Why doesn’t any animal have three legs?

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If ‘Why?’ is the first question in science, ‘Why not?’ must be a close second. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about why something does not exist. Such as a truly three-legged animal. At least one researcher has been pondering the non-existence of tripeds.

“Almost all animals are bilateral,” he said. The code for having two sides to everything seems to have got embedded in our DNA very early in the evolution of life — perhaps before appendages like legs, fins or flippers even evolved. Once that trait for bilateral symmetry was baked in, it was hard to change.

With our built-in bias to two-handedness, it can be hard to figure out how a truly three-legged animal would work — although that has not stopped science fiction writers from imagining them. Perhaps trilateral life has evolved on Enceladus or Alpha Centauri (or Mars!) and has as much difficulty thinking about two-limbed locomotion as we do thinking about three.

This kind of thought experiment is useful for developing our ideas about evolution, Thomson said. (1)

How fascinating.

Everything started with Nothing.

Then One came into existence.

We are still in the phase of Two…

And there is no way to get any further.

For going further means that we get to three.

And from there infinity is one step away.

Leading to nothing more than zero once again…

But there is no infinity.

There is no two.

Not even One.

For only everything exists.

Infinity!

In the palm of a small kid…

The evolution of… evolution.

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New research identifies a previously overlooked global event which changed the course of the evolution of life in the oceans. It coincided with a rise in calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research.

Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate. However, from the middle of the Jurassic period onwards (some 170 million years ago), biological factors such as predator-prey relationships became increasingly important.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, scientists say this change coincided with the proliferation of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

They believe the rise of this plankton stabilised the chemical composition of the ocean and provided the conditions for one of the most prominent diversifications of marine life in Earth’s history. (1)

Evolution evolves.

And through the ages of existence.

Even Being redefines itself.

Eternal change.

Towards a goal which keeps shifting.

Everlasting life.

Walking a road that keeps going.

Poor man.

How much do you really need to walk into the clearing?

Before you realize you shouldn’t have left the clearing?

Look up.

You haven’t walked a single step.

Asteroids. Death. Opportunities.

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When the asteroid hit, dinosaurs weren’t the only ones that suffered. Clouds of ash blocked the sun and cooled the planet’s temperature, devastating plant life. But fungi, which decompose dead stuff, did well. So what happened to the lichens, which are made of a plant and fungus living together as one organism?

“We thought that lichens would be affected negatively, but in the three groups we looked at, they seized the chance and diversified rapidly,” says Jen-Pang Huang, the paper’s first author, a former postdoctoral researcher at the Field Museum now at Academia Sinica in Taipei. “Some lichens grow sophisticated 3D structures like plant leaves, and these ones filled the niches of plants that died out.” (1)

Some die. Some live.

Should the first worry about living?

Should the latter worry about dying?

You are what you are.

You do what you do.

In the cosmos chess of existence, every move is valid.

For the game is fixed. And at the end, we will all go back to the beginning.

How can we do something we have not done already?

Dying. Only because we have lived.

Living. Only because we have died.

The chessboard. Look at the chessboard! This is the game!

Tools: God. Humans. Apes.

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Flexible tool use is closely associated to higher mental processes such as the ability to plan actions. Now a group of cognitive biologists and comparative psychologists found out that the apes carefully weighed their options. To do so the apes considered the details such as differences in quality between the two food rewards and the functionality of the available tools in order to obtain a high-quality food reward. (1)

Using tools to harness the cosmos.

Apes.

Letting go of the tools to see the cosmos.

Humans.

Closing your eyes to know that you are the cosmos.

God.

Evolution does exist. But not in the direction we think of. We used to be gods. And then we started being humans. At the end, we will have the best tools in the world. And we will be nothing more than apes…

Question your assumptions.

And what is left, will be nothing more than the obvious…

You.

Sitting by the river. Feeling the forest.

With no forest anywhere in sight…

Imperfect evolution… Life without life…

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The pinnacle of beauty to most people is a symmetrical face, one without any major left-right differences. But for blind Mexican cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus), asymmetry may be a lifesaver. That’s because their lopsided skulls may help them feel their way along dark cave walls – similar to a person navigating by touch in the dark. That behavior, presented here this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, suggests being a little “off” can have evolutionary benefits.

Lots of cave dwellers are a bit unbalanced. Cave fish tend to have one eye that is larger than the other, for example, and cave crickets have different size antennae. Some researchers wondered whether left-right differences might help these creatures get around.

They scanned the skulls of A. mexicanus fish from three caves in Mexico. Their computerized tomography scans revealed most fish skulls bent slightly to the left, giving the right side of their faces slightly more exposure. Other tests showed these fish tended to drift along the right-hand side of cave walls, presumably using the larger side of their faces to feel their way in the dark. (1)

We have learned that evolution makes things more suitable for survival. And we tend to connect this with perfection. Perfection of mechanisms, perfection of structure, perfection of function. It is this perfection which causes life.

But could it be that we are misled?

Blinded by the light, could it be that we are heading towards the dark?

We like to see order as the foundation of existence. Enchanted by it, we fail to notice that this gift always leads to death.

We like to see perfection as the foundation of life. Mesmerized by it, we fail to see that it is imperfection which leads to life.

It is only the imperfect beings which will live longer.

Do not envy them.

Take a good look.

They are crying in the darkness…

Feel the dark walls of existence around you.

They cry out silently…

Life is not about living!

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