Download PDF The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization

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Physical description xix, p. Online Available online. Full view. Green Library. V47 Unknown.

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More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Summary "The Evolutionary World" presents a new argument for evolution's broader importance. Adaptation plays a role not only in the development of new species but the development of human civilization, and by understanding how evolutionary theory has played out in areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes, and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work, but also what challenges lie ahead.

For readers of Richard Dawkins and Jerry A. Coyne's "Why Evolution is True", this book offers the next step in appreciating evolution's integral part in our lives.

Evolution Biology Social Darwinism. Bibliographic information. Publication date ISBN hardback : alk. Browse related items Start at call number: QH V47 Of course, future research is necessary to determine whether this is a general rule among this subspecies of chimpanzee, or whether more complex patterns emerge when other variables are controlled.

These findings also offer some clues regarding our own evolution. Humans are well adapted to terrestrial living, but our closest relatives are not. Chimpanzees knuckle-walk and are primarily adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. Several hypotheses have been proposed but there is no universal consensus. In all likelihood there were several environmental pressures. However, my data suggests that predation may have played a pivotal role in the evolution of terrestrial existence. In areas where there were little to no predation pressures, chimpanzee sleeping site selection was far more relaxed and variable.

The advantages to nesting terrestrially may not be obvious in a rainforest, however nesting terrestrially does have the added benefit of increasing niche flexibility.

In our distant past, the threat of aggressive social predators would have been high, and competition for food would have been fierce Vermeij, Arboreal night nesting would have been the best strategy to avoid predation at night. This has been confirmed by primatological studies that indicate primate sleep site selection is determined by decreasing the likelihood of attack from a nocturnal predator Anderson, However, during one transition to terrestriality, our ancestors started nesting on the ground.

So at some point the benefits of sleeping terrestrially outweighed the risks of predation. If this is the case, fire and tool construction may have played an important role in the permanent transition to the ground. Future research will be needed to answer those questions. As I stated above, as an undergrad I knew I wanted to better understand our origins. I feel as though my first real research trip accomplished this. It is by no means revolutionary, but it adds to the discussion. Our closest relatives have a hard time nesting at night, largely because of human pressure.

Ironically, these pressures may be similar to those encountered by our ancestors throughout our evolution. Finding a home has always been problematic. Love primates? Befriend your fellow primate Cadell Last on Twitter! Anderson, R. Sleep-related behavioural adaptations in free-ranging anthropoid primates.

Sleep Medicine Reviews , 4: Kivell, T. Independent evolution of knuckle-walking in African apes shows that humans did not evolve from a knuckle-walking ancestor. Ghobrial, L.

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Tracing the origins of rescued chimpanzees reveals widespread chimpanzee hunting in Cameroon. BMC Ecology , 10, doi: Last, C. Folia Primatologica , Lovejoy, O.

Science , 71ee6. Pillbeam, D. Hominoid evolution: synthesizing disparate data. Comptes Rendus Palevol , 3: Vermeij, G. New York: St. February 5, Leave a comment. I recently watched a BBC documentary about the Congo. But while I was watching Congo, one scene in particular caught my attention.

Geerat Vermeij, Evolutionary Biologist

In the scene, a camera panned across a dark forest floor, and within moments it started coming to life with a green glow. Was it chimpanzee fire? Unfortunately, it was not. Several animal, plant, and fungi species have adapted the ability to produce their own light, and it serves many important functions. It is easy to see why the native Congolese would have started to call this bioluminescent fungi chimpanzee fire.

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Modern science has only started to understand how bioluminescence functions and evolves. And it is kind of counterintuitive to think of organisms that have the ability to produce their own light. In the early modern era or pre-modern era, I think I would have been far more convinced by the chimpanzee fire hypothesis. But this little anecdote about chimpanzee fire from the Congo reminds us of something more interesting: people in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa likely realized chimpanzees were behaviourally similar to humans for tens of thousands of years.

Geerat J. Vermeij

Positing that chimpanzees had the ability to ignite fire across the forest floor is laden with symbolic meaning about our connection with them. And it is not hard to see why they would have attributed the glow to chimpanzees. Sure the bioluminescent fungi were not chimpanzee fire, but can any populations of chimpanzee control and use fire?

After all, most behavioural differences between chimpanzees and humans are really best thought of as gradient differences. Do any chimpanzees gather around a little campfire for warmth? Or light a torch to get through the forest at night? Recent research at Fongoli in Senegal has revealed some interesting findings.

They are the only non-human organisms on the planet known to hunt other animals with weapons. They also periodically live in caves and travel at night. And unlike most other chimpanzee populations, they seem to have developed a fondness for water. But do they use and control fire? They live in a savanna-mosaic environment and as a result wild fires spread more frequently than in the habitats of other chimpanzee populations.

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Pruetz says that in such situations she chooses to follow the chimpanzees rather than find her own path out of the woodland. Despite this, no Fongoli chimp, or any other chimp, has ever been observed to control and use fire.