Friday, January 2, 2009

The greatest predator

Disclaimer: This article is not completely based on scientific "facts". I am not a natural science graduate.

Evolution has been a topic of amusement for me since school days. When I opened a new netflix account and browsed through the 'Documentary' section, the first video that I added to my queue was 'Ape to Man'. The content of the video was good.....and people who read/watch just for knowledge sake will like it. I did. The video explains the different discoveries related to finding the missing link between man and ape. To say in one line, the first step in the 'ape-to-man' transition was the first step itself i.e., the ability to walk on 2 legs. So, when your baby begins to walk, you are witnessing a replay of evolution.

As an after-effect, I began to wonder if there is any evolution happening currently or when was the last time the world witnessed evolution. Of course evolution is a slow process consuming millions of years......but I thought man has been around enough to have documented a visible evolution. May be all the recent evolution has been psychological and cultural. Google might answer the question, however, I wanted to write this artcile as someone without that knowledge.
(Side note: Homo Sapien in Latin means 'knowing human').

Man, of course has been evolving, with countless gadgets to do his day to day activities and finding cure and protection against almost everything that shows up as a threat to him. To use a different phrase, man has always been trying to make himself the fittest to survive. Future babies, will soon get a bluetooth headset attached to their ear, as soon as they are born. Hopefully, they don't come into the world with a chip implanted.

On the other hand, a lot of animals are becoming extinct because of human and non-human reasons. Forests are turned into cities. We have not just been colonizing each other's land, but also colonizing what belongs to those without the 6th sense. The greatest threat to animals in the past (very past), apart from natural calamities, probably were the predators. When the count of predators increases at a rate greater than the count of the predated, the later begin to become extinct. (The predators may move on to a different food option). Though rhinos and tigers are not part of man's regular diet, he is still taking over their territory and causing adverse effect to their natural breeding environment. Then there are plants that are becoming extinct. The causes of their extinction are mostly human, like, industrial waste.

There are organizations that take measures to preserve some of the endangered species, so that they continue to exist in the world for a little longer......but that is not the evolution defined by Darwin. Where is "Natural" selection? Those that survive are the ones 'blessed' by man. It is man that defines the rules of the game of survival. As I said before, he does what suits his survival. If I were one of those 5 or lesser sense creatures, I would see man as my greatest predator ever, and I survive, if he would allow me to.

With great power comes great responsibility (Quote from the movie "Spider Man"). We have the power. This new year, I resolve to be as much responsible as possible in my capacity as a middle-class Homo Sapien from family Hominidae.
PS: The video 'Ape to Man' says that we probably killed our cousins 'the Neandertal man' in our struggle for existence.


Seshadri said...

Good thought! But you could have expaanded it citing more examples. Probably you didn't want to make it lengthy. Still awakening thoughts can have excuses.

ஆனந்தம் said...

That's an insightful thinking my friend. Even I have recently saw a video of a bird watcher cum photographer where he mentioned about how by cutting trees & other shrubs we are killing so many birds & their eggs. It's a pretty bad scene out there. The rate in which we are moving, I'm not seeing this world to survive for a long time.