[ExI] IQ and beauty

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 15:16:35 UTC 2015

On Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 10:22 PM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com>

​> ​
> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v299/n5886/abs/299818a0.html
> <http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v299/n5886/abs/299818a0.html>
> ​ ​
> The article is titled 'Female choice selects for extreme tail length in a
> widowbird.'
> ​ ​
> This will only do for the species in question.

​One species example is enough. Nobody is saying that sexual selection is
always bad, in fact I specifically said that generally sexual selection
helps a species. But like everything else about Evolution sexual selection
is not ​perfect, it can make mistakes like when a female uses the wrong
rule of thumb to determine which male to mate with.

> ​> ​
> Also, this is an extant species.

​The article describes an experiment, do you
 demand a experiment be
​performed on a extinct species? that would be rather difficult.

> ​>​
> That's still a speculation with regard to the Irish Elk. There are many
> theories of why it went extinct.

​And I would be astounded if the authors of any of those theories were
foolish enough to suggest that the size of the Irish Elk's antlers played
no part in its extinction, especially when species of elk which have a
large body size but much smaller antlers survive to this day.     ​

> ​> ​
> Why is not possible that range reduction and hunting by humans played a
> much bigger role here than merely having supersized antlers?

 probably was a factor,
​I would be surprised if it wasn't, ​
but the two things are not unrelated. Humans are no different from any
other animal, any predator would find that

animal with
foot wide ​
90 pound
​ grappling hook on top of its head would be a lot easier
than hunting
 animal without
​ such

> ​> ​
> (If we're going to go back to the 1980s, e.g., check out this article:
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/228/4697/340 -- 'Taphonomy and Herd
> Structure of the Extinct Irish Elk, Megaloceros giganteus.' Note what the
> abstract states: adult males with small antlers seemed to have died during
> winter segregation from females. What might that imply, if true, about big
> antlers having an impact on survival?)

​It says  "winterkill was the chief cause of death and was highest among
juveniles and small adults with small antlers", well that is not
surprising. During winter juveniles and adults of small body size almost
always have higher death rates than larger adults, especially if the winter
is particularly cold as they were during the last ice age when the Irish
Elk was alive, because physics tells us that small bodies lose heat more
rapidly than large bodies due to the fact that small things have larger
surface area relative to volume than large things.  And we know for a fact
that large bodied elk with small antlers survived the winters (and the
summers) better than large bodied elk with large antlers because large
bodied elk with small antlers are still around today.

> ​> ​
> with extinct species like the Irish Elk. We don't have direct field
> observations of their behavior.

But we do have
​ ​
direct field observations
​ ​
of physics, enough to know that a 9 foot wide 90 pound anchor on top of
​ ​
a head
​ ​
is going to severely limit the movement of an animal,
​ ​
especially the movement of the
​ ​
most important part of the animal, the head.
​ ​
​ ​
is just not viable to maintain
​ ​
that the resulting huge increase in angular momentum of the head (never
mind the fact that the antlers would also hit things
​and ​
further restrict
​ ​
movement) would be beneficial to a species.

> ​> ​
>  the experts here are not all lining up for big antlers did the Irish Elk
> in.

​Can you find one single expert who maintains that gargantuan antlers were
not a factor in extinction and if they were just a bit larger the Irish Elk
would still be with us today? ​

 John K Clark
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