Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is modern man a wimp?

That's a resounding "yes" according to Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister:

LONDON (Reuters) - Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.

Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.

Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.

These and other eye-catching claims are detailed in a book by Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister entitled "Manthropology" and provocatively sub-titled "The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male."


It seems to me that living longer and developing the technology to lead a better life than a Neanderthal means that modern humans are hardly wimps. It depends how one defines the term.

77 Comments:

Blogger DADvocate said...

The Australian aboriginals and Tutsi men comments strike me as racist. Comments like that cost Jimmmy the Greek his job. ;-)

Determining the speed of prehistoric humans to hundreths or even tenths of a second seems like a dubious task to me. Can McAllister find and current Tutsi's that can jump higher than the current world record under Olymic rules? Determining jumping height to a hundreth of a meter from a 100 year old photo also seems dubious.

Neanderthal's weren't homo sapiens. Plenty of the great apes are stronger than humans. Our intelligence is what sets up apart from other animals.

2:20 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

But IO have cable and can watch NFL and Yankees...they could not, so there.

What was average life expectancy back then? Now (in US)?

What they could or could not do that many years ago is of little consequence today since we can not go back and must do with what we now have.

2:21 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Todd said...

There is also the issue of where energy is best spent. Pre-historic man was not strong compared to the other animals so he just needed to be slightly smarter to survive. He lived a hard life and did need a level of physical strength. For modern man, great physical strength is not nearly as valuable as intelligence. It is far easier to out-think your opponents than to physically over power them. This goes for enemies and for food.

2:28 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Alan said...

It's the old who would win a fight between Astronauts and Cavemen argument. My money is on the Astronauts. And let's not even get into persistence hunting.

2:41 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

in my former life as a general contractor i would routinely install 400 square feet of hardwood flooring in a day, run 100 sheets of drywall into a basemant or frame a floor of a house, and still work out in the evening or play soccer.

today a week before my 49th birthday i deadlift 400 pounds and clean 240 and routinely do 40km on the bike before breakfast.

but i do see the wimps in thier bmws and pink shirts.

i think it`s the soy milk in thier lattes...or maybe it`s the technological leg-up that society has that diminishes the need for full males.

3:11 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

yeah and neandertals weren`t homo sapiens. chimpanzee bones to perpetuate an on-going fraud.

3:12 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger The Duck said...

Yep, I see a lot more of a warrior attitude from most women that I teach than I do most men I teach in my firearm classes

3:12 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Ken said...

"It depends how one defines the term."

Kind of like what your definition of what "is" is. Is the definition of wimp in despute? Do you really think that the average man in the modern west anything but a wimp compared to prehistoric man?

I don't know about you, but I haven't had to tough out a cold night under what barely passes as shelter. I haven't had to go on a deadly hunt for food, in which I had a decent chance of getting hurt or killed. I haven't had to hike for 50 miles in a day or two looking for food/a decent place to live, ever.

Has the average modern man?

I've camped before- by choice and in very safe places. I've gone hunting, but with a gun at very safe distances. The most I've ever walked in a day is no more than 15 miles. And again, that was by choice and something that I never did regularly.

I don't think it's a stetch or controversial in any way to think that the average prehistoric man was on par with what we consider to be elite athletes, hunters, and warriors.

Why are so many bothered by such a statement?

3:21 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Learning Curve said...

Cue the blaming of our physical decline on environmental trace chemicals originating from evil capitalism in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

[leaving aside the irony that by far the most common, most feminizing residue comes from birth control pill hormones flushed into the environment, but we mustn't mention that!]

3:32 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

Ken,

I'm not bothered by the term. I just think that our intellect has moved us beyond having to do these things. They were done out of necessity, not because people were just dying to run and hunt for food. It is not wimpy to develop the tools to make life better and longer. We are intellectually superior to prehistoric man, and that took some pretty anti-wimpy thinking to do. If we are so wimpy and our bodies so lame, why do we live longer and better than prehistoric man. And why is it so important for some people to act like being some kind of caveman is preferable (more "natural") to being what we are today?

3:33 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

Why go back that far? Compare the modern vegetarian hippie, city dweller, or effete sophisticate (of arts, academics, or such) to the average conservative carnivore, red neck, hick, or military man.

Some men simply are not able, willing, or interested in being men. Some of us are, if there is also a great deal of latitude in how we express it. There are trade-offs, but I am happy being what I am. I do not need to wrestle a gorilla or prehistoric being they suggest was a man. So long as I can observe, figure out, and then destroy as might be demanded (or avoid as might be simplest). And though not brutishly strong or even Bruce Lee fast, I am better than your average bear and about that size to boot. I don't worry and know I don't need to do so. Though I like Wolverine best, I am sadly more like Beast, minus any pink he may or may not have worn.

I have some other doubts about some comparisons given, but they are not politically correct so I will keep them in my back pocket for my own continuing analysis.

3:33 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Memphis Steve said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:36 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Memphis Steve said...

The very first question that springs to my mind is, why is it only the modern male that is deemed inadequate? Are modern females still capable of jumping their own height and out-arm-wrestling old cavewomen?

3:37 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

the wimps aren`t bothered. they just pay someone to polish the car and put some soft music on the radio and the thought of masculinity fades.

i do sit-ups in my inversion boots suspended from a bar because i want strong abs.....

...my girlfriend makes fun of me, but she likes what they feel like.


and those pre-historic types would have loved my life, if in fact they were human at all, because they could be men and enjoy dry-cleaned shirts like i do.

they did what they did because they didn`t have a choice, much like migrant farm workers from the ukraine in winnipeg a hundred years ago.

and most froze to death the first winter out.

homo sapiens sapiens isn`t designed to endure extreme weather for any length of time.

we are designed to be right here now.

we adapt to every new technology as if we`ve seen it before, yet we crave physical stress in measured amounts. well full makes do anyway....

3:40 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

memphis, i dated a triathlete two years ago. she came third in the nation in her age (40) at ironman. she tried to race me on the bike one morning as we went for a rip around the lake. by the time we got back to the car she was shaking from exhaustion.

i didn`t even realise we were competing. i was just tooling along at warm-up pace.

bless her little japanese boots. i guess she really thought she could win.

the insecurity we feel as men isn`t shared by women in the same way.

thier weeknesses are different.

if you want to see women come apart, put some forty-year-olds in bikinis and take them to spring break.

3:47 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

dr. alistair - you are the most arrogant POS that's ever come to this blog. SO what that you can deadlift 400lbs or bike 40km before breakfast? That's not a sign of superiority or anything for that matter. Also did it make you feel good to beat a girl?

4:33 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Actually, I am often identified as the most arrogant POS on the blog. Not that I am competitive or anything.

Trey

4:46 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

well the so what is that i can....and it is a sign of physical superiority. it isn`t a sign of any other kind of superiority mind you, and some may say it`s stupid for a modern man to lift things and throw things and otherwise physically exert one`s self when here are machines to do that sort of thing....but alex, it seems to have set you off somewhat. was it the bit about the bmw, or the soy latte, or the fact that you wish you could deadlift but can`t/don`t etc?

about beating the girl, she was the one racing. i wanted to date her. i was disappointed that she didn`t enjoy the ride, or my company other than to try to beat me.

and arrogant? yeah. even my girlfriend calls me a wido......

4:46 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Kevin M said...

"Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle..."

And don't think the rest of us wouldn't have jumped at the chance to watch!!!!!

On the other hand, try to imagine what ancient man/woman smelled like.

Let's give ourselves a bit of credit.

4:56 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Kevin M said...

Having read Doom's post and Dr. Alistair's, I refuse to be one-upped in the manly competition.

You read about that baby Mastodon they recently found in Russia? I killed it, froze it, found it again and cooked its steaks over a fire I made without using tools.

My biceps are bigger than Lance Armstrong's calves.

I'm almost 50 and I still have all my own hair...from when I was a teenager. Same teeth, too.

I was born knowing how to disassemble a Gravely 7.6 hp lawn & garden tractor, refinish the cylinders and reassemble using only tools carved from Popsickle sticks.

I drove the same tractor across the finish line at the Indy 500.

I reject personal hygiene, I believe all people who play Scrabble are homosexuals, and I learned plastic surgery just so I could plump up Carrie Prejean's boobs.

A blood transfusion from me yields the same results as snorting 35 pulverized tablets of Viagra.

I "dated" Raquel, Ann-Margret, Helen of Troy and Lindsay Lohan all in the same night.

But, hey, enough about me. Why do YOU find me so fascinating?

******** /sarc

5:23 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

KevinM, you are so boring.

6:37 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

Kevin M,

Why don't you say what you really think? Sometimes I go into snore land. But I was not fiddling for you, me, or even our hostess (mostly), but for the call. You do understand the game, don't you? Perhaps you can't play, or simply don't react in a masculine way. Like O and crue, you can criticize which most likely means you fail to act. Whining, most likely, suits you well.

The article almost called for a show and you... simply attack those who react. Then again, your reaction is more common these days than not. It might have something to do with declining birth rates, the boom in Viagra sales, and a weak overweight feminine nation. Thanks for your example of a limp-wristed effort. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings too much, dodge ball catcher.

Sorry Dr. Helen, I hate sniveling, even if I was a bore.

6:44 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger ClarenceComments said...

I've read the stupid article.

Comparing a neanderthal to a human (neanderthals had much better bone structurs for lifting and aren't of our species) is just the beginning of this guy's sins.

Apparently, according to him all ancient man did all day (he's not talking about the neanderthals but modern humans 5 to 50000 years ago) was exercise, because some hunter gatherer cultures could jump pretty high and because some guy who might have been using adrenalin was running at almost a record pace to catch or maybe flee from some big game. Surprisingly, from what we can tell most hunter gatherer cultures didn't have to work particularily hard to eat and often didn't move more than a few miles per day on foot. Some even set up semi permanent shelters of a seasonal nature. Strength wasn't particularily valued in many of them esp after the great bison had been hunted to extinction , cleverness and speed were more important.

In short he makes way too much with far too little, conflates neanderthals and humans, and shows a lack of knowledge of just what elite athletes do to train for their events.

6:45 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger ClarenceComments said...

I've read the stupid article.

Comparing a neanderthal to a human (neanderthals had much better bone structurs for lifting and aren't of our species) is just the beginning of this guy's sins.

Apparently, according to him all ancient man did all day (he's not talking about the neanderthals but modern humans 5 to 50000 years ago) was exercise, because some hunter gatherer cultures could jump pretty high and because some guy who might have been using adrenalin was running at almost a record pace to catch or maybe flee from some big game. Surprisingly, from what we can tell most hunter gatherer cultures didn't have to work particularily hard to eat and often didn't move more than a few miles per day on foot. Some even set up semi permanent shelters of a seasonal nature. Strength wasn't particularily valued in many of them esp after the great bison had been hunted to extinction , cleverness and speed were more important.

In short he makes way too much with far too little, conflates neanderthals and humans, and shows a lack of knowledge of just what elite athletes do to train for their events.

6:45 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

as an elite athlete....(that`s right alex, played professional football, or soccer if you will, in england and canada) i know what it takes to train to compete at the top level, and i continue to do so today.

genetics and good training habits have allowed me to do this, and i`m proud to be where i am...not in comparison to anyone else, and certainly not to compete with women..or children for that matter...but with a set point i have internally for myself.

so i`m sensitive to the suggestion that i amight be included in the set of all modern men being wimps.

7:38 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Dr - all your elite athletic abilities won't help you survive in the tundra wilderness. Do you have basic survival skills to hunt, forage, make animal skins for clothes?

7:45 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

i`m sensitive to the suggestion that i amight be included in the set of all modern men being wimps.

Does this mean you're a emotional wimp? Being sensitive to the slightest perceived insult is certainly wimpy.

8:09 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Doc_Savage said...

Compared to cavemen? Why go back that far? We're all wimps compared to grandpa.

8:55 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Mom on the Run said...

...make animal skins for clothes?

Pffft, you can buy lambskins at Costco for $100, no need to do it yourself.

/sarc

9:05 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Alistair - OK, so you can run far and fast. This makes you macho how?

10:57 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

"and neandertals weren`t homo sapiens. chimpanzee bones to perpetuate an on-going fraud."

What the hell does that mean?

10:59 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Yamantaka said...

It's interesting that he specifically compares males of today with both males AND females of thousands of years ago. Surely, by this standard, modern women are inadequate as well?

11:55 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

oligo, you seem confused on a number of fronts.

firstly my athletic abiilities don`t make me 'macho", they define me as athletic, and secondly....the impression some would have us have that neandertal was human is darwinian mythology.

and dad? i am sensitive emotionally, but by no means a wimp.

5:00 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Kevin M said...

@ Doom: "Why don't you say what you really think?"

You wrote:

"Compare the modern vegetarian hippie, city dweller, or effete sophisticate (of arts, academics, or such) to the average conservative carnivore, red neck, hick, or military man."

What do I really think? Is the sarcasm too oblique for you? Maybe you should have stayed awake during that effete English class, taught by that obviously sissy professor who couldn't cut it as a red meat-eating conservative carnivore.

But since I don't have Crayons and an easel at my disposal, I'll just make this so simple that even you can grasp it: You're a self-absorbed, ego-bloated narcissist.

Clear enough?

8:40 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Kevin M said...

PS: Ernest Hemingway and Arthur Conan Doyle would have beaten your redneck hicks senseless. Maybe you should stop getting your pathetic caricatures of manhood from old episodes Dragnet?

8:43 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Daniel Fielding said...

Kevin M- Hemingway would havent beaten any redeck or me, senseless. He was falling down drunk, who only looked tough becasue he was surrounded by effete literary types.

8:58 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Well, I bet cavemen could not electonically posture nearly as well as we!

Trey

9:39 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger The Cranky Tutor said...

Mmm...off-topic whizzing contests are just so much fun. And they definitely make you men seem attractive, too!

Anyway, the question is whether or not the article is accurate. And the answer is almost certainly a big whopping "no." Are modern men and women less physically active than our ancient counterparts? Of course we are. But does that make us "wimps? I don't believe so.

I think that the term wimp is being misused here. A wimp, to me, is a person who is a weakling. Not just physically weak, but useless, whiny, emotional. There are certainly men and women like that out there, but modern man is not "wimpy" just because he has found tools to make life easier.

Imagine the great-grandfather of the first man who made a spear calling the boy a "wimp" for not strangling the animal he hunted with his bare hands! The human animal does not and cannot depend primarily on brute force. We have always had to depend on brain power. By that measure, we are certainly not wimps.

The spin in the article is pretty obvious, too. No mention of whether or not women are "inferior," just the statement that modern man isn't just inadequate compared to ancient man, but to ancient women as well. Hahahaa! (But of course, men and women aren't really different, so there's no SHAME in that or anything.) In my opinion, this article is just another cheap shot at men.

9:40 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

The Cranky Tutor sez: "And they definitely make you men seem attractive, too!"

--------

Yes, of course the uppermost priority in men is appearing attractive in what they say.

And I'll join the unattractive men who will never win over The Cranky Tutor:

There is the group of very important doctors thinking very deep, very insightful doctor thoughts ("Dr." Alistair and TMink probably fit in that group, although they are not doctors) and the most obnoxious ego group consists of the RealMen(TM), the Men of Steel, who are tough as nails.

A third group is disappearing: The vicarious important people, usually a housewife who is important because of what her husband is or has done. She is his representive in importance and can thus also make very important statements.

It gets pretty funny to watch all of this go by.

10:20 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Take heed, men. It's style over substance - always appear attractive - or you may curry the disfavor of The Cranky Tutor. And Real Men never curry the disfavor of a woman.

10:27 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

dr.alistair --

"oligo, you seem confused on a number of fronts."

Nope. 3:11 PM, October 20, 2009: if that ain't macho posturing, what is? I do it too, it's just that you're doing it now.

"secondly....the impression some would have us have that neandertal was human is darwinian mythology."

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, subspecies of Hs - human. That you confuse the skeletal structure of chimps with neanderthal displays your anatomical ignorance. Then there's the DNA. It's called science. Mythology is when there it no empirical evidence. Kinda like how buff you are - no empirical evidence, only your word. I might believe you, but it's a mythology at the moment.

10:42 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

would you rather be a dead lion or a live dog?

10:49 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

I vote with the live dog fred.

Trey

11:07 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

ok, firstly;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

it is debatable whether neandertal is human or not, so the "science" is unclear...but the photos of the skeletal remains of neandertal are suggestive of an ape stood up for a picture.

look at how far the hand descends toward the knee, and the elbow sits at the hip.

homo sapiens is a vastly differently proportioned device.

there are many scientific discussions of the bio-mechanics of neandertal, one of which talks about the gait of such an animal and it`s inability to run quickly because of it`s proportionally long arms...much like a chimp.

the human (homo sapiens) is proportinally balanced for walking and running astonishingly quickly for a bipedal homonid. in fact the human is able to reach it`s top speed more quickly than any other animal. this isn`t to say that it`s the fastest mind you....for you nit-pickers.

why is this significant?

it`s one of the major differences between humans and other bipedal species.

annother difference.

bone density and musculature.

compared to neandertal we are physical weaklings with substantially less muscle density and connective tissue strength.

secondly; to return briefly to the macho thing...i was inventorying a list of things that a human man can do and using my self as an example..if you feel that is macho then who am i to judge.

that is your opinion.

my perception of macho is the mediterranian swaggering that most find off-putting...and every little to do with athleticism.

12:20 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Jack said...

Damn, I am late to a good pissing contest. In my curren life as man who wears pink, drives a BMW and drinks soy lattes I deadlift 401 pounds, clean 241 and play football at night, without pads.

Why? Because only sissies play a kids game like soccer. ;)

I find the information about neanderthals to be interesting. Given their circumstances they should have been physically superior.

My questions would be medical in nature. What sort of illnesses did they deal with and how prevalent were they.

The thought of dying from a simple infection bothers me. Life now seems far superior.

12:48 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

you aint lifing 401 if you drink soy anything.....ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

people were dying of simple infections in large numbers 50 years ago. neandertal, if they exhibited tribal humanlike traits, would have had natural remedies for many infections and diseases as did the vikings in medievil times. they knew how to diagnose and treat many battle injuries and new the difference between treatable and the fatal.

the modern scientific bias edits out many of the processes of pre-scientific tribal and agrarian life as brutal and short, but many cultures had significantly healthy lifestyles without many of the preventable illnesses due to our sedentary consumer lifestyles.

warrior societies in particular stressed diet and exercise for obvious reasons.

1:13 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Did you just do a book report on that, Alistair?

I did mine on How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

1:17 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Usually I just photocopied the relevant page from the Encyclopedia, put my name at the top and voila - a report ready to be turned in.

1:19 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

tether, i`m not sure of your point here, but to de-costruct it, it would seem that you are appealing to my adolescent sensibility with discussions about book reports and plagarisation.

this opening gambit smells transactionally of a bait-and-switch wherein and whereby you will suddenly pull back the transactional curtain and reveal a critical parent playing the aha game where you will point out where my playfulness has gone wrong via nit-picks and other beat-down strategies designed to assuage your not-ok child`s sense of confusion in the world.

grow up.

just saying.

1:52 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Refractory Anomaly said...

LOL. I too am doubtful about Neanderthal manliness. Can they shoot straight? Doubtful. And, despite their superior strength, you can bet that if one existed today, it would be only a matter of time before Royce Gracie did an exhibition match where the Neanderthal get's his arm broke in under a minute. (Of course, he is too stupid to tap out, so that's why his arm will actually have to be broken....)

2:35 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

On a related topic, here's something I just thought of on a coffee break.

1. Humans have been evolving for millenia (goes without saying). They've been evolving to become less physically accomplished and more mentally astute - more social, more organized, more diverse in skill, more able to utilize the environment for survival in ways unrelated to physical dominance.

2. Guys like women who look good. Women like men who look good. Also not a new idea.

3. However, I am told by pop psychologists and other anthropology amateurs that a woman's attraction to a fit, tall man has to do with a biological draw to survivable traits - that a big, strong man activates cavewoman instincts to seek a dominant protector. (This is also supposed to explain why women like jerks.)

4. In light of (1), (3) doesn't make sense. If (1) is true, humans would have evolved to view intelligence as an equal attraction item as physical dominance. I don't mean book-smarts, I mean craftiness, creativity, toolmaking, directional skills.

5. I have a particularly difficult time buying (3) because what "looks good" changes with the times. I think the homage to prehistoric times is a fallacy, and the dynamics of attraction are more socially conditioned than people would like to admit. In earlier times fat women were attractive because, supposedly, it showed access to a healthy food supply; now it's not attractive because all this food makes it easy to be fat and hard to be skinny. Same with guys - it's hard to have a six-pack and tone muscles when you are in a white collar society; ergo, it shows scarcity and effort and thus value.

6. I think people want to fall back on the caveman hypothesis both in the search for an easy explanation, and to disavow any personal responsibility for the people they are attracted to and choose to bring into their lives. I've heard so many people of both sexes bemoan "I just can't help who I like." This is false - romantic, but false. No mentally-healthy person is that disempowered.

Each society has male archetypes it values as attractive. In modern eastern cultures it appears to be education and professional status, a proxy for a lifelong provider. In the United States it is movie stars, rock stars, unmatured adolescent adults, dysfunctional exhibitionist personalities and James Dean wannabes. To touch on another topic, we don't reward science and technology financially or socially, we treat its professionals like they are broken people - and we act surprised when fewer people want to go into those fields and women aren't interested in taking an equal place in them.

3:22 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger John Lynch said...

I wouldn't want to arm wrestle a gorilla, or even a chimp. So what if other animals are stronger than us. That's not what makes us human.

The persistent idea that modern people have "devolved" and would be less able to survive in "nature" misses the point. We don't live as animals anymore, nor will we ever again. We're not going to forget agriculture and the wheel and go back to picking berries and spearing mammoths.

We're a social species that use technology to survive. We've evolved to become the most numerous mammal species ever. There are more of us than there are rats. In evolutionary terms, that's pretty good.

So, it seems to me, real devolution would be going back to what we were when there were 1% as many of us on the planet, where we lived lives that were nasty, brutish and short. Those three words described the humans of the time pretty well. We were short lived, aggressive, and malnourished. No, thank you.

3:33 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

There seems to be a fetish lately about the Paleo-lifestyle. I think it's just people picking and choosing those aspects that are appealing to them. Frankly I think they're fucking nuts and I call them on it.

3:36 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

One thing you have to realize about Paleo-man, is that he would choose our comfy living in a Paleo-second. They didn't live like that because they thought it was "kewl man".

3:36 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

alistair --

"it is debatable whether neandertal is human or not, so the "science" is unclear...but the photos of the skeletal remains of neandertal are suggestive of an ape stood up for a picture."

It is debatable whether N is a subspecies or a different species of human, unless you're restricting human to mean only Hs. As for the skeleton, you're waaay ignorant of the chimpanzee skeleton, especially the skull.

DNA evidence points to very, very little difference between us (99.5% to nearly 99.9% identical). The most compelling evidence is the presence of a hyoid bone. Both referenced lower in your cite.

Jack - Neanderthal men died mostly from injury during hunting.

Alex - I agree with you.

4:57 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

well, the picture in the wiki article had a compressed ribcage, wide pelvis and along arms and legs. not a runner like a human. most likely a primate ready to fall forward on it`s fore-limbs and knuckle off into the trees.

if the poster of the article wasn`t suggesting that the picture was of a neandertal, then he was being disengenuous.


and we share 90%+ similarity in dna with dolphins too.

it`s the differences that set us apart.

6:02 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Alistair sez "it`s the differences that set us apart."

-------------

LOL

Deep, man.

I thought all along it was the identical characteristics that set us apart.

All you're doing is generating reams of cliches.

6:19 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

tether, now you are being a silly goose....

....the small perecntage of difference in dna, much as the small difference in molecular structure between some compounds, makes all the difference in the species.

but you already know that, don`t you?

7:44 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

That article mad me so angry I could squeeze a grape.

9:12 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Frankly, this dude could TOY WITH Neanderthals or monkeys or even RealMen(TM):

http://www.realultimatepower.net/

9:17 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

From his Web site ("about the author"):

Robert Hamburger has a black belt in Street Fighter 2 and a second degree black belt in Mortal Kombat 1-3. He can kick or punch the wall without feeling pain. He has studied ninjas for several weeks and has watched a bunch of movies about them. Robert lives with a bunch of hot babes and porks them whenever he wants.

9:18 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

www.dragondoor.com

10:43 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger johnbono said...

I am certain, 500 years ago, that a bunch of Aztecs were watching a bunch of pasty-faced Spaniards hobbling around, riding on horses, because they were too wimpy to walk on their own two feet.

The Spaniards' puny arms were too weak to draw a bow, so they relied on their boomsticks to hunt game. And their skin was soft, and frail, and they were forced to rely on artificial skin made of iron to protect themselves from blows, and their weak constitution prevented them from the perfectly normal practice of eating their enemies.

The Aztecs complained about these wimpy Spaniards all day, every day, up until the day Tenochtitlan was renamed Mexico City.

So yes, I am certain Neanderthal women might find me a bit wimpy. However, I can drop a mastadon at 1000 yards with a caliber .50 round.

So yes, I can't deadlift 400 lbs, and yes, I can get beaten up by Neanderthal Women, and be out run by Aborigines. However, Samuel Colt, made certain that I don't have to worry about being beaten up by Neanderthal women, and Henry Ford made certain that I'll be looking at those running Aborogines in my rear view mirror.

11:56 PM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Good post johnbono.

Trey

9:29 AM, October 22, 2009  
Blogger Jack said...

you aint lifing 401 if you drink soy anything.....ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

Doc- Whatever you can do I can do better, easier and more efficiently. If we engaged in feats of strength my soy milk and I would leave you a quivering mass of anxiety and confusion.

The power in my left pinky alone is so great that you would overwhelmed with little to no effort.

I had forgotten how much fun it was to revert to my high school bragging days. You know, back when I actually cared, but was still stronger and in better shape with you. Although back then I might have bothered with proving it.

Now I just tell you and watch you live with the consequences. All hail soy.

Jack - Neanderthal men died mostly from injury during hunting.

That is the point. Some of those injuries might have been life threatening by our standards. But I expect that a bunch wouldn't be.

I'll take living now for $800 Alex.

10:59 AM, October 22, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

jeez, i got owned by a bunch of wimps in cars.

ahahahahahahahahahahah.

11:25 AM, October 22, 2009  
Blogger Refractory Anomaly said...

johnbono, exactly.

There is nothing wrong with evaluating your manliness and nothing absurd about doing the comparison to a female mountain gorilla, for that matter. Let all the girls giggle, even if some of them are actually men these days. The truth is they love it, and I love making them giggle. You just have to do the true comparison is all. (On the other hand, some of us might find the titillation some men seem to have over it a bit disturbing.)

2:32 PM, October 22, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Wow, surprised that nobody pointed out that this article is complete rubbish. The anthropologist is just making shit up. The amazing part is that anybody is taking him seriously.

5:08 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Joe - I think the article serves as Rorschach test. It will mean anything you want it to.

5:13 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Alex, don't get people started on the Rorschach test!

Trust me.

Trey

6:37 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

TMink sez: "Trust me."

------

Yes, TMink, I trust whatever you say and would follow all instructions without question. You are a psychologist.

8:51 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:52 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

Apparently, the scientists cannot really determine whether the Neanderthals were homo sapeins or not, classifying them either as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis or Homo neanderthalensis. We still don't know for sure whether or not there was any interbreeding, and if there wasn't, was it genetic incompatibility, or just lack of opportunity.

My vote would be Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, after having read "The Third Chimp" which makes an argument that we really belong under the same genus as the regular chimp and the pygmy chimp, if standard classification is utilized. But, since the genus Homo was defined first, they would actually be in our genus, and not us in theirs. The argument is that it is only through our own arrogance that they are classified under a different genus (esp. since we are the ones classifying).

So, if the Neanderthals died out, why did they do so? They were far stronger than our ancestors, and probably about as smart.

I am sure that some were killed by Homo sapiens sapiens. But the best theory I have heard is that they just weren't as social as our ancestors were (and that may be partially due to our better ability to vocalize and, ultimately develop language). They were competitive when we were also hunter gatherers, but when we began farming, the land could support far more of us than it could them, and we were thus able to push them to the fringes, where they ultimately died out. One Neanderthal may have been the equivalent to several of us, physically, but against ten of us, esp. given weapons, they would lose.

This somewhat reminds me of what happened to the dire wolves, bigger cousins to the gray wolves we still have today. The dire wolves were notably bigger and stronger, and hunted in notably bigger packs. So what happened? Likely, they had become too specialized, depending on the biggest game, which died out (likely thanks to hunting by the original Native Americans). They were just too big and the packs too big to survive on smaller game.

8:33 PM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger RealManTM said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:58 PM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger RealManTM said...

Damn, I wish I had been here earlier to get in on this e-penis measuring contest, because my e-penis would certainly dwarf the likes of dr. alistair(only 400lbs, what a pussy) and Doom, given that it's length can only be measured using astronomical terms.

Dr. Helen, please do an article on the nature of intelligence and/or intelligence testing soon. Those topics are always a riot with the posts of "I've never had my intelligence tested, but many of my Ivy League buddies have told me that I must be a genius with an intellect comparable to DeepBlue."

10:58 PM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

http://www.whyevolution.com/chimps.html

to suggest that humans are anything like a chimp derives from similarities in dna. the problem is that we share similarities in dna with many animals. like the nematode for instance.

we share 75% of our dna with a small worm.

we are 25% different though.

and we are around 15% different dna wise from chimps.

so we are similar to chimps and nematodes, but vastly different physiologically.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee_genome_project

science knows that human dna is short a pair of chromasomes and suggests that two chimp pairs fused at some point to create a human...but they don`t say how this could have happened outside of a dna lab...or whether it actually did.

10:19 AM, October 26, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

e-cowards should come out from behind thier e-blooger profiles without an attendant blog so that we can see thier e-faces as they take e-potshots.

otherwise we might be led to assume that tether has multiple accounts.

and he e-assumes that where he fails physically he may fair better intellectually.

11:23 AM, October 26, 2009  

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