Steve Burnett <burnett.33@...
>Well, actually, I don't think there's any way around
>thinking of crooked teeth as a handicap, given our
Yes, they are a handicap, because they lower your
reproductive fitness in several ways. So, if you
don't have the gene for them, you would be better off
than you are, so we can expect the gene for them to be
expressed less in subsequent generations.
Of course, it's not quite that simple, since their
isn't a "crooked teeth" gene. The male side of my
family (meaning I got it from my father, not that it's
sex-linked) has small jaws. This has some advantages,
but our teeth are too big to fit in our mouths and get
crushed together. Many genes are like this, with both
positive and negative effects.
>While I don't want to sound like Mr. Tong, I think
>that *really* crooked teeth are something in
>American society that's frowned upon, thereby
>causing many parents to outlay thousands of dollars
>on orthodontics (I know my parents did, 4 kids, 3
>with braces...whew). That money could have just as
>easily been spent on education etc., which could
>have enhanced our "reproductive success".
Exactly, what you end up doing is changing one limited
resources (money) into another (appearance). Limited
resources are largely what evolution is about. In
fact, Darwin's entire argument for natural selection
was built around limited resources. Now, obviously
money isn't genetic, but in theory, in should be
acquired through the actions of other genes (such as
ones increasing intelligence). Of course, in humans,
this point gets a bit blurred, but the principle is
the same. We are still subject to natural selection.
"Learning without thought is labor lost;
thought without learning is perilous."
"I dislike stupidity,
especially when it masquerades as virtue."
-The Duke, from The Man of la Mancha
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