Thursday, March 17, 2011

The missing revolution

“It makes no sense whatsoever to draw major evolutionary distinctions among humans based on skull shape unless we understand the underlying sources of cranial variation. There is no simple morphological dividing line among these fossil skulls.”

“If there ever were significant numbers of Homo sapiens individuals with cognitive limitations on their capacity for behavioral variability, natural selection by intraspecific competition and predation would have quickly and ruthlessly winnowed them out. In the unforgiving Pleistocene environments in which our species evolved, reproductive isolation was the penalty for stupidity, and lions and wolves were its cure. In other words: No villages, no village idiots.”

”We need to stop looking at artifacts as expressions of evolutionary states and start looking at them as byproducts of behavioral strategies.”

(Much of anthropological study has focused on making fossils fit a pattern, older to newer man. Once the presumed “high” and “low” were formulated, all other finds had to conveniently slide in somewhere.)

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