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 Asunto: Arthropods, Our Not So Good Friends Of The Past
NotaPublicado: Mié Nov 30, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Insects and their close relatives are now just numerous but dumb animals, rarely causing real harm to humans, but in the past it was different.

Back almost four hundred millions of years the world was indeed, quite exotic by our standard of today: it had different continents with other shapes, the weather was quite another thing, atmospheric pressure, sunlight and even the prevailing colours of our world looked quite differently. Animals of those days could see the moon closer to our planet, going around in much less time - about 15 days instead of the current 28 -, and experienced much more signifcant tidal effects.

It was like if our planet was another one in which almost nothing liven over land; every living thing survived in the water of oceans, lakes and rivers. It probably looked much like the surreal land of the Roadrunner and Wild. E. Coyote or Marvin the Martian. Back then our direct but quite distant ancestors were just fish with low pretentions, but at least they had brains and some degree of capability to memorise things. On other words, they could navigate and act a little bit better than randomly.

Then, vertebrates where just junior partners in the world; arthropods, from which insects evolved, were in most cases bigger, stronger and more numerous; the problem was - and still is - that they had just very rudimentary nervous systems, not even brains as we define them. They never evolved such a tool, save some exceptions like the case of the Humblodt Squid, which seems pretty intelligent.

In fact, some of the biggest arthropods in history flourished during the Silurian, Devonian and Carboniferous periods, like some giant scorpions that reached a span of almost three metres that would probably find themselves hungry enough to attack prey as big as the cows of today. Vertebrates during that time had to run - or swim - for their lives.

However, over time, brains proved better that brute force and numbers because vertebrates - beginning with those fairly modest, brainy fish, the intellectuals of that age - conquered the world while arthropods had to take a back seat for quite a long time. This is like a politial expression of nature, telling us that whatever appeals to the masses eventually falls prey to intellect.

So, one can confidently say that acting intelligently is being truly natural. This is one of the most important lessons for survival: use your head. You could be a giant scorpion, but if you don´t know what you are doing, you will eventually vanish.



:idea: .

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