Parrots are forward-thinking animals. As such, they waste a lot of food.
Parrots are frugivores. Though food waste is a common habit among parrots, its practice is selective. Spanish zoologist Esther Sebastián-González: “Waste by parrots is a widespread behaviour. The proportion of food wasted differs throughout the year. Parrots wasted more food during the non-breeding season, when they rely on exotic plants and on unripe fruits or seeds.
“Several studies have documented that mutualistic animal-plant interactions, such as seed dispersal or pollination, drive important coevolutionary forces shaping the structure of both animal and plant communities. Likewise, animal species may use each other as indicators of habitat quality, affecting the final distribution of the species in the communities.”
Parrot food waste benefits ground dwelling animals which otherwise would have not have much fruit. These ground dwellers incidentally assist the plants which parrots prefer by acting as secondary seed dispersers. Thus, parrots aid their own food supply in years to come by indirectly promoting floral dispersal. Parrots playing with their food is not only fun for them, it’s environmentally sound.
The question remains as to why parrots would evolve such behavior as excessive food waste. The only possible answer is that a telestic teleological force with ecosystem awareness is behind evolution.
Foraging by animals is typically somewhat inefficient, thereby preventing foodstuff exhaustion, or at least permitting recovery, in a habitat. Predators also maintain prey consumption within sustainable limits, partly by limiting breeding and so not numerically overwhelm food supply. An unobservable evolutionary impetus assists by maintaining a rough balance between predator ability to capture prey and prey ability to elude capture.
From an evolutionary perspective, furless apes have been an anomaly regarding environmental sustainability. How this arose is uncertain and remains a topic of much speculation.
Evolutionary biologists have long ballyhooed the development of larger brains during human descent as contributing to the species success. If so, big brains contributed more to self-destructive behaviors than survivability.
Humans evolved from apes with only slightly smaller brains relative to body size. Earlier-evolved apes lived in a way which facilitated their perpetuation by not excessively degrading their habitat. That did not prevent their eventual extinction, but early hominid species lived for millions of years.
By contrast, large-brained modern humans emerged just ~300,000 years ago and are now facing extinction within a century or less. This owes to lifestyle practices which were obviously unsustainable: lessons provided for millennia by ancestral mistakes which younger generations never bothered to learn.
Species longevity is only one facet of adaptation. Humans demonstrate a plethora of odd behaviors which belie acumen.
Like parrots, humans waste roughly half of the food they produce. Unlike parrots, human food waste pollutes the habitat rather than promoting future harvests.
Furless apes breed at an appalling rate. Herds of these roving land animals widely dispersed and now reside in even inhospitable climes. Their resource exploitation practices have repeatedly exhausted the ecosystems into which they settled.
Humans have the peculiar habit of concentrating into overcrowded nesting colonies where conflicts become rife. Furless apes are often needlessly confrontational with each other instead of cooperative. Rather than welcoming newcomers who may contribute to their society, these creatures appear to have a generalized aversion to immigrants. This tendency toward extreme tribality owes to cultural myopia. Overall, despite the seeming appearance of complex social organization, dysfunctionality is instead the norm.
Humans developed a vast array of technologies, almost none of which promote habitat vitality. Instead, almost all their technologies rapidly deteriorate environmental quality. Inexplicably, this mode worsened as technology advanced.
Within the past 10,000 years, furless apes developed domestication techniques for producing their own food rather than foraging and hunting. Food production is now industrialized, with a ubiquitous practice of applying toxins to foodstuffs, both plants and animals, prior to their consumption. Voluntarily drinking polluted water by using plastic bottles which leach contaminants is widespread and rising. Why humans would ingest poisons as a regular part of their diet is not understood.
Another trend of accelerating decrepitude relates to modern human health habits. Recent generations have increasingly become physically obese and otherwise neglect sensible health practices, such as regular exercise. Concomitant with this has been the dispersal of misinformation about health regimes and widespread promotion and distribution of nutritionally deficient foodstuffs, especially at wildly popular outlets which provide food portions quickly (colloquially called “fast food.”)
Oddly, as technology has become more advanced, the level of education among the populace did not kept pace. Only small pockets of a furless ape population are presently proficient at development or even maintenance of many tools and devices commonly employed. More broadly, many cultures appear to hold little value for education even when it is available.
Furless ape languages appear complex, and are proliferative, but most of what is conveyed in communication is trivial. Humans chatter like monkeys, but commonly only with meaningless significations, and often in ways which engender controversy rather than troop cohesion.
The informational mass media consumed by most people is filled with minutia which lacks instructive value. The favor among furless apes for gibberish is peculiar.
The hypothesis that brain size has anything to do with intelligence is silly, having been indisputably disproven in light of savvy animals with small brains, or life forms, such as plants, with no discernable physiological system for intelligence. Yet the myth of “braininess” remains popular among even well-educated scientists. This illustrates another odd aspect of human credulity.
Furless apes, including those groups who reputedly epitomize species’ intelligence, are notoriously gullible. People only rarely detect deception by others of their own kind.
Humans are especially prone to beliefs which lack factual foundation or are theoretically consistent with known facts. This tendency is shown by the ubiquity of faith-based religions and axiomatic falsities which are rampant in matterist science, which is only facilely fact-based.
The widespread lack of appropriate skepticism among furless apes may have evolved to assist group cohesion and cooperation – positive social dynamics which are often short-lived and tenuous in this contentious species. The reason that deception evolved to be so ubiquitously common may be answered by broad consideration of what human potential is, as contrasted to collective behaviors based upon naïve realism. That analysis is beyond the intended scope of this entry but can be found in Clarity: The Path Inside.
The tendency of humans toward conflict and ecological destruction may be related. Both involve awareness of environmental quality – a perceptive quality for which humans often appear deficient despite many maintaining tidy domiciles and workplaces.
The political regime known as “democracy” is also puzzling. Under this system, ill-informed adult apes select their leadership for allocation of communal resources. Repeatedly, elected “leaders” have unfairly distributed benefits to groups not needing largesse while neglecting those who obviously need help. Further, “politicians,” as they are called, are commonly quarrelsome and promote disunity; behaviors which are counterproductive to societal cohesion, which should be a goal. Why furless apes persist with democracy rather than a rational leadership regime, such as found in elephants, is not understood.
Despite have recently emerged in evolutionary time and having produced an impressive array of technological and cultural artifacts, the human species cannot be construed as intelligent regarding self-preservation.
Whereas other animals evolved behaviors which engender survival, furless apes instead developed ritualized (institutionalized) behavioral systems which may promote alienation, animosity, and dynamics which weaken productivity and troop well-being, both physically and psychologically. This is most apparent in the oddly chaotic economic system which predominates among societies, which the natives call “capitalism.”
Capitalism has been the primary systematic driver of the mass extinction event which furless apes engineered as a means of ecological devastation and species suicide. Continuing commitment to capitalism is an enigma.
There have been many mysteries of evolutionary biology. Parrots playfully wasting food has been one. The furless ape – a species which has demonstrated intelligence in some ways but has been shown overall to be demonstrably nonadaptive – is among the strangest.
Esther Sebastián-González et al, “The extent, frequency and ecological functions of food wasting by parrots,” Scientific Reports (24 October 2019).
Cara Giaimo, “Why do parrots waste so much food?,” The New York Times (2 November 2019).
James Gorman, “Parrots think they’re so smart. Now they’re bartering tokens for food.,” The New York Times (undated).