Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Konrad Lorenz oand selection

  1. Nov 12, 2009 #1
    I started to read a bit of Konrads Lorent work, since he was pointed to me in this thread by Andre:


    Ive come across on this:

    http://books.google.ro/books?id=Fwc...AQ#v=onepage&q=inhibitions on killing&f=false

    check "Function crucial" paragraph.

    In this article he express a interesting point of view, the point of view of a Bulldog which
    develops a trait which can be detrimental in other species, it's nose. He notes that the development of this trait might give a bulldog the chance to win a "dog show", and hence it make perfect sense for survival from the bulldog point of view.

    He also notes the behavior of human females in choosing their spouses.

    But from my point of view, can we talk about about this as the selection developing a survival trait in a bulldog which makes perfect sense ?

    Bulldogs and other dog races are actively developed by humans. Inbreeding is actively used to fix traits which may be likable to watch by humans in a show. Many times, due to the abuse of genetic manipulation to fix some traits, those dogs can have a lot of other problems.

    Can we talk about "selection produces a trait" when we, humans, force selection ? I think no. The bulldog it;s a victim of human arrogance. It;s the handicapped jester of the feudal royal courts. It is my opinion that those traits where engineered, not developed by selection.

    Likewise, the case of human females. I don't know statistics, but I am sure there are many cases when a female choose a spouse, but she actually produce offspring with a different male, and many times the spouse doesn't have the slightest idea that those children are not his genetic descendants. So the choose of a spouse doesn't always coincide with transfer of genetic material in offspring from the spouse.

    Opinions ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2009 #2
    In-breeding to bring out a desired trait is selection. It can also bring out recessive traits that may be harmful and cause health problems. A selected trait doesn't necessarily have to be a 'survival' trait. Even in natural selection traits that enhance survival is implied, but many traits that have nothing to do with survival are also selected for.

    ...not quite sure what you mean by "engineered", but bulldogs were around long before we had the capability to 'engineer' anything biologically.
  4. Nov 12, 2009 #3
    Yes, I forgot to write there "natural selection". My mistake.

    Engineered in context means "purposefully designed" In this case by selective breeding.
    Yes it is selection, but its purposeful driven by humans.

    Many races of dogs don't look today as they did 100 - 150 years ago, exactly because human breed them to accentuate traits which humans believe are enjoyable.

    Hence is Konrad right to give the example of bulldog this example of a trait which is useless for survival in other races, but from the point of view of the bulldog it may very well be a survival trait ?
  5. Nov 12, 2009 #4
    I guess there could be something to that as many breeders will put down dogs that have 'undesirable' traits so that a puppy that is born that doesn't live up to the breeder's idea of what a bulldog should be, it will often be killed.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook