A lot happens in 100k Years of Evolution

Inside my skull is a brain that was designed to exploit the conditions of an African savanna between 3 million and 100,000 years ago. When my ancestors moved into Europe (I am a white European by descent) about 100,000 years ago, they quickly evolved a set of physiological features to suit the sunless climate of northern latitudes: pale skin to prevent rickets, male beards, and a circulation relatively resistant to frostbite. But little else changed: Skull size, body proportions, and teeth are all much the same in me as they were in my ancestors 100,000 years ago and are much the same as they are in a San tribesman from southern Africa. And there is little reason to believe that the gray matter inside the skull changed much, either. For a start, 100,000 years is only three thousand generations, a mere eye blink in evolution, equivalent to a day and a half in the life of bacteria. Moreover, until very recently the life of a European was essentially the same as that of an African. Both hunted meat and gathered plants. Both lived in social groups. Both had children dependent on their parents until their late teens. Both used stone, bone, wood, and fiber to make tools. Both passed wisdom down with complex language. Such evolutionary novelties as agriculture, metal. and writing arrived less than three hundred generations ago, far too recently to have left much imprint on my mind.

There is, therefore, such a thing as a universal human nature, common to all peoples. If there were descendants of Homo erectus still living in China, as there were a million years ago, and those people were as intelligent as we are, then truly they could be said to have different but still human natures.'* They might perhaps lave no lasting pair bonds of the kind we call marriage, no concept of romantic love, and no involvement of fathers in parental care. We could have some very interesting discussions with them about such matters. But there are no such people. We are all one close family, one small race of the modern Homo sapiens people who lived in Africa until 100,000 years ago, and we all share the nature of that beast.


A brief descriptions of the characteristics acquired in 100,000 years of human history.

Folksonomies: evolution human evolution

/society (0.577279)
/law, govt and politics/legal issues/human rights (0.576515)
/family and parenting/children (0.573020)

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Human (0.950293): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Africa (0.890085): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Human evolution (0.680871): dbpedia | freebase
Evolution (0.575735): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Reason (0.529431): dbpedia | freebase
Archaic Homo sapiens (0.512462): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Agriculture (0.460135): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Homo erectus (0.459486): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Ridley , Matt (2003-05-01), The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2011-05-03
Folksonomies: evolution culture sex evolutionary psychology


04 SEP 2011

 Big History

Memes about the history of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth to build into a timeline.