Saturday, June 17, 2006

I think you'll agree...

...that this may indeed be the most unique dog on earth.

When you watch the video, pay special attention to the way the dog gets up.


At 3:16 PM, June 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I've tried to refine my definition of sentience, self-awareness, intelligence, and sophonts.

This story reminds me and teaches me that one of the key ingredients to evolution, whether natural or self-evolution, is that it requires that a being break past the limits that nature and fate has set upon them.

To be human, to me, is to break past the limits, the genkai, that all mortal creatures have in one form or another. The ability to reason, to think, to be self-aware, such are simply tools to that ultimate end goal.

I'm not a true believer in the bible, but I find that story about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil very interesting. It shows to me, at least, the translation between someone with no free will and no knowledge of what different actions they could have, to someone who knows good from evil, good from bad, positive from negative. And once someone knows those strengths and weaknesses inthemselves, they can surpass them.

Adam and Eve were immortal, they lived amongst the Garden of Eden, loved by the All Father, God of All. And yet, their perfection was a stagnancy and a state of being that required no effort, no joy, no sadness, nor power nor weakness.

It just was. A bear, it just is, it hunts because that is what it does. There are no internal contradictions in nature after all. But there are internal contradictions amongst human beings, people who can think, who can follow reason, who can use logic. HUman beings are the quantum mechanical version of classical nature physics.

In some ways, having some entity that can entail contradictions amongst its existence is more useful in describing reality than something that follows linear progression and consistency, like classical physics.

The thing that first bugged me and got me thinking about perfection and the state of humanity, is how often people excuse themselves with "well, we/it/they aren't perfect, BUT". But what, why do you feel the need to excuse a lack of perfection? Is perfection some kind of desirable goal you feel you need to excuse your failure to achieve or something?

A wolf pack is perfect, it will neither get better nor worse at their role in existence, their fate of fates. They may fail and die, or succede and die, but the end goal is always the same.

At 2:40 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger confusedforeigner said...

That's rough.

At 5:25 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

Wow. It's amazing, and yet, perhaps fairly obvious that if a dog only had two rear legs it'd do this (as a three legged dog learns to get by fine that way), but it's startling to see it. It's also interesting from a scientific point of view, in terms of the evolution of bipeds. If it's this 'easy' for a dog to adapt to being a forced biped, why did animals continue to remain quadrupeds? If upright locomotion is such an advantage, why did it take so long to appear? Why is it so limited? It certainly clairifies the issue of whether our being bipeds makes us (or apes for that matter) better, more advanced than other animals- it apparently doesn't. Makes me wonder a little if the opposable thumb is as important as we like to think. I have a hunch it's not. Language and morality seem the be, even more, the only difference of import between man and animal.

At 7:57 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

Cute dog. I would take care of a dog like that, but I will not have a pet until I have a backyard for them to play in [cat or dog]

At 12:43 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

It seems to me that Faith learned to walk on two legs because she wasn't given a choice. (Had she had even one of her front legs, she no doubt would have come down from the bipedal position, simply because she could. But Faith must walk on two legs or not walk at all.)

If anything, this makes it more mysterious to me that humans evolved to walk on two legs; clearly, the upper limbs were still available. But a choice seems to have been made not to use them for locomotion (to free them up for use as hands?).

A fascinating and inspiring story, Neo! Many thanks for posting it.

Daniel in Brookline

At 1:07 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

If it's this 'easy' for a dog to adapt to being a forced biped, why did animals continue to remain quadrupeds?

As far as I know, it is about surface area, endurance, and speed. Cheetahs are as fast if not faster, than any biped because of the way their quadruped limbs are designed. Humanity in Africa, had to stay cool, outpace predators in the hunter/gatherer society, so we had to show less surface area to the sun in order to reduce dehydration, sweating, and etc. An upright person has less surface area to the sun than a thing on four legs.

Then we all know that even a horse cannot outpace a man over a marathon length, because a man has more endurane with his two legs than a horse with his four. No I'm not talking about Michael Moore here, I'm talking about a tri-athlete or an American soldier, top fitness and young. A human can outpace a horse over long distances, and the Mongols did it relatively easily. A human is not as fast as a horse,but then again, we all know that.

If upright locomotion is such an advantage, why did it take so long to appear?

Because it isn't an advantage. You try seeing a tiger trying to outrun prey, when the tiger has two legs and the prey has four. Not going to happen. The tiger will spend like 20 hours chasing the prey down, using up 10,000 calories, and then die in a day of starvation. Cheetahs are fast, but they got zero endurance. Predators are designed to grab prey, eat it, and then do nothing most of the day. Humans are designed to walk over the world, and since we can use weapons and group tactics, our lack of mobility did not make us extinct.

Makes me wonder a little if the opposable thumb is as important as we like to think.

It is very important in grasping tools and weapons. While tigers have claws and fangs, we have a brain and our opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs has beaten claws however, as we all know.

At 1:10 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

P.S. the way the human knee is structured, allows humanity the ability to cross EXTREMELY long distances on foot, while using as little energy as possible. Look at how the hindlegs of a dog or a tiger or a cheetah is constructed. It is not jointed in the same way. Our weight rests upon our knees and our foot, it requires little muscle power to just stand there. A cheetah has to use muscle power to lift himself up. For humans, the structure of our knee allows greater endurance and conservation of energy and calories.

Apes can walk on two legs, but they revert to four for speed. Humans have specialized in being bipeds, simply because, well because. Too much reliance on having a brain, got slow you know.

At 2:19 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

I thought upright locomotion was about vision as much as anything else.

Speed is of utmost importance for predators, combined with stealth. Being upright makes it harder to sneak up on you (a little).

As for endurance, your average horse can go farther in a day than your average human can, and carrying you while doing it- so I'm not buying that.

Brains are difficult, troublesome, unreliable, and consume quite a bit of energy. Instinct is simple, effective, reliable, and requires only a modicum of brainpower (and thus energy). Consider also that it took a long time for us to really take advantage of being bipedal and having opposable thumbs. Apes still make limited use of the opposeable thumb, other than for grasping obects for simple tasks (and flinging poo), but that's not much advantage over a tiger or panther. Try beating one off your back with a baseball bat...

Science leaves me unsatisfied here. Nature doesn't seem to prefer us, we beat the odds. Why?

At 8:23 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As for endurance, your average horse can go farther in a day than your average human can, and carrying you while doing it- so I'm not buying that.

Average humans died by the thousands if not the millions back in the day. So that's not an argument for evolutionary principles. Nature cares little for "average", it cares a lot for members who are elite and have survived.

If you want vision, climb a tree. If you want binocular vision, change the shape of the skull. Being upright confers little advantage while making you pretty obvious to a skulking predator in the grass.

At 8:37 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

He completed the 22-mile course in two hours, five minutes, and 19 seconds.

Bookies William Hill had to pay out on scores of bets struck at odds of 16/1.

This year's contest had a record 500 runners and more than 40 horses and riders competing for the winning title.

The event in the tiny Welsh town attracts competitors from throughout the UK and Europe.

South Londoner Mr Lobb, 27, is an experienced marathon runner but he admitted to being "ecstatic" when he realised he had won.

"It is a very unusual event with men running against horses," he said.

race contestants
Around 300 competitors took part in the race
He said he managed to break away from the pack at about the 10-mile mark. However, despite crossing the finish line alone, he had to wait 15 minutes before finding out if he had won.

These races are not an accurates testament to ancient man because ancient man had different capabilities, probably was a lot tougher in terms of marathons and 100 mile distances

By all means, disbelieve the evidence and the logic.

At 10:56 AM, June 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

If you have a source of information explaining why things happen as they do, then by all means share. As far as I know, science is the only recourse we humans have in understanding about why nature chose to make us as we are. Well, you could go with God, but there isn't a lot of info in the Bible about God's image or why or the how or even the what.

My overall point about horses and men, independent of everything else, is not to say that men are superior at horses in endurance or speed. Although you could make that point, actually, as the articles I quoted supports a mite.

The simple overall objective is comparing that of bipedal characteristics with quadruped characteristics, analyzing the detriments and benefits, and realizing that the low energy cost of bipedal motion confers a great species migration advantage.

At 2:47 PM, June 23, 2006, Blogger Ariel said...

I missed something. Where is the mention of all the biped dinosuars? It was fairly common for the predators, and allowed great speed.

Don't forget, we lack a certain balance needed if a biped is to be quick.

At 10:33 AM, June 24, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The joints on a velociraptor is not the same as those of a human bipedal construct. And yes, the tail is not there either. The tail allows velociraptors to basically run like it has 4 legs.

At 4:37 AM, June 27, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

bipedal motion is definately not an advantage for long migration. Bipedal motion is actually MORE laborious, as you have to balance and engage the muscles of the torso much more than a quadruped.

I'm all for science. I just like to ask the questions that extend beyond where science leaves me.

At 4:40 AM, June 27, 2006, Blogger douglas said...

"If you want vision, climb a tree. If you want binocular vision, change the shape of the skull. Being upright confers little advantage while making you pretty obvious to a skulking predator in the grass."

A funny story- ground squirrels, when spotting a bird of prey over head actually stand up and make a call telling the other squirrels 'look, a bird of prey'. Not 'danger, run!', and they all up and have a look. Why? Once they see the predator, they can't be taken by surprise, and they are quick enough to get away if necessary. Sometimes vision is enough.


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