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Discoveries and theories in human evolution and prehistory

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by ringo, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    I found this paragraph interesting:

    Does this mean that the ability to digest starch didn't exist in humans until the advent of agriculture?
  2. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    Pretty much. It wasn't at all efficient. This is a good read
    NoXion and littlebabyjesus like this.
  3. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    krtek a houby and ringo like this.
  4. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Never Mind That, It’s Time For the Bus!...

    I remember in my first Reader's Digest Atlas of the World, back in the sixties stating that the Celts spread through Europe from North Africa.
  5. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I'd never considered that skin becoming paler might be so recent, that's incredible. Would love to see this analysis used more broadly across the archaeological record around the world to map the changes from dark to pale and compare it with changing ecological factors. It would make sense if it happened after the last ice age when it became viable to migrate north into more temperate climates.
    krtek a houby likes this.
  6. ElizabethofYork

    ElizabethofYork Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    Very funny to see all the outrage and "PC gorn mad" comments on the Daily Mail online!
  7. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I want to look, but you know, Mail innit.
  8. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

  9. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Programme was on last night, very interesting and as to be expected, very similar to what was in the article.

    The science is not complete in that the geneteic code retrieved from the bones was incomplete, so there had to be a couple of assumptions, but considering it's age they were surprised at just how much of the code survived.

    Similar genetic codes from known and more complete sequences which matched up in key genetic areas were used to fill in the gaps. I don't think that invalidates the results, seems like a fairly solid solution.

    The bright blue eyes and very dark skin was quite a surprise to all of the academics from all fields, but did suggest a general correlation with the evidence of other hunter gatherers found across Europe from that period, suggesting a single population. Makes sense that as the last ice age receded that population expanded into Britain.

    It also makes sense that it was only when humans moved into the far north that skin needed to adapt to absorb more vitamin D by getting paler.

    Also of interest was the use of genetic testing of the modern Cheddar population for comparison. The early man shared about 10% of his genetic code with the modern locals, suggesting that he and his people were some of the ancestors of people who still live there today.

    They used genetic testing kits from ancestry.com. I've always wanted to get that done, but have been put off by reports in the papers that it's mainly guesswork and wildly inaccurate. That a programme featuring some of our best scientists from the Natural History Museum, including Chris Stringer, would endorse and use that method makes me wonder if it's got better. At least I got the impression that was part of the investigation carried out by the museum, and not just something the programme makers did and added on, would be interesting to know.
    danny la rouge likes this.
  10. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge This is definitely the darkest timeline

    I was interested in the findings, but found the programme unnecessarily sensational and portentous. It got in the way of what could have been more interesting had I not been so irritated by the voice over and the cliffhangery structure. Perhaps some of that was exacerbated by the fact we already knew everything that was in the programme from the various articles that preceded it.

    I was puzzled by the way they tagged on the bit about Cheddar Man not being related (in a broad population sense) to the inhabitants of the cave from 5000 years previously. They wouldn't have been expected to be related, as the ice sheets had intervened and Cheddar Man's people were (relatively) newly colonising what became the British Isles. But that lack of expectation was skated over, despite the many times they repeated other matters. I got the distinct impression this test was only included because of the cannibalism angle.

    However, it is indeed interesting that dark skin is so recent in the population. And the collection of features was intriguing. And the reconstruction was remarkable.

    I just felt I was being dumbed down at.
    ringo and littlebabyjesus like this.
  11. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Sounds like almost every documentary on tv nowadays. Even on subjects you're interested in, they can be unwatchable. They treat the viewers like idiots to whom everything is new. There's a way to not assume knowledge that doesn't patronise - Attenborough manages it - but most don't manage it.
  12. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Yeah, there was a lot of being very pleased we're not related to cannibals. Or at least not those particular cannibals.

    I'd have been much more interested in what the current thinking was about the origins and later movements of the earlier inhabitants than just whether both populations were related.
    danny la rouge likes this.

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