Monday, September 30, 2013

Creepy Thought

     Cro-Magnon man had a larger brain and better muscles than modern man.  Until recent times, they stood taller, too.

     In most of the places where modern humans live, the very largest predators have been wiped out or driven to the margins and this has held true in some long-civilized places as far back as we can find records.  There aren't any raptors big enough to hunt adult humans, for example, though there used to be.

     So: large, strong, healthy, big-brained hunter-gatherers, who were on the planet for a long, long time, building mostly of perishable materials--  What big thoughts did they think?  How closely did they manage their environment?  We don't know; they didn't leave us anything obvious.

     Or did they?  They left us a safer world, a world where if you know what you're looking at, there's plenty to eat in a vacant lot or forest, where dire wolves, wooly mammoths and sabertooth tigers have been rubbed out, a world where you can survive even if you're slower, weaker, dumber--

     Are we the Eloi, living in the ruins left us by giants?


Wolfman said...

I don't know, is it scarier than the fact that two generations ago, mankind went to the moon with less computing power than I carry in my pocket, and now not only do we NOT go to the moon anymore, but my generation can't even find their way to the gorram MALL without global positioning satellites? Yes, in ways large and small we live in the shadows of giants and think ourselves strong.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

There aren't any raptors big enough to hunt adult humans, for example

Well,not as a general rule, at least. But there are some that could, if they wanted to.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Do Komodo Dragons count?

Not to mention Crocs and Gators.

But I agree, not on a Regular Basis.

Just be glad the most Dangerous Predator we have Hunting Humans nowadays is Humans.

And we KNOW what it takes to stop them.

Anonymous said...

DEVO was right!?!


John A said...

Seems to be a bit of confusion by some.

Other than dinosaurs, a raptor is a carnivorous/omnivorous bird - and few will attempt to take a live human as food.

There are however plenty of other animals that may give it a try.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

An interesting philosophical conundrum, that. Well played, Bobbi...I'll be up all night thinking about it now :)

Ritchie said...

A friend once told me that people used to be stronger (tougher, etc.)back in the olden days,some of which I remember. I corrected him, saying that no, the survivors were stronger.

Roberta X said...

Yes, Ritchie, and...? The postulated Cro-Magnon lifestyle would have been quite alien to any of us, being that of an apex predator with the leisure to contemplate their environment and then modify it, but with fire, tanning, knapping flint (etc.) and hand-powered projectile weapons as their highest technologies.

Borepatch said...

There's a big difference in climate between today and Cro-Magnon days. The relative lethality of humans vs. the end of an Ice Age is pretty much conjecture, IMHO.

Maybe mankind applied the coup de grace to a species on the edge, but I'm pretty unconvinced it was more than that.

But that's conjecture, too. ;-)

Stranger said...

When I went to school Cro-Magnon was a species. Then they became a subspecies, and now Mr. and Mrs. Magnon are just "early European man." And woman.

In all probability most of us are Cro-Magnon, with a dash of Neanderthal, but raised in a gentler climate with indoor plumbing and no need to walk further than the parking lot to the produce counter to obtain a days food.

Humans who "wildcat," if they catch nothing they eat nothing, tend to become outstanding physical specimens.

Try checking the physiques of members of Indian tribes before horses. Strong legs to help run down prey, heavy musculature to carry the kill home, and if museum specimens of headdresses are a reliable indicator, large skulls.


Joseph said...

Judging by the Flynn effect, we're reaching for the heights again.

Maybe the long-term effect of Malthusian propaganda is to rid the world of gullibility genes.