[ExI] IQ and beauty

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 21 02:35:25 UTC 2015

On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 3:37 PM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM, rex <rex at nosyntax.net> wrote:
> In principle you could surgically attach fiberglass antlers that were
> 9 feet wide and weighed 90 ponds onto a modern elk, the animal
> would get them for free and wouldn't have to pay the metabolic cost
> of growing them each year as a Irish Elk did; but even so I don't think
> you'd have to wait long to observe a drop in survival rates compared
> with elk without the huge prosthesis. If the experiment has not been
> done it's only because it would violate cruelty to animals laws, and
> attaching such a monstrosity to a elk really would be cruel.

The problem with your experiment is that the Irish Elk, no doubt, had other
anatomical changes to deal with the much larger antler size. Simply adding
big, heavy antlers to elk without the appropriate changes wouldn't be a
good test. It's kind of like I could also add peacock tail feathers to a
male quail and see what happens. What would you expect? Well, I'd expect
the quail to be quickly killed off. But how would this explain that species
like the Indian peafowl seem to be doing quite well and are listed as
"Least Concern" by conservation authorities? Obviously, the peacock (male
peafowl) isn't merely something like a quail with an outsized tail.

[big snip]
>> Like most, I use the terms "horn" and "antler" interchangeably
> Yes I've noticed, but somebody who had a serious interest in why the
Irish Elk went extinct would not.

I don't use the terms interchangeably and disagree with Rex here.

I do think the antler loss and regrowth issue [which you mention in the
snipped portion] though might tell you that Irish Elk males might not
always be hauling around huge antlers, so even if the cost of growing them
is high, there's that they would also have periods when they lost them
when, presumably, whatever ill effect there was of having this huge mass on
there heads wouldn't be present.


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