Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seafood Mama

This just in from The New Scientist: Seafood gave us the edge on the Neanderthals.

Well, duh.

Although the article doesn’t prove or even conclude that. What it establishes is that early (40,000 ya, in this case) humans did eat a lot of marine life, whether they were living on the coast or inland; and they probably ate more than Neanderthals did. Whether or not this “gives us an edge” is, I imagine, open to debate; although something certainly did. If it was seafood, pass the scampi.

Concentrations of iodine in the bones of the early humans examined established its origins in an aquatic diet. Human iodine dependency is a well known fact, and the only explanation I know of for that dependency is a long-term accustomization of the human body to a seafood diet. Forty-thousand years is probably not enough to create a dependency in the entire species, such as we currently experience. (Better eat that iodized salt.)

But while I’ve got you, I’d like to remind you that Neanderthals were not people. Peking Man was not a human. Homo robustus was not human. Homo erectus was, not only not human, but probably wasn’t in our line. In fact, none of them probably was. And even if they were in our line, that doesn’t make them human. Somewhere there was a one-celled animal whose descendants are alive in the form of you and me; that one-celled animal was not human.

As far as we currently understand, humans arose some 200,000 years ago. Before that time, there were no humans. Those other bipedal critters in our direct line? Whoever they were, they weren’t people. And we don’t know for sure that any of those other bipedals we’ve discovered were in our line; perhaps none. We may know sometime, but to claim descendence from any currently known fossil species is jumping-the-gun.

Thanks, and have a nice day.

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