In the era of macroism
everything was about access to macro-fruit
Canopy trees in tropical rainforests are very efficient at capturing sunlight. Only around 5% of the light hitting the canopy layer makes it through to the understory or shrub layer. Thus the giant trees of a tropical forest capture about 95% of the total bio energy. The small undergrowth plants only have about 5% of the energy, and these had to grow, and fruit, and deal with grazing animals. And there was no benefit for them to produce large “expensive” fruits, so they probably produced much less nutrition for their 5% share. So here we imagine an ecosystem that was perhaps 98% or 99% about macro- fruit and their symbiots.
Second tier scavenging macro-fruit eaters
Now some of the nutrition-packed macro-fruit must have always matured and fall to the ground uneaten. And once it fell, the tree benefitted from evolving measure to make sure it was eaten by the largest roving non-sauropod possible. And here is where the heavily armed (but still large) dinosaurs like stegosaurus, and triceratops fit in. These had the long slow guts that could:
1) Digest a whole swallowed jackfruit.
2) Pass giant avocado pits.
3) Metabolize massive amounts of mildly toxic fructose.
And the long slow guts had to be big enough to deal with giant Jackfruit- like fruits that had evolved to be swallowed whole. So these ground scavengers had to be big and they couldn’t evolve to be smaller because they were constrained by their gut size. And that was constrained by their diet.
Small dinosaur timing
The sauropods had to be sloppy eaters to feed their offspring. This lead to an ecosystem of smaller fruit scavengers. However, it also eventually lead to ever smaller scavengers. So on one hand, the macroism network effect was causing longer necks in Sauropods and more nutritious fruit. But on the other hand, it was also nurturing a secondary ecosystem that was not based on scale. And due to the first law of group evolution, this secondary ecosystem tended towards larger networks of smaller individuals. Thus this network, in the end, simply out evolved the network based on macroism.
Here, a billion 200g cheaters simply out adapted 100,000 dinosaurs of say 5,000 kg each given the same inputs. Here incidentally, we also see a fundamental principal of network evolution, that a form of “gravity” exists that pulls species into more numerous populations of smaller individuals. And in the case of dinosaurs, this was overpowered by the “gravity” of the macro-fruit system, at least at first.
Scavenging lead to climbing and cheating the macro-fruit system
At first, the secondary eco system was all about scavenging fallen fruit, and meat. But at some point the scavengers got small and powerful enough to climb trees. Then at some point, a breeding network of small, but still slow and low energy reptilians stopped waiting for fruit to fall, and instead started climbing up to reach the macro-fruit.
The “Neo” approach singularity
Once this population got into the treetops, it entered into an evolutionary singularity. Its food supply, and its population increased by maybe 2-or-3 orders of magnitude. And everything was about being able to climb up and cheat on the macro-fruit ecosystem. And all the plants had immense evolutionary pressure to stop this cheating. And the plant species that didn’t evolve a way to slow this cheating, all eventually died out. Here is where all the impenetrable fruit skins came from. And here is where the dangling fruit on break-away stems came from. Here is where the giant glue filled Jackfruit came from.
A singularity for the recipient species
Let’s consider the species (or breeding population) that entered the singularity. Perhaps this was the Iguano•donts, due to their tree-climbing thumb claws. But whatever breeding group it was, it had this environmental pressure that pulled, pulled and pulled on the breeding population and its many variations for maybe 180-millions years. And no matter how fast the trees evolved, the small animals were always there, half a step behind, and half a step to full adaptation. And it was this plant-side evolutionary pressure that drove the climbers to develop faster metabolisms and flight.
A transition phase for life on earth
From the global standpoint, from the standpoint of all life on earth, this was a transition phase for life on earth. Starting with the first tree-climbing cheater, macroism began declining on one side. And macroism probably increased faster than it declined for a while, but the first arboreal creature was the beginning of the end for macroism. The transition phase began maybe 180 million years ago just before the rapid shrinking of a theropod line in the early Jurassic era. And it ended about 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous era, with the total defeat of animal macroism.
The macro-fruit trees were constantly under pressure
Once the citadel/ treasury of the treetops had been breached by smaller, more efficient, and critically, much faster evolving animals that could climb trees, the dinosaur/ macro-fruit ecosystem found itself constantly under threat by these cheating “parasites”. And these parasites offered nothing to the macro-fruit plants and their macroscopic dinosaur symbiots. That was until the smaller creatures evolved the ability to fly, and then, the birds became the favorite symbiot of the seed spreading plants because they both spread their seeds better and cost less in terms of nutrition.
But before the advent of flight, the macro-fruit trees evolved a number of adaptations that we still see today. This is why most tree fruits have thick skins. It is also why they dangle on longish, breakaway stems that booby trap their fruit for small animals jumping down to gnaw through their thick skins. After some time, the trees that evolved towards dangling fruit on break-away stems out-survived the trees that had short strong stems, because more of the tree’s fruit was eaten by giant dinosaurs that transported its giant seeds far away. When small creatures cheated the system and jumped down to nibble the fruit, those trees tended not to survive, and tended to die out.
Here we see why carob, tamarind, cocoa, cola, petai, and countless other plants (like edamame and bean vines) have long and skinny fruits that hang down. This shape was hardest for the small creatures to jump down on and cheat the plant out of its precious macro-fruit. Here we also see why passionfruit, jackfruit, mango, and cocoa beans, and especially durian give off strong odors to draw animals: But at the same time, many of these fruits have thick skins that prevent smaller animals from nibbling. Durians, jackfruits, passion fruit, citrus, chempadak mangosteen, and soursop, for example, are all covered in a thick unpleasant tasting skin.
Durians also have very sharp spines. These spines all but prevent consumption by the deftest tool-less human hands, let alone smaller animals. It is notable that durians like so many nuts open easily when pressed in a vise, or a giant nut cracker… like the jaws of a nibbling sauropod. It is also easy to imagine that much of this fruit squirts out like a stepped-on or dinosaur-nibbled banana.
How flight evolved
After a while, the plants all started evolving counter measures to prevent small animals from cheating the system and getting into the macro-fruit treasury. It was at this point that we started to see counter-measures such as spines, thick rinds, and most importantly, breakaway stems.
Break away stems were an important development for the counter measure they brought about in the small animals cheating the system. You see, many a climber jumping down onto a macro-fruit plummeted to its death.
Now currently the main theory of how flight evolved is that predatory creatures were jumping down from tree branches onto other creatures to prey on them. However, the same theory works better if we modify it slightly and substitute climbers climbing down onto breakaway macro-fruit and surviving falls from greater distances. After all, macro-fruit are a much more regular and constant evolutionary hurdle in comparison to prey animals walking past.
Here we imagine some of the tiny animals jumping down onto the macro-fruit developed the ability to glide to the ground safely when the stem broke, and if it was not too far from the ground. This gliding adaptation increased the animal’s survivability, and the gliders replaced all the ones that could not glide. After some generations, the entire species could glide to the ground in complete safety from any height. After that, the ability to glide between trees became the critical ability and adaptation. From there, outright flight was a matter of incremental improvement and reward.
But flight was a highly disruptive innovation for the macro-fruit system. In fact, it was the development of flight that ended macroism. Flight short circuited the inherently costly and wasteful need for macro-scale. With flight, the plants that started offering smaller more concentrated morsels for the flyers were the ones that gained the biggest and most efficient seed spreading network — a network that was not only less energy intensive, but reached further, and in many more points. After all, which is better for seed spreading? 10,000 500g birds, or one 5,000 kilo symbiots sauropod
Now of course flyers were not beneficial in every single way, especially at first. For example, the first fliers probably weren’t going very far. And fliers never offered the plant the tremendous head start that giant piles of fecal fertilizer offered, but they did offer the rather important reduced caloric investment on the part of the plant for each seed. And more importantly, they did increase the all- important seed-spreading zone.
So, after some time, most of the world’s plants evolved to fit into the new world where small energy-cheap seeds (and fruit) worked better than big costly ones. Basically, the plants no longer needed to feed the dinosaurs once the flyers arrived on the scene — and this is what really killed the dinosaurs.
And things probably limped along fine for the dinosaurs until one of earth’s many climate changes occurred. Then the trees offering lots of tiny morsels as flyer food moved their territory much better than the trees offering huge energy intensive dinosaur fruit. But basically the energy expensive and wasteful dinosaur system eventually collapsed due to its inherent inefficiency — once the flyers made it obsolete.
The synergy between seed, rodent and bird
In high risk situations, rodents don’t actually eat their food when they put it in their mouth. They rapidly stuff their cheek pouches with food (which is most often seeds), this so as to reduce their vulnerability to predation. This plays perfectly into the seed spreading needs of many a plant species. Here the plant seeds very often do not even pass through the digestive track of any animals. The rodent only puts the seeds in its cheek pouches, and the bird of prey does not generally eat this. Here, the plant increases the size of its evolutionary network: The rodent species gets its habitat enlarged, and the bird of prey enlarges its food network by supporting the plants that support the rodents that it eats. This system is so much more energy efficient with regard to seed spreading than dinosaur macroism.
Things to note
1) Stealing and cheating evolves all by itself in nature.
2) There was much more nutrition for the animal symbiots in honest system without stealing.
Follow the money
To understand either an economy or an ecosystem, always follow the money. Follow whatever all the members of the ecosystem are after. With dinosaurs it was the macro-fruit and its energy. Later with birds, it was the small seeds. With human societies it has been money. But it will soon hopefully be an honest system of recognition, because money (in our current age of robotically-produced abundance) is no longer really working to drive our species forward.
Hamsters as a high metabolism limit
Hamsters may not be the absolute high metabolism limit, but they are probably not far from it. Some hamsters begin reproduction at 4 weeks. Without predation, they could multiply to billions in less than 2-years.
Evolutionary light speed
Large dinosaurs apparently lived for decades and evolved much slower. Look how long an Alligator generation is in comparison to a hamster generation. The ‘hamsters’ just blew the reptiles away in terms of adaptation speed.
A faster-adapting evolutionary network forms
Once a smaller creature figured out a way to cheat the system and get at the macro-fruit without the size and scale, they had unlimited food, and no need to be big. So they shrank because a network of a million 1-kilo creatures adapts about a million times faster than a network of a thousand 1,000-kilo creatures.
In-species evolution took over
How small can the species get? How fast, high metabolism, and time compressed can the species get? How much energy-saving thermal insulation (and wing expanding structure) can you grow? How fast can you copy yourself? How many offspring can you have each year?
Eat-me! — Don’t eat me!
Durians are the most obnoxiously eat-me fragrant thing on earth. And they also backs this up with some of the most nutrition-filled and delicious fruit in the world. But durian fruits also says, “go away, unless you are my true love, my favorite symbiot, a true sauropod.” And while durians are super had to get into by force, if your mouth is big enough, and you are bridging space from below, like a true sauropod would, they were probably as easy to nibble out, as an edamame held by two fingers. And I would not be surprised it durian was toxic or degrading, or carcinogenic if you eat large amounts of it relative to your body weight. This is a well-guarded treasury
Jackfruits booby trapped with glue
Jackfruit doesn’t really start out that sticky, but if you cut into a jackfruit, you encounter a fluid that eventually turns into a rather sticky glue. This is a delicious plant that does not want to be chewed, but only swallowed whole. And jackfruits get up to 50-kilos (and over 25,000 calories!) So here we can imagine how long dinosaur digestive tracks took to digest an un-chewed jackfruit down to its central core of seeds. What is the stickiest jackfruit anyone can find? The jackfruits during the time of macroism were probably even stickier.
Try feeding Jackfruit to hungry alligators
Find some real big alligators and get them hungry. Then feed them chunks of jackfruit soaked in meat, and mixed in with meat. How many millimeters a day does the stuff digest down? How long can a whole jackfruit remain in a reptile gut and remain fertile? I bet there are lots of plants that once produced seeds or seed pods so big they could out-endure dinosaur digestive forces. Maybe we can grow mangos, avocados, lychees, and rambutans the size of Jackfruits.
Trees have grown stingy
Trees keep much more of their energy for themselves these days. In fact, they hardly give anything to the animals. But they could. I mean, I have seen mid- sized durian trees hanging with maybe 200,000 calories in fruit. It would be an interesting line of research to compare maximum annual caloric food yields per square meter for the various plants: durian, jackfruit, banana, corn, wheat, rice. Perhaps we have all under-estimated the food bearing potential of the world’s trees.
The timing of the macro-fruit countermeasures
They all came along after the time when small animals had started climbing trees and cheating the network of giant-ness — but before the end of that network. Let’s note how many sorts of fruit have thick skins and dangle from the tree-tops on break away stems. Here we speculate that every dangling fruit with a break away stem (really most fruit) was once a macro-fruit. Just consider the familiar chestnut rind. It is easy to imagine that these were once much larger — rather durian-like in fact. In fact, we can easily speculate that all arboreal (and vine based) fruit in the world was once larger, tastier, and more nutritious macro-fruit like durian and avocado, instead of being the tiny bird bait that is the norm today.
An international effort should be made to take the strangest and best expressing individuals in each species and breed them to find the old latent genetic expressions. And look how we now have blueberries the size of medium sized grapes. In a century, maybe we can get them the size of a kiwi fruit. Maybe we will do similar things with all of the world’s fruits, including many that are no longer edible for humans.
A number of plant species also developed ways to cheat the system by also climbing the centuries old trees (as fast growing vines) and offering their own macro-fruit to the dinosaurs. Here we consider to the passion fruit vine, with its incredibly fragrant, thick skinned, dangling, fruit on a break-away stem. There is also the hugely successful fig genus, or ‘ficus’ for example that has both tree and vine varieties.
We also ponder those enormous 700-kilo orange pumpkins that sometimes come along. The squashes were little doubt a species of tree vine that later became a ground vine. Here we visualize pumpkin vines that are inclined to grow upward, where they produce three-foot mostly hollow “Jack-o’- lanterns’, bright orange, 2cm thick, crying for a dinosaur to eat them. And while pumpkins are not particularly fragrant, they are bright orange and they do have a hard shell and their softest sweetest parts are deep inside mixed with seeds.
The advantage of arboriculture over agriculture
Tree crops seem to have a number of advantages:
1) Large fruits are easier to harvest.
2) We can use hillsides that would otherwise be wasted for food production.
3) It is cheaper and more efficient to irrigate perennial trees than annual grain crop plants. Much less water is lost, and much less hose is needed.
4) Trees need less fertilizer due to their deeper root system.
5) There is much waste associated with plants that die each year.
6) Critters can’t readily eat the seed grain or the harvest. Non-flying insects can
be prevented by spraying insecticide, or putting diatomaceous earth around the trunk.
7) The harvest period is longer, especially with some plants like avocados.
8) Tree crops are more tolerant to both drought and heavy rains.
9) With trees, you plant them once every so many decades, so there is no need to plow the earth.
10) The land under the trees can be used.
What is left of the dinosaurs
Look what is left of the mighty reptiles that once ruled the earth. They are now all mostly either low energy, floating opportunists (like alligators), or energy efficient insectivores. The reptiles left are no longer big. All they have left is their energy efficiency.
Why mammals have penises – food for sex 1.0
Amphibians, reptiles and birds don’t have penises, but cloacas, or holes for both excretory and reproductive purposes. Why do only warm blooded mammals have separate sex organs? Perhaps this exists to make sex enjoyable. I mean, look at the evolutionary mechanism this supported.
Imagine you are a male rodent, a tiny mass-produced, cheap, throw- away rodent, a creature that sacrifices all else and focuses on the critically important objectives of scaling its breeding network and maximizing adaptation. Imagine that you are a species that can bear offspring in week-14 of your life as some rodents can. You have no defense against the fliers and other predators except to hide. Your strategy is to spot/smell some food, dash out, quickly stuff your mouth pouches and dash back home again.
But let me rephrase that: You run back to the collective lair and spit out some of your food for the females to eat. Then, when the female is distracted eating this food, you quickly use that penis of yours to have some enjoyable 3- second copulation with the female. Basically, the penises motivate the more disposable males to go and risk their lives collecting more food for sex. They also create this network function where the best adapted males have much more sex and produce many more offspring.
Here we also imagine female mice only giving sex so long as the male is “kissing” her and producing food from his food pouches. This incidentally was such a powerful thing that we still feel it today as humans from our animal past in the form of kissing during sex. In mice, this mouth feeding, or kissing-and- copulating was mouth-pouch to mouth-pouch. If the kissing was not deep and satisfying enough food-wise, then the female would walk off. So the males would provide food for sex, and the best male food gatherers mated with many females, thus maximizing the adaptability of rodents.
The advent of penises also allowed many a new warm-blooded creatures to leverage their metabolism and speed, not in merely obtaining food, or in fleeing predators, but also in the all-critical area of female selection, thanks to the food obtained through being well adapted.
And penises (or rather more enjoyable sex for males) brought about a number of advantages for the new high metabolism creatures. Here we see penises as leading to creatures where:
1) There was sexual dimorphism, with disposable males specialized for dangerous food gathering, and females specialized for breeding.
2) The ability to find food assured not only the male’s ability to live on, but this purchased his ability to produce lots of offspring in direct proportion to the food he gathered.
3) There was a constant tournament where most of the females went to the best males.
The platypus as a window to the halfway point
Platypus eggs are leathery, like those of reptiles. These develop in utero for about 28 days with about 10 days of incubation where the female platypus curls around them. The newly hatched platypus is blind, hairless and vulnerable. They are fed by the mother’s milk. Although it has milk producing glands, the platypus lacks teats. Instead, milk is released through pores in the skin. There are grooves on her abdomen that form pools of milk, allowing the young to lap up the milk. After they hatch, the offspring are fed this way for three to four months.
Biting heads off
Each family of dinosaur has its own strategy to prevent this. The necks of the sauropods were out of reach. Triceratops had horns and armor. Stegosaurus had a tail that looked like the creature’s head.
ceratopsia would bite or stick back at predators
Triceratops, with their head horns would stay and fight. They would often become lunch when they charged the predator’s belly, but they would also often eventually kill the predator in the process.
The tail of the stegosaurus family
Stegosaurus were like bees. Any biting predator might have to suffer getting stung a couple times by the creature’s tail spikes, even after stegosaurus’ death. And the dorsal armor evolved to delay the bite long enough to give the tail time to work.
The spikes and the shape of the plates tells us that the tail was the battle end of this animal. And if you cover the eyes and mouth, the tail sort of looks like the head. And look at how the front legs bent like rear legs. Clearly this is a creature that fooled many a predator as to which side was the head. In fact, the tail of Stegosaurus looks a bit like the head of triceratops. And clearly the dinosaur predators were not at all smart if a trick like this could evolve to fool them.
Also, look at how short the spiky tail is. This is a tail that evolved to strike fast. It was probably curled under and to one side. And this probably looked a bit like a curled up sauropod neck. And theropods (like T-rex) would have evolved to go for this the weak head end and to stay away from the tail end. But then they encountered the flick tail of stegosaurus. Thus a long dagger of a horn often went in to the head neck or chest of the theropod predator, and this probably came with a violent twist of the “dagger” at the end.
Stegosaurus as a proof of group evolution
About 3% of this creature’s brain tissue was located in its head. The remaining 97% was located where the spinal cord met with the rear legs. So it seems that the head was frequently bitten off, and the creature might have lived on for many days, flailing its tail.
The fact that stegosaurus’ brains is mostly located in the “hips” is a fairly good proof of group or species evolution. And if there is no such thing as group evolution (as Mr. Selfish Gene so emphatically declares) why did this dinosaur Family evolve an alternate post-death brain? I mean, clearly a Stegosaurus is not going to reap anything but a group benefit for harming a predator once its head was bitten off. Clearly evolution is also driven by forces that apply to networks and groups.
Violent lizard tails spasms
If you touch many lizards around their tail, the tail will drop off and flail violently. This is what the back half of a stegosaurus did when its head was bitten off. It however had legs and organs and could thus live longer.
A Hotter and higher pressure early Earth
We have fossils of cold blooded dinosaurs living near the Antarctic circle. And early on, the equator was too hot. So earth was a good deal hotter and probably of higher atmospheric pressure. Can someone please chart the incidence of fossils by latitude in the various strata? When were the equatorial regions too hot for reptiles, and how hot was that? When did the poles become too cold for dinosaurs and how cold was that? How did the extinction of the dinosaurs unfold? Did it start closer to the poles, or was it all at once planet-wide?
Growth rings in fossils
Today there is some latitude above which most creatures begin experiencing annual growth rings in their bones. What was this latitude 5 million years ago? 10MYA, 20MYA, 100MYA, etc.? We can get a window into our planet’s cooling this way.
The real bounty of genetic engineering
It is relatively easy to spot the fruiting trees that once fed dinosaurs.Perhaps we can figure out a way to grow chestnuts and walnuts the size of durians. Perhaps we can grow edamame the size of carob pods. Perhaps natal plum, pyracantha, mock orange, holly and many other currently inedible plants have many giant delicious and non-toxic varieties. However, due to their short lifespans, the vines like passion fruit will be easier to breed back than say long- lived oak or olive trees.
Switching genes back on
You know, genomes can be viewed these collections of successful (or once successful) genes, where many segments get turned off. And while genes do decay through mutation over time, genes are generally not erased. So many aspects of macro-fruit macroism can simply be turn back on at the genetic level. And hopefully we will soon learn how to repair genetic decay on the turned-off segments of the genome, so we can turn these old segments on again.
Macro-fruit trees yield much more
I have seen durian trees with over 150,000 calories of fruit on them. How many calories of corn do we get from the same area of corn? Perhaps we can grow food more efficiently on perennial trees instead of annual grasses? And we can certainly use hillsides for this.
Fructose as a specialized nutrient
Fructose may have evolved as a way to feed only the biggest dinosaurs that could sustain giant fermentation sacks. Perhaps initially, only the dinosaurs with the longest fermentation tubes could digest it.
Of avocados GMO plants and pesticides
Because avocados only ripen after they are picked, they remains relatively unappetizing to many crop pests. So here is a plant that doesn’t really need pesticides. Wouldn’t it be nice if we:
1) Grew more varieties of this delicious fruit.
2) Figured out how to get other plants to ripen this way, so we can grow them without pesticides, and their logistics were less time sensitive.
3) Realized that it was more important that we stopped using pesticides than we slightly altered the genetic instructions than our crop plants.
4) Had a total ban on all plants that have artificially spliced genome from toxic and highly carcinogenic plants, like tobacco.