People are the most ill-equipped animals(for wilderness survival)

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Oniw17, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

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    I always hear this on ecology documentaries and read it online, and I was wondering how true it actually is. Maybe we have no claws, small jaws and teeth that aren't as sharp as some other animals, maybe we can't run as fast, but I can produce at least 25 pretty hard punches in 10 seconds, and most predatory animals seem to have a nose similar to a dog's(and dogs noses are very vulnerable). I can swim and scurry up a tree pretty fast as long as there are branches within jumping distance of each other. I can hold things and pick up a rock and throw it fairly accurately. I can communicate with other people. I can pivot, which I haven't seen many animals do, and I'm much more flexible(and can move in more different ways) than most mammals. I can see and hear pretty well, I'm good at hiding. I can stand on two legs and duck. I can figure things out quickly and formulate elaborate plans. Taking all this into account, I can't think of a way that I'd go about killing a deer without any tools, and the only animal that I've ever had to fight is a dog, so I'm not sure how I'd match up against most animals. The biggest dog I've ever had to fight looked about 100lbs., but I'm pretty sure that I could take a dog my size(50 lbs. heavier) with a few well-placed nose punches or throat kicks.

    What do you guys think? Is it fair to say that a humans are the most ill-equipped to survive in the wilderness? Even if they were primarilly vegetarian/scavengers?
     
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  3. EntropyAlwaysWins TANSTAAFL. Registered Senior Member

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    Humans are pretty good endurance runners, which allows us to hunt and kill prey that is much bigger than us.
    We also have a very large cerebral cortex.
     
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  5. EntropyAlwaysWins TANSTAAFL. Registered Senior Member

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    Humans are pretty good endurance runners, which allows us to hunt and kill prey that is much bigger than us.
    We also have a very large cerebral cortex.
     
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Not having these with me, I always survive very easily.

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    Also going out in one of these is also a very good way to survive as well.

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  8. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    True, we don't have claws or fangs to speak of, but we've learned in our primal state (and can learn again if stranded somewhere today) how to synthesize these weapons, thanks to about 3 lbs. of highly-optimized grey matter. A long stick with a 20-lbs. rock tied on the end with tough grass can smash a hard nut or an animal's head with a well-placed blow. More sophisticated, sharpen that rock, and you've got a spear on a stick which no only gives you a stabbing ability but range to your stab and enough leverage to put some serious power into a stab or prying motion.

    Yeah, you probably shouldn't take on a grizzly in a fight. In terms of raw capability, we're more equipped for tinkering with things then fighting. It's the tinkering ability that we can use to win such a fight, and more importantly, it's the smarts behind that tingering ability that would be able to pick which fights we can win, and would tell you to hide and run away from that grizzly. That's what's kept us alive to this point.

    Again, not a biologist here, so correct me if you wish!
     
  9. Enmos Staff Member

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    Pretty much any predator can get its 'hands' on us if they wanted to.

    Then there is the issue of us having been softened up by genetic drift, call it natural unselection if you want.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  10. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    As far as raw, physical talent, I would agree. However, our intelligence, which far surprasses the next most intelligent animal (the bonobo), more than makes up for any physical shortcoming we have compared to wildlife.

    Even when humans get stranded in the wilderness with minimal tools/equipment, they often find ways to survive.
     
  11. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    yes, i think it's fair to say that todays human is ill equipped.
    on the other hand one of humanity's greatest "weapons" is their ingenuity.
    a human, if adapted, will always out think an animal.
    a human will always be able to fashion tools to kill.
    an adapted human will always out maneuver and out think an animal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  12. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. Our intelligence - our ability to make tools, formulate plans, and communicate complex ideas to each other - is way better than claws or tough skin, provided we have the opportunity to use it. If you lock me in a cage naked with a bear, the bear will eat me. But if you drop me off naked with 10 other people on an island full of bears that has plenty of rocks to bang together, nice long poles to make spears, etc., and in a week we'll all be wearing bearskins.
     
  13. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I wouldn't say we were ill equipped. If we were our ancestors wouldn't have managed to breed and we wouldn't be here.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Homo sapiens is a species of ape; if you have any doubts about that, just watch an Olympic gymnast in action. Most of us don't practice our climbing, hanging, leaping and balancing skills, but the muscles and neurons are there. If we stay in shape for it, we can climb trees extremely well and that's a fabulous way to evade most predators.

    As for the arboreal predators, they have the advantage in weaponry and, often, size. But AFAIK they are all solitary hunters by nature, because arboreal prey isn't abundant enough to support pack-hunting. So we have the advantage of our pack-social instinct. If a leopard chases a human up a tree he'll soon find himself facing six humans. Even though we probably won't be able to kill him, we'll make sure he climbs down hungry and probably with a very painful nose.

    Furthermore, even before the more sophisticated tool-building technology of the late Paleolithic Era, we were still very good at using rocks and branches as weapons. Only a pack of lions would be willing to face half a dozen humans with clubs, slings and pointed sticks, and lions aren't very good at climbing trees.
     
  15. Enmos Staff Member

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    But we are talking about long-term survival, right ?
    Half of the people would have rotten and abscessed teeth within a year.
    Not to mention trench-feet and bug-transmitted diseases.
     
  16. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    why? what sugar would I be eating in the wild to rot them?
     
  17. Enmos Staff Member

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    There are sugars in fruit.
    And we are talking about people that get suddenly dropped off in nature, right ?

    We really degraded our abilities to survive in nature by protecting us for so long from it.
     
  18. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Apes eat a lot of fruit. Is the high sugar content a problem for them?
     
  19. Enmos Staff Member

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    They have much thicker enamel than we have. Ours is pretty much degraded.

    Edit: correction, humans can have weak enamel due to genetics.
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    so fructose has the same tooth decaying ability as sucrose. I don't think so.
    What fruit would you be eating in the winter?
     
  21. Enmos Staff Member

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    What would you eat at all ? Bark ?
     
  22. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I'd eat whatever I could get my hands on that was edible. Roots, bugs, nuts, fruit, small mammals, fish, shellfish...hell, I'd probably eat carion that hadn't been dead too long.
    I think tooth decay would be way down the list of health issues, if it ever was.
     
  23. Enmos Staff Member

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    All of those are difficult to come by in winter. And you'd be competing for them with the local wildlife.

    Hmm I don't think so. But it was just an example. There are many more areas in which humans have degraded.
    Just look at how full the hospitals are, and those are people that live in a very protected place; society.
     

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