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zompist bboard • View topic - Evolution on Almea

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 Post subject: Re: Evolution on Almea
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:11 pm 
Avisaru
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I don't see why the behavior of the Eynleyni and other subjugated peoples is so objectionable. Some of you guys seem to be assuming that the Almeans are just like us, but it should be bourne in mind that they are aliens with a different kind of lineage who exist in a universe with different (albeit superficially similar) physical laws. The pace of evolution might be different, and anyway Zompman already said that the Almean races have brains that are unlike ours.

Edit: forgot to mention that there has been civilization on Almea for tens of thousands of years and this domestication process may have started in human prehistory, but not the ktuvoks'. Also the extant humanoids are already highly diverse by our standards, as there are four different species of hominid, and it's not at all hard to imagine that the "human" species is also more diverse internally than humans on Earth. It could be that what the ktuvoks cultivated was already a distinct variety of the species.


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 Post subject: Re: Evolution on Almea
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:57 pm 
Lebom
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This post reminds me that I forgot to reply to Melend about how it was impossible to breed new traits into humans in anything less than "tens of thousands of years" (his words), despite obvious exceptions like lactase persistance and all the other traits mentioned in The 10,000-Year Explosion. And this was in large populations with ample gene flow from outside, and nobody was even trying*.

Hey Melend, did you read that Silver Fox experiment page I linked you to? In twenty generations they had bred a new type of fox with markedly different physical and behavioral phenotypes. Twenty human generations is about six hundred years. Imagine what a team of knowledgeable and determined ktuvoki could do with an Eynleyni population that was mostly closed off from others and under their complete control for millennia?

Know what I think? People dismiss this sort of thing out of hand because it is scary and ungoodthinkful.** They just don't want to believe that sentient beings could be genetically affected by long histories of agriculture, white-collar work, or slavery--just like every other type of animal is.

*As far as we know (!?)

**Apparently, they even dismiss it when the "humans" in question are fictional space aliens. The topic is that incendiary.


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 Post subject: Re: Evolution on Almea
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:44 pm 
Avisaru
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Any agreements or disagreements with me or Brel?


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 Post subject: Re: Evolution on Almea
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:47 am 
Boardlord
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It's an intriguing idea, and I hinted pretty strongly in the Count of Years that the iliu and ktuvoks were both doing some genetic engineering.

Brel is right that evolution can certainly occur within historical time frames. It's still important whether the right pathways exist, though. Diamond uses the example of almonds vs. acorns. Both in their natural state are too bitter to be palatable. We've bred tasty almonds, but no one's really made the acorn palatable. Part of the problem is genetic: bitterness in almonds is controlled by a single gene, but in oaks by multiple genes. So it's just much easier to breed a non-bitter almond. (The other problem is that though non-bitter acorns do appear, it's hard to preserve the trait as oak reproduction is much more under the control of squirrels than of humans.

Among terrestrial humans, at least, cultural domination seems far more effective than breeding programs. There are parallels for most Eynleyni behavior. But I wouldn't rule out some long-term taming either...


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 Post subject: Re: Evolution on Almea
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:07 pm 
Sanci
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