Why did evolution allow humans to become so intelligent?

WebTool
WebTool

Why did evolution allow humans to become so intelligent?

The method of making sure a species can protect its young long enough to ensure that the young reach reproductive age works, assuredly.

The method of birthing too many young and allowing the weak also works, almost better than the human method.

Did humanity's ancestors just get lucky in taking care of offspring that take a decade or so to reach maturity? Is any species just "lucky" to barely survive in the first place?

It seems like there is no terrestrial goal for evolution, life just happened. Life started changing and some things grew adverse to change while things also grew auspicious to change as well.

CouchChiller
CouchChiller

@WebTool
That being, there is no reason behind the mutants that lead to the evolution of X trait. The only reason X trait exists is because it aids that organisms survival and chance to reproduce in some way and therefore is only a result and has no intrinsic purpose.

Now can we stop with the:
What is the evolutionary purpose of [X]?

Yours earnestly,
Sebastian Albrecht
Chairman of Applied Biology, University of Exeter

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@CouchChiller
The only reason X trait exists is because it aids that organisms survival and chance to reproduce in some way and therefore is only a result and has no intrinsic purpose.

I just have doubts this is true. From a completely utilitarian stance, humans take more than a decade to become viable reproducers. Females are also very susceptible to death from child birth. Humans females usually have one baby at a time. We need other animals to survive and we did not have symbiotic relationships with these animals, we hunted them.

We are a terrible species for natural reproduction. So how did we become the alpha predator of the world?

Supergrass
Supergrass

@WebTool
@WebTool
Im sure the development of human intelligence has its own specific narratives and reasons in context. Maybe taking care for long periods is a requisite for intelligence and vice versa. Maybe selective pressures are partly self-fulfilling prophecies.

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

@GoogleCat
Because we're smart? Not sure what natural reproduction means.

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

@GoogleCat
Intelligence, the means to adapt, unlike any other animal could and does adapt.

Deadlyinx
Deadlyinx

@Nude_Bikergirl
@Raving_Cute
Homo sapien existed before we knew not to shit where we eat/give birth/sleep.

@Supergrass
I'm definitely not arguing that intelligence doesn't have an influence on our later existence, but our completely primitive existence seems there is no prophecy for humanity to exist, only that humanity hit the fucking jackpot when it came to the survival of ancestors. The amount of time a human child takes to mature to reproductive age is also extremely rare in other flourishing species we have to deal with to maintain our societies.

PackManBrainlure
PackManBrainlure

@Deadlyinx
Homo sapien existed before we knew not to shit where we eat/give birth/sleep.
What the fuck are you on about?
Even animals, as in not humans, know not to shit where they:
eat/give birth/sleep

Firespawn
Firespawn

The more important question is why did intelligence developed only once? Things like eyes and flight developed more than once on different branches of evolution, yet human level intelligence only developed once. More importantly intelligence doesnt seem that hard to develop either, all you need is more neurons/ more connections. Much simpler than developing eyes

SniperWish
SniperWish

@Firespawn
I have no idea what I'm talking about, the post.

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

@SniperWish
elaborate?

CouchChiller
CouchChiller

@TurtleCat
Well, your overly simplistic view of intellect.
I mean, first of all, having a brain our size requires a huge energy consumption.

eGremlin
eGremlin

@CouchChiller
The only reason X trait exists
persists

BinaryMan
BinaryMan

Homo erectus discovered fire
A genetic mutation made our jaw muscles smaller

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

@eGremlin
Alright, persists!

PurpleCharger
PurpleCharger

@CouchChiller
I mean, first of all, having a brain our size requires a huge energy consumption.
Yes but the advantage of having bigger brain is too much. A lot of other developments also have associated costs. Isnt it a bit curious that flight was developed at least three times completely separately but human level intelligence only once. Especially considering how long since we have had basic brain.

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

@WebTool
Why did evolution allow humans to become so intelligent?
Because politics.

Politics is something that features heavily in recent human evolutionary history, and is even clearly visible among the other great apes. Twenty thousand years ago on the savanna, the guy who could most effectively argue that he deserved a larger part of the meat than everyone else, lived longer. The guy who politicked himself onto the top and got the be the king, had lots of kids. The guy who managed to convince the tribe to execute that fucker Horg... sure did better than Horg, evolutionarily.

In an environment that features politics, it is advantageous to be smarter than *everyone else*. It's not enough to be smart enough to survive through the winter, or hunt a deer successfully, or in some other way outsmart the environment; you are in a strong evolutionary position if you can outsmart *other people around you*.

If there is an evolutionary advantage to outsmarting people around you, there is a very strong evolutionary pressure towards more intelligence, without limit -- more is better, because everyone else around you is also getting more intelligent, requiring you to be more intelligent yet to beat them. And so we see strong evolution towards more intelligence, at the cost of most other considerations, with every generation.

Supergrass
Supergrass

@WebTool
The method of birthing too many young and allowing the weak also works, almost better than the human method.
Both methods have their advantages and drawbacks. The human method works better in less dynamic conditions where competition is fierce, while the quantity over quality method works in cataclysmic times where a disaster has killed off a lot of competition or something has changed the established niches.

Stark_Naked
Stark_Naked

@PurpleCharger
@BinaryMan

I already said it man. Fire. No other species had fire. Fire allowed us to digest and capture food more easily, accounting for the energy requirements. Also, a mutation made it so that our jaw muscles didn't take up so much skull space so we could grow bigger brains.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

@Stark_Naked
Well then why are (early) humans the only animal to experiment with fire? Why did no one else even try to control it? 3.5 billion years of evolution and only one animal thinks of using fire?

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

There are many methods. Not only "the best" survive, but any which are good enough. Hence the preponderance of species that exist.

girlDog
girlDog

@BunnyJinx
Good post. I heard this theory is gaining ground. Although they didn't call it politics but something like social competition or power dynamics or something. Same thing.

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Garbage Can Lid
Probably because protohumans were the only animals to use tools for hunting and other important life functions. Some other animals would use rocks to break nuts or something simple like that but our ancestors would sharpen sticks and build huts and carry stuff around with them. And we probably developed such advanced tool use from the fact that we walked upright and could no longer depend on the shelter provided by the forest as much. A lot of this is just me speculating.

iluvmen
iluvmen

@BunnyJinx
@girlDog
Me too, I like it.

Poor Horg though, that Machiavellian son-of-a-bitch Norf.

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

@PurpleCharger
Im sure intelligence is more complex than flight plus youve got a simplistic view of survival value. Its not blanket like that. Every adaptation is highly contextualised and wont develop unless there is pressure. Meaning cost to not having the trait rather than benefit to having it and arguably intelligence actually has developed independently many times if u look at birds, octopuses, cetaceans, primates etc etc. Maybe human intelligence once but that is by degree.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

@BunnyJinx
This is overly simplistic too i think and ignores the overwhelmingly greater benefit of learning how to cooperate. Arguably social living requires intelligence because observational learning and empathy are quite complex traits. But its probably not the only reason for human intelligence. Very complex groups exist for less intelligent animals like the gelado which lives in massive groups.

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

@Supergrass
@Supergrass
I think if you are intelligent though with prolonged development you are forced to have small amounts of offspring and care for them. Especially exaggerated in humans with big head underdeveloped children. And maybe this even puts pressure on intelligence to allow your offspring to survive and teach them etc.

Spamalot
Spamalot

@WebTool
There was a niche to fill for smart, slow-breeding apes. It was filled by mutation, and selection allowed it to persist since its reproductive rate was above 1.

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