Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 31 to 52 of 52

Thread: Do you think a non-industrial animal could become space fairing?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,162
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Mr. Robinson, I've read enough of your posts to know you should be fully aware of what spectacular miracles Life can do over vast amounts of time.
    Thanks for reading my posts Mr Don! Yes, evolution does spectacular things, but it does them by mean of incremental change. E.g. the organisms which moved from sea to land presumably did so by gradually adapting to life in the shallows, then life in tidal flats etc. Not the same sort of thing as an organism which evolved in a subsurface ocean getting ejected into space and finding a way to survive there.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    7,843
    Is it possible to change the title to space faring? the idea of an animal turned into a fairing keeps giving me bad images.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    But Enceladus and Io are the only two places in the Universe that I am aware of where natural, soft ejection into space not only occurs, but also occurs constantly, geographic time-wise. Yes, relative to a meteor impact powerful enough to blow stuff back into space on either Earth or Mars, the volcanoes on Io are gentle.

    Jens, I think we are both visioning different environments. Your critters are nekkid out in the void of space and mine our being sprayed onto ice chunks and dust particles from a billion years of previous geysering. Still without an atmosphere though! That's the starting "tide pool". So in the extra-atmospheric "tidepools" of a mythical ring system Life first deals with the "extra-atmospheric" part. Then motility between ice chunks for whatever advantages a change in simple location can bring. More or less light for example. Then dealing with novel new neighbors because of the new motility "breakthrough" and on and on.

    With Froggy's blessing I'll go full Devil's Advocate mode here. For some odd reason this thread has woken up my inner D&D referee. I've been coming up with come backs to players since 1975.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    461
    Actual examples like tardigrades, and other extremophiles, make speculative scenarios like Don's seem less improbable.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,032
    Other than the panspermia, accidental or by incremental evolution, another possibility is dispersal of seeds through space. Just like a dandelion whose windborne seeds do not need to be viable in the air, but only when they land in a suitable habitat. It would be possible that something like a plant could produce something like a seed, big enough and sufficiently packed with nutrients to survive a quick jaunt through space, such as from a planet to a moon, or among moons of a gas giant. I just wonder if there would be enough feedback, or motivation, for natural selection to evolve such a system.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,032
    It looks like that on island eco systems dispersal mechanisms are often reduced or eliminated, such as flightless birds on New Zealand. This is because there is a cost of dispersal due to the percentage of probagules that fall into the ocean or other non-viable matrix. Since space is the ultimate non-viable matrix the cost of dispersal through space is going to be very high. Dispersal systems evolve to reduce the cost of intraspecific competition, and to prevent in-breeding which could be issues in large low diversity populations, such as when a single species dominates the local eco-system. If a single species dominates the eco-system this may produce a scenario where the high cost of dispersal into space becomes a necessary investment.

    Say a single species evolves to inhabit near surface liquid water in an enceladus analogue. It may be that its spores are already capable of withstanding temperature extremes, long hibernation periods, exposure to UV. In this case the most robust of these spores, ejected in a geyser, perhaps carrying a rare mutation for thicker shell, or cold resistance could land on another moon and give rise to a new population, this one with an improved dispersal system. This process could repeat with the improved seeds able to find their way back to the original moon and replace or compete with the original population, fragmenting the eco-system, and promoting evolution of dispersal systems. If a planetary system had quite a few viable moons, then maybe it is possible such a space faring system could evolve.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    Small point trans.

    Flightlessness in birds on islands has more to do with a lack of predation and an abundance of food as a main driver. If they don't need to fly to find food or escape predators then they stop. Flight is costly.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    The Space Coast
    Posts
    4,249
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Small point trans.

    Flightlessness in birds on islands has more to do with a lack of predation and an abundance of food as a main driver. If they don't need to fly to find food or escape predators then they stop. Flight is costly.
    More to BigDon's point, is that many of the flightless birds are not all that closely related to each other and developed at different times. This seems to suggest that when "safe" to do so, flight is dropped rather "easily". I wonder if there'e evidence of the opposite (besides dinosaurs, I mean).

    CJSF
    "Find a way to show what would happen
    If you were incorrect
    A fact is just a fantasy
    Unless it can be checked
    Make a test
    Test it out"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Put It To The Test"


    lonelybirder.org

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,722
    I wonder if penguins evolved from already flightless birds, on some island.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    14,765
    What would be the difference between penguins and their
    already flightless predecessors?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,722
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    What would be the difference between penguins and their
    already flightless predecessors?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    more blubber? More streamline; better wings for swimming, webbed feet.....quite a few things, I would suspect...Take something like the dodo, with all its feathers, food shortage force it to spend time in shallow water, gradually evolving so that they could become fully sea faring.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    14,765
    Why would the flightless predecessors of penguins have less
    blubber, less streamline, worse wings for swimming, or unwebbed
    feet?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,722
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    Why would the flightless predecessors of penguins have less
    blubber, less streamline, worse wings for swimming, or unwebbed
    feet?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    because they were previously a flying bird, that needed to be light, so not much fat; no need for webbed feet. The lost the ability to fly on an island where there were no predators...like I gave an example of the dodo....

    Just my speculation.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,722
    maybe the predecessor to the flightless, land bird would have been like a seagull, so maybe they did have webbed feet, although they aren't really sea swimmers..
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    14,765
    My problem was with your statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I wonder if penguins evolved from already flightless birds, on
    some island.
    The point of your statement was that they were "already flightless".
    But you didn't explain the significance of "already". How is being
    "already flightless" significantly different from being flightless?
    I'm certain you had in mind that the ancestors of the penguins
    which arrived on the unknown island were birds that could fly, and
    their loss of flight was one part of what turned them into penguins.
    But I didn't get why you distinguished between the birds after they
    lost flight and those (more or less) same birds after they became
    penguins. Now that doesn't seem like something that requires an
    explanation anymore. So I'll just quote Emily Latilla, "Never mind!"

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  16. #46
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,099
    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I wonder if penguins evolved from already flightless birds, on some island.
    Or possibly something like the auk or another alcid? While all the extant alcids fly, they also use their wings to "fly" underwater.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2018-Mar-07 at 03:23 PM.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  17. #47
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    5,913
    The side discussion made me curious. Here's an interesting article that suggests that penguins were already becoming good swimmers before they lost the ability to fly (penguin ancestors might have been a little like the thick-billed murre, that uses its wings both for flight and for diving). It's a bit speculative, since we don't have fossils of penguin ancestors that could fly (we do have fossils of flightless penguin ancestors, dating back 60 million years).
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  18. #48
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,032
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Flight is costly.
    Presumeably the reason there are no predators is that the birds are able to disperse to the island while the (probably furry) predators are not. So as a dispersal mechanism they have done their job. With penguins they are replacing one dispersal mechanism with another (swimming). My point is that dispersing into space would also be very costly since the failure rate will approach 100%, so there would need to be a strong imperative to evolve such a mechanism. Possibly that would require such a genetic bottleneck that escape becomes important to avoid inbreeding and might need a environment dominated by a single species. Rather than birds a candidate could be some sort of clonal colony organism. These often have a asexual probagation system, and an sexual reproduction/dispersal system triggered by environmental stress.

  19. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12,937
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    The point of your statement was that they were "already flightless".
    But you didn't explain the significance of "already". How is being
    "already flightless" significantly different from being flightless?
    I'm certain you had in mind that the ancestors of the penguins
    which arrived on the unknown island were birds that could fly, and
    their loss of flight was one part of what turned them into penguins.
    But I didn't get why you distinguished between the birds after they
    lost flight and those (more or less) same birds after they became
    penguins. Now that doesn't seem like something that requires an
    explanation anymore. So I'll just quote Emily Latilla, "Never mind!"
    I think he meant to say, "maybe penguins evolved from a flightless terrestrial bird, like a dodo or a kiwi."
    As above, so below

  20. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    8,482
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon
    So in the extra-atmospheric "tidepools" of a mythical ring system Life first deals with the "extra-atmospheric" part. Then motility between ice chunks for whatever advantages a change in simple location can bring. More or less light for example. Then dealing with novel new neighbors because of the new motility "breakthrough" and on and on.
    Here's a species of ring-dwelling alien I imagined back in 2013 - five years ago, good heavens. This species evolved after an ice moon broke up after passing its Roche Limit.
    The Conchsquid

  21. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    10,924
    That is very nice...

  22. #52
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Nowhere (middle)
    Posts
    34,890
    Bump!

    My favorite scenario for evolving spacefaring nonsentience is to imagine a Roche world, twin planets of equal mass orbiting so close that they exchange atmospheric gasses. In their barycenter is a point of zero gravity but still containing gas and water under some positive pressure. Living organisms get blown or fly up to that point. Then they make a left turn at Albuquerque...
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •