An Overview of the Animal Kingdom and the Development of Its Members
G. Stolyarov II
Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2004 and published on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007, where it received over 400 page views. To preserve a record of my writings following the shutdown of Yahoo! Voices in 2014, I have given this article a permanent presence on this page.
This paper examines growth and development patterns in the lives of humans and animals, both in the course of individual lifetimes and over the longer period of species evolution.
Animals and humans undergo several distinct transformations during their lives. The first, the growth of a fetus into a child, establishes the essential structures, functions, and forms of the body and equips it with the physical capacity to exist autonomously. Puberty, the transformation of a child into an adult, results in a reproductively mature entity whose brain, at the end of the process, has reached its peak level of information capacity and processing. Afterward, the body and mind, in terms of their capacities and functions exist in a fairly constant (though slightly declining) state during the majority of adulthood. The final stage, senescence, is the atrophy of bodily functions, the beginnings of the brain's and heart's loss of ability to coordinate all aspects of an organism's life with full competence. The body begins to become frail as the mind's cognitive capacities weaken, eventually resulting in death.
Life forms can change over generations by the accumulation of subtle mutations in the gene pool that, cumulatively, can lead to a trait that ensures greater reproductive success to those who exhibit it. This trait, subsequently, is passed on and amplified. Multicellularity, the development of internal fertilization, the backbone, the ability to walk upright, and man's capacity to reason were all advantages that ensured greater viability within an organism's environment and thus assisted in its survival to reproductive maturity. Human beings' rational faculty, especially, proved to be such a vast and unprecedented asset that, within mere millennia, man has achieved virtual dominance over the entire planet.
All humans and animals are multicellular, heterotrophic, eukaryotes with the same DNA material in their genetic code. All animals exhibit greater DNA similarity amongst each other than they do with respect to the members of any other kingdom, which suggests a single common ancestor for all animals. Humans are most closely related to chimpanzees, having the greatest DNA similarity (99%) and numerous parallels in such structures as limbs, jaws, and even rudimentary social interactions, as well as a relatively recent evolutionary divergence (7 million years ago).
Animals, such as cats and dogs, still share similarities with humans, including four limbs, a backbone, a dorsal nerve cord, and correspondences in the structure and arrangement of bones of the limbs. Even insects, aside from the traits common to all animals, share the trait of cephalization with humans, as well as appendages that can be used to grasp items (i.e., insect claws. They are merely analogous structures, but similar in function nonetheless).
Gennady Stolyarov II (G. Stolyarov II) is an actuary, science-fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress.
In December 2013, Mr. Stolyarov published Death is Wrong, an ambitious children’s book on life extension illustrated by his wife Wendy. Death is Wrong can be found on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Mr. Stolyarov has contributed articles to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), The Wave Chronicle, Le Quebecois Libre, Brighter Brains Institute, Immortal Life, Enter Stage Right, Rebirth of Reason, The Liberal Institute, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
In an effort to assist the spread of rational ideas,
Mr. Stolyarov published his articles on Associated Content (subsequently
the Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices) from 2007 until
Yahoo! closed this venue in 2014. Mr. Stolyarov held the highest Clout
Level (10) possible on the Yahoo! Contributor Network and was one of its
Page View Millionaires, with over 3,175,000 views. Mr. Stolyarov’s
selected writings from that era have been preserved on this page.
Mr. Stolyarov holds the professional insurance designations of Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS), Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Reinsurance (ARe), Associate in Regulation and Compliance (ARC), Associate in Personal Insurance (API), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS), Accredited Insurance Examiner (AIE), and Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance (AIAF).
Mr. Stolyarov has written a science fiction novel, Eden against the Colossus, a philosophical treatise, A Rational Cosmology, a play, Implied Consent, and a free self-help treatise, The Best Self-Help is Free. You can watch his YouTube Videos.Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.