Days go by

What up Nevada

As the field season winds down, the dwindling number of employees leaves our office a ghost town. The good news is that those of us remaining are banding together to stave off Lonely Office Syndrome (LOS). This reminds me how similar humans are to some of animals we manage in terms of behavior and sociology. Generalizing- we exhibit scattered distribution in the plentiful summertime while concentrating into groups in the winter.

I wonder if this simple observation is just skimming the surface and if much more of what we do is unconsciously engrained. As you may have guessed, I am a proponent of sociobiology and all things EO Wilson.

Consider the field of ecology. Current teachings describe a complex relationship between all parts of the environment resulting in a healthy ecosystem. Under the guise of scientific objectivity, we have labeled ecosystems suitable to ourselves as “healthy” and written off less-complex systems.

And as a result we are often surprised to find that the world is not as we projected. Consider how genetics has upstaged our understanding of evolution. Phylogeny shows that osprey have little genetically in common with eagles, despite their physical and functional resemblance (Hackett et al. 2008). It was in becoming apex raptors that ospreys and eagles took similar form, because common qualities made them fit. In other words, good ideas, if they really are good ideas, will arise independently throughout history. Say whaaat?

I guess the point of this tirade is that I am rediscovering the unconscious decision-making of the human brain which we often ignore. And although sobering, this whole new world, and the possibility to better understand myself, has me asking more and more questions.

Thanks science!
-Justin

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