student journal club subgroup

Steve Collins Steve at concern1.demon.co.uk
Sun Jan 15 05:04:48 EST 1995


In article <3en7d3$q51 at nic.umass.edu>
           SREE at phobos.ucs.umass.edu "Sreekumar Govinda Pillai Pilla" writes:

> 
> The question of victory in a war (at least in 20'th century) depends mainly
> on the technological advancement of weapons.So it becomes true that one group
> becomes victorious because they have high tech weapons designed by the
> defense scientists.The soldiers acts only as instruments in these conditions.
> So is it wise to say that war selects the fittest??
I'm not so sure about war selecting for the fittest.
Victors in wars don't tend to exterminate the vanquished, but rather occupy
the territory and the victors gradually either assimilate or are assimilated 
into the local population.  
Possibly because the vanquished tend to be suppressed, their acces to 
food etc. is more limited and therefore their genes tend to die out.  But 
look at India for example.  There were repeated invasions by northern, 
fairer skinned peoples.  Now there is now quite a variation of
skin colour but the darker skinned people still persist.  
This mixing took place even in the face of strict caste laws, deterring 
marrige  between the different castes.
I am also interested in how the advance of technology has changed patterns of
hominid evolution.  Does the insulation increaingly provided by technology
effectively mean an end to classical survival of the fittest.  I heard
that western populations are becoming taller extremely fast.  In other
other places (areas of Brasil for instance) persistent
poor nutrition is leading to nutritional dwarfs in a few generations.
However these effects are due to the nutritional levels in the parents; the 
height of an offspring being a function of the height of both it's parents.
If you have good nutrition whilst growing you tend to be taller at the time
of reproduction and therefore tend to have taller offspring.  Who, if they 
are well nourished tend to be even taller and so have even taller offspring.
This seems to be more inheritance of acquired characteristics in that
you acquire the extra height through good nutrition, rather that having
any genetic potential for extra height.  So is Lamark (or
however you spell him) coming back into fasion ?

Yours

Blug





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