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Are Humans The Perfect Species?
Are we perfect?
It’s a simple question really. Are we perfect? Of course the first obvious answer should be “No”. I just failed my calculus exam. I got fired from my workplace. I broke up with my girlfriend. Etc. Nobody is “perfect”. Perhaps this is true, but has evolution intended for us to be the “perfect organism”. I am talking about fitness of course. Not fitness in the over-inflated Jersey Shore beach hunk sense, but in a biological sense. Are we the alpha-species?
Definition of Evolution in a Nutshell
Evolution Plays A Role
There are a few points that need to be examined if we can answer that question. First we need to remember that one can never have a perfect organism in a constantly changing environment because we will always have to “catch up” with the environment. And of course by the time we evolve to the new change, there is another change and the process must repeat. This is just another definition of the word “evolution”. Or rather coevolution, between one species and the environment being the other “specie.”
In this sense it is important to remember that most adaptations (and adaptations are the only way to supposedly attain perfection) are in fact compromises. In a hypothetical situation let’s say our environment changed and we were required to fly in order to survive, the adaptation would be wings to lift us off the ground, but since the need to walk would be almost completely eliminated, eventually our legs and feet would be rendered impractical for walking, and thus by acquiring a flight ability we lose our walk ability. This is the great compromise that challenges the idea of “perfection”. If a perfect species DID exist, it would be have to be able to carry out a lot of functions.
How Did The First Organisms Evolve?
Another idea to keep in mind is that we are limited in evolution by what raw material is provided for us from our ancestors. Essentially, if we as a species were never passed down the “perfection” gene, we cannot just acquire it from a gene pool in which it does not exist.
So how does a species attain perfection? This question (like most others in science) raises even more questions. We must determine now if evolution has a “goal-oriented” foresight. To do that we need to ask ourselves where organisms first evolved.
The first organisms evolved in water because it provided a great medium for hydrolysis and dehydration synthesis to allow the formation of macromolecules which led to the mysterious origins of the first cell. Essentially we saw that these water dwelling organisms eventually made their way onto land over millions of years and we began to see them adapting to land. We can look at the evolution of cetaceans for example and see that the Mesonychidae was adapted well to living on land. And from that evolved the Ambulocetus natans which was dubbed as the “walking whale” …well suited for the ecotone of land and sea, this evolution continued to the dolphins and whales we see to this day in the oceans.
So we started off in water, and then evolved on land, and some species went back into the water while others continued on land. Is there a pattern? All evidence suggests that there is no observable pattern in the course of evolution. So we can now disprove the hypothesis that evolution always has a “plan” for the future. It doesn’t, and in fact it seems to be really random. Evolution just seems to be trying different combinations in different ecosystems to see what works.
Humans or Fish
Since evolution doesn’t seem to know exactly what it’s doing with it’s wide array of options, how are we to know that we came out as the perfect species? We could in fact just be one of the random combinations that “worked” when evolution rolled it’s dice. Cheetahs also worked…so did cockroaches, fish, and pine trees. Let’s not forget tortoises. They live longer than we do. That HAS to mean that they are closer to perfection than us! Right? ...And cheetahs, they can run faster than we can. We can think better than they can though. But fish can breathe underwater. We can’t do that.