Generally speaking, humans are a pretty cool and unique species. Dogs don't play guitar, cows don't invent the internet, and last time I checked, there are no octopuses in space. Right now, there are 3 humans living in space, and that's on the low end. There are usually 6.
We have eradicated whole diseases, mastered flight, and dropped atomic bombs. Two out of three of those things are very cool. Our cars are faster than any legs, our machines are stronger than any muscles, and our guns are scarier than any claws.
So why then, when we hold so much potential, when we are undoubtedly the most powerful species on this earth, do we start our journey into this world as the most useless, vulnerable, unproductive sacks of meat in the animal kingdom?
"Get a job, you hippie parasite!"
Seriously, human babies are the worst. They can't stand, walk, feed themselves, get a job, avoid predatory animals, understand the stock market, do algebra, or bake a cake. If you were to compare the capabilities of a human baby to another living thing, it would probably rank somewhere between a slug and a houseplant, except way more dependent.
Have you ever seen a giraffe baby? Giraffe babies got it going on. Check this out.
It's as adorable as it is impressive.
That giraffe was born just seconds ago. Not only was it just born, it was just dropped 6 feet and hit dirt before it knew what dirt was. What if a human baby came out of a giraffe mommy (HYPOTHETICALLY!) and dropped 6 feet into the dirt? I can tell you one thing. That baby ain't standing!
Ok, I think it's time I give a little disclaimer here: I don't hate babies. I don't have babies, or even A baby, but I am at the age where my Facebook feed is littered with them, and I don't find them repulsive. I just find it interesting that something as powerful as us could begin in our journey through time and space in such a useless and fragile way. I've given a bit of thought to it, and I have some theories as to why this is.
Human Babies are the Worst because Humans are the Worst at Having Babies
No offense Mom, but you kind of suck at your job too.
Rats, on average, have 6 pups in a litter. Wolves have 4, tiger's 3, and eagles have, on average 2. We carry babies for 9 months, and we usually only have one. In that amount of time, rats can have 6 litters of 6 pups, which makes 36 times the amount of rats compared to humans produced. It takes a little while to make a baby, and the mom is basically out of commission for at least 20% of that time. In business, we call that high-overhead.
On top of that, for the majority of human history, birthing was an incredibly dangerous process. Before the advent of modern medical practices, such as sterilization, about 1 in 5 babies didn't make it past birth, and death during childbirth didn't actually start falling until the 1850's. In certain places, death during childbirth killed about 40% of child-bearing women.
Evolutionarily speaking, reproduction for a species is considered by scientists to be pretty important. So why do we suck at it? Well, it all started when we stood up.
Generally considered by many to be a bad idea.
Now you might be thinking "Rory, standing up is awesome! I can see over stuff and have two hands to carry groceries and use doors!" That is true, but ask anybody over 30 if they have back problems? Actually don't. You'll never hear the end of it. This is because standing up had many unintended consequences, like bad backs and smaller pelvises. Here's my proposal for a much better design.
I can't be the only person who wants to be a Centaur... and have abs.
And why are small pelvises so bad? Well they're great for supporting weight braced by only two legs, but small pelvises are the worst for pushing big, giant baby heads through them. Humans have one of the largest head to smallest pelvis ratios of any other animal, and is considered one of our greatest design flaws, causing countless deaths throughout the whole of human history.
But as dumb as evolution was in creating this problem, it was pretty smart in creating a solution. Throughout thousands of years of natural selection, survival started favoring premature births. People just started popping out babies half baked, because full-baked babies just didn't fit.
"But I wasn't done in there!"
So the reason human babies are so useless is because they're not done yet, which makes sense. They're kind of like kangaroos without a pouch to hang out in. Speaking of baby kangaroos...
Should I just make a long post of animal baby gifs at this point?
So, a lot of stuff I've been talking about here is somewhat theoretical. I mean, it's easy to prove that humans suck at babying because of our small hips, but it's difficult to prove that infant mortality rates skyrocketed once we started walking on two feet, because things like writing and science hadn't been invented yet. But I'm about to go one step further, into the completely theoretical.
What if the entire reason we can invent space stations, and write novels, and construct world governments is precisely because we come out of the womb half-baked? Stick with me here. That giraffe from above fell out of his mother and hit the ground with the near ability to stand and walk. Nobody showed it how to do that, and it didn't know why he needed to do it. If I just fell 6 feet, standing up wouldn't be high on my agenda, but it was for this giraffe. It is because standing up was pure instinct.
Instinct is the knowledge animals are born with, and for a lot of living things, the whole knowledge and ability of their species doesn't go much further than that. They're born knowing how to do this, this, and this, and they might add one more "this" to the list by the time they die. "Learning" is a relatively rare quality in living things.
But there must have been a time when all these animals were in the womb, downloading all these instincts into their head like Neo learning Kung Fu in The Matrix.
I guess kangaroos don't really need to learn Kung Fu.
This downloading of instincts has to come at some point within the baking process, and once they're out of there, most animals know everything they need to. But what if human babies popped out of the womb while still in the downloading state, with a half baked brain still hungry for instincts it never received. As the great Kurt Vonnegut wrote:
I'm never going to be as good as this.
Well then you would have an entire species constantly hungry for knowledge at all times, learning, changing, and developing constantly with no end in sight. It's a terrifying concept. Why would nature create such an unstoppable force? Well, because it was a mistake. That's why.
So, in conclusion, humans are so smart because babies are so dumb.
Thanks babies, for being so dumb.