There’s only one devil — the Tasmanian Devil
Pretty interesting that there are no wild devils in mainland Australia.
It almost seems like the opposite of what you would expect. That there should be a mainland population, and that it should be larger, and thus healthier and more stable. And that if one group died out it would be the island group. Same thing with the Tasmanian tiger.
Dingoes? (Are they really mean enough?) Or a different toolkit?
Better hunting on the mainland?
Better hunters on the mainland: Tasmanians didn’t have the woomera [atlatl].
I’ve read the Tasmanians lost the technology to sew animal skins together(a useful skill in cold Tasmania). Did they also lose the atlatl or was that developed after Tasmania was separated from Australia?
After, I think.
Of course dingoes. Austalia is like an island for a species spanning several continents.
Can you expand on this?
Two of them don’t have bones.
So . . . is one of them that infectious tumour Tasmanian Devils get? What is the other?
There are two different transmissible tumors infesting Tasmanian devils.
If they are causing the extinction of species 3, and make themselves extinct anyway, is genocide justifiable?
Is it your point that the tumour genotypes can only increase their own inclusive fitness by improving that of the host? (I do not pretend to know, I am genuinely here to learn.)
That would be true if the tumor was transmitted vertically, from the mother to offspring. Benign/beneficial cell-line infections like that may exist, but I haven’t managed to get anyone interested in them.
The Tasmanian devil tumors are transmitted by biting and they’re not benign.
My favourite writer on landscape history remarked that “Australia is another planet”. That’s a great figurative truth. Anyone who has never visited really should.
And it’s assuredly not a shithole.
But I hear it’s down under
Does it seem correct to say that modern human beings are to Homo Erectus (or Ergaster or whatever) as dogs are to wolves — the neotenous form thereof (sexually mature adult-sized children)? (I suppose that the analogy Us:Erectus::Dogs:Wolves requires that we be as able to produce fertile offspring with Erectuses as Dogs are with Wolves?)
Yes. The anatomical traits of the modern human skull demonstrate neoteny and self-domestication. This must have meant profound behavioural shifts: a’piths did not have the beetle brows of Homo erectus or neanderthals, so big brows appeared for a reason. And then were lost, probably because they look intimidating to females and infants. This was hardly a linear descent of man.
The Devil that knows the Devil best is the Devil itself!
What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?
Two different asexually breeding transmissable cancers?
In that case it is a bit debatable if they are separate species or not. Calling them Tasmanian devils is a bit of a stretch too.
clearly both cancers have recent common ancestry with conventional Tasmanian devils. Just as clearly, they can no longer exchange genetic material with any other species. Do the family tree: three closely related species, the two cancers descending from the conventional furry species.
All exclusively asexual creatures can no longer exchange genetic material with any other creature. In that case similarities in genotype and phenotype are what count? How similar are they?
It’s a fun stretch.
What I always thought was bizarre was the classification of certain bacteria. There are species which are mostly harmless, maybe even beneficial. Some strains of the same species can kill you. Basically, the difference between a lion and a rabbit. Maybe, a greater difference, if you keep a garden.
OT: In the acknowledgement section of ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion’ you credit Balaji Srinivasan of Stanford, was that Balaji S. Srinivasan, or, Balaji K. Srinivasan? (Or another Balaji Srinivasan of Stanford I’m unaware of!)
Could transmissable cancers become an effective bioweapon, either against a specific ethnic group or a pest species?
They reproduce slowly. You’d need some kind of angle.
Say, to genocide an introduced or pest species by design. Suppose there were an attempt to wipe out fast breeding house mice, or brown rats. Could a GMO cancer do it?
Tasmanian devils have a problem because of small population pool, they are inbred so immune system doesn’t actively destroy other’s cells. So this won’t work with “normal”, pan-continent species with pop size in billions.
Are HeLa cells another species of Homo sapiens?
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