Sunday, September 20, 2009

Daniel the Darwinian Survivalist


This is Daniel Jesus Camplin. Today he is 7 days old. This is mostly how we see him. Well, if you go get sleep-deprived for a few days, then come back and look at his picture, then you would see how we mostly see him. When he's crying at 4 in the morning (after having slept the entire day during daylight hours), his cuteness acts as a natural defense mechanism.

My wife wondered today why babies stay up all night and sleep all day. I surmised that it makes sense as an evolved trait. During the day, people are awake, which protects the baby. But during the night, if everyone were asleep, including the babies, jackals, hyenas and African wild dogs would drag those sleeping babies away. The babies that didn't sleep through the night -- thus keeping their caretakers awake -- would thus have had an evolutionary advantage. There being no particular reason for this trait to go away, it's still with us thousands of years after it's no longer needed by most babies in most places. So now we're stuck with it. Try as you might to explain to Daniel that it's not necessary in the contemporary world, he still insists on sticking to his instinctual traits. You just can't reason with them at this age!
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