the more advanced species

W. H. Cade wcade at
Fri Feb 18 20:43:18 EST 1994

Antonio Guia (guia at CC.UManitoba.CA) wrote:

: It has always been my belief that ALL species continue to evolve through
: the course of time, such that the paramecium is just as advanced as a
: human in terms of evolutionary adaptation to its environment.  The only
: measure that we have of the fitness of a species is, after all, how well
: it deals with its environment.  This would mean that man did not come from
: ape, and ape did not come from monkey, etc on down the line, but instead
: man and ape both came from a common, more primitive ancestor, which shared
: enough traits with both man and ape to have been the source of the lineage.

: With this in mind, when I see information in texts, and when I hear
: conversations stating that man is more advanced than fish, or plants, or
: even the paramecium, I usually take it to mean the complexity of the
: organism, rather than how advanced it is.   

: With this prelude, is it correct to say that man is the more advanced, or
: among the more advanced species on the planet?    I have not done any
: comparative genetics studies, so I don't know much about how many genes
: other species have, but I do know that the human genome contains many
: repetitions of the same or similar genes, so I guess that would detract
: somewhat from the complexity.  

: Comments and discussion are invited.  I see this kind of belief
: everywhere, and would like to know if I'm somewhere out in left field in
: believing that humans are not necessarily the most advanced species on the
: planet.

: -tg

I think advanced is a poor term and successful is more appropriate to
describe species.  Advanced can only apply to particular
environments/habitats.  Mammals are more advanced in thermoregulation and
and thus more widely distributed than some vert groups.  I agree with the
beginning of tg's post.

Success of species can be measured in various ways, but two favorites are
biomass and more importantly, number of species.  Number of species is
probably correlated with longevity over evolutionary time.  The insects
are, of course, the most successful by most measures. There are also lots
of nematodes, but species diversity is much lower than insects.  After
all, it their plant (the ones with 6 legs)


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