[ExI] evolution

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Aug 10 21:43:26 UTC 2017

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 1:19 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] evolution

> That would be cool to see.  Had I known that, I would have looked 
> around for a sandy area and arranged for a small arthropod to pass by.

Oh spike, where did you grow up????  That's similar to
what doodlebugs do, only thay make a pit-trap for the ant
to fall into, then they catch them.  Surely you recall
that from your childhood?


Of course!  We called them ant lions, but since you mention that particular
beast, I have an a fun story from the 1960s.  You recall elementary school
back in the day perhaps if you are old enough: if the teacher was feeling
lazy she (they were all she back then) would put on a film in the old time
projector and kick back for half an hour.

You might recall plenty of those science films were full of baloney.  For
instance, the one that comes to mind is an anthropology film which claimed
the thing that sets humans apart from all other species was his ability to
make tools.  They mentioned the notion was challenged by the observation of
chimps stripping a twig to make a termite-extraction tool.  Afterwards in
the discussion, I questioned that too.  Plenty of beasts make tools.  We
could witness one creating a tool and using it right outside the door
without having to go on a field trip.

My open-minded teacher indulged me and allowed the class to witness, as I
stepped out, dug an ant lion out of the ground, poured the sand away to
isolate the ant lion, placed him on the sand.  We watched him flick sand to
create an inverted cone ant trap.  There ya go: beast making a tool.  Then I
took an ant, put her in the trap, ant lion flipped the sand, grabbed the
ant: beast using a tool.

My teacher didn't even attempt to claim that act didn't count as tool
making.  The discussion evolved into birds gathering twigs to make a nest.
A home is a tool.  A spider's web is a tool.  The beaver makes a dam which
is a tool for backing up water, providing a barrier to trap fish.  The orcas
work together to create a bubble curtain to herd schools of fish.  Orcas are
in a whole nuther category: those guys work together to do all kindsa cool

Whoever made that film displayed a remarkable lack of imagination.  If you
look closely enough, we may find that most beasts use tools in some way, and
many of them make tools.


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