[ExI] IQ and beauty

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 21:16:40 UTC 2015

On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 12:26 AM, Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com>

>> ​>​
>> No biological adaptation can make the law of conservation of angular
>> momentum go away.
> ​> ​
> Of course, but my point should've been obvious: the organism might have
> had behavioral and other physical changes to deal with having larger
> antlers.

​Yes, biological adaptations can be made to overcome the disadvantage large
antlers have at everything except sexual advertisement, but none of those
changes come free, they all have a cost, a cost that animals with smaller
antlers did not have to pay. ​

​> ​
> What about moose today? They have antlers weighing, in the largest
> specimens, more than half what the Irish Elk antlers are supposed to weigh

​And moose antlers had less than half the radius of the Irish Elk's antlers
so the moose's neck muscles need to produce less than a fourth as much
torque to turn it's head and less than a fourth as much torque to stop the
head once it started moving. And the moose's antlers had less than a fourth
the surface area so they were less than a fourth as likely to hit an
obstruction or become tangled up in something. And the modern moose is a
larger animal than the Irish Elk was. On average moose weigh about 1400
pounds, the largest undisputed one weighed 1808 pounds and a less well
documented one weighed 2601 pounds. The average Irish Elk weighed about
1250 pounds and the largest about 1550 pounds.

​> ​
> How the hell do they do it?

he smaller price modern moose had to pay to overcome the smaller
disadvantage their smaller antlers produced didn't bankrupt them as it did
the Irish Elk. ​

>> ​>​
>> And no biological adaptation can make
>> ​ ​
>> can make
>> ​ ​
>> Pauli exclusion principle
>> ​ ​
>> go away either, and antlers are made of Fermions
> ​> ​
> You're going off the deep end to defend your point here.

​Do you think the
 Pauli exclusion principle
​ doesn't apply to antlers so they can just pass through obstructions with
no trouble? ​Is it speculation to say that extinct animals lived in a world
with the same laws of physics as we do?

> ​> ​
> Right, so what happens to the moose or to deer or elk now? They never ever
> get snagged?

​Certainly they get snagged and I can tell you how often. The biggest
antlers in existence today are half as wide as the Irish Elk's, so they get
snagged 1/4 as much.​ Getting snagged is always bad but getting snagged 1/4
as often is only 1/4 as bad.

> ​> ​
> Also, if you're going to present a just so story about
> ​ [...]​

​To hell with your just so stories! My "just so story" is that no
biological adaptation can change the laws of physics or change Euclidean

​> ​
> Do you have evidence of what their habitat was like overall? If it was
> tundra, steppe, or savanna, what's the likelihood snagging their antlers
> did them in?

​4 times as likely as a moose would have regardless of what the habitat

> ​> ​
> Variation in antler geometry and size amongst Irish Elk would suggest that
> they could evolve their way out of antlers doing them in

​Yes that could happen, it wouldn't violate the laws of physics if it had
happened, but it didn't happen. As I pointed out in my last post it would
take a chain of luckey mutations for that to occur and, as the Irish Elk
discovered, an animal can't always get the mutations it needs when it needs
them. So the poor animal had no way to break out of its positive feedback

> ​> ​
> Geez! Are you saying that experts in the field of paleobiology -- the
> folks writing papers that get published in journals you cite -- are
> irrational when they question sexual selection driving Irish Elk to
> extinction?

​Yes.​ I have never heard of an expert say that the Irish Elk's antlers
could have played no part in its extinction, but if I ever do I would not
hesitate to say that "expert" was irrational, and any journal that
published such a silly theory would lose all credibility in my book.

> ​> ​
> Of course, it could be sexual selection drives the initial process of
> increased antler size, but that there are added benefits such as
> intimidation of predators

​If antlers are a good defence against predators ​then
why didn't female Irish Elk have antlers?

​I'm pretty sure predators eat females ​too.

> ​> ​
> Well, modern elk are not the Irish Elks' closest relative,

​The closest living relative would be the Fallow deer, it would be the one
with the closest genome, but it would not be the member of the deer family
that looked most like the Irish Elk. The Fallow deer is over 5 times
smaller ​than the Irish Elk.

>> ​>​
>> A mutant Irish Elk with a gene for smaller antlers would have a longer
>> life but probably
>> ​ ​
>> not a happier life due to sexual frustration. Such a gene could not
>> become dominant in the gene pool regardless of how beneficial it was to a
>> individual unless there was a
>> ​ ​
>> second mutant gene, one for feeling that small antlers were more sexy
>> than big ones,
>> ​ ​
>> and the 2 genes would need to be close together on the same chromosome so
>> they
>> ​ ​
>> would usually be inherited together.
> ​> ​
> Unfortunately, this is speculative.

​No it is not. In every life form ever studied ​if 2 genes are close
together on the chromosome they are more likely to be inherited together
than if they were more distant.

​> ​
> Note that my view here is not that antlers were not the result of sexual
> selection,

​I'm very glad to hear that.​

> ​> ​
> but that having large antlers might not have been the cause of the Irish
> Elk going extinct.

​Well, if the "bigger antlers always look more sexy than smaller antlers"
gene and the "grow big antlers" gene are usually inherited together then
there is nothing speculative in saying that is a positive feedback loop.
And if huge antlers didn't have negative consequences then there would be
nothing to stop them from getting bigger and bigger as the generations go
by forever; before long the antlers would be hundreds of feet wide, then
thousands of feet wide, then miles wide, then... Obviously that can never
happen and it can't happen because huge antlers *DO* have negative

Sexual selection usually works well but nothing about Evolution is perfect,
and sometimes females use a incorrect rule of thumb to ascertain fitness in
a male, and if the gene for that
rule of thumb and the gene that produces the trait the rule of thumb looks
for are usually inherited together then a positive feedback loop will
​That sort of
 sexually selected positive feedback loop
​ may have been the reason human brain size evolved so quickly and got so
big, fortunately for us having a big brain and being smart has other
advantages in addition to sexual advertisement, unfortunately for the Irish
Elk big antlers do not.   ​

> ​> ​
> So you believe those experts in the field of evolutionary biology offering
> these alternative explanations are simply fools whose brains have fallen
> out?

​I have never heard of a expert in the field of evolutionary biology say
huge antlers played no part in the extinction of the Irish Elk nor did I
hear of one saying sexual selection played no part in the evolution of huge
antlers, but if I ever do hear of such a thing I would not hesitate to say
they were a fool whose brains had fallen out.

>> ​>​
>> The modern elk has about as much meat on it as a Irish Elk had, and yet
>> one went extinct and one did not. Why?
> ​> ​
> Which species of modern elk?

The modern ​
Roosevelt elk
​ is one and the
Sambar deer
​ is another​
​. ​
​the ​
modern moose
​(which are called "elk" in Britain) ​
are even larger. But all modern species of the deer family have much
smaller antlers than the Irish Elk.​

> ​> ​
> the Roosevelt Elk. And it had to be reintroduced because? Because it was
> going extinct in its natural range. I wonder why...:)

​The prevailing super-predator probably had something to do with it, the
super-predator liked the Roosevelt Elk and decided to give it a second

> >
>> ​>​
>> In every species of deer I would expect large bodied individuals to do
>> better in the winter than small bodied individuals especially if it's a
>> very cold winter, and they had a lot of those during the Ice Age.
> ​> ​
> Now consider that. Consider that smaller antlered examples were also found
> in the winterkills as cited in that paper.

​The smaller antlered individuals were also smaller bodied individuals. ​

> ​> ​
> If lugging around huge antlers really were such an impediment to overall
> survival, then I think it would be more reasonable to expect this to be a
> very small short lived population that evolved them.

​But the Irish Elk *was* a very short lived species, even shorter than the
human species. The first ones only came along about 400,000 years ago

​and by 12,000 years ago they were already starting to get pretty rare, and
just a few thousand years later the were gone. Off the top of my head I
can't think of a shorter lived species. The Irish Elk was a brittle
species, it couldn't tolerate much change in its environment and I am
certain those ridiculous antlers played a significant role in
that brittleness.

 John K Clark
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