From Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens: The Origins Of Human Behavior by Willard W. Olson - Read Online
From Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens
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Where did we come from? Every civilization since the dawn of man has asked that question and every one has had its own creation myth to answer it. Every religion, be it ancient or modern, offers a story of the creation of the first man and woman. Science, too, has its own explanation of human origins, an explanation we might presume, based upon objective analysis of all available scientific evidence—but is it?
In The Descent of Man, Darwin speculated modern humans arose in Africa to eventually populate the earth. This served as the basis for the now widely accepted contemporary theory of Recent African Origins, also known as (RAO). As a consequence of long term funding of research by the National Geographic Society and others, RAO has received widespread media exposure in both print media and television documentaries. If you’ve seen one of these documentaries, you will have heard of it.
Based upon this, one might naturally assume RAO to be the only theory put forward by reputable anthropological researchers to account for the extinction of Homo erectus and advent of Homo sapiens, but to do so would be wrong. RAO is not the only possible explanation of human origin. There is another theory, the Multi-Regional Hypothesis (MRH), that better accounts for all available evidence. Why then, has it been ignored in favor of the RAO? RAO carefully interprets available evidence to avoid offending any of the groups that must not be offended in today’s political climate in order to secure continued funding and thus proves itself politicized science at its most egregious.
From Homo Erectus To Homo Sapiens will explain in detail, point by point, why the Multi-Regional Hypothesis (MRH) better interprets all available evidence— including neurological, genetic, biological, fossil, meteorological and anthropological—than does RAO. Each topic will be examined in detail and in terms the layperson can understand, but more than that, it is the author’s hope that the reader will find the evidence herein not only accessible, but germane to his own life, for if we, the family of man, are to survive as a species, we must understand not only where we are going, but the truth about our origins.

Publicado: Elderberry Press el
ISBN: 9781465914590
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Table of Contents

Foreword

Chapter One: Theories Of Human Origins

Chapter Two: Incest And Religion

Chapter Three: Some Effects Of Inbreeding

Chapter Four: Effects Of Inbreeding Upon Food Production

Chapter Five: Some Observed Effects Of Inbreeding Upon Human Populations

Chapter Six: DNA Studies And Human Origins

Chapter Seven: Homo Erectus

Chapter Eight: The Brain Of Homo Erectus

Chapter Nine: Some Thoughts On Brain Design And Function As Applied To Homo Erectus

Chapter Ten: The Society That Caused Human Behavior To Evolve

Chapter Eleven: Monogamy

Chapter Twelve: Shoveled Incisors

Chapter Thirteen: Sex And Human Domestication

Chapter Fourteen: Sex And Human Physiology

Chapter Fifteen: Specialization And Generalization

Chapter Sixteen: Conclusions And Implications

Foreword

Where did we come from? Every civilization since the dawn of man has asked that question and every one has had its own creation myth to answer it. Every religion, be it ancient or modern, offers a story of the creation of the first man and woman. Science, too, has its own explanation of human origins, an explanation we might presume, based upon objective analysis of all available scientific evidence—but is it?

In The Descent of Man, Darwin speculated modern humans arose in Africa to eventually populate the earth. This served as the basis for the now widely accepted contemporary theory of Recent African Origins, also known as (RAO). As a consequence of long term funding of research by the National Geographic Society and others, RAO has received widespread media exposure in both print media and television documentaries. If you’ve seen one of these documentaries, you will have heard of it.

Based upon this, one might naturally assume RAO to be the only theory put forward by reputable anthropological researchers to account for the extinction of Homo erectus and advent of Homo sapiens, but to do so would be wrong. RAO is not the only possible explanation of human origin. There is another theory, the Multi-Regional Hypothesis (MRH), that better accounts for all available evidence. Why then, has it been ignored in favor of the RAO? RAO carefully interprets available evidence to avoid offending any of the groups that must not be offended in today’s political climate in order to secure continued funding and thus proves itself politicized science at its most egregious.

From Homo Erectus To Homo Sapiens will explain in detail, point by point, why the Multi-Regional Hypothesis (MRH) better interprets all available evidence— including neurological, genetic, biological, fossil, meteorological and anthropological—than does RAO. Each topic will be examined in detail and in terms the layperson can understand, but more than that, it is the author’s hope that the reader will find the evidence herein not only accessible, but germane to his own life, for if we, the family of man, are to survive as a species, we must understand not only where we are going, but the truth about our origins.

(Return to Contents)

Chapter One: Theories Of Human Origins

In his 1871 book entitled, The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin speculated that modern humans arose in Africa and then populated the known world. This observation serves as a basis for the widely accepted contemporary theory variously called the Out of Africa model, the recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), Replacement Hypothesis or the Recent African Origin (RAO) model. As a consequence of the long term heavy funding of African anthropology research by the National Geographic Society and other funding agencies, this general model or idea has received wide publication in the press as well as many television documentaries. It would seem that the case of our origins is closed. It is not!

These modern concepts are as limited as Darwin’s knowledge of human fossils in the world in 1871. At the time Darwin wrote the Descent of Man, the Java fossil of Homo erectus was unknown until its discovery in 1891. The presence of what became known as Peking Man (Homo erectus pekinensis) was also yet to be discovered in a cave (Zhoukoudian) near modern Beijing, China during the period of 1923-27. Darwin was not necessarily wrong, he simply composed a theory based upon the best knowledge available to him in 1870-71 and lacked 20th Century information. It may not be an accident that the English might have discovered many human fossils in their former colonies of North, East and Southern Africa. It is as simple as the fact that educated English were there to look for them.

The proponents of the modern Recent African Origin model argue that their model is consistent with the fossil record as well as the genetic history (DNA and mtDNA) of the human species. Are these arguments valid? Does the RAO actually conform to the fossil record? When it is stated that the DNA evidence points to a recent African origin, what does that mean and how are such conclusions reached?

The proponents of RAO have not stated the obvious because that information would paint them into a corner by picking only one of the probable dozens of Homo erectus populations. Was there something unique about the African Homo erectus? No. Did this erectus arise at an earlier date in Africa? No.

The proponents of RAO have not suggested an ancestor of modern humans in Africa. The real reason for failing to suggest an ancestor for modern humans, I suspect, is that they would have to explain scientifically why Africa Homo erectus was different or superior to say the Chinese Homo erectus. The decision became political at that point, if it has ever been anything else. There is an interrelationship between the concept of a single origin of humans and the various efforts to statistically discover the ancient Eve through mitochondrial research. These ideas fit nicely with the political dogma of multiculturalism and the elimination of racial differences as a topic of polite conversation. They also fit nicely with the worldview and political leanings of Franz Boaz, the father of modern social anthropology.

In addition to the notion that modern humans arose in Africa without naming any ancestral group, the proponents of this hypothesis avoid any commitment to explain why modern humans might have evolved from an African Homo erectus and not from a European or Chinese Homo erectus. They escape this intellectual trap by insisting that Homo erectus became extinct and that African moderns replaced indigenous populations throughout the Old World. We are left with two untenable conclusions: 1. The authors seem to believe that human evolution has been linear from a single original ancestor and 2. By choosing one location of human origins over other potential areas, RAO assumes the unmistakable appearance of a Special Creation similar to that suggested by the Bible. While it seems highly unlikely that the proponents of this concept are suggesting that the story of Adam and Eve is actual history, many aspects of their ideas are consistent with Biblical mythology.

The idea that human evolution has been a relatively straight line from early African ancestors to the present is contradicted on many fronts by evidence from elsewhere that can’t be ignored. For instance, human populations with heavy supraorbital ridges over their eyes similar to virtually all living, genetically pure Melanesians, Australians, many primitive tribal groups in Southeast Asia and a small but significant population of individuals from ALL racial groups suggests most strongly that this primitive characteristic of archaic Homo sapiens, actually late Homo erectus, could not have evolved from fully modern Homo sapiens. Specialization arises from generalization and rarely, if ever, the reverse. The RAO proponents seem to avoid these nasty questions by failing to define the skeletal structures of a fully modern human. They simply say that all living humans ARE fully modern humans. This is not a definition. It is an evasion. Skull form is directly representative of the genetic blueprints dictating those structures. Skull structure is as racially distinctive and genetic as skin color. Otherwise, we should eliminate any consideration of DNA from any consideration of human origins. Without a definition of what constitutes the cranial forms (particularly facial) of fully modern humans, the discussion moves into the arena of opinion and politics and abandons the rigors of scientific scrutiny. Virtually all anatomists would insist that fully modern humans, Homo sapiens, have a domed cranium (no trace of a saggital elevation or crest), a complete lack of supraorbital ridges above the eyes and a generally gracile facial structure. An overwhelming percentage of modern Europeans, East Asians, and South Asians, Middle Easterners, North East Africans have these characteristics.

Many groups around the world as well as a small minority in all major racial groups have not evolved past archaic Homo sapiens. To state otherwise is an exercise in creative storytelling. In this sense, any groups with prominent supraorbital structures must be considered to be archaic Homo sapiens. The question then becomes this: do the proponents of the Recent African Origins hypothesis believe that fully modern humans moved out of Africa or were they archaic Homo sapiens—or were they Homo erectus?

One of the greatest challenges to RAO is presented by the existence of the Hobbit fossil recently discovered in a cave on Flores Island, Indonesia. Here is a Homo erectus in miniature that lived a mere 18,000 years ago on that island. Many devotees of the religion of RAO have tried in vain and with immense silliness to discredit this fossil and other similar fossils found in the same cave complex since the original discovery. There have been efforts (and continue to be efforts) to suggest that these individuals are microcephalics. Only a very poorly educated anatomist could have entertained such an idea while viewing the Hobbit fossil side by side with that of an actual microcephalic. The Hobbit is fatal to the theory behind the Recent African Origin of modern humans! That is the fundamental reason for the frantic attempts to discredit this discovery. Not only is the Hobbit clearly extremely primitive, it lived at a time when most of the major racial groups in China, Europe, South Asia and elsewhere had evolved into fully modern Homo sapiens. The Homo erectus ancestors of the Hobbit migrated to Flores Island and then evolved into midget status. Many other animals on Flores Island have also become miniaturized. Human groups living only a few miles from the cave where the Hobbit was discovered are also extremely small and clearly archaic humans. It takes little to no imagination to understand and realize the Hobbit must be an ancestor of the current residents of Flores Island. The only real explanation for the existence of the Hobbit and other primitive peoples on earth today lies in an inescapable fact that there must have been a large number of different and relatively (though not completely) isolated Homo erectus populations throughout the Old World for most of the last two million years. Not all of these Homo erectus groups survived or evolved at the same rate, but they all had the same basic genome and, therefore, belonged to the same species.

Chris Stringer, the major proponent of the Recent African Origins hypothesis, in a rather brilliant bit of subterfuge has claimed that the Hobbit damages the opposing Multi-Regional Hypothesis as it relies on all humans belonging to the same species. This description of the Multi-Regional Hypothesis badly misstates the central thesis that many groups of Homo erectus were evolving at different rates in different locations. The Hobbit is absolutely compatible with the MRH. Stringer’s sleight of hand turns a serious and virtually fatal criticism of the RAO idea into an unwarranted attack on a competing theory. It is very clever, but it won’t float. As an anatomist, Stringer surely must know that the Hobbit represents a primitive human form that could NOT have arisen from his modern African migrants even if those moderns were archaic Homo sapiens. To make matters worse, the humans living around the cave on Flores Island where the Hobbit fossils were discovered are very small in stature only slightly taller than the 3.5 foot Hobbit. The inference that the Hobbit represents the ancestors of the people living in the area today is quite unmistakable. That cannot be possible if the RAO hypothesis is even remotely correct!

All modern humans alive today must possess the Homo erectus genome virtually intact. This basic idea is consistent with of the theory of evolution as envisioned by Charles Darwin and hundreds of biologists since the middle of the 19th Century. There is no evidence that the genome of Homo erectus became extinct while a completely new genome materialized out of thin air encoding Homo sapiens. Where would this new Homo sapiens genome have originated? Homo sapiens had to have had ancestors. Consequently, those ancestors must have provided the genome that we now associate with modern humans. This must be assumed from the fact that chimpanzees and humans are so genetically close and differ by only about 2% after a separation of 6 or 7 million years and completely isolated evolution for that time period.

Some human groups seem to have evolved faster than others. The Recent African Origins hypothesis is the ultimate in politically correct science as it attempts on virtually no evidence to imply that all humans are the same—that race is a social construction as some social anthropologists have suggested—with a recent origin in Africa. Even the brilliant Stephen Jay Gould seems to have abandoned his evolutionary principles when it came to human evolution and especially racial distinctions, but I doubt that he would have countenanced such pseudoscientific nonsense.

Franz Boaz believed race is a social construct. Franz Boaz is also considered to be the father of modern social anthropology. He was most likely a lifelong socialist who encouraged students to find socialism in all observations even if those concepts were little more than seeing what the observer wanted to see. Today, there are overtly sensitive people who seem to believe that any mention of human evolution or of the obvious differences between racial groups constitutes racism. This same group, I suspect, that might consider gravity as a conspiracy against their delusional efforts to fly like birds.

The Recent African Origins hypothesis appears to be based upon only one African fossil—the fossil skull found at Herto, Ethiopia. This skull is dated at ~160,000 years ago. It has been classified as Homo sapiens idaltu. The authors of the RAO hypothesis consider Herto to be fully modern; it is clearly not a fully modern human owing to the presence of supraorbital ridges. There is little question that this fossil should be classified as archaic Homo sapiens (Hs). The Herto skull looks remarkably similar to the fossil skull found in a cave at Petralona, Greece dating to somewhere between 250,000 to 400,000 years ago. The Petralona skull is classified as Homo erectus (Homo heidelbergensis in some analyses). In my opinion, it should be considered to be an example of European Homo erectus. There are reasons to doubt that Herto is African as opposed to European as a consequence of the facial characteristics of the fossil. The facial construction of Herto is remarkably similar to the face of Petralona.

The European population (Petralona/Greece) and the Herto population (Ethiopia) may have been parts of closely related migratory groups. It is conceivable that Herto represents a later evolutionary state of the Petralona group from Greece and certainly other parts of Europe and not African at all but merely a transient traveler from the north during cold times. The chart of earth temperatures suggests that human populations might have been moving north at about 140 thousand years ago during a warming period that lasted for more than 30,000 years. Massive events re-occur regularly every ~100 thousand years resulting in a massive swing in earth temperature. These changes certainly have little connection to the human population as a cause. Interestingly, this chart when read properly from right to left appears to suggest that carbon dioxide elevations follow increases in earth temperature by possibly as much as a thousand years. This may be another example of statistical correlations run amuck. The historical increases in carbon dioxide could not be related to regular volcanism. The great reservoirs of CO2 on earth are the oceans. If the earth warmed as a direct consequence of regular solar variation, the warming oceans may be the source of rising carbon dioxide as the solubility of CO2 in water is directly proportional to temperature. Beware of deliberately false information suggesting that earth CO2 is at an all time high. That is a rather blatant falsehood. The entire matter is a function of statistics. Does warming release carbon dioxide or does carbon dioxide cause warming. Statistical correlations cannot give us the answer for the simple reason that statistics cannot differentiate cause from effect. Statistics can only illustrate some association between temperature and carbon dioxide. The case remains open and is far from settled on the cause or causes of great long-term climate changes (thousands of years).

It is important to keep these huge amounts of time in mind and related to the very short period of time since the Roman Empire for instance. It appears that humans may have been migrating north during a warm Pleistocene interglacial period after having migrated south during a cold glacial period and not because they are moderns bent upon conquering the entire Old World. This climate related migration could be and evidently has been utilized by the RAO group to provide the genetic impression of an African origin. This information could just as easily imply human movement in the opposite direction. This is the stuff that makes statistical correlation the indispensible friend of the politically motivated scientist.

Of the many implications of the RAO hypothesis that are troubling, the notion that all modern humans have a single origin (from a single individual—a mythical, imaginary Eve) is difficult to justify from well-established evolutionary and scientific concepts. The most notable event in human history was the reduction of chromosomes from the 48 of the great apes to the 46 chromosomes of humans. This change occurred about 7 million years ago when two ape chromosomes designated 2A and 2B fused to form a single human chromosome, chromosome 2. This event cannot be termed a (DNA) mutation as it involves the fusion of two chromosomes instead of a change to the DNA of the genes associated with an individual chromosome. Did this chromosome fusion occur simultaneously in a group of individuals or was it a more gradual process? This question relates directly to the notion of a single common origin of all extant humans. Evolution occurs as a consequence of group effects. Individuals do not evolve. Vertebrate evolution is always a group phenomenon. If the fusion of 2A and 2B occurred in only one individual, this individual would most likely be sterile in sexual unions with those with 48 chromosomes. The new fused individual would produce eggs or sperm with only a haploid number of 23 rather than the 24 of it ape relatives. Any mating of this new individual with an ape would have a diploid or full chromosome number of 47 (23 + 24). Since the number 47 is not evenly divisible by 2, cell division would most likely terminate with the death of the fertilized cell. At any rate, the event resulting in the fusion of 2A and B most certainly had to involve a group of individuals. The resulting population would have immediately become a new species that could no longer interbreed with their ape ancestors. One can only speculate on the cause of this chromosomal fusion event. It could have been caused by massive radiation from a supernova or some other significant event effecting an entire group of individuals. At any rate, it happened and resulted in the beginnings of our Hominid genus. Although human fossils are extremely rare and difficult to find, it is certain at this time that a large number of different human species have lived during the last 6 or 7 million years since this fusion event occurred. This chromosomal fusion event almost certainly occurred in Africa as that continent is the location of the closest non-human relatives—the chimpanzees. It is not realistic to think that chimpanzees or their ancestors could have migrated from other parts of the Old World into Africa when the biological barrier of the Congo River alone seems to have caused the isolated speciation of the Bonobos. Having said that, we should not forget nor neglect the existence of the apes of Southeast Asia and their possible relationship to the primate/human family tree. These questions are far from being completely settled.

We should remember that the time between this alleged event of 6 or 7 million years ago and the time of the emergence of Homo erectus is a massive amount of evolutionary time—on the order of nearly 4 million years and possibly longer. It is reasonable to assume owing to this immense amount of time that Homo erectus may have been a rather substantial population by the time it had spread to the entire Old World around 2 million years ago. For the sake of my arguments, it makes no difference where Homo erectus first originated only that he spread throughout the Old World. Throughout this time, it is reasonable to assume that although the Hominid genome was relatively stable and that there may have been considerable differences between different groups of erectus. For many good biological reasons, it is worthwhile to think of Homo erectus as the generalized wild human ancestor much like the wolf is the wild ancestor of domesticated dogs. This observation should not be taken to imply that all modern humans descend from the same group of Homo erectus anymore than all dogs are descended from the same pack of wolves, and certainly not from the same wolf.

Julian Huxley once stated: man is a domesticated wild species. I believe he was absolutely correct in that analysis. The difference between man and his dog is that man domesticated the wolf while domesticating himself.

There may be questions about the time when early hominids first learned to control fire, but it is certain that Homo erectus controlled fire by 500,000 years ago and had to have been an accomplished hunter. An anthropologist friend who raises wolves and wolf/dog hybrids as a hobby has suggested that groups of Homo erectus hunters would have been like a pack of wolves armed with knives. The idea inherent and upon which the RAO absolutely depends suggests that these armed wolves either became extinct because they could not cope with changing environmental conditions (after having evolved in dynamic often severe environments for hundreds of thousands of years) or that they just blithely welcomed the superior newcomers from Africa into their midst. Both of these assumptions border upon the moronic in their lack of intellectual sophistication.

The Recent African Origins hypothesis requires that human groups in other areas either die out or cannot compete with the alleged modern migrants from Africa. All scientific evidence would suggest otherwise.

Any violent confrontation between Homo erectus on his own territory would not have resulted in a win for Homo sapiens and most certainly not for Homo sapiens unless these invaders had much larger numbers and highly superior weapons (I would suggest M-16’s and hand grenades). There is no anthropological evidence of either in China or anywhere else for that matter. One of the more troubling aspects of the RAO is the requirement that Homo erectus either became extinct or could not compete with African immigrants. There is a clear line of human evolutionary descent in