Re: Neoteny was Re: god makes hubey

Bill Burnett (
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 10:19:28

(H. M. Hubey) writes:

>>morphology are paedomorphic (or neotenic, if you prefer that word)
>>insofar as they are more similar to what we see in early ontogenetic
>>stages in other primates.

>I wasn't discussing the fetal stage. It does seem as if there's
>some kind of an order there, as is told of those about to die;
>their lives are supposed to flash by quickly.
>If this process were to continue linearly, then babies would
>still resemble earlier life forms, so chimp babies would look
>say, doglike. But it's the reverse; they look more like humans.
>How do they foresee this? I obviously don't mean this literally
>otherwise it would be like asking how the apple knows which way
>is down.

Baby chimps would look, say, doglike? Obviously you don't mean this
literally, lets consider it a freudian slip. Or a desparate attempt to
justify and insupportable position. Lets give you the benefit and call it a
slip. Unless you can ditch the great chain of being/evolutionary ladder/
stairway to heaven concept (no I know you're not a creationist but that's what
you sound like sometimes) you will never be able to argue rationally on this
kind of topic.
Repeat after me...
Evolution has no pre-set 'goal'
Evolution is not necessarily an increase in complexity
We are not descended from chimps
We are both descended from a common ancestor
Chimps are not descended from dogs
We are all descended from a very distant common (_not_ doglike) ancestor
None of these statements denies the increase in complexity in _some_
organisms as a consequence of mutation/adaptation/drift/recombination etc.
Degree of complexity depends on the character you analyse.

I can only think your inability to grasp this is comparable to my inability to
grasp higher mathematics.

>To me it's strange. IF I extrapolate from say lizards, to dogs, to cats,
>to chimps, to humans, I wind up thinking that future of humans is
>like what the sci-fi writers imagine; smaller jaws, larger eyes,
>larger braincases, less body hair, etc... Well, that looks a
> lot like a human baby.

*sigh* there's a lot of freudian grease out there, isn't there?

Bill Burnett -
Scottish Association for Marine Science
P.O. Box 3, Oban, Argyll PA34 4AD, UK