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GOURDHEAD
2004-Feb-16, 11:42 PM
:unsure: :unsure:

If primates, including humans, were eliminated from the earth, which species would rise to the technology level, and perhaps surpass, where humans are currently? Any? How long would it take? My vote goes to the weasel family in about 10 million years. Maybe sooner if humans help. :unsure: :unsure:

Tinaa
2004-Feb-17, 04:56 AM
I pick rats or cockroaches. Either can live almost anywhere. I'd give it a good 20 million years for the rats. Probably 100 million for the cockroaches. Both are survivors!

damienpaul
2004-Feb-17, 05:25 AM
I would wager on cockroaches and ants

Faulkner
2004-Feb-17, 06:11 AM
Octopuses? Underestimated intelligence lurking there, I feel.

LambdaWoman
2004-Feb-17, 06:21 AM
Well, mice, obviously, as they are already smarter than us, being hyperdimensional beings and all.

And those poor dolphins, trying to tell us to get off the planet, but being completely ignored!!

Sorry, I had to :-D

In real life (*sigh*) probably something else from the mammal family... I would say elephants but I think you need something a little more tool-making friendly. Same with dolphins... so I don't know, exactly...

Faulkner
2004-Feb-17, 06:28 AM
Octopuses have tentacles for operating, say, spaceship control panels, laser pistols, etc??

damienpaul
2004-Feb-17, 01:37 PM
Imagine genetically engineering ants to make little itsy bitsy robots.....okay I need sleep

GOURDHEAD
2004-Feb-17, 07:36 PM
Ants, cockroaches, mice and rats are each doing too good a job surviving where they are. There doesn't seem to be any selection pressure to drive them to higher levels of intelligence. None seems to have the curiosity of the various members of the weasel family.

Algenon the mouse
2004-Feb-17, 08:04 PM
Sort of depends on how long it takes us to snuff out. If we were to disappear suddenly, my vote would be for insects, probably cockroaches or cicadas. They seem to be fairly sucessful in mutating. If it takes longer, probably some ocean creature would take over. (the moon might be too far away to stablize the tilt) I favor sharks since they are so hard to kill. Sharks have been around for awhile.

Gweb
2004-Feb-17, 10:57 PM
I actually think that it is quite possible we will evolve into a machine race. I don't think it will be as violent and crazy as the Matrix, after all, if machines became self aware they would know who created them. It just makes sense that machines would eventually take over as they can adapt to anything, and evolution for them would take a fraction of the time for other living creatures.

Carl
2004-Feb-17, 11:01 PM
I think cockroaches will survive. They were the only survivor of the Atomic testing on Bikini Island back in the fifties. If conditions change on earth and there is less oxygen or none, I would then think roaches will evolve. Humans are also evolving. A good question is What will humans look like in 15 million years. Will we still have legs. we use them less with each generation so like the appendix, legs might shrink from that lack of use. Flys also might be around. Look at the stuff they get into and they're still here.

QJones
2004-Feb-17, 11:11 PM
I also agree that octopuses have a pretty decent shot of developing into a reasoning, tool-using species. They're already quite smart, and quite able to use tools.

You know how ants (and termites, bees, etc.) make structures? Their decision-making processes are actually quite interesting. Almost machine-like. Next time you get a chance to read about their building processes (in a magazine), I suggest you take it.

damienpaul
2004-Feb-17, 11:12 PM
Or will implants completely alter us into a different species?? Just a thought.

s.m.vasagam
2004-Feb-18, 04:30 AM
Lizard, why was it not thought of in addition to cockroach and rats. Future survival creature will have computers implanted in the body. He will overcome the speed,temperature and mass. :rolleyes:

Skywise
2004-Feb-18, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by QJones@Feb 17 2004, 11:11 PM
You know how ants (and termites, bees, etc.) make structures? Their decision-making processes are actually quite interesting.
There have been a few studies on this, covering several years. The insects have it, people. Given several million years, most scientists agree that any given species of insect (and not to exclude spiders, which are not really insects) could evolve to higher reasoning.

I've read support for both bees and cockroaches to be front-runners, though lately a lot of bee species have been getting hit with disease, so I do not know if that's changed things.

There was a pre-millenium story about cockroaches having taken over in the far distant future after the destruction of the human species... they use time-travel to come back to find out about us and, well... it was fiction. The book is called "Bob Bridges: An Apocalyptic Fable" by Penny Perkins. The main website seems to be down, but if you're interested, just search on the title/author - it's around still.

- Skywise

Bluewolf027
2004-Feb-18, 03:54 PM
I don't think that insects have large enough brains to take over after us. My bet is on the dolphins.

Spacemad
2004-Feb-18, 09:15 PM
It would seem that most species of living creatures have been around enough millions of years to have had their chance at evolving into something "intelligent" but they have stagnated in their current state & I don´t see how a few million more years would make that much difference.

Yet look at humans: we´ve been around little more than a million odd years & yet we have evolved far more than any other life form on this world in a fraction of the time!

Maybe the future of the human race is not likely to be in any form we can conceive at present but it seems to me that if we can survive (without eliminating ourselves in some fratricidal war) a couple of thousand more years then it is likely that we will take some kind of mechanical form. For fans of Star Trek perhaps it will be something like the Borg - a combination of machine & living flesh but with a communal mind. Perhaps as being of pure energy? Again Science Fiction explores this realm & comes up with some surprising alternatives.

I think we can only speculate, we can only dream of the possible alternatives - but any alternative requires that humanity not kill itself off before the future arrives - in whatever form that takes!

Algenon the mouse
2004-Feb-21, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Bluewolf027@Feb 18 2004, 03:54 PM
I don't think that insects have large enough brains to take over after us. My bet is on the dolphins.
They might over time. (I like Alan Dean Foster) And sometimes that has nothing to do with it. Look at the dinosaurs. They have been around a lot longer than we have but their brains are not nearly as big.

damienpaul
2004-Feb-22, 01:01 AM
If I am not mistaken, our distant ancestors, little rodent like mammals did not have a huge brain, but as Algenon the Mouse said they may well develop them over time.

MissV
2004-Feb-22, 01:46 PM
If the Earth continues on its gradual warming trend, our future Earth could end up being more of an ocean planet, with all the glacial ice melting on a continual basis. If that were the case, I would place my bet on aquatic life, that we already know to be highly intelligent, such as dolphins or killer whales.

damienpaul
2004-Feb-23, 10:13 AM
If all the ice caps were to melt, then the overall sea level rise would be around 60-80metres as far as I read (waterworld is soooo exaggerated), so I would concur about marine life and also tropical type life forms.

stevo_jimmy
2004-Feb-23, 03:06 PM
would definitely be something intelligent, i'd go for dolphins, or something devious, perhaps wolves. or maybe beavers they can already build quality dams

cre8ivmind
2007-Nov-15, 06:55 AM
I predict the next creature to evolve will be something other than a primate, because unfortunately most of the primates seem to be going extinct. I believe it will be a mammal that has human-like attributes and are in no danger of becoming extinct any time soon. Examples are meerkats and ground squirrels. These two unrelated mammals stand on their hind legs, have complex social/grooming habits, and also complex communication. It would be cool if either one of them evolve into an adorable Ewok-like civilization, but then again, that's just my imagination going wild. :lol:

Halcyon Dayz
2007-Nov-15, 07:24 AM
I give bears a good change.

Welcome aboard, cre8ivmind. :)

cjl
2007-Nov-15, 07:25 AM
You did notice that this thread is almost 4 years old, right?

Welcome to BAUT by the way :)

astromark
2007-Nov-15, 07:35 AM
On the land masses the squirrel family and mearcats have shown to be social and intelligent. In the oceans the Octopuses seem to be the problem solvers.. The dolphins and whales do not seem to need to change and probably wont. The insect world might surprise us with buildings and air conditioning any day soon or already. I like the alternate idea that we the human race will endure and become technically like the 'Borg'. :) With the advancements of nano technology the ant might just do it...
And yes, 2004... But its non the less interesting. Still.

Neverfly
2007-Nov-15, 08:17 AM
On the land masses the squirrel family and mearcats have shown to be social and intelligent. In the oceans the Octopuses seem to be the problem solvers.. The dolphins and whales do not seem to need to change and probably wont. The insect world might surprise us with buildings and air conditioning any day soon or already. I like the alternate idea that we the human race will endure and become technically like the 'Borg'. :) With the advancements of nano technology the ant might just do it...
And yes, 2004... But its non the less interesting. Still.

A successor to humans would be BAUT threads. They have a knack for getting ressurected:p

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-16, 01:31 AM
Octopuses? Underestimated intelligence lurking there, I feel.
Yuck! No like octopi! <Looks around in terror>

astromark
2007-Nov-16, 05:35 AM
Octopuses,? Octopie,? or Octopus. Hmmm...

:) Delete Octopie...

So on this subject of what comes next.? Why.

What do you really think is humanities future.?

Do not assume that we will not be around for a very long time.

That DNA molecule just wants to survive., and we are its vessel.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 11:51 AM
Welcome, cre8ivmind.

Just to let you know, on BAUT it's a good idea not to dig up the years-old threads unless you have some new information to add. I did the same thing when I stared here. :)

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 11:57 AM
Yuck! No like octopi! <Looks around in terror>

Why? There no prettier or uglier than most of what we share a planet with. Besides, as someone interested in anthropology, you'll have to be out of your "comfort zone" pretty often, I think. So better get used to it with something relatively harmless.

GOURDHEAD
2007-Nov-16, 02:05 PM
What do you really think is humanities future.?
Do not assume that we will not be around for a very long time.
That DNA molecule just wants to survive., and we are its vessel. I think the most likely future for humans is of very long duration and applicable to most of the volume of the MW and eventually to M31 and beyond. I think we will not travel at or greater than light speed, so to get to M31 we'll have to take a star along as our energy source on a trip lasting 2 or 3 million years unless we wait until MW and M31 are much more close.

The question was raised in the context of evolution evaluation. I think we rose to our level of technical competence because of the margin between the effort needed to survive and our ability to survive in the various environments through which we have passed being sufficiently large. Unlike most, I believe we would have done in the dinosaurs, pterosaurs, pleisosaurs, mosasaurs,etc., (we may have, actually) without help from an asteroid, and if we hadn't, some member of the weasel family would have.

I believe the DNA molecule, the genes, or the chromosomes have no perception of survival nor any will to do so. Certain molecules for which the CHON elements are basic constituents have charge-based properties that allow them to self organize (without any will to do so) and to stay organized over a sufficiently large range of conditions that DNA "happens" except where conditions do not allow the happening. Somewhere along the path of self organization, awareness of environment, especially food sources (energy sources) is achieved and it's too late for Katie to bar the door. I believe most mammals possess an adequate level of environmental awareness, and members of the weasel family are especially gifted--second only to members of the primate family. The technically competent aliens we encounter, if any, will not vary significantly (photoluminiscence and "bio-hypergolicness" are possible exceptions that are of value in Europan-like environments) from Earth's mammalia is my guess.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 04:10 PM
There are a number of smart animals that might end up developing full sapience, given the right conditions. But don't forget, it takes more than brainpower to build a civilization; our own ancestors developed tool use first, large forebrains for abstract thinking and complex communication second.

As for octopiseses being "yucky", bring on the Sqibbons!

filrabat
2007-Nov-16, 04:30 PM
To me, I think land animals have the advantage in the technology department. You need to regulate the heat of metal ores in order to make them into something humans can use. That requires fire. Furthermore, assuming real potential to leave the atmosphere, air is a modest mass to move - not so with water (3rdVogon wrote a brilliant post about these points several years ago, during a land-vs-sea-life debate).

As for which non-primate creature has the best shot: I think it'll be a fairly large creature (to support at least a reasonable sized brain) that can and does walk upright at least part of the time (frees its other limbs for potential tool manipulation). As someone said earlier, that creature is the bear. However, the bear's big drawback is that it's more soliary than, say, wolves (I would say the wolf were it not for their inability to walk on 2 legs, even partially). Squirrels? I could very well be wrong because these traits can cut both ways; but I don't think squirrels are a candidate because they aren't large enough to either

*support a brain with sufficient numbers of neurons in critical areas of their brain
*they're by no means able to fend off their largest predators, even with stone age era tools (or maybe even bronze age ones, for that matter).

Octopi - they have real potential if a land-adapted species evolves. But the problem I see is that they have no digits on their limbs, flexible as they are. Certainly I can't see present octopi being able to thread a needle, or even make a needle. So, for this reason, I have to discount octopi, intelligent as they are. Try to imagine building anything without fingers!

Elephants - would get my vote, except they can't stand on two limbs for long enough periods of time. Even if they could, they'd still have no substantial digits on their limbs (their feet are pretty much flat). Certainly their trunks don't have any digits.

Otters - I really don’t know much about them, but they definitely get my vote as well. They have digits on their limbs, which allows them to manipulate things. As far as I know, they’re social creatures too. I don’t know how able otters are to use only 2 legs to travel or stand on though (at least on land). Still, they only a few plausible physical adaptations to be a real contender

So, I guess I'd cast my vote for either bears or otters, with rodents still a fairly good contender (assuming a giant squirrel evolves). If they had a more social-tribal mentality, bears would definitely get my vote for the non-primate most likely to evolve to form a civilization. But you never know.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 04:35 PM
Octopi - they have real potential if a land-adapted species evolves. But the problem I see is that they have no digits on their limbs, flexible as they are. Certainly I can't see present octopi being able to thread a needle, or even make a needle. So, for this reason, I have to discount octopi, intelligent as they are. Try to imagine building anything without fingers!


With eight limbs, each tipped a far more flexible and sensitive "finger" than we possess, they can already open jars (that's more than I can do some days!), so threading needles and similar acts of coordination are not far-fetched. Besides, in the time it would take for them to evolve into air-breathers, their limb structure might develop digits or any number of other adaptations.

Professor Mayhem
2007-Nov-16, 04:49 PM
Yeah, my money's on cephalpods.

Some species of birds are also pretty crafty. Some to the point of demonstrating problem-solving ability and basic tool use.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 07:14 PM
I think the most likely future for humans is of very long duration and applicable to most of the volume of the MW and eventually to M31 and beyond. I think we will not travel at or greater than light speed, so to get to M31 we'll have to take a star along as our energy source on a trip lasting 2 or 3 million years unless we wait until MW and M31 are much more close.

Taking a star along isn't necessary. A much less expensive solution would be to beam power to the starship. A 1.4e-11m wavelength X-ray laser focused by a 10,000km diameter zone plate lens would only spread out to a spot 40km wide at 2.5 million light years away. This X-ray beam could heat up graphite target plates which then power a heat engine.

Obviously, light speed delays prevent the beam from being actively aimed at the starship. Instead, the source system would simply try to keep the beam steady, and the starship will keep itself riding along the beam.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 07:22 PM
Try to imagine building anything without fingers!

You don't have to use your imagination; many birds build nests with just their beaks with skill that a human would be hard pressed to match with two hands and fingers.

Of course, some birds also use their feet as manipulators.

In a previous thread on alien life, I speculated that asymmetric intelligent birds could evolve which move around by hopping on one leg. The other leg is used as a hand, cooperating with the beak as a second "hand". These intelligent birds might even still be capable of flight or gliding.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 07:28 PM
In a previous thread on alien life, I speculated that asymmetric intelligent birds could evolve which move around by hopping on one leg. The other leg is used as a hand, cooperating with the beak as a second "hand". These intelligent birds might even still be capable of flight or gliding.

For a being large enough to support a brain of human-like complexity, it would be an awkward design; too heavy to fly, forced to hop on one foot or step-knucklewalk on two. Limits what you can carry and how well you can handle and manipulate things.

alainprice
2007-Nov-16, 07:30 PM
I say bats.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 07:40 PM
For a being large enough to support a brain of human-like complexity, it would be an awkward design; too heavy to fly, forced to hop on one foot or step-knucklewalk on two. Limits what you can carry and how well you can handle and manipulate things.

Hopping is no big deal--kangaroos manage just fine. As for being too heavy to fly, that's not obvious.

First, it's not clear that technological beings need to be as intelligent as humans. Less intelligent animals are capable of learning and tool use.

Second, it's not clear that a bird brain would have to be as big and heavy as a human brain to have human-like intelligence. Bird brains seem more optimized for mass than mammal brains.

Third, it's not clear that a bird body would need to be as big and heavy as a human body to support a human size brain. Bird skeletons an bird lungs are more optimized than mammal skeletons and lungs.

Fourth, it's not clear that a human scale body is too heavy to fly. With a denser atmosphere and/or lower gravity (i.e. terraformed Titan or Mars) larger heavier creatures could fly.

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-16, 08:43 PM
Why? There no prettier or uglier than most of what we share a planet with. Besides, as someone interested in anthropology, you'll have to be out of your "comfort zone" pretty often, I think. So better get used to it with something relatively harmless.
Let's just say that it's painful to talk about my aversion to octopi and leave it at that.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 08:52 PM
Hopping is no big deal--kangaroos manage just fine. As for being too heavy to fly, that's not obvious.

First, it's not clear that technological beings need to be as intelligent as humans. Less intelligent animals are capable of learning and tool use.

Second, it's not clear that a bird brain would have to be as big and heavy as a human brain to have human-like intelligence. Bird brains seem more optimized for mass than mammal brains.

Third, it's not clear that a bird body would need to be as big and heavy as a human body to support a human size brain. Bird skeletons an bird lungs are more optimized than mammal skeletons and lungs.

Fourth, it's not clear that a human scale body is too heavy to fly. With a denser atmosphere and/or lower gravity (i.e. terraformed Titan or Mars) larger heavier creatures could fly.
Birds get to fly by being specialized for flight. Their bodies-- and brains-- pare away all nonessentials.

As for not needing intelligence for technology, technology is more than tool use. It requires some understanding of what you're making and why it works, or it's just a fancier nest. Instinct, or trial-and-error, can only get you so far. Abstract thought seems to requre a certain level of complexity, and that means a large brain, and a body sufficient to support it.

As for changing gravity/atmosphere, I agree a flying sapient may work under those conditions, but the OP was about successors to humans; I thought that implied Earth. (In theory it could mean a planet we Terraformed and then somehow left behind or died off on)

ADDED: Hopping works for nonsapient, uncivilized Kangaroos. Whether it would work for creatures who have to carry things is anotther question.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 09:14 PM
Birds get to fly by being specialized for flight. Their bodies-- and brains-- pare away all nonessentials.

That isn't all they do. The most immediately obvious example of improved efficiency is the way they breath. Airflow through bird lungs is mostly uni-directional and continuous, whereas airflow through mammal lungs is completely bi-directional and discontinuous. That gives birds more energy and endurance. Another obvious difference is the weight of the bones. Bird skeletons weigh less than equivalent mammal skeletons.

Of course, it's not surprising that birds have more weight optimizations than mammals, since they have so much more pressure to optimize weight.


As for not needing intelligence for technology, technology is more than tool use.

Straw man. I didn't suggest that intelligence is not needed for technology. I said that it's not clear the human levels of intelligence are required for technology.


As for changing gravity/atmosphere, I agree a flying sapient may work under those conditions, but the OP was about successors to humans; I thought that implied Earth. (In theory it could mean a planet we Terraformed and then somehow left behind or died off on)

Even if we restrict to just Earth, Earth's atmosphere can be denser, and could have a higher oxygen content.


ADDED: Hopping works for nonsapient, uncivilized Kangaroos. Whether it would work for creatures who have to carry things is anotther question.

It certainly isn't a definite deal-killer.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 09:21 PM
Straw man. I didn't suggest that intelligence is not needed for technology. I said that it's not clear the human levels of intelligence are required for technology.



?? "Straw man"?

How little intelligence can a species get away with and still develop technology sufficient to build a civilization, then? Assuming at least Neolithic level, that's an efficient agriculture (more than just scattering seeds), a means of transporting building materials, food, water, and waste, and sufficient complex communication and social organization to accomplish all these things. If they aren't human-level, thay'd have to be pretty darn close.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 09:53 PM
?? "Straw man"?

How little intelligence can a species get away with and still develop technology sufficient to build a civilization, then?

We don't know. We don't actually yet know enough about intelligence to really measure it.


Assuming at least Neolithic level, that's an efficient agriculture (more than just scattering seeds), a means of transporting building materials, food, water, and waste, and sufficient complex communication and social organization to accomplish all these things. If they aren't human-level, thay'd have to be pretty darn close.

Homo sapiens was in all likelyhood exactly as intelligent in the Neolithic era as today. That just wasn't very long ago, in evolutionary terms.

The difference between building simple shelters and building Apollo 11 wasn't a question of evolving more intelligence, it was a question of more knowledge and technological advancement.

So how much intelligence is required to develop advanced technology? Like I said, we don't actually know.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 10:27 PM
We don't know. We don't actually yet know enough about intelligence to really measure it.

Homo sapiens was in all likelyhood exactly as intelligent in the Neolithic era as today. That just wasn't very long ago, in evolutionary terms.

Exactly. We needed the same brainpower we have now just to reach that level.

So how much intelligence is required to develop advanced technology? Like I said, we don't actually know.
Well, let's look at the most well-known example of a near-human species.

Neanderthals were around roughly twice as long as us, but advanced more slowly. And most of those advances came after they were coexistent with H. Sapiens, so we can't be entirely sure they did that all on their own. Not an ironclad case, of course. But they were our closest peers in terms of intellect, and even they were less able to innovate at their height than we were at our very beginnings.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-16, 10:38 PM
Exactly. We needed the same brainpower we have now just to reach that level.

Really? What evidence do you have for this? How do you KNOW that it's impossible to have that level of technology with less brainpower?


Well, let's look at the most well-known example of a near-human species.

Neanderthals were around roughly twice as long as us, but advanced more slowly.

And we don't know the reason why. We haven't the faintest idea whether Neandertal was more or less intelligent than us. They could have been more intelligent than us, but simply lacked some particular way of thinking that would have resulted in technology advancement.

We have a very limited sample size of human-like primates to consider, and we have extremely limited information about them. It would really be nice if there were living Neandertals so we could conduct cognitive experiments on them (the way we can conduct experiments on non-extinct chimpanzees and gorillas). But there aren't, so we can't. All we can do is make guesses based on artifacts.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 10:44 PM
And we don't know the reason why. We haven't the faintest idea whether Neandertal was more or less intelligent than us. They could have been more intelligent than us, but simply lacked some particular way of thinking that would have resulted in technology advancement.

We have a very limited sample size of human-like primates to consider, and we have extremely limited information about them. It would really be nice if there were living Neandertals so we could conduct cognitive experiments on them (the way we can conduct experiments on non-extinct chimpanzees and gorillas). But there aren't, so we can't. All we can do is make guesses based on artifacts.
True, all I can do is come to what seem like the most likely conclusions. In this case, it seems brainpower is related to having more than the simplest levels of technology. The ability to imagine complicated abstract concepts seems to require a large enough amount of parallel processing power to fuction. But I can't prove any of these things, nor disprove them. This is an entirely speculative thread anyway though, so why not?

Maksutov
2007-Nov-16, 11:16 PM
I would nominate BAUT threads. Look a this one. It lay dormant for over 3.5 years and then sprang back to life. There's probably no limit on how long a thread could hibernate and then become fully functional once again.


Meanwhile, welcome to the BAUT, cre8ivmind!

Read the FAQs (http://www.bautforum.com/faq.php?faq=vb_faq), especially the rules (http://www.bautforum.com/about-baut/32864-rules-posting-board.html#post564845), and have fun.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-16, 11:36 PM
Among existing mammals, I'd nominate racoons as possible successors; opposeable thumbs, and fairly clever.

astromark
2007-Nov-17, 12:08 AM
Among existing mammals, I'd nominate raccoons as possible successors; opposable thumbs, and fairly clever.

I would add the otter as a likely candidate but, would not turn my back on any of the bears, and still think the octopus is right up there on the top step.

Depending on the manner of humanities extinction it might be that only the insects could survive us.

I personally prefer the thought that we will prevail and become much more technically advanced to cope with any and all threats. A cyber biotic being...

We will go out across this universe and survive for billions of years having unlocked the secrets of dark mater and learned to use this knowledge to our best advantage.

We still will not be able to place a tea spoon in the microwave...:)

crosscountry
2007-Nov-17, 12:58 AM
you guys need to stop the squirrel bigotry!

Noclevername
2007-Nov-17, 01:15 AM
you guys need to stop the squirrel bigotry!


I'm not at all bigoted against those noisy, disease-carrying, garden-wrecking rats in fur coats. Not in the least.

Romanus
2007-Nov-17, 02:06 PM
Otters and raccoons are at the top of my list, as well. What's missing, IMO though, is any apparent selective pressure for increased intelligence.

crosscountry
2007-Nov-17, 02:49 PM
true dat. They are quite content eating nuts and living in trees.

What was the pressure for humans to increase intelligence though? Ice age maybe.

filrabat
2007-Nov-17, 02:54 PM
You don't have to use your imagination; many birds build nests with just their beaks with skill that a human would be hard pressed to match with two hands and fingers.

Of course, some birds also use their feet as manipulators.

In a previous thread on alien life, I speculated that asymmetric intelligent birds could evolve which move around by hopping on one leg. The other leg is used as a hand, cooperating with the beak as a second "hand". These intelligent birds might even still be capable of flight or gliding.

What about speaking while manipulating, even granted hopping on one leg while working can be done? It seems to me that one manipulator that doubles for speaking would be rather clumsy. We humans have 2 limbs for running , two more limbs devoted to primary manipluation (hands), ten manipulators on top of that devoted to secondary manipulation (fingers), a organ set devoted to vocal communication (voice box - mouth -tongue).

Even if a bird can devote one of its legs to primary manipulation and its claws to secondary manipulation, ...even if it's possible to use its beak as a manipulator....That still leaves only two legs (including a leg/hand/arm) and a beak, plus one leg. The wings? If the wings had some vestiges of claws, I could perhaps see the wings being useful for manipulation, but I don't know of any bird whose wings have secondary manipulators. I'm having difficulty seeing how birds, as we know them, can be efficient enough manipulators to advance beyond a neolithic technology.

filrabat
2007-Nov-17, 03:05 PM
Originally Posted by filrabat
Octopi - they have real potential if a land-adapted species evolves. But the problem I see is that they have no digits on their limbs, flexible as they are. Certainly I can't see present octopi being able to thread a needle, or even make a needle. So, for this reason, I have to discount octopi, intelligent as they are. Try to imagine building anything without fingers!
With eight limbs, each tipped a far more flexible and sensitive "finger" than we possess, they can already open jars (that's more than I can do some days!), so threading needles and similar acts of coordination are not far-fetched. Besides, in the time it would take for them to evolve into air-breathers, their limb structure might develop digits or any number of other adaptations.

Well, I suppose I can see some lucky species of octopus developing very tapering arms that can be fingers (ends about a centimeter wide, and a few centimeters long). In that case, some of their limbs could become more specialized. Even so, threading needles requires pretty fine-tuned appendages , though they admittedly have plenty of appendages to spare.

Raccoons: I forgot about them. I definitely add them to the list of non-primates most likely to evolve to high intelligence (as in civilization producing) -- especially if they (or their descendants) increase in size to about 40 or 50 kg as adults

GOURDHEAD
2007-Nov-17, 05:27 PM
What was the pressure for humans to increase intelligence though? Ice age maybe.Their deformed feet (relative to other primates) lessened their ability to compete in trees thus driving them to become ground dwelling critters. On the ground the competition from predators and their memory of their treeborne diet forced them to become innovative and those with the greater potential for curiosity had a survival edge and the trait strengthened as the species spread and included more meat in its diet. Intra-species competition for food and mates, the ability to predict situations that were, or could become, dangerous, and the innovative ability to solve problems drove them to become us. We still have a bit to learn even though the MW is now at our mercy.


Taking a star along isn't necessary. A much less expensive solution would be to beam power to the starship. A 1.4e-11m wavelength X-ray laser focused by a 10,000km diameter zone plate lens would only spread out to a spot 40km wide at 2.5 million light years away. This X-ray beam could heat up graphite target plates which then power a heat engine.I'm sticking with using a star as energy and propellant. The laser system you describe doesn't provide the propellant. If we use such a laser powered system, we would need to approach near light speed as we left the MW, then we have to dodge the unlighted junk that gravity has slung out of various galaxies to roam about in intergalactic space (requires propellant and a junk detection and avoidance system) and the ability to slow down to a speed that allows us to orbit some star in M31. With a star-load of energy, solving such problems can be enhanced with a more richly innovation informed set of brains.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-17, 05:51 PM
true dat. They are quite content eating nuts and living in trees.

What was the pressure for humans to increase intelligence though? Ice age maybe.

At roughly the same time as the earliest protohominids began to develop, a mountain range was rising in Africa, cutting off the flow of moisture-laden Atlantic air to what are now Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. They went from jungle to dry grassland in a few million years, leaving out treedwelling ancestors high and dry, and dangerously exposed. Only the ones curious enough to look for new sources of food and water, and clever enough to band together for protection, made it. Since they had to rely far more on carrion to eat, whoever first picked up a sharp stone to cut the tough meat of a carcass did something good for his family, too.

The ones who stayed behind had no need to change much; they're today's chimps.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-17, 07:27 PM
Well, I suppose I can see some lucky species of octopus developing very tapering arms that can be fingers (ends about a centimeter wide, and a few centimeters long). In that case, some of their limbs could become more specialized. Even so, threading needles requires pretty fine-tuned appendages , though they admittedly have plenty of appendages to spare.


IIRC, there have been reports (photos?) of cephalopods who have congenital split-ended limbs. So mutations to differentiate them into separate digits is pluasible.

RalofTyr
2007-Nov-17, 08:33 PM
Squibbons in about 200MY.

http://www.squidblog.net/uploads/squibbons_h.jpg

In the immediate future, homo sapien sapien will be replaced by a more efficient homo genius, perhaps homo sapien sapien machina? Or homo sapien sapien orbitius or homo sapien sapien marius

RalofTyr
2007-Nov-17, 08:39 PM
The difference between building simple shelters and building Apollo 11 wasn't a question of evolving more intelligence, it was a question of more knowledge and technological advancement.

The Apollo missions had more to do with the frailties of the human ego than our technological advancement.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-17, 08:45 PM
Squibbons in about 200MY.

http://www.squidblog.net/uploads/squibbons_h.jpg

In the immediate future, homo sapien sapien will be replaced by a more efficient homo genius, perhaps homo sapien sapien machina? Or homo sapien sapien orbitius or homo sapien sapien marius

Most likely all three, plus a few thousand others. As we learn to alter ourselves, we're coming into an age of speciation for good ol' h. sapes.

filrabat
2007-Nov-18, 11:37 AM
At roughly the same time as the earliest protohominids began to develop, a mountain range was rising in Africa, cutting off the flow of moisture-laden Atlantic air to what are now Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. They went from jungle to dry grassland in a few million years, leaving out treedwelling ancestors high and dry, and dangerously exposed.

Ethiopia's mountains are pretty high. I don't know just how old they are, but I think they've been around for more than just a few million years. On top of that, I DO know that in the tropics, the prevailing winds are FROM the east (recall caribbean weather maps during hurricane season). That means East African moisture is likely to come from the Indian Ocean instead of the Atlantic.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-18, 02:22 PM
(about using an X-ray laser to power an intergalactic starship)
I'm sticking with using a star as energy and propellant. The laser system you describe doesn't provide the propellant.

So what? You can bring propellant in propellant tanks, and for the most part you don't need propellant anyway. Since you're dealing with a multi-million year journey already, waiting a few hundred years for a completely propellant-less magnetic braking system to completely brake you into a local star system is no big deal. (This would brake against the local interstellar medium).


If we use such a laser powered system, we would need to approach near light speed as we left the MW,

No. The laser has a range of hundreds of millions of light years. You can accelerate over the period of a million years if you want.


then we have to dodge the unlighted junk that gravity has slung out of various galaxies to roam about in intergalactic space (requires propellant and a junk detection and avoidance system) and the ability to slow down to a speed that allows us to orbit some star in M31.

No. Anything in your way will be lit up by the powerful X-ray beam. Some fraction of this beam will be absorbed by your power system, but the rest will sweep the zone in front of you out to millions of light years ahead of you. Intergalactic space is stupendously empty, but if there is anything there, it'll get vaporized and cleared away by thousands of years of X-ray bombardment.

The ability to slow down at the destination is no big deal. Using a magnetic loop to brake against the local interstellar medium will work. Although it's very slow for use in short range interstellar journeys, it'll work in the blink of an eye compared to the duration of an intergalactic journey.


With a star-load of energy, solving such problems can be enhanced with a more richly innovation informed set of brains.

The X-ray beam can provide many star-loads of energy, if you want. It can be powered by several dyson shells. Basically, whatever amount of energy you want to provide can be beamed in.

Halcyon Dayz
2007-Nov-18, 02:34 PM
That system would require a lot of trust in the civilisation you left behind.
What if they changed there collective minds on providing your ship with free energy?
Or if that civilisation collapses?
A million years is a awful long time.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-18, 02:36 PM
(about intelligent birds)
What about speaking while manipulating, even granted hopping on one leg while working can be done? It seems to me that one manipulator that doubles for speaking would be rather clumsy.

Birds are able to construct rather complex nests just fine already. Is it NECESSARY to talk while manipulating stuff? Isn't mumbling sufficient?


I'm having difficulty seeing how birds, as we know them, can be efficient enough manipulators to advance beyond a neolithic technology.

You have a difficult imagination, then. Can a deaf person with one leg in a cast function in a technological society, building things using the same tools as anyone else? Yes. It might take a little longer to do some things, but not much.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2007-Nov-18, 02:38 PM
As for which non-primate creature has the best shot: I think it'll be a fairly large creature (to support at least a reasonable sized brain) that can and does walk upright at least part of the time (frees its other limbs for potential tool manipulation). As someone said earlier, that creature is the bear. However, the bear's big drawback is that it's more soliary than, say, wolves (I would say the wolf were it not for their inability to walk on 2 legs, even partially). Squirrels? I could very well be wrong because these traits can cut both ways; but I don't think squirrels are a candidate because they aren't large enough to either

My vote goes to the Elephant they have a very big cerebrum, large neo-cortex, complex temporal lobe etc all in all its a great brain structure for signs, speech and perception. Like the monkey they also seem to score very well in Animal Intellect tests. Their brain grows even more as they develop through adulthood. I agree with you on hands being a huge advantage for primates. I'm not sure how they would manage without opposing thumb digits, perhaps we could help them along by genetically engineering them some hands. The trouble is they would start looking like a cartoonist representation for the US Republican party.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-18, 02:47 PM
That system would require a lot of trust in the civilisation you left behind. What if they changed there collective minds on providing your ship with free energy?

Then you die.*

If you want, you can leave behind a fully automated system which doesn't rely upon any fickle individuals. You could set up a star with a dyson swarm to power the X-ray laser, along with bristling automated defense systems to keep barbarians from dismantling it.


Or if that civilisation collapses? A million years is a awful long time.

Since we're presumably talking about a mature interstellar civilization here, that civilization could already be many millions of years old. It could take hundreds of thousands of years just to colonize our own galaxy. This ancient civilization may already know with justifiable confidence that it won't collapse in a mere million years.


* That's assuming you need constant power usage to survive, of course. If you're in some sort of deep hibernation or you're a race of electronic life forms, then you might only need the minimal power that a long term radioisotope generator could provide and carry your power on board.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-18, 03:14 PM
Birds are able to construct rather complex nests just fine already. Is it NECESSARY to talk while manipulating stuff? Isn't mumbling sufficient?


If you're working alone, sure. If you're part of a coordinated effort such as city-building, you'd probably need communication. Such a awkward design would limit efficiency, and this would limit advancement, but it's unclear just how much.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-18, 03:16 PM
You have a difficult imagination, then. Can a deaf person with one leg in a cast function in a technological society, building things using the same tools as anyone else? Yes. It might take a little longer to do some things, but not much.

(bold mine)

The trouble starts when trying to envision a whole society of nothing but deaf one-legged people where there are no "everyone else". It would be fundamentally different than our own history from the start.

Delvo
2007-Nov-18, 09:49 PM
Manipulating things with the hands instead of a foot and/or mouth gives us advantages that some people don't think of when asserting that a body that's too different from ours (like birds or dinosaurs) is just as good as ours for developing technology from scratch as long as you stick a good brain in it...

1. It lets us carry/manipulate stuff while walking.

2. It lets us manipulate stuff while relaxing (no need to stand up on one leg to use the other).

3. It doesn't tie up a limb that could be used for locomotion, so it allows the locomotive limbs to be specialized for that task instead of imposing dual duties on them, thus allowing locomotion to be as efficient, low-stress, and smooth as possible.

4. It keeps our mouths & heads free for communicating, auxilliary breathing (or primary breathing when sinuses are stuffed), and watching and listening to our surroundings. (It even keeps the things we're manipulating away from right in front of our noses & tongues, where they might interfere with smelling the air.)

6. It still allows the feet or mouth to be added to the hands from time to time as extra secondary manipulators for certain tasks.

7. It allows the use of the arms for things like applying much greater leverage/torsion/compression/tension than we could without the arms, or holding objects or parts of an object fairly far apart from each other or at varying distances from the face, or throwing things. (One suggestion about the success of humans where Neanderthals failed has to do with different shoulder joints givng us different movements/restrictions, spear-throwing was something we could do well and they couldn't.)

7. It allows the use of the arms for picking up and handling heavier weight than we could with the neck or with a single off-center leg. Another difference between us and birds or dinosaurs, the vertical spine, is also important here. It balances the hands and arms over the center of gravity and the hips instead of in front of them, thus magnifying not only the amount of weight we can carry again, but also the energy efficiency, stability, and lack of joint/muscle stress with which we can carry it.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-19, 12:40 AM
Ethiopia's mountains are pretty high. I don't know just how old they are, but I think they've been around for more than just a few million years. On top of that, I DO know that in the tropics, the prevailing winds are FROM the east (recall caribbean weather maps during hurricane season). That means East African moisture is likely to come from the Indian Ocean instead of the Atlantic.

:doh: Don't rely on my faulty memory. I think I might have dislexified the directions.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-19, 03:42 AM
Manipulating things with the hands instead of a foot and/or mouth gives us advantages that some people don't think of when asserting that a body that's too different from ours (like birds or dinosaurs) is just as good as ours for developing technology from scratch as long as you stick a good brain in it...

It doesn't need to be "just as good". Our body isn't just as good as one which has a tail to assist balance or use for a stable tripod stance. Our body isn't just as good as one which has a elephant like nose to assist in manipulation. Our body isn't just as good as one with toes that can be used as manipulators.

But we get by.


1. It lets us carry/manipulate stuff while walking.

The hypothetical intelligent birds can carry and manipulate stuff while walking. Only one leg and perhaps the tail are used when walking. The walking stance may be similar to how kangaroos walk--they use their legs essentially as a single leg, with the tail as a second leg.


2. It lets us manipulate stuff while relaxing (no need to stand up on one leg to use the other).

The hypothetical intelligent birds are asymmetrical. Only one leg is used to stand on. The other leg is purely used as a manipulator. Flamingos can stand at rest on one leg.


3. It doesn't tie up a limb that could be used for locomotion, so it allows the locomotive limbs to be specialized for that task instead of imposing dual duties on them, thus allowing locomotion to be as efficient, low-stress, and smooth as possible.

The hypothetical intelligent birds are asymmetrical. While one leg has specialized into a manipulator, the other leg has specialized for hopping. Note that many birds already hop as their usual way of "walking".


4. It keeps our mouths & heads free for communicating, auxilliary breathing (or primary breathing when sinuses are stuffed), and watching and listening to our surroundings. (It even keeps the things we're manipulating away from right in front of our noses & tongues, where they might interfere with smelling the air.)

Birds don't have lips, so holding something in the beak doesn't typically block breathing. Birds typically have poor smell, so that's not a big deal. For that matter, humans have rather poor smell.

As for watching the surroundings--many mammals, including primates, have eyes that around pointed forward rather than optimized for watching the surroundings. Many mammals, including many primates, make up for this by being social animals. By living in groups, some lookouts can keep an eye out for predators while others concentrate on foraging.


6. It still allows the feet or mouth to be added to the hands from time to time as extra secondary manipulators for certain tasks.

That certainly can be an advantage in the right circumstances. Similarly, it can be an advantage to have toes which can be used for manipulation. Our ancestors had this ability, but we lost it. It can also be an advantage to have a prehensile tail. These are things which may be nice to have, but clearly are not NECESSARY.


7. It allows the use of the arms for things like applying much greater leverage/torsion/compression/tension than we could without the arms, or holding objects or parts of an object fairly far apart from each other or at varying distances from the face, or throwing things. (One suggestion about the success of humans where Neanderthals failed has to do with different shoulder joints givng us different movements/restrictions, spear-throwing was something we could do well and they couldn't.)

Homo sapiens has LESS leverage than other primates. There's a trade-off between leverage and speed. We are good at throwing spears or baseballs really fast. This is something an orangutan can't do, but it can rip your arm off because they have a lot more leverage. This has led to speculation that Homo sapiens evolved to use rock throwing as a hunting technique.

Bird beaks/necks run a full gamut from parrots with short beaks that have lots of leverage to herons which have long necks and beaks capable of darting at prey with lightning speed. Whatever tradeoff between leverage and speed is appropriate, birds have just as much ability to adapt as mammals.


7. It allows the use of the arms for picking up and handling heavier weight than we could with the neck or with a single off-center leg. Another difference between us and birds or dinosaurs, the vertical spine, is also important here. It balances the hands and arms over the center of gravity and the hips instead of in front of them, thus magnifying not only the amount of weight we can carry again, but also the energy efficiency, stability, and lack of joint/muscle stress with which we can carry it.

The design of the human spine is so blatantly flawed that it almost boggles the mind to consider it an advantage. Mammals were meant to walk on four legs. The front legs are supposed to hold up the weight of the body, not pull down on the spine. Many mammals regularly carry large weights in their mouths, but only Man regularly carries large weights in their hands.

When a human attempts to carry a large/heavy load, he has to either clumsily hold the object in front of himself against the belly, or he has to balance it on a shoulder or even on his head. The arrangement of the arms actually makes makes the torso an annoying obstacle! Holding the object in front is often problematic and often requires excessive ongoing muscle force. Balancing an object on the shoulder or the head puts dangerous strain on the spine.

In contrast, most animals will carry a large/heavy load in the mouth, where all of the forces are nicely centered on the central plane. In the case of mammals, the front legs bear the weight while the spine is not subjected to much stress.

Note that the only reason we think of necks as weak is because human necks are weak. We don't use our jaws to carry large heavy loads, so we don't need strong necks. But animals which do need strong necks have them.

A hypothetical intelligent bird would have two different manipulators specialized with different strengths and weaknesses. Like a modern bird, the beak would be optimized for carrying heavy loads. The walking leg would be shifted over a little bit to put it under the centerline, while the tail probably reverts to a dinosaur-like stiff tail for balance. The manipulator arm, in contrast, would have less leverage but more speed and range of motion. It's not in a good position for carrying heavy loads because the other leg gets in the way. And traditionally, it's the beak which is already optimized for carrying loads. In its position, the body and tail provide an excellent counterbalance.

crosscountry
2007-Nov-19, 02:32 PM
flamingos?


really, it's a neat idea, but symmetrical beings as you put it are much more likely to survive. What if the first sentient one leg using bird breaks his leg? So much for that species.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-19, 03:09 PM
flamingos?


really, it's a neat idea, but symmetrical beings as you put it are much more likely to survive. What if the first sentient one leg using bird breaks his leg? So much for that species.

What if the first homo sapiens broke her spine? So much for that species.

Losing a leg would be pretty bad, but only about as bad as a human losing an arm. The remaining leg might not be as optimized for hopping, but it's still usable for hopping. That leaves the beak available for carrying and manipulating objects while hopping. The remaining leg can still be used for manipulating objects while sitting, although it's more clumsy because the body sits on top of the remaining leg's knee (roughly equivalent to the shoulder, with the ankle roughly equivalent to the elbow).

Noclevername
2007-Nov-19, 04:07 PM
Most likely, there will be many "successor" species and subspecies long before we're gone, just because humans like to tinker. So expect talking dogs, chimps with PhD's, and all manner of near-human and post-human variants standing alongside plain, old fashioned h. sapes at some time in the next millenium.

Unless we wipe ourselves out. Then it might be a longer wait. Assuming nature desides to take anything at all back down our path, which is not a given.

John Mendenhall
2007-Nov-19, 05:56 PM
Mammals were meant to walk on four legs.



Bipedalism confers huge advantages. It frees the forelimbs to do other things. Ask dinosaurs, and birds, and kangaroos, and humans.

How about a cetacean with arms and hands? Now there's a thought!

Noclevername
2007-Nov-19, 06:09 PM
Mammals were meant to walk on four legs.


"Meant to"? Should this go in the Intelligent Design thread, then? ;)

eburacum45
2007-Nov-20, 12:27 AM
Bipedalism confers huge advantages. It frees the forelimbs to do other things. Ask dinosaurs, and birds, and kangaroos, and humans.
All the other examples have a balanced, cantilever spine; that is why theropods and kangaroos both have/had long tails. Only humans, and perhaps penguins, are fully erect bipeds, and humans (at least) suffer for it.


How about a cetacean with arms and hands? Now there's a thought!

Something like a merman, perhaps. If we ever genetically engineer humans into merpeople, there will be no reason for the new species to be limited to human size; ocean-going merhumans could be as big as a blue whale.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-20, 12:41 AM
For low-gravity or no-gravity environments, a set of wings might be useful. And the feet will be freed up to be turned into, or at least to double as, extra hands.

ADDED: That's true for birds or post-humans.

crosscountry
2007-Nov-20, 01:57 AM
I think I'm done with this bird brained thread.

RalofTyr
2007-Nov-20, 03:41 AM
Since we're presumably talking about a mature interstellar civilization here, that civilization could already be many millions of years old. It could take hundreds of thousands of years just to colonize our own galaxy. This ancient civilization may already know with justifiable confidence that it won't collapse in a mere million years.


* That's assuming you need constant power usage to survive, of course. If you're in some sort of deep hibernation or you're a race of electronic life forms, then you might only need the minimal power that a long term radioisotope generator could provide and carry your power on board.

You say that, as if every intelligent spacefaring species will naturally form a civilization, just like us humans did. Because all life is similar to Earth's right?

Van Rijn
2007-Nov-20, 08:31 AM
It could take hundreds of thousands of years just to colonize our own galaxy.


It would take expansion at a good fraction of the speed of light to do that, which leaves little time for actual colonization. And it assumes an astonishingly stable culture with never changing goals.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-20, 01:33 PM
It would take expansion at a good fraction of the speed of light to do that, which leaves little time for actual colonization. And it assumes an astonishingly stable culture with never changing goals.

I was using that as a minimum baseline, to suggest that the civilization in question could have existed for much longer than that already.

That said, I wouldn't find it entirely surprising for even a somewhat unstable culture to colonize the galaxy in a few hundred thousand years. All it really takes is one star system which decides to send a smattering of long range "seed" missions across the galaxy. Once the extremely powerful solar powered launch beam is constructed, the marginal costs per mission are small. Thus, a single star system could send out one or two long range seed missions per decade. Even if they only stick with the project for a few thousand years, hundreds of seed missions could result.

Those seed missions, having been sent already, would end up sprinkled across the galaxy even if it's a hundred thousand years after the source system has lost interest. At that point, the distances required to fill out the rest of the galaxy are much smaller--mere thousands of light years.

John Mendenhall
2007-Nov-20, 05:42 PM
(snip)

Those seed missions, having been sent already, would end up sprinkled across the galaxy even if it's a hundred thousand years after the source system has lost interest. At that point, the distances required to fill out the rest of the galaxy are much smaller--mere thousands of light years.



All we have to do is get started. First, avoid making Earth uninhabitable. Second, a good reliable way to get off Earth. Third, an extraterrestial colony or two. Fourth, an extra solar colony or many.

filrabat
2007-Nov-20, 07:35 PM
The "replace us" did assume NO gene-engineering, of course. If and when gene engineering does upgrade intelligent animals (and even the intelligence of previously not-so-intelligent ones)...then all bets are off! Free-for-all city!

Noclevername
2007-Nov-20, 08:00 PM
The "replace us" did assume NO gene-engineering, of course. If and when gene engineering does upgrade intelligent animals (and even the intelligence of previously not-so-intelligent ones)...then all bets are off! Free-for-all city!

The OP din't actually say no genetic engineering, only that humans were gone. It's entirely possible that before we go, we might leave some modified species behind.

Van Rijn
2007-Nov-20, 10:54 PM
That said, I wouldn't find it entirely surprising for even a somewhat unstable culture to colonize the galaxy in a few hundred thousand years. All it really takes is one star system which decides to send a smattering of long range "seed" missions across the galaxy. Once the extremely powerful solar powered launch beam is constructed, the marginal costs per mission are small. Thus, a single star system could send out one or two long range seed missions per decade. Even if they only stick with the project for a few thousand years, hundreds of seed missions could result.


I think that's making huge assumptions about how easy it is to send colonization ships on multi-thousand year journeys at a high fraction of the speed of light, as well as the ease of colonization, further assumes that onboard culture would be maintained, and that, once a target system is colonized, they would feel the need to spread out again.

sirius0
2007-Nov-20, 10:56 PM
I say the Kangaroo. Already a biped, quite bright. I am sure if the niche was available and the evolutionary pressure was on they would 'Hop to it'!

Noclevername
2007-Nov-20, 11:51 PM
Those seed missions, having been sent already, would end up sprinkled across the galaxy even if it's a hundred thousand years after the source system has lost interest. At that point, the distances required to fill out the rest of the galaxy are much smaller--mere thousands of light years.
This assumes that they'd go thousands of light years across the Galaxy, instead of only to nearby, well-studied star systems.

IsaacKuo
2007-Nov-21, 02:19 AM
This assumes that they'd go thousands of light years across the Galaxy, instead of only to nearby, well-studied star systems.

It is assuming that at least one system, out of perhaps many thousands, decides to do it. I do not say it is a scenario I would expect is typical from an unstable culture, but rather one which would not surprise me.

So, in this scenario, perhaps only nearby systems are slowly colonized for the first hundred thousand years. Soon enough, there are no longer any unoccupied "nearby" systems except out near the edges. With an expanding inner core of systems with no nearby place to expand to, one of those systems decides to expand with long range colonization missions rather than just barely outrun the distant expanding border.

After the start of this "galaxy seeding" project, the long distance seeds distribute across the galaxy after another hundred thousand years or so.

After that, expansion from the far flung seeds proceeds at a halting, lazy, sporadic pace to fill in the blanks over the next dozen thousand years or so.

astromark
2007-Nov-21, 07:42 AM
The sad truth is none of this wondrous stuff will actually happen...

There will be an avent..:(and we all die.

What of what might be left?

I like many of the ideas stated. Especially the hope that we will engineer ourselves to still be exploring this galaxy and with the octopus as crew..:)

As to seeding the galaxy? Umm, could that be were we are from?

NO.:) thats silly.

Truth is a bacteria will evolve and we are gone.....

hewhocaves
2007-Nov-21, 02:26 PM
My vote is on the bats - good ole' chiroptera. Without having people to get constantly tangled into, they will be come fruitful and multiply. They'll be able to move into new and different ecological niches without us (attics, abandoned builidings, etc, and this will drive furhter evolutionary growth. Eventually, they'll lose their wings and become ground based creatures (still keeping the sonar?)

The great news is that they will remain a low light species - no light pollution!! Although bat radio astronomers will hate the constant echolocation around their telescopes :P

Noclevername
2007-Nov-21, 03:02 PM
Although bat radio astronomers will hate the constant echolocation around their telescopes :P

Why would they hate sound waves around a radio telescope?