Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reasons for caution about comments on early humans or ancestors

Nowhere better illustrated than in this article from Wired Science about claims of stone tool use by supposed prehumans. How about
“Australopithecus was a very primitive, ape-like early human,” said biological anthropologist Craig Stanford at University of Southern California, who edited a book on meat eating and human evolution. "The fact that they were using tools and eating meat indicates this was something that was widespread very early in human history."

The ability to carve meat off large mammal carcasses likely put Australopithecus in competition with dangerous scavengers, Alemseged says. It is unlikely they were hunting for the large game because their body shape would not have allowed them to run fast, which is necessary to chase down an antelope or similar sized animal.
Necessary? Why? Aboriginal Canadians sometimes just stampeded buffalo off a cliff or else formed a blockade, and then grabbed one or two, to make pemmican, a meat-and-berries food, and the buffalo robes that got them through winter.

I am not saying it was easy for them, but it was certainly possible; otherwise, they would not have survived here for about 10 000 years. Also, sometimes, animals with horns or antlers just get themselves caught in bushes. There was a very famous incident of just that type, actually, that made it into religious documents.

Not everyone is buying the tool line:
However, no one has yet found the stone tools themselves or where they could have come from, and at least one scientist finds this reason to be skeptical of the claims made by the discoverers.
I know what I think, but Darwinists can believe what they must.


Smart reptiles watch: So much for the dumb, unfeeling "reptilian brain."

This NOVA program looks interesting.
They look like dragons and inspire visions of fire-spitting monsters. But these creatures with their long claws, razor-sharp teeth, and muscular, whip-like tails are actually monitors, the largest lizards now walking the planet. With their acute intelligence, these lizards—including the largest of all, the Komodo dragon—are a very different kind of reptile, blurring the line between reptiles and mammals. Thriving on Earth essentially unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, they are a very successful species, versatile at adapting to all kinds of settings. This program looks at what makes these long-tongued reptiles so similar to mammals and what has allowed them to become such unique survivors.
I have never been a fan of the "reptilian brain" approach to intelligence - in other words that reptiles are always dumber than mammals because of some nonsense about the evolution of the brain..

I am told that crocodilians, including the Mississippi alligator and cobras are also smart enough. Lots of people have ended up in the hospital or the morgue by assuming that that wasn't true.