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New Scientist ponders the “10 biggest puzzles” of human evolution


Here, New Scientist offers us what they think are the “10 biggest puzzles of human evolution”: Like, “Why aren’t we more like chimps?

Uh, we tried it, sweetie-hoo, but got bored. There is only so much you can do with howling naked in the trees.

We discovered duplicate bridge, for example, and bridge mixture candy. And the intricate rituals of hockey, including sewing the numbers on team uniforms.

After a while, we had to put the dam chimps in indoor cages because they had to be kept warm but wouldn’t wear parkas or snow pants.

And you were asking … what? Why?

Well, why not?

My answers. 1. We're not more like chimps because DNA similarity does not dictate behavioral similarity. Case in point, Humans are way more like dogs than chimps. 2. Why did we become bipedal? Because when we bend over our hands barely reach the ground. Our arms are too short to go around on all fours. 3. Why was technological development so slow? Prove it was. Few things besides stone last a million years. Maybe we had tons of technology that just didn't survive. Maybe people a hundred thousand years ago had clothes and jewelry and pottery and stuff that decayed over time so we just don't know about it and we assume they were real primitive. 4. When did language evolve? I'm an historian, not David Tennant. Language evolved whenever we had stuff to talk about just like writing evolved when we had stuff to write down (the oldest writing is lists of things, usually lists of the king's property). 5. Why are our brains so big? Cause big brains are sexy. No offense, but people with tiny little brains just don't do it for me at all. I don't care how good you look, if you can't keep my attention during the time we're not having sex I'm going to drag another woman to my cave. Like Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gxKStPXyn8 6. Why did we lose our fur? That's actually something I've wondered about. Who's to say we had fur to begin with? Fossils are like bones, right? How can you tell whether someone had fur by looking at their bones? Can you tell if someone was bald by looking at their skull? Maybe early humans were always sans pelts. 7. Why did we go global? Boredom. Ennui. Restlessness is part of the human condition. We are never satisfied with what we have and every attempt to fulfil a desire is just a gateway to more desire. Humans want more of everything and everything is at the top of the list. 8. Are some of us hybrids? I doubt it. People say they had alien babies but I can't see that happening either. 9. Are other hominins alive today. Yes. The film "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBnxM4fqawU)really sealed the deal for me. A team of scientists got an acrobat and tried to reproduce the gait of the famous Patterson film and even with him suspended from the ceiling found that it is absolutely impossible for a human being to move like that. The musclature and visible breasts of the subject of the film are very subtle details that would cost a serious amount of money to fake. There was also a former police fingerprint expert, Jimmy Chilcutt, who is an expert in primate dermal ridges and is one of a handfull of people on the planet who can distinguish between dermal ridge patterns and he stakes his reputation on a number of footprints being real. When there are so few people on the planet who can make a hoax that elaborate you have to think why would they go to all that trouble. There have been footprints that were tested for the History Channel and found that it required 1000 pounds of force to make footprints that deep. Who would go to all the trouble to hoax something like that? There's evidence that sasquatch sightings follow seasonal variation in elk and deer migration, indicating what might be their main source of food. There's also evidence that sightings appear in greater numbers in areas of greater rainfall, peaking at the North West temperate rainforests of North America. A lot of people complain that no one has found a body, well you go to somewhere that rains a lot and see how long an abandoned body survives in any recognisable form. There's also the possibility that sasquatch are very intelligent, as a large number of eyewitnesses attest, and they may bury their dead. Remember, for hundreds of years stories of highland gorillas were considered to be myths, but sure enough they turned out to be a real animal. There have been 25 newly discovered primates in the past decade, and hundreds of other newly discovered species, some of them very large, so it is not only possible for a breeding population of very large mammals to be in hiding in the 21st century, it is a certainty. I argue that sasquatch is one such hidden species. I am 98-99% convinced that there is an unknown, large primate species in North America. 10. Did we kill Neanderthals? No. That's just eco guilt talking. We didn't kill Neanderthals anymore than we killed sabre toothed tigers or dinosaurs or golden toads. Things go extinct all the time, doesn't mean it's our fault just because we want to drive fast cars and create a nice future for our kids. UrbanMysticDee

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