Evolution doesn't like you

Sure, you've got those great opposable thumbs, complex culture, and the ability to walk on two legs. But don't let those facts lull you into thinking that evolution is on your side. It's not. It's not really on anybody's side. Which is why the same process that produces super-smart, super-creative apes (like us) is also responsible for helping cockroaches evade our attempts to murder them.


  1. Pain is a pretty good marker that evolution is indifferent.. I mean, does anything REALLY need to hurt that much? Wouldn’t it be good enough to just have a gentle throbbing to alert me that something is going on and then have some kind of “silence alarm” toggle? It’s not like continuing to be in agony is going to do anything to alter my desire to fix the problem.

  2. I learned this when I got the backs of my knees tattooed. Those areas are hyper functional and equally well “defended”. :/

  3. One of the best examples that evolution isn’t always perfect is our sinuses. If I were designing them, I’d put the drainage holes at the bottom, not near the top as they are in all of us humans. 

  4. [sob] [sob] “What?  Et tu, evolution?  After all we’ve been through together?”

    Only one solution.

  5. It really does need to be reiterated from time to time: evolution is not Progress Toward The Singularity. We are not upgrading, we are just changing. And “we” are not changing, we are just getting killed by different things, over and over forever and ever amen.

  6. Well, technically, if evolution is intrested in anything at all it would be in the reproduction of genes.

    The only reason you’re around is because you’re a handy place to keep a family of genes in.

      1. One day everyone will be able to get designer genes, but for now most of us have to settle for hand-me-downs.

  7. I’ve always wondered why there is such a wide diversity of plants and animals and not a domination or narrowing down to a few “optimal” species for each ecosystem.
    Why haven’t all animals evolved into this guy? He’s darn near prefect.

      1. I guess this answer makes a lot of sense, although he is surprisingly hard to catch, being able to run under beds, dressers and coffee tables at full speed.
        Darn near perfect. Just look at him.

      2. That situation would create a pretty optimal environment for puppy-eating monsters.

        There is such an environment.  It’s called “Florida”.

    1. What Maggie and Garymon said about shifts is a good partial answer, but
      I wanted to point out that’s there’s more to it than that. After all, evolution does not plan ahead,
      so you might then expect a few types to dominate if an ecosystem is
      stable for a while.

      And you do see that in some simple
      experiments with very uniform habitats. But in general, for only a few
      optimal species to survive, everyone else has to be
      completely wiped out, and it’s rare for the majority
      to be so inferior that there’s no escape from that. Instead, in a varied
      habitat, they find refuges – niches where they do have some edge.

      A might be best at growing and spreading in most conditions, but some B
      might survive if they are better at managing in some low-nutrient
      soils. C might not be as capable as either, but can secure some patches
      for itself by releasing toxins that A and B can’t handle. That opens
      room for plant D, which can handle that toxin and outgrow C, but only in
      places where it has cleared out A and B. And so on.

      In short:
      even a relatively stable ecosystem can still host lots of species,
      because they can avoid competing to the finish by finding different niches. And since those depend not just on how they relate to the environment but to one antoher, there are tremendous opportunities for making new ones.

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