Skip to comments.Some See Roots of Compassion in a Toothless Fossil Skull
Posted on 04/06/2005 12:13:36 PM PDT by CobaltBlue
The toothless skull of an early human ancestor, discovered in the Republic of Georgia, may attest to evolution's oldest known example of some kind of compassion for the elderly and handicapped in society, scientists are reporting today.
Other experts agreed that the discovery was significant, but cautioned that it might be a stretch to interpret the fossil as evidence of compassion.
The well-preserved skull belonged to a male Homo erectus about 40 years old. All his teeth, except the left canine, were missing. The empty tooth sockets had been filled in by a regrowth of bone, the scientists said, indicating that the man had been toothless for at least two years before he died at what was then an old age. (The discoverers call him the "old man.")
In a report in today's issue of the journal Nature, the discovery team said the 1.77-million-year-old skull "raises questions about alternative subsistence strategies in early Homo."
Specifically, how could the man have survived that long, unable to chew the food of a mainly meat-eating society?
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
He was a prisoner captured from another tribe.
First thing they did was knock out his teeth.
Then, the put him through years of constant, hellish tortures,
and they fed him just enough mush to survive.
But after two years of this, he developed an infection and died.
Fossil record backs up this theory about as well as it backs up the compassion theory.
they kept him around to open the beer bottles.
He probably survived on Ring Ding Jrs, Twinkies, and Hostess Cupcakes. I know I do.
LOL And you could probably come up with about 10 other similarly authoritative theories, too.
> Then, the put him through years of constant, hellish tortures,
and they fed him just enough mush to survive.
Keeping prisoners for *years* is largely beyond both the ability and interest of extremely primitive hunter-gatherers, much less a proto-human.
Someone kept him alive, clearly. But why? Go with the simplest explanation. One that explains rationally why someone who was a drain on resources was retained. Look around the world: a great many people are dependent upon others for their very survival. This includes prisoners, of course. But how many prisoners are there compared to, say, elderly and invalid?
He told Mike Tyson: "You suck jerk"
- the rest is histery
Toothless? must have been a Paleo-Brit!........
I've always thought that archaeologists/paleontologists worked under the assumption that nobody knows more than a modern archaeologists/paleontologists.
Benefaction is a behavior which can be spotted in animals and is not equivalent to charity (universal, or "Christian" love). Animals instinctively maintain care of other animals in situations where the other animals are likely to share genes. The reason for it is quite simple: the behavior is naturally selected, since natural selection favors simply the survival of genes, not really organisms. For this reason, drones-bees will die to protect their queen, for she generates like-gened siblings. Likewise, wolves will die to protect other packmates.
This benefaction is, of course, not rational, and be based on incorrect reasons. For instance, dogs are by nature loyal to whom they perceive as their authority, even when it is a human master and not an alpha male. [I've since read arguments that this may NOT be a genetic mistake, but an example of co-evolution!]
Given that such emotional bonding is common in animals, I cannot possibly percieve why it would be surprising among cave men! "Old Man" may be a skilled hunter or warrior with still much to teach the tribe. What is unusual, but hardly remarkable, is the simple recognition that someone may need assistance eating food.
You just learn to swallow bigger chunks of food.
I agree. He probably was of some value to the tribe, maybe their wise man. So someone else chewed his food for him. What's the big deal.
> This benefaction is, of course, not rational, and be based on incorrect reasons. For instance, dogs are by nature loyal to whom they perceive as their authority, even when it is a human master and not an alpha male.
It is hardly irrational for a dog to be loyal to a (decent)human master. Examine the quality and *quantity* of life of a feral dog to that of one that stays in a nice warm house and gets regular means and veterinary care.
The fact that this occurred 1.77 million years ago is surely remarkable, no?
Well, at least there wasn't a funnel and hollow tube lying around.
Darwinism can explain everything.
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