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World of Science +1: Artificial Ape Man
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Dro



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E-boy wrote:
Wow, it's the tool use hypothesis resurrected all over again....


Speaking of resurrections...
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E-boy wrote:
Wow, it's the tool use hypothesis resurrected all over again....

Here's the thing, you can't discount tech as biological. Humans have never become independent of the biosphere. In a very real sense all our tech is every bit as natural as a termite mound. Has technology changed us? Well, behaviors involving use of non-biological implements have certainly kept our ancestors alive. But as has been mentioned that's true of a great many animals...*snip*

I think the most important and viable idea from the article requires the maintaining of a certain degree of abstraction and generalization when talking about how it applies: Our understanding and/or models of evolutionary processes are not as complete and accurate as we would like to believe them to be. If you start to get more specific than that you better start showing some data. It's no surprise though since a lot of the greatest discoveries stem from examining the causes and sources of inconsistencies, contradictions and other anomalies between the various theories.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I know is I feel deficient without some fuckin' claws. Stupid tool use!
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E-boy



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, it's no so much I disagree with the guy as I think he's overblowing it. A bit like Gould's "Revolutionary" Punctuated Equilibrium. Which was neither a new idea nor terribly revolutionary.

In any case, there are a great number of animals that use tools. Fellow primates, birds, Dolphins. It's a fair bet that behavior can and does influence evolution. In point of fact ANYTHING, that alters the environment in relatively stable ways will influence natural selection whether it be cultural factors like technology or natural phenomena.\

The influence of technology on human evolution is NOT a new or revolutionary concept. In fact, one of the first tasks of molecular anthropologists has been to comb through their growing data bases for signs of ongoing change. They are finding it, but not at the rates they were expecting. Cultural change is far more rapid than biological change and only certain aspects of human cultural change have been stable enough for long enough to influence our environment in a predictable enough way to leave a mark. Cooking and agriculture seem to have although the verdict is still out as they are looking for evidence of enzymes specific to cooking products in human digestion. They are looking for all sorts of things. The genes associated with human olfaction seem to be changing the fastest. So far they've given rise to one of our more unique abilities. The ability to smell food we are actively masticating which adds the sensation of flavor to taste.

In addition to the relatively long time periods required for biological change, you can add a pretty unique lack of genetic diversity in modern humans. This has been blamed on a "bottleneck" in which our species very nearly became extinct sometime between forty and eighty thousand years ago (A figure that makes a super volcano in asia that erupted about 70 thousand years ago a prime suspect). Diversity is the fuel natural selection runs on. This probably helps explain the lower than expected rate of ongoing change.

My point stands though that this is not a new or revolutionary idea and that the author is pushing a bit too hard. Kinda like many of the initial evolutionary psych research got way overhyped to the detriment of the field as a whole.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We found an old brain!
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
We found an old brain!

I like that the leading bullet point reads "One of the world's best preserved prehistoric human brains... "
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Darkman



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
nathan wrote:
We found an old brain!

I like that the leading bullet point reads "One of the world's best preserved prehistoric human brains... "


2000 years ago is prehistoric? I'm pretty sure there were some historians back then.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2,684 years. And depends on where he was decapitated, I guess. It wouldn't be history if it's in the UK. It'd be protohistory, not prehistory.
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Darkman



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
2,684 years. And depends on where he was decapitated, I guess. It wouldn't be history if it's in the UK. It'd be protohistory, not prehistory.


Fair enough. Had to look up when Britain actually became part of the Roman Empire. Learn something new everyday. I tend to consider anything after the invention of writing history but then again I'm hardly authoritative on the subject.
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Michael



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Prehistoric Human Brain Found Pickled in Bog


Such an awesome headline.

Then again, it could just as easily be mine, after a gherkin filled night out on the moors
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Willem



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkman wrote:
Willem wrote:
2,684 years. And depends on where he was decapitated, I guess. It wouldn't be history if it's in the UK. It'd be protohistory, not prehistory.


Fair enough. Had to look up when Britain actually became part of the Roman Empire. Learn something new everyday. I tend to consider anything after the invention of writing history but then again I'm hardly authoritative on the subject.

It'd be after the invention of writing in general, but even that's subject to geographical differences.
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