[ExI] IQ and beauty

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 16:00:58 UTC 2015

On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 2:10 AM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:

> There are vastly more examples of extinctions than there are of
>> ​ ​
>> semi-cyclic population levels
> ​> ​
> You left out some context. Rex wrote:
> 'But it doesn't follow that this would lead to extinction. After a
> positive feedback loop operates for a while it may alter the
> environment in such a way that the formerly positive feedback is now
> negative. Voila, you have semi-cyclic behavior instead of extinction.
> There are many examples of semi-cyclic population levels, but extinctions?'
> I believe this and the earlier parts of his post were asking you about
> linking actual extinctions to the mechanism

​It's very difficult to say for certain what caused a extinction or what
caused semi-cyclic population levels for that matter, and if it happened
long ago it's probably impossible. However if the only use of a attribute
is decoration to attract a female and if that attribute is clearly
detrimental in all other activities, as is the case of the Irish Elk's
antlers or the Peacock's tail, then it's not unreasonable to conclude
that attribute would reduce the number of individuals in a species compared
to what they would have been if the female had used a better rule of thumb
to ascertain the fitness of a male. And perhaps it could reduce those
population numbers all the way down to zero.

​> ​
> ​Kokka & Brooks:​

> ​ ​
> Since we are assuming that
> ​ ​
> detrimental effects are evident in males only, a male which survives
> ​ ​
> better than average
> ​" ​

​Like a​ Irish Elk with smaller than average antlers.

> ​> ​
> would in this situation encounter a large number
> ​ ​
> of surviving females,

​Not necessarily. Females could become so rare that the poor male with
small antlers can't find any females at all, much less females that will
mate with him.​

​> ​
> and virtually no competitors.

​Not necessarily. There might not be any real competitors as the big antler
males are all dead but the female would not know that, there would still be
competitors in her mind so she might refuse to settle for the geek with the
ugly small antlers regardless of how practical they were. She wants bling
not practicality.

​> ​
> The cost of being
> ​ ​
> an inferior competitor must, therefore, diminish and disappear when
> ​ ​
> surviving males become scarce

​Not necessarily, not if a female Irish Elk
thought that a male Irish Elk that had antlers of a size that was less than
gargantuan to be so repellent that virginity is preferred. And after all
for all the female knows there could be a beautiful male out there
somewhere with huge grotesquely impractical antlers.

  John K Clark
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