game have changed, and like it lump it we are now responsible for what happens next.

V3 is right that nothing is 'supposed' to happen in the sense that there is no such thing as fate or destiny. That is a downer, because it means we have to define and bring about our own fate and destiny, which is something we generally try to avoid doing. Muddling along and hoping for the best has served us fairly well in the past, but you can only burn coal and oil once and when its gone its gone for good, and the air can only take so much pollution before you ge to the straw that breaks the camels back.

So what future do you want? Do you want to replace the fauna with people, share the planet or what? All options are still available - more or less. The question is how long do we have before there is no choice and we have to take whatever comes?
v3nesl
Posts: 4,493
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11/28/2016 8:52:36 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 8:00:57 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/28/2016 4:06:43 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/25/2016 7:57:53 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
... Are we supposed to be the next evolutionary explosion ourselves, to replace the lower creatures?

Well, if Darwinian evolution is correct, there's no "supposed to be" about anything, so eat drink and be merry while awaiting your personal extinction event. Besides, what you do is what your DNA codes for, and your DNA is the way it is because it was stacked close enough to the previous domino to continue the chain reaction. So you have no choice anyway, is the point. Relax. And if you find you can't relax, maybe try to figure out what the real story of existence is.

Do I detect a touch or irony and sarcasm in there, v? In any case I would dispute what you say. Drawinian evolution is correct, and it tells us how we (and all our fellow critters) got here. It doesn't tell us where to go next because for probably the first time in the history of the planet there is a species that can plan for the far future and take steps to bring it about.


Maybe we can, maybe we can't, but I didn't address that. I addressed the "should" issue.

For 3 billion years natural selection was all there was to shape the future, but now there is also human will.

So human will is not a manifestation of natural selection? Are you agreeing with the philosophers now, that it's something else entirely?

The rules of the game have changed, and like it lump it we are now responsible for what happens next.

And badda bing, now there's a game, there's rules, and we are "responsible". Does this not give you pause at all? Do you not hear the china tinkling all around you?


So what future do you want?

What future do I want? Well, not one that humans can bring about, I can tell you that much. I long for things that I can't even name.
This space for rent.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,014
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11/28/2016 8:59:34 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 8:52:36 PM, v3nesl wrote:
And badda bing, now there's a game, there's rules, and we are "responsible". Does this not give you pause at all? Do you not hear the china tinkling all around you?

Can't hear a thing. You'll have to more explicit!
v3nesl
Posts: 4,493
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11/28/2016 9:24:35 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 8:59:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/28/2016 8:52:36 PM, v3nesl wrote:
And badda bing, now there's a game, there's rules, and we are "responsible". Does this not give you pause at all? Do you not hear the china tinkling all around you?

Can't hear a thing. You'll have to more explicit!

I don't think that will help, lol. You just have to think about what you're saying. Did someone design a game, with rules, goals, scoring, and presumably a referee, or did the dice land the right way on one ball of dirt in one remote galaxy? Are we just a transient pattern in the ever shifting cosmic dust storm, or is there some intent somehow?

It can't be both, and you are most definitely mixing concepts from two diametrically opposed philosophies. My bull-in-a-china-shop analogy is directed at the fact that you seem oblivious to how inescapable a sense of purpose for life is. But there is no purpose in Darwinian evolution, and you may have to expend some significant mental effort to really see this clearly. So either our instincts are delusional, which casts doubt on all that we think, or life DOES have a purpose.
This space for rent.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,014
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11/28/2016 9:57:05 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 9:24:35 PM, v3nesl wrote:
It can't be both
I was very explicit that it is both, but not at the same time! I wrote:

For 3 billion years natural selection was all there was to shape the future, but now there is also human will. The rules of the game have changed, and like it lump it we are now responsible for what happens next.

Tyrannosaurus rex did not have moral repsonsiblity for the future of the planet - it wasn't T Rex's fault that no asteroid defence system existed 65 million years ago. But we don't have the same excuses any more. What T Rex evolved into (if had not been made extinct) was also not under its conscious control, but ours is. We may not want to institute a program of eugenics, but we could choose to if we liked. T Rex could not make that choice consciously.

We have entered a post-Darwinian age where evolution is no longer solely down to what random mutations occur and how natural selection operates on them. We can create and control mutation, and we can select the winners and losers. We've been doing it for hundreds of years already with live stock and crops, and we are going to get better at it.

But what do we do with that power to control the future? As I said, we don't like facing up to the responsibilty. We don't like to think beyond the next financial quarter. We've got away with it so far because nature is so resilent, but we are running out of oil, water, food. We are in danger of having no effective anti-biotics. The dinosaurs went extinct because they couldn't prevent their extinction. If we go extinct it will be because we didn't prevent it.
v3nesl
Posts: 4,493
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11/28/2016 10:43:58 PM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/28/2016 9:57:05 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/28/2016 9:24:35 PM, v3nesl wrote:
It can't be both
I was very explicit that it is both, but not at the same time! I wrote:

For 3 billion years natural selection was all there was to shape the future, but now there is also human will. The rules of the game have changed, and like it lump it we are now responsible for what happens next.

Tyrannosaurus rex did not have moral repsonsiblity for the future of the planet - it wasn't T Rex's fault that no asteroid defence system existed 65 million years ago. But we don't have the same excuses any more.

Ok, guess we better give this up. Carry on.
This space for rent.
Philosophy101
Posts: 133
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11/30/2016 5:46:17 AM
Posted: 1 week ago
At 11/27/2016 10:48:09 AM, keithprosser wrote:
The current fauna of America is even more interesting.

Americus Republicanus - a large, often bloated ape-like creature not capable of rumination, or any other sort of thinking. Most specimens are white.
Americus Democraticus - an equally large ape-like species. Many specimens are not-white.
Homo non sapiens - see A. Replicanus.
Homo Touristicus - Wide ranging variant found world-wide. Unpopular with indigenous species everywhere who consider them noisy oiks but pretend otherwise and take their money.
Homo Floridus - not a separate species but senile individuals of A. Rep.
Homo Kentuckyus - While believed to be capable of repreroduction outside their family group, out-breeding has not been observed.
Homo Californicus - the name is self-descriptive, deary.
Homo President Trumpus - a new species, once believed to be impossible but people now just have to get use to.
Homo Idahous - Survives entirely on a diet of potatoes.
Homo Mississippius - Best diet of all American species. Some can read and write.
Homo NewYorkus - who wants to know, ya bum.
Homo Evangelistus - Insane variant prone to hallucinations. Dominant individuals are generally even more sexually deviant than regular members.
Homo Survialisticus - Paranoid variety of any of above.

You forgot homo millianarus - a fragile creature known to survive on unpaid taxes