George Hammond <ghammond at mediaone.net> writes:
> Rich Cooper wrote:
> > [snip]
> > The genetic expression curve could be measured by varying a selected
> > set of environmental parameters, and the effect of combinations of these
> > parameters could define the growth curve you're describing.
>> GH: Hey Rich.... you apparently understand what I'm talking
> about. But can't this be easily ascertained from existing
> data without doing any experiments? I mean, there must
> be archives knee deep in "crop yield data" for asexual
> clonal plants (potatoes, onions and floriculture). For
> Pete's sake we don't have to launch any new experiments do we?
Your hypothosis is faulty. I'll repeat it for you, to make sure
I understand it:
Hypothesis: organisms fall short of their growth
potential due to sub-optimal environmental
Collary: There is a statistically mesurable growth curve
which represents environmental effects on growth
and asymtopes to the a growth optima.
Collary: A given organisms growth is always less than the
Collary: Every organim suffers a "growth deficit"; the
distance between it and the growth optima on the
However, it's clear there has never been an `optimal environment'.
All higher organisms have adapted to expect a wide variety of
`sub-optimal' environments. `sub-optimal' in the sence that there is a
limited amount of raw materials and energy sources which are actively
competed for. There has never been a realised `optimal' environment as
far as growth size has been concerned. For any organism extant
environments can be orded according size of the average adult within
those environments, however this just defines the best in the set
observed. There will always be another (theoretical) environment which
induces yet more growth.
But the theoretically optimal environment, for the purpose of growth
size, is likely to be pathological as far as other attributes of the
organism are concerned, because no organism has evolved for such
conditions. One need look no further than a full western diet or the
use of the illegal use of growth hormones to see this. The extreme
example is one of an environment completely laced with growth
You could produce a weaker, but more useful form of your hypothesis by
adding "...environment for which there is no significant additional
pathology", but pathology is hard to define. Larger human beings don't
make good gymnasts, break more bones when they fall, and suffer from
increased cancer rates (more cells and cell divisions to go wrong),
and have to hide more dirt when building escape tunnels. However, they
tend to be better in a fight. But the additional food could have been
spent on additional kin, giving you two little guys in a fight instead
of one big guy -- even if there's an infinite amount of it.