Regardless of your views on evolution, the field of evolutionary psychology is pretty compelling. Basically, evolutionary psychology tries to explain WHY we do a lot of the things we do as humans. So much of it makes perfect sense.
For example, it makes sense that we developed the fear emotion. If by an accident of genetic mutation, a few of our ancestors developed a sense of fear that warned them when they were in a bad situation (like when they were about to get eaten by a tiger), they would be more likely to survive and pass on those genes.
We're Born With The Fear Response... Thankfully
Even something that seems as unexplainable as altruism (doing things for others at the expense of doing things for yourself) has a possible explanation in evolutionary psychology. Why would it be good to care about others? Wouldn't it be better for survival if you horded all of your food and took care of YOURSELF first in every possible way?
The explanation is that people who are altruistic are more likely to get along with others in a tribe. If you are a selfish jerk, you'll be kicked out of the tribe and then you'll have to fend for yourself (finding food, fighting predators) which means you'll probably not survive to pass on your genes. If you care for others, they'll take care of you and help to keep you well-fed and safe.
That's all well and good and makes sense to me.
But then something happened that made me question everything I knew...
One day I was laying in bed, barely awake, when I heard that familiar gurgling sound. My mother-in-law's dog was staying at our house, and was near my bed. He was obviously about to throw up his Beggin Strips, and started heaving and heaving, like dog's do. After about ten convulsions, I heard him puke right on our bedroom floor.
Oh Awesome! I Get To Clean Up Dog Puke Now!
UGH! That's just what I wanted to do this morning... clean up dog puke.
But then he did me a favor. Like many dogs, he started to happily eat his steamy pile of bile and half digested dog food.
I think we all know why we vomit. We ate something that could possibly kill us (poison, virus, etc.) so our body wants to GET IT OUT FAST. We don't choose to throw up. Thankfully, our bodies just do it. If we didn't automatically vomit, we'd probably die in many cases (and wouldn't pass on our genes).
So why would a dog puke up something that is possibly deadly poison, and then naturally EAT IT AGAIN. That makes absolutey no sense.
How did those genes get naturally selected? Or maybe it's just an error, since dogs naturally want to eat things that smell good, and so stupidly, those "eat food to survive" genes are harmful in this one situation?
I just don't get it. I'm going to do a lot of research into dog puke at my house and try to figure it out. (Yeah, right!)