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Pre-Cambrian [[was Instant Future]]



Life started on earth about 4 billion years ago, about as soon as 
it  cooled enough to allow liquid water but, for 5/6 of that time, 
we didn't even have multicellular organisms. 570 million years ago 
the  Cambrian Explosion occurred and in less  than 10

start during this same brief period. Nobody knows why things 
happened so suddenly but I think there must have been some bio 
chemical problem ( the need for efficient calcification? ) that

My geobiology professor suggested that someone invented predation. 
There is evidence of multicellular organisms in pre-Cambrian times,
known as the Ediacaran fauna.  Their fossil imprints look like small air 
mattresses, and thought to have been photsynthetic or filter feeders, 
and definitely soft-bodied.

One of the later fossils has a bite taken out of it.  Calcification to 
make shells would become attractive then.  More generally, the a-life 
experiments I've read about indicate that predation or parasitism is a 
wonderful force for encouraging diversity; without it the life-space is 
taken over by the most efficient replicator.  This might explain the 
Cambrian "explosion".

creativity and experimentation. Some experiments worked out, like 
the Chordates, others led to dead ends like Hallucigenia.

Stephen Jay Gould would choke here; he thinks Hallucigenia was probably 
perfectly "viable", but random factors selected chordates.  It's 
impossible to tell now, of course, although the answer to the question 
would have implications regarding alien pre-transcendence biological 
design.

                >Hubris is at the core of Greek Tragedy. The hubric quality  
               >of the  hero brings his own downfall.  

As Freeman Dyson, and possibly Haldane before him, pointed out, one of 
the greatest examples of hubris in Greek myth was Daedalus' creation of 
the Minotaur (building a woooden bull for Minos' wife so she could mate 
with the real bull.)  He also succeeded in flying.  How these compare to 
Aesculapius' raising the dead is not objectively definable, but to me 
they seem pretty hubristic -- and went largely unpunished.  His life 
wasn't a bed of roses, but given what he did he got off pretty lightly.

Slainte,
-xx- Damien Sullivan X-) <*> http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~phoenix

Prowl, run, howl at the full moon
I can't do it right, don't know why I try. 
Soon the moon will be rising
Oh woe is the life of a werewolf.