The Evolution of the Human
|The universe is constructed from a
multitude of various materials. It is dynamic in form and shape due to a
multitude of various processes and interactions between these materials. To the
human, however, in his need to establish his place and purpose in the universe,
the most important material is biological and the most important process is
evolution, far it is only here that the human can learn to understand himself,
an understanding that is vital to his survival.
Wise men, psychologists, philosophers and theologians have surmised and conjectured about the human over the centuries, and still do, but the truth about the human may be found only through factual knowledge. That factual knowledge lies in a process called evolution. The human is what evolution made him.
The first Homo
2.2-1.6 million years ago
This magnificent re-creation
Summary of Findings
Man has been a tribal animal since he first walked erect, more than four million years ago. With the impediment of being bipedal, he could not out-climb or outrun his predators. Only through tribal cooperation could he hold his predators at bay.
For two million years, the early hominid was a herd/tribal animal, primarily a herd herbivore. During the next two million years the human was a tribal hunter/warrior. He still is. All of the human's social drives developed long before he developed intellectually. They are, therefore, instinctive. Such instincts as mother-love, compassion, cooperation, curiosity, inventiveness and competitiveness are ancient and embedded in the human. They were all necessary for the survival of the human and pre-human. Since human social drives are instinctive (not intellectual), they can not be modified through education (presentation of knowledge for future assimilation and use). As with all other higher order animals, however, proper behavior may be obtained through training (edict and explanation followed by enforcement).
The intellect, the magnitude of which separates the human from all other animals, developed slowly over the entire four million years or more of the human development. The intellect is not unique to the human, it is quite well developed in a number of the other higher animals. The intellect developed as a control over instincts to provide adaptable behavior. The human is designed by nature (evolution) to modify any behavior that would normally be instinctive to one that would provide optimum benefit (survivability). This process is called self-control or self-discipline, and is the major difference between the human and the lower order animals, those that apply only instinct to their behavioral decisions. Self-discipline, therefore, is the measuring stick of the human. The more disciplined behavior (behavior determined by intellect) displayed by the individual, the more human he becomes. The less disciplined behavior (behavior in response to instinct) displayed by an individual, the more he becomes like the lower order animals that are lacking in intellect and are driven by their instincts.
Background and Introduction
The direct lineage from the ancestor of both man and the modern apes to modern man is not known. Evidence is increasing. Thousands of relics fit the general pattern.
The word hominidae is used to describe the total member species of the human family that have lived since the last common ancestor of both man and the apes. A hominid is an individual species within that family. The field of science which studies the human fossil record is known as paleoanthropology. It is the intersection of the disciplines of paleontology (the study of ancient life forms) and anthropology (the study of humans). Each hominid name consists of a genus name (e.g. Australopithecus, Homo) which is always capitalized, and a species name (e.g. africanus, erectus) which is always in lower case.
Some controversy exists on the time of this common ancestor to both ape and human, but it is believed to be about 5.5 million years ago. A key fossil record near that time is Ramapithecus, which was believed to be an early hominid for many years, but is now considered an ancient ape that lived near the fork in our common lineage. Ramapithecus is now thought to be an ancestor of the modern apes.
From a genome viewpoint, the difference between modern man and the modern apes is quite small, about 2 percent. From a physical viewpoint, the greatest difference is in locomotion. The human walks upright. It is generally thought that this came about when the ancient hominid adopted the edge of the forest and plain and adapted to a life under the trees as opposed to in them. Fossil evidence shows that this bipedal adaptation was completed quite early, perhaps as early as four million years ago, long before we looked like or thought like we do today. Facial feature changes toward the modern appearance came much later. The facial characteristics of modern man are about 100,000 years old. The faces of earlier hominid were much more apelike.
Controversy exists over whether brain size alone shows intellectual ability, but our only measure of intellectual growth in the hominid record is brain size. The fossil evidence, except for one notable blip, shows a steady growth in brain size. This can be misleading due to the different sizes of the people. Early man (with perhaps three exceptions) was quite small and the males were much larger than the females.
From a cultural viewpoint, modern man and the other apes are quite similar in some respects. Sexual practices of modern humans are quite similar to the chimpanzee (although stoutly denied by some), but with far more homosexual activity. Although homosexual play is common among the apes, a totally homosexual ape is rare. It is estimated that about 10% of the human population is so oriented.
The modern human's trend toward family dissolution places the human only a few percentage points from that of the chimp. In fact, unlike man, a gorilla male must be physically driven away and held at bay before he will leave his family. A great ape will rarely kill another member of the same species. On the other hand, music and art are peculiarities of the human and have no counterpart in any ape society.
History of Man
The times of existence of the various hominid shown in the chart above are based on dated fossil remains. Each species may have existed earlier and/or later than shown, but fossil proof has not been discovered yet. There is also dispute concerning many overlapping species, for example, the overlap between Homo habilis and Homo erectus. It could well be that the two are continuing examples of the same species. The same dispute exists with Homo erectus, Homo sapiens archaic and homo sapiens sapiens. If all species have been discovered and the lineage of man lies within them, the most probable lineage would include all but the robust Australopithecines and the neandertal.
The following chronology is abbreviated:
The earliest fossil hominid, Ardipithecus ramidus, is a recent discovery. It is dated at 4.4 million years ago. The remains are incomplete but enough is available to suggest it was bipedal and about 4 feet tall. Other fossils were found with the ramidus fossil which would suggest that ramidus was a forest dweller. A new skeleton was recently discovered which is about 45% complete. It is now being studied.
A new species, Australopithecus anamensis, was named in 1995. It was found in Allia Bay in Kenya. Anamensis lived between 4.2 and 3.9 million years ago. Its body showed advanced bipedal features, but the skull closely resembled the ancient apes.
Australopithecus afarensis lived between 3.9 and 3.0 million years ago. It retained the apelike face with a sloping forehead, a distinct ridge over the eyes, flat nose and a chinless lower jaw. It had a brain capacity of about 450 cc. It was between 3'6" and 5' tall. It was fully bipedal and the thickness of its bones showed that it was quite strong. Its build (ratio of weight to height) was about the same as the modern human but its head and face were proportionately much larger. This larger head with powerful jaws is a feature of all species prior to Homo sapiens sapiens.
Australopithecus africanus was quite similar to afarensis and lived between three and two million years ago. It was also bipedal, but was slightly larger in body size. Its brain size was also slightly larger, ranging up to 500 cc. The brain was not advanced enough for speech. The molars were a little larger than in afarensis and much larger than modern human. This hominid was a herbivore and ate tough, hard to chew, plants. The shape of the jaw was now like the human.
Australopithecus aethiopicus lived between 2.6 and 2.3 million years ago. This species is probably an ancestor of the robustus and boisei. This hominid ate a rough and hard to chew diet. He had huge molars and jaws and a large sagittal crest. A sagittal crest is a bony ridge on the skull extending from the forehead to the back of the head. Massive chewing muscles were anchored to this crest. See the opening picture of an early Homo habilis for an example. Brain sizes were still about 500cc, with no indication of speech functions.
Australopithecus robustus lived between two and 1.5 million years ago. It had a body similar to that of africanus, but a larger and more massive skull and teeth. Its huge face was flat and with no forehead. It had large brow ridges and a sagittal crest. Brain size was up to 525cc with no indication of speech capability.
Australopithecus boisei lived between 2.1 and 1.1 million years ago. It was quite similar to robustus, but with an even more massive face. It had huge molars, the larger measuring 0.9 inches across. The brain size was about the same as robustus. Some authorities believe that robustus and boisei are variants of the same species.
Homo habilis was called the handy man because tools were found with his fossil remains. This species existed between 2.4 and 1.5 million years ago. The brain size in earlier fossil specimens was about 500cc but rose to 800cc toward the end of the species life period. The species brain shape shows evidence that some speech had developed. Habilis was about 5' tall and weighed about 100 pounds. Some scientists believe that habilis is not a separate species and should be carried either as a later Australopithecine or an early Homo erectus. It is possible that early examples are in one species group and later examples in the other.
Homo erectus lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago. It was a successful species for a million and a half years. Early examples had a 900cc brain size on the average. The brain grew steadily during its reign. Toward the end its brain was almost the same size as modern man, at about 1200cc. The species definitely had speech. Erectus developed tools, weapons and fire and learned to cook his food. He traveled out of Africa into China and Southeast Asia and developed clothing for northern climates. He turned to hunting for his food. Only his head and face differed from modern man. Like habilis, the face had massive jaws with huge molars, no chin, thick brow ridges, and a long low skull. Though proportioned the same, he was sturdier in build and much stronger than the modern human.
Homo sapiens (archaic) provides the bridge between erectus and Homo sapiens sapiens during the period 200,000 to 500,000 years ago. Many skulls have been found with features intermediate between the two. Brain averaged about 1200cc and speech was indicated. Skulls are more rounded and with smaller features. Molars and brow ridges are smaller. The skeleton shows a stronger build than modern human but was well proportioned.
Homo sapiens neandertalensis lived in Europe and the Mideast between 150,000 and 35,000 years ago. Neandertals coexisted with H.sapiens (archaic) and early H.sapiens sapiens. It is not known whether he was of the same species and disappeared into the H.sapiens sapiens gene pool or he may have been crowded out of existence (killed off) by the H.sapien sapien. Recent DNA studies have indicated that the neandertal was an entirely different species and did not merge into the H. sapiens sapiens gene pool. Brain sizes averaged larger than modern man at about 1450cc but the head was shaped differently, being longer and lower than modern man. His nose was large and was different from modern man in structure. He was a massive man at about 5'6" tall with an extremely heavy skeleton that showed attachments for massive muscles. He was far stronger than modern man. His jaw was massive and he had a receding forehead, like erectus.
Homo sapiens sapiens first appeared about 120,000 years ago. Modern humans have an average brain size of about 1350 cc.
History of Man - an Expansion
This section is a narrative based on the physical evidence in the introduction above. It is speculative, but it is believed that any reasonable alternative would lead to the same conclusions. The author solicits other opinions.
Evolution appears to work in bursts of activity. A species may survive for a very long time, even millions of years, with relatively little change, then suddenly, seemingly overnight, a variant species springs from it. Several such cases are evident among the hominid. When populations are large, species drift is very slow, regardless of species. Evolution works best when a small population of a species becomes isolated and faced suddenly with new hazards. The environment provides early and quick death to quickly weed out deleterious mutations and the small population provides a small gene pool across which helpful mutations may quickly spread.
This is the manner in which the first hominid, the walking ape, appeared. Although no one knows what specifically happened or where, a small pocket of primates were somehow isolated in an area where there were no cats (the main primate predator) and the food supply was short, perhaps even dwindling.
In warmer and wetter times, huge forests abounded across Africa. Both the ancient primates and felines were widespread. Then the climate changed. Forests dwindled. Patches of forests became isolated, causing animal interchange to become quite difficult. In most such patches, both primate and feline survived. The shortage of food, perhaps growing worse daily, drove some of the primates to the forest floor in search of food. There they became food for the cats. Life was too grim and short for a new ground dwelling primate species to develop.
But somewhere there was an unusual valley, one completely isolated from all the others, and something there eliminated the cat. Perhaps it was a disease. Perhaps it was a famine of all animal life, with the sole animal survivor being the primate. There must always be a large numerical ratio between food supply and predator. Perhaps it was a small valley, too small to support a large enough cat gene pool for the cat survival, but large enough to support bare primate survival. Or, more likely, the small valley was over-harvested by the cats to the point that only the primates, safe high in the trees, survived, and the cat was starved out of existence. The primate in that valley was then able to spread safely to the forest floor. The walking ape was born. The original primate species still ruled the forest canopy, while this new species, in the absence of felines, was dominant on the forest floor.
Then the climate changed, reopening the valley for the transit of both primate and feline. The tree-top primate rejoined his fellows and their gene pools blended. The feline was re-introduced to the valley. The bipedal ape on the forest floor was introduced to his new predator. If that introduction had been sudden, the bipedal ape could not have survived. Perhaps there were other valleys in which that actually happened. Luckily, in this one, it was slow, and the walking ape had time to adjust to his new danger. He formed defensive groups and developed defensive strategies.
That first hominid was Ardipithecus Ramidus. He lived on the forest floor. His close cousin, the primeval ape Ramapithecus, lived overhead. Ramidus had become a herbivore. Ramapithecus was an omnivore. Ramidus had feet on one end. Ramapithecus had hands on both ends. They were about the same size and had about the same intelligence. When the predator came, Ramapithecus escaped into the trees. With four hands he could out climb even the ancient leopard. In spite of the leopard, ramidus had to stay in the forest, being on the open plains was certain death. He was neither fast enough nor strong enough to handle the big plains' cats. While in the forest, ramidus could at least jump into a tree and escape the big ground cats, but he was still easy prey for the leopard. The death rate, especially among the children, was high. A pregnant woman had no chance at all. Something had to change. Ramidus learned how to cooperate in defense and he learned how to use a club. His culture became more restricted and structured.
The idea of a club was not new. Modern chimps will use one to beat on the ground in trying to drive off an interloper. The chimp does not need to learn how to use one well because he can always take to the high trees. Chimps will even cooperate in driving off interlopers by jumping up and down and screaming. They do not need to learn how to cooperate in fighting. They can always take to the trees. Ramidus did not have that choice.
Ramidus now had two things that kept him out of the trees in times of danger: his feet and the club. When the leopard came, he had no chance without the club whether he met the cat on the ground or in the tree. Climbing a tree in a hurry with two feet that cannot grasp anything and a club in one hand while trying to escape from a big cat would be an exciting experience. His women and children had no chance at all without his protection on the ground. Ramidus learned to get shoulder to shoulder with his friends, club at the ready, in front of the women and children, and stand his ground, no matter what the animal was. Now he did not have to live under the trees. He could live anywhere he pleased. They moved out on the plains.
Meanwhile, ramidus was also having deep trouble trying to make a living. He was a herbivore, the available food was coarse and hard to chew and his chewing apparatus had been designed to fit the needs of an omnivore who ate much fruit. The women, especially, were having real problems in caring for the children while foraging. The life style was brutal, and the death rate was high. Evolution loves a high death rate.
Evolution had few options. Ramidus could not return to the jungle. He was built wrong. He was structurally too slow to convert to a plain's predator. Besides, he was primarily a vegetarian and did not have the physical equipment to tear meat off his prey. Birth rate increases would require major physical changes. Only cultural changes were available. The women needed more time to take care of the children and the children would fare better if they did not need to be out on the plains. The males needed to take more of the burden. The tribe needed a safe haven for the women and children, preferably one with some protection from the weather. The old men could stand guard and the young ones could take their clubs with them and forage. Since they were bipedal, they had two arms to haul the food back to camp.
By the time Australopithecus afarensis appeared, some structural improvements had been made. His head was proportionately larger with a much improved eating apparatus, with molars that were much larger. The size of the canine teeth had diminished (evolution diminishes things not needed). His jaw was heavier and had huge chewing muscles attached. The male was also a little taller and heavier and the female was smaller because of their differing roles. A slight brain size increase provided improved social interaction. With the following Australopithecus africanus, they survived, in balance with nature, for almost two million years. Still, life was short, child mortality high, and hardship was constant. Evolution had honed the species to fit the environment and was now in balance. The people were tough, hard-working and resilient. Man had joined the other plains' animals in a balance with nature that appeared stable (not fun, but at least survivable). Many other plain's animals had also reached a stability in their evolution, one that exists to this day. If something had not happened to upset this balance, man would still be there today, mingling with the gnus and wildebeests.
Several things happened to spur further development. With their stronger culture, they could survive the plains better than the other herd herbivores. Their population grew. Competition was high for food. Other species branched off: Australopithecus aethipicus came first, followed by robustus and boisei. These were bigger and tougher competitors for the same food supply.
Somewhere along in that last million years of the reign of africanus, someone sharpened a stick, perhaps to use to dig roots, and discovered that a spear was a much more effective weapon for some uses than a club. A club is a good defensive weapon. When a club is used against an animal other than man, it is immediately available for another swing. It is not too good against another man. He will usually grab it on the way in and the advantage is lost. The aim of a club is usually to discourage, not to kill, and it is more effective against an animal than a man. A spear is an offensive weapon. It has only one purpose: to kill. Still, though skill is present in its use, it often sticks in the adversary and is torn from the hands when the adversary twists away. Looking bare-handed into the eye of a tiger with an out-of-reach spear sticking out of his shoulder is not healthy. The tiger gets down right irritated under such circumstances. Smacking him up side the head with a club, on the other hand, leaves the defender still armed. The spear works best in sneak attacks. Stalk and kill is spear territory. A few good men, working as a hunter-killer team, could now hunt and kill any animal on the plains, including other men.
Life became even more precarious, the favorite working ground for evolution. The greatest dangers that man now faced were other men. When man goes against man, and the weapons are the same, cunning is usually the deciding factor. A spear is a great equalizer in size, so growing bigger was not as effective as a survival move as growing smarter. Unfortunately, becoming more vicious was also effective. The docile hominid cow of the plains became a warrior. His culture was now much more complex, one that needed careful planning and leadership. This required intelligence and language.
Homo habilis was the transition man. Starting with a 500cc brain, it grew to a respectable 800cc. Habilis developed from a brutish and dim-witted herd animal to a competent man. The Broca's area in his brain became developed showing the existence of a workable vocabulary. He invented the use of fire for cooking, warmth and keeping wild animals at bay. He invented the stone axe. He also may have eliminated the last of that big tough robustus and boisei bunch. For some reason they disappeared about that time. For sure there was no one else on the plains who could have done them in.
Then, about 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus came: mighty warrior, skilled hunter, inventor, far-ranging explorer and king of all he surveyed. The size of a modern human and standing as straight, he developed a 1250cc brain, very close to modern man. Along the way he developed many new tools and weapons, invented clothing, and traveled out of Africa, the first hominid to do so. He went across southeast Asia, into northern China and south to Java. He was now an omnivore who ate mostly meat, both animals and fish. He cooked his food. Evolution had noted the softer food, and degraded his magnificent chewing apparatus. By the end of his reign, his molars and jaw had shrunk to almost that of modern man.
The culmination of man's evolution was Homo sapiens (archaic). It has been down hill ever since. He came about 300,000 years ago, straight and tall, muscular, hardened and practical, with almost a full size brain, the result of four million years of evolution. Humankind was now a veteran of millions of deaths and countless hardships, with a population so small that mutations spread rapidly. His gene pool had little variability. Natural selection (death and misery) had kept him pared. Only the strongest, the most cunning, and the most stubborn survived.
Then came modern man, an anticlimax, about 120,000 years ago. From this point on his inventive mind would devise method after method to ease his lot. He would remove his enemies without compassion. He would learn to enslave other animals and even other men. He would greedily take from the world around him and from those who were weaker. He would make his life easier, and evolution would degrade him to match.
Concluding this story without giving tribute to an enigma in our history would not be proper. The Homo sapiens neandertalensis does not quite fit in our story. They probably came from far northern Europe, the descendants of an ancient Homo erectus tribe, a tribe that had migrated to that region many hundreds of thousands of years before. They had many physical characteristics of the modern Eskimo, who is well tuned to arctic living. They were stocky, almost massive, in build. The males were about 5'6" tall but they were much heavier and stronger than modern man. They had the large pronounced cheeks usually associated with cold weather adaptation. They walked as erectly as modern man. Their tools paralleled the coexisting Homo sapiens sapiens, but it is not known who copied. Although lacking a forehead, they had brains that averaged 1450cc, about 8% larger than modern man. They were the first to bury their dead, complete with flowers and artifacts. Were they cunning beasts? Or were they gentle and intelligent people? And what happened to them? Were they of the same species and their genes disappeared into a much larger pool? Or, (the most likely) did they get in the way of the early Homo sapiens sapiens and were simply exterminated? Late evidence in a study of the DNA from fossil remains seem to indicate that the neandertal was not assimilated into the gene pool of modern man.
How Evolution Works
Mutations are accidents in reproduction. The only place where such mutations can occur is in the production of the haploid cells (cells with a single set of chromosomes) in the sperm and egg, or in the joining of the two in conception. A reproduction accident anywhere else in the body will affect only the cell that suffers the accident. Such accidents will not be added into the gene pool and thus are not mutations. In such an accident, the sick cell is quickly replaced by a well one and the incident is over. Yet when such an accident occurs in the sperm or egg, it will appear in every cell in the offspring. This mutation then has a 50% chance of occurring in each grandchild. If the recipient of the mutation has several children, the odds are that the mutation will join the species gene pool by way of one or more of his children.
Natural selection then determines the fate of the mutation in the species gene pool. The test is not survivability or excellence. The test is in species population growth. If the mutation aids the growth of the species population then it is successful and will remain in the gene pool. If it does not, natural selection will remove it from the gene pool (through death and hardship).
Here are a few examples concerning man and evolution to help gain understanding of the way evolution works. The effects shown are not necessarily caused by genetics, but evolution treats all conditions as if they were. Note that natural selection acts as if all genes are involved in the success or failure of the individual. Each case that reduces the expected offspring is considered a vote against each gene in the genome. Each case that equals or exceeds the expected offspring is considered a vote for each gene in the genome. The mixing of genes in recombination allow individual allele selection over the long period of time.
Effect1: The new gene shortens the life to 35 years. Natural selection would not see this defect as detrimental since the children will be old enough to fend for themselves by that time.
Effect2: The parent has too many children. If so many children were born that the resulting death or misery rate reduced the number of the children who had children, evolution would see this as detrimental. If society takes care of his children for him they will be healthy enough to raise more children and evolution would judge the condition as beneficial
Effect3: The parent does not take good care of his children. If society does not interfere by taking care of the children for him, the suffering children are less likely to raise children of their own and evolution would judge that the condition is detrimental. If society cares for his children, evolution will judge the condition beneficial.
Effect4: The new gene lengthens life to 150 years. Evolution will not see this change as beneficial. Neither will it see later mutations that degrade it as detrimental, until the life expectancy gets so low that it affects child bearing and raising.
Effect5: The man is a murderer of children. His murder of someone else's children will affect the evaluation of the genes of their parents adversely. If the murderer has sufficient children of his own, evolution will not see anything detrimental in his lineage.
Effect6: The man is cruel and vicious with his wife. As long as he does not kill her or otherwise render her unable to care for her children, evolution will see no harm. Even if he kills her and society takes over the raising of his children, evolution will still see no harm
Effect7: The man dies of an accident before he has children. Natural selection will see this death as detrimental
Effect8: A young lady decides not to marry and have children. Natural selection will see this as detrimental.
Effect9: A man decides to adopt children instead of having his own. Natural selection will vote for the genes of the natural parents of the children and vote against the adoptive parent's gene set.
A great difference clearly exists between the goals of evolution and those of a compassionate culture. We are built one way, but we want to be another way. Luckily there is a large overlap where both evolution and man desire the same thing. Unfortunately, where we differ the choices are all quite painful
Instinct and Intelligence
What is instinct? It is the driving force in the behavior of an organism and is directly determined by genetic code. Early single-cell organisms, billions of years ago, developed sensors to detect light and an instinct to swim toward that light. Others developed poison darts and sensors to tell when another organism was near. When their sensors said that something was near, their instinct fired the darts to obtain a meal. With the development of sexual reproduction, the instinct of sexual desire provided the drive for reproduction.
The northern pike is a fish in the lakes of northern North America. It is a predator. If one is placed in a tank of water and a smaller fish tossed into the tank, the pike will quickly eat it. If two fish of equal size are tossed into the pond, it will eat the closest one first. If the two fish are of unequal size but are placed in the tank equally far from the pike, it will eat the largest first. If the larger one is farther away, it will still eat the larger one first up to a certain distance differential. If the larger one is too far away, it will eat the small one first. It judges the relative distance of the two fish, juggles that with the size of the fish, then optimizes his chance for the most food. This is called reasoning. Yet the pike can be raised in isolation and it will still do this. This is called instinct. The parameters of the calculation are fixed in his genetic description.
The purple martin can fly beautifully, directly out of the box. Flying is not easy. It requires much skill, but the purple martin chick does it the first time. Adult martins will make sure he practices awhile, that first time out, but he knows how to do it. That is instinct. He is fix-wired to fly well, to a point. He usually falls right out of the tree, the first time he lands. If he tries to land on a pole, he will usually fall off or slide down. His genetic code prepared him for flying, those parameters are fixed, but it did not directly prepare him for every possible landing site. It gave him memory and a landing formula for that. Watch that chick a week later and see a perfect landing every time. He has learned how to grab onto the standard surfaces. He has learned. He remembers what he has learned and uses that knowledge to control his claws when he lands. That is reasoning. Yet he does not need another martin to teach him. That is instinct.
Reasoning of this type in man is indistinguishable to him from intellectual reasoning. The reasoning mechanism is fixed and is the same one used in both cases. The only difference in the process is that intellectual reasoning follows a learned process (program) stored in a learning memory (RAM). The pike follows a process (program) stored in fixed memory (ROM). Most reasoning by man, which he considers to be intellectual, is not intellectual at all. All cultural (emotional) interactive reasoning processes are of the fixed type, embedded eons ago. Modern data may be fed into these processes from memory or senses, but the process is instinctive. Anything involving mother love or sex, for example, will be reasoned following ancient fixed processes.
It is the author's contention that there is no distinction between instinct and intelligence (which includes memory and reasoning) other than in size, relative proportions and complexity. They are dimensions of the same structure and are decreed by the coding in the DNA. Pure reasoning in the human is not only a myth but is impossible. His method of thinking, utilization of memory, and problem solving skills, are all fixed by his DNA, a DNA designed by an idiot. Man can conceive the idea of pure objective thought, but he is incapable of it. Man is a subjective organism. Evolution took millions of years to make sure of it. He can talk about objectivity all he wants, he can foolishly believe that he is being objective, but there is no way that he can remove himself from his own instinct-reasoning programming. Ancient instincts and modern intellect are seamlessly intertwined in his brain. The idea of pure objective thought is no more than another example of man's ability to conceive the perfect bird or animal trap or the advantages of moving to another valley that he has not seen yet. Man cannot fly to the moon. However, he could conceive the idea and then build a machine that will take him there. He is not ashamed in the least of using the machine. Still, when he considers pure objective thought in dealing with personal things, such as his culture, his arrogance forces him to believe that he can 'fly to the moon' without any outside help. He will become quite irritated with suggestions to the contrary (the irritation alone illustrates the degree of his objectivity). Similarly, there is no reason that man cannot build a machine (perhaps even an organic one) which is capable of 'pure' reason. Only a machine designed for the purpose could be completely objective. His biggest problem will be in defining 'pure' reason. Incidently, this is a machine that we should be working on now with a high priority. Think of it, intelligence without instincts. We need it badly. Elect one for president. Put a bunch more on the bench.
The long term result of evolution is bare survival. If the organism is in distress, the higher death rate removes survival impediments rapidly. An organism suffering a high mortality rate tends to become stronger to match its environment. If the organism is better than required, evolution will degrade it, again matching the organism with the environment. A comfortable organism has a lower death rate and so does not weed out detrimental characteristics as quickly. The result is a gradual degradation of function until the comfort is removed.
Now back to the pike and the martin, with that in mind:
If the pike is successful in his environment, he will not develop any further intelligence. He does not need it. It would be of no value to him. If the environment becomes harsher, he will either develop offsetting ability or perish. Still, what is the most likely change? He already knows how to hunt. He does not have a hand to hold a weapon and has no need to understand Shakespeare. Bigger teeth, a sleeker body for speed, or a quicker reaction time would solve his problem far better and quicker than a higher IQ. Look at a pike. He has been gaining those features for millions of years. Pound for pound there is not a better killing machine on earth (well, maybe with man as an exception).
The martin is in the same fix. He is born flying. It does not take long, even with a low IQ, to learn how to fly with your mouth open and scoop up insects. Only if his environment changed would he need to learn something new. Perhaps a more agile flying style, a different territory, a bigger mouth, or more broods each year would solve the problem better and quicker than a higher IQ. If he should have a mutation that gave him a higher IQ, what would be the value? What would he use it for? If the new-found intelligence is not required, it would not last long. Evolution quickly removes unused features. Most animals fit this pattern.
Why did man develop the large brain? Why did the other primates not do so? The answer, of course is in his particular environment, how well he matched it, and what the evolutionary alternatives were. His upright posture was both a blessing and a curse. He found himself standing upright on the ground. He could not outrun or out-fight his predators. It would take massive changes in his physical structure to improve the situation. Evolution usually works in an incremental fashion. Mutations occurred to his entire body and brain. Small changes to his body did bring about some physical changes. He developed stronger and better shaped eating tools. Still, his biggest problem was the predators, big fast cats and the men in the next tribe. Incremental physical changes did not help that problem one whit. Yet every time the brain grew incrementally (mutations that affected brain size), good things happened. He not only was able to handle his predator problem better, but his cultural life improved. With the free arms and hands to carry things and to handle weapons, his lot improved with each brain size increase.
Another factor in evolution may have been brought into play. It is rare but when it occurs it multiplies the effect of evolution. It works in both a negative and a positive way, and aids the organism in its balance with its environment, in either case. If mutations in a critical area in the DNA causes organism distress, natural selection will eliminate the mutation each time it happens (through death and misery). A mutation may occur which protects the organism from mutations in that critical area. This new mutation will prosper in the gene pool. This is a case where one mutation eliminates or reduces the recurrence of another unfavorable mutation before it happens. Its result is very favorable to the organism.
The reverse of that action is also beneficial. If a mutation in a particular area is favorable (say, one that causes an increase in brain size), natural selection will allow that mutation to remain in the gene pool each time it occurs, if it is needed and utilized. The brain will grow incrementally each time the mutation happens. Since mutations are rare and random, brain growth would be quite slow even if greatly needed. Nevertheless, if a mutation occurred which encouraged such mutations so that they would happen more often, the rate of brain growth would be accelerated. This could explain the more rapid brain growth starting at the juncture of africanus and habilis. Still, the coding of an accelerator mutation is itself subject to mutation. If brain-power was really making a difference then, then this new mutation would be detrimental and be quickly eliminated. Yet if the organism was comfortable, the accelerator would soon disappear from the gene pool since it would not affect survivability. The latter probably happened about 100,000 years ago when the human population started expanding rapidly (showing ability greater than needed). An expanding population is a good measure of organism comfort. Detrimental mutations will accumulate in the gene pool at such times, and favorable characteristics will be degraded.
Evolution, through the liberal application of death and hardship, had built a strong body and a sound mind by the time of the appearance of Homo sapiens sapiens. Both were designed for entirely different environments than experienced by man today. We live longer today for three reasons. One is our health care and diet. The second is that our bodies were constructed to last thirty years under brutally harsh conditions. Removal of those harsh conditions allows a longer life span. Third is our culture. We cheat evolution of the deaths that it needs to cleanse the gene pool. In the short run we will live longer. Eventually mutations will erase these benefits. Evolution seeks to have us hanging over the edge.
In modern society, survivability is no longer dependent on the condition of the mind. In fact, the more successful tend to have fewer children. Mutations that distort the function or size of the brain are no longer removed by natural selection from the gene pool. The enormous size of the population slows the spread of adverse mutations across the gene pool, but if no one dies of their adverse effects before he has his offspring, alleles from adverse mutations will accumulate.
The Evolution of the Brain
Any mutation must be applied to a DNA coding that already exists. It can not be applied to coding that does not exist. Is this a silly statement? Not at all. It leads to the way that evolution changes an organism. Mutations are always applied to the existing DNA coding. Evolution makes something new out of something that already exists. If a bear becomes distressed in a given environment, it does not sprout wings and fly. Instead, such things as longer legs or claws will be tested. Also, evolution often does not fix the thing that causes a problem, it patches the problem by doing something unrelated. If an organism suffers a mutation that shortens its life so that it has difficulty rearing its children to childbearing age, that mutation will start being culled from the gene pool. Before that mutation has been completely removed from the gene pool, another mutation may occur which shortens the gestation period or child development period. If this shortens the child caring requirements enough so that the shortened life is no longer a problem, then both mutations would be acceptable as permanent residents in the gene pool.
One must remember that every cell in the human body can perform any function. Two copies of the entire genome are in every cell. A cell that is in the liver chooses to do that function. The cells in bone or in the brain choose to do those functions. When a mutation happens, it is either to the inner function of a cell, or to the size and shape of the overall cell structure (such as a skull, heart, etc.).
The brain did not start with man, there were many examples of single cells that had simple versions billions of years before the first hominid appeared. Photosynthesis requires light. If a cell that depended on light drifted too low in the water or drifted under a land overhang that obscured the sun, it was in deep trouble. Some developed a light sensor and a method of swimming. For the system to work, they developed a central control system that would judge the amount of light and if it was insufficient would turn the cell toward the light source and swim in that direction. It would keep swimming until it was bathed with sufficient light. This was all done within a single cell organism. That early cell had memory (what am I supposed to do?), and reason (which way do I swim?).
Early animals developed cells that connected their various muscles to the central control area. Commands from the brain drive the muscles through these nerve cells. Every cell in an organism carries all of the information in its DNA for the entire organism. Each cell is a universal cell and can provide any service in the body of the organism. Evolution constructed the nerve cell from the standard cell. It also constructed nerve cells that connect the various sensors (ears, eyes, nose, skin) to the central control area. These nerve cells carried sensor information to the brain. Further cell adaptations in the central control area provided functional links. If the ears hear a loud bang then tell the leg muscles to jump the other way. If the stomach says it is hungry, go bite something. We refer to these permanent fixed processes as instincts. Still, the DNA cannot foresee all possible contingencies. It must allow some leeway. No animal is totally instinctive. All animals have some memory, some reasoning ability, and some decision making ability. We differ only in degree. The first hominid had all of the neural elements that we have today, as do the chimp and your pet poodle. The mutations that built our brain from that first hominid were more about quantity, shape, and organization than in substance.
The thing we must remember is that africanus had a 450cc brain. We now have a 1350cc brain. That africanus brain is still in there. Evolution patches over. It does not do housecleaning. Another thing to remember is that evolution has a zero IQ. It was not being intelligent when it formed the rest of our brain. It was much more interested in the sex life of our DNA.
Even that is not the whole story. Africanus was largely instinctive. Most of the add-ons to his brain have been intellectual. Those original instincts were strong and uniform. Evolution saw to that. His world was brutally uniform and required full time participation. Any deviant individual behavior would affect the birthrate. Evolution would not tolerate it. His instincts were well maintained.
Intelligence is always at odds with instinct. If the instinct provided proper survival action, there would be no need for intelligence. Indeed this is the case with all of the other animals. There are literally thousands of species that survive quite well with little intellectual ability. Intelligence is supposed to override instinct to provide action that is more suitable. That is why we got it in the first place. By controlling our instincts we could provide action that enhanced our survivability. A little self-discipline provided great survival dividends, and it worked. Man has conquered the world. He is the fat cat. He is on top of the heap. Yet now, peak intellectual performance and self-discipline are no longer requirements for survival. Man has become self-indulgent and has reverted to satisfying his instincts.
That is why today we act like africanus though we have a 1350cc brain. Africanus would object loudly to that statement, because that statement is not quite true. We would not live an hour in his environment. We have reverted to his instincts, that is true, but those instincts are now perverted. Through discipline, man substituted intelligence for instinct over a long period. During that time the instincts suffered mutations. Since both the original instincts and their mutations were being overridden by intelligence, the instinct mutations were not considered detrimental by evolution and so accumulated in the gene pool.
We have now reverted to a set of perverted instincts and now cater to those perversions by calling them normal. We excuse behavior now that would horrify africanus.
CONCLUSION 1. The mechanism for reasoning is instinctive (mechanical, fix-wired, genetically determined in function).
The consideration of alternative actions and the selection of the most appropriate is not unique to man. Memory is not unique to man. Learned elements of culture (behavior) are not unique to man. All of these exist to some degree in most animals. What man calls intelligence is actually an extension of memory, some portions specialized, to a tried and proven reasoning mechanism, one shared with many other animals. This additional memory allowed complex parameters and algorithms to be brought into the analysis and decision function. The uniqueness in modern man's intellectual powers lies in his ability to multiply the effect of his intellect through external memory and communications.
A normal brain, a gift of millions of years of evolution, is able to learn complex reasoning processes. Degenerative genetic mutations to this reasoning mechanism are not subject to correction through training.
CONCLUSION 2: The mark of evolutionary success in a given set of hominid genes, is to become a grandparent.
Only if the hominid result of a given genome configuration lives long enough to care for and help its offspring until they can bear young, will that set of genes be considered for a place in the gene pool. If there are no offspring, the gene set is a failure from the standpoint of evolution. If there are offspring but they do not have offspring, then the gene set is an evolutionary failure.
CONCLUSION 3: Man is not an intelligent being. He is, instead, an instinctive being with intelligence.
It is obvious from the nature of evolution and man's evolutionary history that what man terms intelligence was an add-on to an instinctive creature. This new factor improved man's ability to survive to become a grandparent by providing a wider choice in behavior and adding intellectual control over his instincts. Modern man, as was his ancestors, is driven by his instincts. He has, if he chooses to use it, intellectual control over his behavior. In ancient times the environment forced him to exercise this self-discipline. It was the thoughtful action that allowed him to survive.
Ancient man's instincts were his reason for living. His reasoning allowed him to live.
The removal of the dangers of environment from modern man (by his own inventiveness and direction) has resulted in two destructive forces, either of which alone will destroy the species: 1. The halting of gene pool cleansing by the environment results in species degeneration in mind and body to eventual species collapse, and 2. The discarding of self-discipline as a way of life, which in time will degenerate man's culture (behavior) to the point of behavioral chaos.
CONCLUSION 4: Since the beginning of man, the female and the male have had differing roles.
Dimorphism, one sex smaller than the other, is an indication of differing roles. In animals where the role is the same, the size is usually the same. The larger and stronger hominid male bore the rigors of the defense of the tribe. The smaller female bore her children and maintained the camp. During the period of the hunter-gatherer (essentially the last two million years) the male was the provider, the female was the family care giver. Since these factors are no longer a requirement for evolutionary survival, mutations are equalizing the sexes (equal degeneration), the males are becoming more feminine and the females more masculine.
CONCLUSION 5: The human female dictates the sexual activity.
The hominid female is the only one in the animal kingdom who has hidden her fertile time so completely that even she is not aware of when it is. Raising a human child is a long term process. In primitive times, too many children caused a too high death rate. Other animal females attract males when in season. The human female needed to control the spacing and number of her children. The lack of physical sexual signs required the male to always be ready in case he would be allowed. This allowed the female full intellectual control of her sexual activity. She used sex to bond the male to her so she could depend on his help. If he should be killed or crippled, she used it to attract a new help-mate.
A largely monogamous society is required for the survival of the human child, if the environment is severe. Not so in cases where food is plentiful. It appears doomed in modern society, even though there are benefits exceeding the need to survive.
CONCLUSION 6: Man is and always has been a tribal animal.
Forming a cooperative tribe was essential four million years ago. The hominid was not intellectual at that time. The formation of the tribe was the result of genetic modification. It was and is instinctive. Hunter-gatherer societies are tribal. These hominid societies began two million years ago. After four million years of tribal living, it is safe to assume that all mankind is tribal by instinct.