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Stupid flies live longer: study - Comments

JLD Calgary's Avatar Comment 1 by JLD Calgary

Any information on their birth rates? Reference: The movie Idiocracy (Very funny movie if anyone hasn't seen it, where the dumb shall inherit the Earth)

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:06:00 UTC | #179589

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

I dunno. The smart flies in my house tend to live up to 5 minutes longer while I chase them around. One was so clever at escaping me, that I finally captured it in a net and let it go, out of respect for its abilities.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:19:00 UTC | #179592

black wolf's Avatar Comment 3 by black wolf

How much offspring does Jeff Goldblum have, and how intelligent is he? Which Pavlovian method led him to select Geena Davis?
Gee, this article doesn't answer any important questions.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:23:00 UTC | #179595

Abhishek's Avatar Comment 4 by Abhishek

One was so clever at escaping me, that I finally captured it in a net and let it go, out of respect for its abilities.
hahaha

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:27:00 UTC | #179597

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 5 by prettygoodformonkeys

This sheds some light on why the fundies are out-reproducing us..........

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:44:00 UTC | #179601

Ansu's Avatar Comment 6 by Ansu

I dunno. The smart flies in my house tend to live up to 5 minutes longer while I chase them around. One was so clever at escaping me, that I finally captured it in a net and let it go, out of respect for its abilities.


Its smarter than you thought. It evolved to take advantage of your pity for them.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:57:00 UTC | #179602

Geodesic17's Avatar Comment 7 by Geodesic17

This sheds some light on why the fundies are out-reproducing us..........


Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 11:19:00 UTC | #179605

notsobad's Avatar Comment 8 by notsobad

This is most probably because the increase in neural activity weakens the fly's life-support systems, they speculated.

"This would explain why flies, like most other animals, have hardly developed their neural capacities," they said.

DUH!
They didn't evolve bigger brains because there was no pay off.

Idiocracy intro for those who wonder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upyewL0oaWA

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 11:43:00 UTC | #179609

Barbara's Avatar Comment 9 by Barbara

black wolf wrote:

Gee, this article doesn't answer any important questions.


Sure, it does! Now we know why humans don't live to be 900 years old like those goat herders we've heard so much about used to do.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 16:58:00 UTC | #179698

SamKiddoGordon's Avatar Comment 10 by SamKiddoGordon

I will make no apologies, I have 5 kids, and I think I am smarter than the average bear. But they are hard work, which may drive me to an early grave. What are all you people doing? Gotta pass on the good genes guys. LOL

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 19:40:00 UTC | #179720

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 11 by Christopher Davis

SamKiddoGordon,

I'm waiting on my Geena Davis.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 21:19:00 UTC | #179740

HitbLade's Avatar Comment 12 by HitbLade

So, is that the reason I eat lots of food, but never get fat? cus my brain burns it all?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 23:56:00 UTC | #179791

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 13 by hungarianelephant

Is this news? I thought it was well known that larger and more active brains required more overhead. That's hardly going to increase the lifespan, though it might provide an evolutionary advantage in marginal environments.

Christopher Davis, you'll have to fight me out of the way first.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 02:30:00 UTC | #179820

Jeremy Nel's Avatar Comment 14 by Jeremy Nel

One half was left in a natural state while the other had its intelligence boosted by Pavlovian methods, such as associating smell and taste with particular food or experiences.

Over 30 to 40 generations, these methods led to flies which clearly learned better and remembered things for longer.


No doubt this is due to a deficiency in the reporting, but the above quote puts the flies' increased intelligence down to Lamarkian evolution!

Does anyone know how the one group of flies actually became more intelligent?

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 04:46:00 UTC | #179850

somersetsimon's Avatar Comment 15 by somersetsimon


One half was left in a natural state while the other had its intelligence boosted by Pavlovian methods, such as associating smell and taste with particular food or experiences. Over 30 to 40 generations, these methods led to flies which clearly learned better and remembered things for longer.


No doubt this is due to a deficiency in the reporting, but the above quote puts the flies' increased intelligence down to Lamarkian evolution!

Does anyone know how the one group of flies actually became more intelligent?


It looks like a poor grasp of the subject by the reporter. The quote certainly does appear imply a Lamarckian model of evolution. I suspect the truth was that the 'Pavlovian' tests were simply used to identify the more intelligent members of the population so they could be selected for breeding.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 04:57:00 UTC | #179853

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 16 by Steven Mading

jeremynel, it's not Lamarkian evolution unless they are claiming that the memes get inherited biologically. They're merely claiming that the flies became more intelligent based on the notion that the brains were bigger, which is claiming biological inheritance of mental capacity, not inheritance of learned memes.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 06:56:00 UTC | #179896

Clintspark's Avatar Comment 17 by Clintspark

Huh, what a report. It may be that the actual paper was worth something besides an Ig-nobel prize, but the news reporter at least totally failed to convey any of it.
Talking about intelligence in connection with flies is rather, well, stupid. As far as anyone can tell, a fly doesn't much cogitate or plan ahead or make emotional connections between memories, or any other thing generally associated with the word "intelligence." In terms of intellectual capacity, a fly would probably be best described as a sophisticated automat. It's got the neural systems it needs to do what flies do, and any extra processing capacity would be just a burden.
For more complicated animals the reverse may be true. Added brain capacity may increase, for example, a rodent's ability to adapt to a changing environment - in which case smarter rats would live longer on average.
A fly doesn't need to be smart. It would probably have to change to quite another animal altogether to benefit from a smarter brain.
Interestingly, humans with their big brains are among the longest-living vertebrates. That must be a statistical error, now that it's been proved in a lab that being stupid helps live longer.
Live smart, die young, leave a famous corpse?

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 07:24:00 UTC | #179906

Jeremy Nel's Avatar Comment 18 by Jeremy Nel

Thanks somersetsimon, I think you're probably right.

Steven, I didn't mean to imply that I thought they were inheriting memes - or anything similar. What I was questioning was how learning acquired by Pavlovian tests leads to increased mental capacity in the flies' descendants. It clearly doesn't, of course. Somersetsimon has nicely rectified the rather dismal reporting, I think. Apologies if I didn't phrase things well enough.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 07:25:00 UTC | #179907

GamerFromJumpZ's Avatar Comment 19 by GamerFromJumpZ

Of course, it's a balancing act. Humans live longer than other primates because we evolved the mental capacity to fiddle with our environment, and in fact start to direct our evolution and that of other species.

Were it not for increasing smarts, the homo branch would've been short-lived indeed.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 07:43:00 UTC | #179912

Crystal's Avatar Comment 20 by Crystal

We should all follow the example set by the flies.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #179943

tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 21 by tieInterceptor

Reference: The movie Idiocracy (Very funny movie if anyone hasn't seen it, where the dumb shall inherit the Earth)


that film was so bad... the only good thing is the intro that you refer to,, and you can find that in youtube,

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=upyewL0oaWA

no need to watch the entire 84 min ... watch the first 10, and pull the plug.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 09:34:00 UTC | #179969

Simonw's Avatar Comment 22 by Simonw

Only a handful of species seem to have plumped for intelligence as their niche.

Of those only our own has differentiated itself from the other species by developing such a sophisticated culture (at least with creating physical representations of that culture). Note many human like species are already extinct, at least one of which (Homo Erectus) had larger cranial capacity.

I'd have thought flies were a key example where less is more, since having a brain, and flying it around, must be even more energy intensive than say floating it around inside a whale.

On the other hand it is worth pondering how intelligent we are as a species. If IQ measures intelligence, then I'm fairly unusual, but it didn't stop me putting the cheese in the cupboard instead of the fridge a couple of days ago. So on finding stored food I'm only slightly outperforming the local squirrels (who admittedly are surprising clever, although they fall down on road crossing ability).

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 11:15:00 UTC | #180016

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 23 by Border Collie

Bad news, I guess the fundamentalists are going to out live us.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 13:06:00 UTC | #180058

ebugogo's Avatar Comment 24 by ebugogo

I'm with tieInterceptor. It got boring after the first 10 or so.

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 13:09:00 UTC | #180061

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 25 by Ascaphus

Why should natural selection favor long life in a fly, or any animal for that matter? Even in humans, natural selection favors a superior ability to make it to reproductive age, then maximize that opportunity. _We_ may value a long life, and use a significant part of our intelligence to increase the span, but this is not a boost of natural selection in any sense.

Matt

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 13:45:00 UTC | #180072

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 26 by thewhitepearl

I love whenever they come out with the results of a new study they always start the article with a thought that's outside mainstream idealogy and then end the opening thought with "at least if your a (insert test subject here)"

Every single time

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 15:03:00 UTC | #180095