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What do rats do when there are too many in the cage?

  1. qwark profile image61
    qwarkposted 5 years ago

    Can anyone relate this question, intellectually, to the contemporary "human condition?"
     
    Explain why you can or cannot.

    Qwark

    1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      According to the original experiment and replications, some rats kill others, some self-mutilate, and some withdraw and groom themselves. I think some went to sleep, but I may be imagining that.

      All this is happening among humans right now, and some of it is linked to overpopulation, but not all of it. For example, 40 additional cars are added to my county's roads every day - I am becoming angry and want to run them off the road; others actually TRY to run me off the road, even in ice buildup. Insane.

      1. qwark profile image61
        qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Hi Patty:
        ...what do you think the result might be if in the next, oh say, 30 - 50 yrs the human population increases to about 9 - 10 billion?
        Qwark

        1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
          Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Probably results will be influenced by culture to a certain threshold; in Japan of the mid-20th c, drinking increased with the crowding and 7 levels of society, each with its own dialect.

          In USA, I'm guessing the farthest ideological ends of political parties will become even more polarized and maybe more hateful toward one another and aggression and bullying will rise generally among people. region of the country may impact the results -- Road rage is already increasing enormously here in Ohio, while certain groups are yelling from their cars that people that support the city bus system and want trains are "no good." Poeple are knocking the elderly aside and down in the stores in parts of my city. Mental health will be another thing to suffer, I think.

          Also, I am already seeing the growth of US metroplexes that are several large cities combined, since that's where jobs are; and the population becoming denser between the cities to make one large [SW 1/4 of Ohio is on its way and 60 years should do it]. Next would come more high-rise small-quarters living and that brings the problems of Japan mentioned above.  I think it will lead to anger, anxiety, clastrophobia, fighting, possible suicides, all kinds of behaviors created by too much stress and crowding.

          At the same time, some people may transport off to colonize Mars, although from looking at the analyses of problems, people will feel very crowded in flight and without being able to bathe, anxiety, depression, and violence could be worse than on earth, even before we reach Mars. Then shortened lifespans on Mars.

          With overcrowding, large #s of people might become ill from proximity and spread of viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. And sanitation will be an issue, like during Hurricane Katrina in the football dome. How about food? We can do terrace farming, how about high-rise chicken coops?

          We might make it.     

          India and China are pretty crowded. Crowding issues and results will likely worsen with billions more people.

          Or the world population could reduce through diasters, illnesses, plagues, accidents, which will increase with crowding because of stress. There may be a threshold at which the population puts a lid on itself.

          And populations are aging, so in 50 years we could have a lot of crowded elderly and middle-adult sick people and maybe no place left to bury them when they die.  Many of us are going to live long enough to see just what does happen.Someone should write a book...

          1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
            Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Heres part of a summary from the rat study in the late 50s-early 60s

            A famous experiment in the 1960s found that when too many rats are forced to live in a cage of a given size they soon display abnormal behaviour including

            hyper-aggression,
            failure to nurture young,
            failure to breed at all,
            increased mortality (death),
            abnormal sexual patterns,
            increased illnesses,
            increased mental illnesses (abnormal behaviors)and
            infant cannibalism.


            (I'll look for the whole study in my notes.)

            Seems to me the society would die off until there was enough room.

            1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
              Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              It's by John Calhoun and called 'Death Squared: the Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population.' Search Google Scholar and find it under US government docs probably...

              Seems I remember that all the mice or rats died.

          2. qwark profile image61
            qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Patty:
            This is the most likely of your "instances:

            " Or the world population could reduce through diasters, illnesses, plagues, accidents, which will increase with crowding because of stress. There may be a threshold at which the population puts a lid on itself."

            As population increases, all the "negatives" we experience today, will increase in kind. I see no other way future life could proceed.

            The years to come will be dark and gloomy!

            Qwark

    2. pylos26 profile image76
      pylos26posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well...intellectually, when i was a rat, i just ate the other rats. hoho...thanks for the idea skipper...i'll do that.

      1. qwark profile image61
        qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Pylos:
        I just got back from the gym.
        Go for it. I think that should do it for ya.
        Don't mess with the "registry."
        Bbcued rat might not be too bad...lotsa bbcue sauce!
        smile:
        Qwark

    3. Genna East profile image86
      Genna Eastposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Patty's comment is very true.  Under this type of stress, they will often kill each other in order to survive, as instinct, in this overcrowding envirnoment.

      1. qwark profile image61
        qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Genna:
        Ok ty
        Now relate this to we humans who function using both "will" and "instinct."
        Thanks   smile:
        Qwark

        1. Genna East profile image86
          Genna Eastposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          As somene who has studied sociology, I can tell you that overcrowding can inevitably lead to violence unless there is a civilized cultural influence that is strong and inhibits this instinctive response.  For example, look at Japan...especially Tokyo.  Their crime rate is remakably low by western standards. 

          In prisons, an "upside down" society is established from which the inmates rule their own world, given the limitatons of guards and security.  This is perhaps closer to the "rats in a cage" scenario. 

          Humans have a "choice."   It is a shame that we cannot recongnize how quickly we are destroying our own environment.  The "cage" is much closer than we think.

          1. qwark profile image61
            qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Genna:
            " The "cage" is much closer than we think."
            A double amen to that!
            Now, the reason there is control in those places you mention is because there is a "force" which is empowered to maintian peace hanging like the proverbial sword above their heads.
            Yes, man is a social animal. If he wasn't he wouldn't have evolved to this point.
            His problem is genetics.
            He has been programmed over the past 4 million yrs to "kill" to stay alive.
            A diet hi in protein is responsible for the development of his massive brain and because he was not gifted with tooth and fang, he had to develop wile and guile (i'm a poet) to progress on a planet that would kill him if he made a minute mistake.

            His consciousness has engendered curiosity and imagination. he is not satisfied with the status quo. He must continue to strike out searching for new knowledge and experiences.

            Herein lies the problem, he is a "willful," stubborn, ignorant creature who needs to be controlled! But those who seek the control of others are no brighter or any more capable of leadership than those they wish to control. The difference lies in apptitude and desire!

            Today, man is so fragmented in thought, belief and desire that he has become his own worst enemy!
            He is fraught with the ignorance of an infant and confused by the complexity of his surroundings. So much so that his differences frustrate his understanding of "truth."

            That alone will seperate him, his clans, societies, cultures and nations to the point that when they are too crowded together and competing for the necessities of life and beliefs, they will strike out, sans compunction and destroy any potential for coming together in concert to ensure their survival as a species.

            Pure absudity will reign!

            Qwark

          2. gmwilliams profile image86
            gmwilliamsposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            Thank you!   +++++++++.

  2. melpor profile image89
    melporposted 5 years ago

    They start killing off some of the other rats in the cage to survive.

    1. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Mel:
      Ok.
      Can you, in any manner or form, relate that answer to todays human predicament?

      Qwark

      1. melpor profile image89
        melporposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Qwark, they start killing the weak ones and the strongest will survive. I believe in most cases it will be a male killing another male and it will be some female surviving in the process. The strongest will mate with the females and repopulate the cage with a stronger generation of rats.  A course you know what going to happen next, the one that started it will ultimately be killed by one of his own offsprings because they are stronger. This cycle of life and death will repeat over and over. This is the essence of evolution. This is one part of the equation to evolution. The another part is change is also brought on  through genetic mutation from environmental pressure. But in the case of human, our intelligence stop us from going to that point unless that is the only choice we have to survive when we are in a similar situation.

        1. qwark profile image61
          qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Hi Mel:
          I agree with you in relation to the rats.
          We humans tho, function both 'willfully' and "instinctively."
          "Will" differentiates us from the rats.
          You use the word "intelligence" in considering our ability to remain a viable species.
          There is no doubt that there is a "miniscule" portion of extant humanity that can UTILIZE a very evolved level of "intelligence" when considering the successful evolution of we humans.
          They are in positions to enact meaningful efforts to realize that goal...but "they" are so few and their efforts menial.
          The level of human ignorance and deprivation amongst the majority, is so great ( and will increase geometrically as population increases) that unless there is a massive reduction in human population, the works of the few productive, able "intelligent" will not be meaningfully and effectively facilitated.
          There is no possibility of educating the "masses."
          Control will become extremely difficult.
          I think that "intelligence" will take a back seat to ignorance and need.
          Qwark

  3. tritrain profile image76
    tritrainposted 5 years ago

    Well, one could liken the rat cage as being of finite size, like the Earth.

    The rats, like humans, may eventually exceed the amount of 'livable space' and resources.

    Eventually we may begin eating one another.

    *Don't eat me though.  Eat the person above me.

    1. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Titrai:
      Aight! What do you think about that possibility?
      Qwark

      1. tritrain profile image76
        tritrainposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        It's one of the many reasons that I think the US and Canada should work toward self-reliance.  At least, that is my personal goal. 

        I think that areas of the world where there is very heavy crowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack of basic necessities, and such; we will see more upheaval and violence.

        I think we're way far off from people turning toward one another for food.  We would deplete the vegetation and animal populations long before that point.

        If it reaches that point, be sure to look as tasteless as possible.

        1. qwark profile image61
          qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Titrain:
          Each day the "world shrinks" a little. I mean this in terms of "effects."
          The day of "isolation," can no longer work.
          The "effects" of life on one facet of "old Mother Earth," are felt by us all.
          Now, when one studies contemporary humanity, and realizes that the greater the human populace, the greater is human "framentation," does
          the potential for human synergy, in relation to any subject, exist?  .
          Imagine a world with 2 billion more people on it!
          Might the insurance of "our" existence be in jeopardy?
          Your thoughts.  smile:
          Qwark

  4. Mighty Mom profile image89
    Mighty Momposted 5 years ago

    Uh, I think they form gangs for protection (?)

  5. tritrain profile image76
    tritrainposted 5 years ago

    I'm digging my bunker as we type!

  6. 68
    logic,commonsenseposted 5 years ago

    to narrow the perspective a little, we can relate it to this country.
    When we have more consumption by nonproducers than the producers can provide, the nonproducers will consume the producers first, then each other.

    1. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Ok Logic:
      ...but let's enlarge the concept to encompass ALL of humanity, with an educated understanding of its current condition.
      We live in an advance society in an advanced nation.
      Most of the worlds increase in human population will be realized in the 3rd world.
      Much of humanity exists, today, as it did 5 - 6 thousand yrs ago.
      We have been locked in combat since our arrival as modern man and everyday we create more efficient ways to destroy ourselves.
      Can we compare ourselves to the "rats" that will kill themselves off so that natures law: the strongest, most adaptive survive, will eventually become "the reality?"
      Qwark

      1. 68
        logic,commonsenseposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Nature's law is the supreme law.
        What we do or don't do matters little in the end as nature will ultimately control our destiny.
        Humans only see things in a very small scope.  Nature does not acknowledge time, as nature is inexorable.  Time is a man made concept.  Our high opinion of ourselves is meaningless to nature, as we are merely a speck in the overall picture.  We have come and we will go, just as thousands of species have done throughout the history of the planet and the universe.
        What we do only matters to us as we live.  Once we die, it matters not.

        1. qwark profile image61
          qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Logic:
          I agree with about 95% of what you just wrote.
          The 5% I don't agree with is that we have the ability to control our environment, thus controlling our evolution.
          If we don't use, intelligently, what nature has gifted us with i.e. "consciousness," then, yes, there's a very good chance that we will either disappear or...we will reduced in numbers, mutate and metamorphose into whatever nature decides.
          I think that as we increase in numbers and our world shrinks to the point that "man" has to "scrimp" to find all that is necessary to "exist," his predatory genetic propensity will "rule" and he will bring himself to the brink of extinction.
          The human species will survive but in a much different form than it exists today.
          Your thoughts?
          Qwark

          1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
            Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I added material about the rats up above, but I think enough people will die until the rest of us feel relieved of the crowding stress.

            We're like some of the less-modern cultures in that in time of restricted resources, we let die or kill off infants, elderly, and unfit unless we take time to think first.  I'm thinking about the Chicago hi-rise in which 500 elderly died in the 1990s because their windows were sealed closed and the A/C went out and elevators broke in August. Abortion. Elder abuse. Malnutrition and death among some kids and babies on public assistance. Low, low birth weights. We have a couple babies thrown away in dumpsters in my city at least once a month.

            1. qwark profile image61
              qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Oh Patty:
              It'll be much worse than that.
              If there's a reduction in human population, it will be planned and perpetrated with purpose in mind.
              Qwark

              1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
                Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                I don't think so, but the future will be interesting to watch. On the other hand, China has supposedly been collecting DNA around the world for a future superace.

                1. qwark profile image61
                  qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  Patty:
                  You say "I don't think so" but you don't say why you don't think so...?
                  Expand pls.
                  Qwark

                  1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image88
                    Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                    You missed my comment - 
                    "I added material about the rats up above, but I think enough people will die until the rest of us feel relieved of the crowding stress. "

                    New comment : In other words, I think that the pop. will increase to a certain threshold; then enough will die/be killed in order to relieve the stress of crowding on the remainders, leaving survivors. The "why" is that I think the body and the mind/emotions/will of humans are resiliant and can recover. But I am happy to wait it out and see for sure.

          2. 68
            logic,commonsenseposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Quark,
            One wild card in the whole works is food supply.  We are seeing some issues with the quanity of food produced worldwide.  This country is getting close to it's limits, South America has tremendous potential, and China is assimilating any surplus.
            If we have a severe weather event, such as a drought in the midwest, or in SA, and it is repeated over a period of years, we will face food riots and we will then start events in motion that could potentially doom the human race.  We could have a nuclear war over food!
            The other wild card is lunatics with nuclear and/or biological weapons.
            I do not see either scenario happening at this point in time, but I guess if I was psychic, I wouldn't be here.  I'd be in Vegas!
            I guess I'm going to have to rethink some of my ideas.  if someone agrees with 95%  of what I say, one of us is in trouble! smile
            Thanks for bringing this topic up, it is very thought provoking!

            1. qwark profile image61
              qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Logic:
              All of that is possible.
              More than likely, the "reduction" will be the result of a nuclear holocaust.
              The "sane" will seek a beneficial solution.
              The "insane" fanatic will destroy you and himself for inane idealism.
              Deprivation and loss of "hope" creates the fanatic.
              As human population increases, the greater the potential for fanaticism.
              I don't think human kind will reach the first rung of the evolutionary ladder before experiencing a regressive act of its own making.
              That "experience" is likely to happen within the next 100 yrs.
              Qwark

  7. 0
    Home Girlposted 5 years ago

    We are not rats, we'll think of something better than just eat each other.

    1. tritrain profile image76
      tritrainposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      It's an analogy.

      Our approach might be stealing, pillaging, war, murder, etc..

  8. WuldUStilRemebrMe profile image61
    WuldUStilRemebrMeposted 5 years ago

    They kill.  They eat.  They be.  They repeat.

  9. uncorrectedvision profile image61
    uncorrectedvisionposted 5 years ago
  10. Non-Linear Lines profile image60
    Non-Linear Linesposted 5 years ago via iphone

    This is such a depressing topic though one I ponder often. I agree that at or near the point of crises, or threshold, we will not rely on intelligence but will act out of fear and necessity. Sadly I'm not even sure we can rely on our intelligence to avoid the crises as it would mean putting an end to greed, over consumption and entitlement. It would mean actually acknowledging that limits exist in the natural world that apply to us all, and that technology and innovation merely  prolongs the inevitable. The answer is simple we need to encourage small families through policy, incentives and education - this is a no-go zone for policymakers. Additionally we must stop measuring success of nations by economic growth which requires increasing markets and labor force (ie. People). If we could shift this measurement to quality of life or a socio/environmental measure we may stand a chance.  This is an important topic that society should be willing to discuss more. Thanks!

  11. ddsurfsca profile image72
    ddsurfscaposted 5 years ago

    I can answer this question with first hand knowledge, as I raised lab rats for sale to pet stores, schools, and as food for other pets. 
    If you allow them to become overcrowded, and food is plentiful, they begin to fight over it anyway.  The biggest and strongest will guard the food, and they also will fight over their sleeping area.  Once one become injured, all the rest of them will pick on it until it's demise.  The females will fight to death to protect her young, and if the overcrowding is severe enough they resort to cannibalism even if there is sufficient food.

    1. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Ok DD:
      Now relate that to the contemporary and future human condition. That was the import of my question.  smile:
      Qwark

      1. ddsurfsca profile image72
        ddsurfscaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        People and animals are different in many ways, but if overcrowding due to dramatic circumstances, people will refer back to their animal instincts.  Fighting over food if it is in shortage, fighting over shelters, all the same.  It has been proven that people will even resort to eating one another when a bunch of them got stuck over the winter at Donner pass in Nevada/calif. and to survive they cannabolized.
        Even though we believe that we are different from the animals, we all have the survival of the fittest in our dna.

        1. qwark profile image61
          qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          dds:
          No doubt about that.
          What happens when humans are inclined to destroy "others" when they consider the "others" to exist contrary to how they think "others" should exist and they have the ability to negatively affect all life on the planet?
          Qwark

  12. Rajab Nsubuga profile image60
    Rajab Nsubugaposted 5 years ago

    They produce

  13. 0
    ryankettposted 5 years ago

    American Consumption

    "Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day - that's roughly 200 billion more than needed - enough to feed 80 million people."

    "Eighty percent of the corn grown and 95% of the oats are fed to livestock." 

    "Fifty-six percent of available farmland is used for beef production."

    Stop stuffing your faces with triple cheeseburgers, start eating normal stuff again, and there will be no need to shoot each other.

    1. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Ryan:
      we agree on that one...smile:
      Qwark

  14. Joy56 profile image60
    Joy56posted 5 years ago

    big_smile

 
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