The thread on “why monkeys haven’t evolved” brought to mind another area of evolution theory that remains hazy for me :
If evolution selects for survival, why are humans bodies so vulnerable to harm from their environment ?
AFAIK the only big physical advantage we have is longevity. If we drink out of puddles we become sick and get eaten by saber tooth tigers. If we expose our skin to strong sun we burn. We are easily killed by cold. We have no sharp claws, can’t see in the dark, can’t sniff out predators, have weaker muscles and more fragile bones than many other primates. Other animals our own size can generally kick our ass in a fight etc.
When we get dropped, we break.
I understand the arguments whereby these physical limitations have created a need for superior tool use and communication skills, thus leading to our success, but what I don’t get, is why evolution would have selected for these very apparent physical vulnerabilities.
Are we purely an ‘evolutionary accident’ whereby an otherwise severely survival impaired strain developed the spark of intelligence, barely escaped the jaws of doom, somehow overcame its daunting limitations and went on to dominate its environment ? (I would call this the plucky monkey hypothesis)
Have we, through millions of years of selection processes, somehow prolonged our infantile vulnerability phase to a lifelong state ? (The Peter Pan hypothesis)
Hey, that would mean that ‘social darwinism’ was all about society being a good parent to the individual !
What do you all think ?