Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why do babies scream louder these days?

Briefly, because the selective influence of predation has been removed.

What do I mean? In the past, the gene for screaming may have had the effect of occasionally attracting predators; and then, no more baby. The lineage is ended. The screaming gene is no more.

But in modern times, we've removed the effect of predators. So babies can scream as loud as they want and still survive to reproductive age.

After enough generations, all babies will scream, perhaps getting as loud as physically possible.

Colic-shmolic. It's all in the genes.

[Why did I think of this? I've been reading The Selfish Gene, an excellent introduction to natural selection (and for a general audience).]

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