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Are Humans The Perfect Species?

Evolution of Man

Evolution of Man

Are we perfect?

It’s a simple question really. Are we perfect? Of course the first obvious answer should be “No”. I just failed my calculus exam. I got fired from my workplace. I broke up with my girlfriend. Etc. Nobody is “perfect”. Perhaps this is true, but has evolution intended for us to be the “perfect organism”. I am talking about fitness of course. Not fitness in the over-inflated Jersey Shore beach hunk sense, but in a biological sense. Are we the alpha-species?

Definition of Evolution in a Nutshell

Vestigial structures represent adaptations. This whale lost its ability to walk for its ability to swim. A fair trade-off.

Vestigial structures represent adaptations. This whale lost its ability to walk for its ability to swim. A fair trade-off.

Evolution Plays A Role

There are a few points that need to be examined if we can answer that question. First we need to remember that one can never have a perfect organism in a constantly changing environment because we will always have to “catch up” with the environment. And of course by the time we evolve to the new change, there is another change and the process must repeat. This is just another definition of the word “evolution”. Or rather coevolution, between one species and the environment being the other “specie.”

In this sense it is important to remember that most adaptations (and adaptations are the only way to supposedly attain perfection) are in fact compromises. In a hypothetical situation let’s say our environment changed and we were required to fly in order to survive, the adaptation would be wings to lift us off the ground, but since the need to walk would be almost completely eliminated, eventually our legs and feet would be rendered impractical for walking, and thus by acquiring a flight ability we lose our walk ability. This is the great compromise that challenges the idea of “perfection”. If a perfect species DID exist, it would be have to be able to carry out a lot of functions.

A proto-cell. This is a hypothesized stage between organic matter and the formation/assembly of that matter into the first cell.

A proto-cell. This is a hypothesized stage between organic matter and the formation/assembly of that matter into the first cell.

A complex nerve cell.

A complex nerve cell.

How Did The First Organisms Evolve?

Another idea to keep in mind is that we are limited in evolution by what raw material is provided for us from our ancestors. Essentially, if we as a species were never passed down the “perfection” gene, we cannot just acquire it from a gene pool in which it does not exist.

So how does a species attain perfection? This question (like most others in science) raises even more questions. We must determine now if evolution has a “goal-oriented” foresight. To do that we need to ask ourselves where organisms first evolved.

The first organisms evolved in water because it provided a great medium for hydrolysis and dehydration synthesis to allow the formation of macromolecules which led to the mysterious origins of the first cell. Essentially we saw that these water dwelling organisms eventually made their way onto land over millions of years and we began to see them adapting to land. We can look at the evolution of cetaceans for example and see that the Mesonychidae was adapted well to living on land. And from that evolved the Ambulocetus natans which was dubbed as the “walking whale” …well suited for the ecotone of land and sea, this evolution continued to the dolphins and whales we see to this day in the oceans.

So we started off in water, and then evolved on land, and some species went back into the water while others continued on land. Is there a pattern? All evidence suggests that there is no observable pattern in the course of evolution. So we can now disprove the hypothesis that evolution always has a “plan” for the future. It doesn’t, and in fact it seems to be really random. Evolution just seems to be trying different combinations in different ecosystems to see what works.


Humans or Fish

Since evolution doesn’t seem to know exactly what it’s doing with it’s wide array of options, how are we to know that we came out as the perfect species? We could in fact just be one of the random combinations that “worked” when evolution rolled it’s dice. Cheetahs also worked…so did cockroaches, fish, and pine trees. Let’s not forget tortoises. They live longer than we do. That HAS to mean that they are closer to perfection than us! Right? ...And cheetahs, they can run faster than we can. We can think better than they can though. But fish can breathe underwater. We can’t do that.


Mikael on May 05, 2015:

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To those saying that humans aren't perfect because we are still susceptible to disease etc.

One thing people should keep in mind is that we are very early into the reign of humans. Us modern homo sapiens have not been around that long; only a few thousand years. Yet look at how far humans have come in that short amount of time. I think humans are indeed as close as possible to being the perfect organism. Our brains are so advanced that there is literally NOTHING that we can't accomplish through science. Before long it will indeed be possible for humans to be biologically immortal and disease-free. Not to mention we might even eventually be capable of high-speed regeneration and superhuman strength via nano machines.

conradofontanilla from Philippines on January 12, 2013:

Voted useful and interesting. I was looking for your model of perfect though. What is the test? If survival is the test then the virus might be the perfect organism.

jason on March 19, 2012:

tfscientist is right about micro-organisms being more perfect than humanity, especially if having trillions upon trillions of brothers and sisters makes a species perfect. however, they don't seem very intelligent to me. and even if they were, i prefer the human body to walk around in. seems like more fun. besides, aren't we actually made up of trillions upon trillions of those little things anyway? that makes them part of humanity. sounds perfect to me.

jason on March 19, 2012:

the longer you survive as a species, the more perfect evolution makes you. but that was before humans attained a spark of intelligence. but how about the perfection of the shark. it has one job - to eat, and does that perfectly. of course, the downfall of that type of so-called perfection is the energy it takes to power such a large mass. humans, as homo-sapiens, haven't been around as long, so we have a long road to "perfection," but if we can survive as long as sharks have - from 100- to 600-millions years - then we have an excellent chance at perfection. but, and just as obvious, that will take a nearly unfathomable amount of time. as intelligent as we supposedly are, the way humans act, despite their supposed brain power, i'm surprised we haven't killed ourselves off yet. at least the dinosaurs waited for something else to do it to them. don't know if that makes them perfect, but it sure sounds like it.

Rhys Baker from Peterborough, UK on December 23, 2011:

Surely the most 'perfect' species on the planet would be the most numerous? By that criteria, several species of microorgnaism such as E. coli or S. Aureus are more perfect than we. They also show a better capacity to adapt and respond to change...and frequently kill H. Sapiens. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to eradicate these species - indeed, they form the basis of many of my favourite 'armageddon' films!

Deya Writes (author) on December 04, 2011:

Thanks for the votes :)

I agree that we are not perfect in "behavior or morals", yet how can we be considered "perfect in shape" and "the way out body works" if we are still susceptible to diseases? Shouldn't a perfect specie only die from a natural "gettin' old" death? You raise an interesting point that we have been "pieced" together to function (and even thrive!) in our environment, but I'm not convinced about our biological perfection...

icciev from Kuwait on December 04, 2011:

Hi Londonlady, thanks for sharing this hub about such an interesting topic, in face evolution theory have never been proved to be the reason of who we are today, people are just perfect, not in the sense of their behavior or morals because no body is perfect in that but they are perfect in shape, the way our body works are really amazing and just an evolution and random process can't just make such perfect body, if you have seen different elements and parts distributed all over a place and you came back in one or two weeks to find an airplane would you ever believe that random evolution process has made out of these elements and parts an airplane and not only this the airplane can actually fly! So there is no way human were some. I have to believe that evolution theory is totally wrong or otherwise I have to tell that I was Turtle since I am a little bit lazy, thanks again and voted up.

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