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But of course!: Climate change jump started human evolution

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The way it jump starts the government-tab business at good hotels.

Your climate or mine may or may not be changing, but the hotel’s guests climate will improve a notch. 😉 Anyway, from New Scientist:

The specific role of the climate shift in these events is unclear, but it would have changed what foods were available. Carbon isotope data from fossil hominid tooth enamel show that Paranthropus‘s diet was mostly derived from grasses, while the doomed Australopithecus almost exclusively ate plants that weren’t so well adapted to hot temperatures. Early Homo species seem to have eaten a mixture of grasses and non-grasses.

Whenever one hears that the “specific role of [insert item] is unclear” and that it “would have” this or that, be cautious.

Other incidences of human speciation, extinctions and migrations seem to overlap with periods of unstable climate, and some researchers have suggested that traits such as large brains and bipedality evolved to help our ancestors cope with changing climate. But inferring clear relationships between climate change and evolutionary events is fraught with difficulty, says Hélène Roche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Well, the obvious difficulty is, why didn’t any other life form do it. They all faced the same challenges.

“The problem is that when you look in detail at what we have in the field, it’s not so obvious,” says Roche. It had been thought that the first stone tools were linked to a drying climate, but this year, Roche’s team found tools in west Turkana that are 700,000 years older than any found previously. “Now we have to rethink everything,” she says.

Bernard Wood at George Washington University warns against making assumptions about where evolutionary events happened from the location of fossils. “The problem is, the drunk looks for his keys under the lamp post because that’s the only place he can see,” he says.


But who knows? The researchers might get invites to some good eats events.

See also: Human evolution, the skinny

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3 Replies to “But of course!: Climate change jump started human evolution

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    “The specific role of the climate shift in these events is unclear”

    I say we prosecute Seversky for lying about the people who are lying about this.


  2. 2
    Mung says:

    It do get cold at night, up in them there trees.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    So car emissions were already doing their evil deeds!
    I wonder if there is a hint here WE BETTER be careful about climate change or we will change. I wonder if the paper authors are carefully trying to tap into the modern myth of climate change in order to get more attention and funding. Paranoid suspicion or a educated suspicion.

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