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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:26 am 
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Over the last 40 years a major change has taken place in the biological understanding of the concept of human “race,” largely as a consequence of an increase in knowledge of human genetics. As a biological rather than a social construct, “race” has ceased to be seen as a fundamental reality characterizing the human species.
But there has been a constant pressure from social and political practice and the coincidence of racial, cultural and social class divisions reinforcing the social reality of race, to maintain “race” as a human classification. If it were admitted that the category of “race” is a purely social construct, however, it would have a weakened legitimacy.


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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:35 am 
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H. erectus wrote:
Mmmm, discussing my family are we? Own, B3 and Tp, skinnering about us hey.


Please put us out of our misery, H. erectus! :pray: You are at the cutting edge, so to speak - so tell us all about yourself and your contemporaries. You're the expert on you, right? :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:38 am 
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Toko wrote:
Over the last 40 years a major change has taken place in the biological understanding of the concept of human “race,” largely as a consequence of an increase in knowledge of human genetics. As a biological rather than a social construct, “race” has ceased to be seen as a fundamental reality characterizing the human species.
But there has been a constant pressure from social and political practice and the coincidence of racial, cultural and social class divisions reinforcing the social reality of race, to maintain “race” as a human classification. If it were admitted that the category of “race” is a purely social construct, however, it would have a weakened legitimacy.


Sorry, Toko: but I can't quite understand the English (very scientific). :wall: :wall: Please explain what the essence of your post is ... in layman's terms, PLEASE. :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:38 am 
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It’s easy: There are no biologically defined "races". DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. Important is the fact, already well known from population genetics that between individuals within any one group you will find 85% of the total human genetic variation. In other words, the genetic variation between populations is much less than that within them.
We all know the destructive history of the notion of “races”. The rhetoric around the genetics of race not only is it often scientifically inaccurate, it might lead to a legitimization of racist attitudes.
Nobel laureate James Watson, whose discovery of DNA revolutionized the field of genetics, has provoked a scientific controversy by suggesting there are biochemical links between skin color and sexual activity and between thinness and ambition. In a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.


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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:11 pm 
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Own, wish I could put you out of misery as far as
mankind’s search goes in order to find where we
originate from. Any comment from me would make a
mockery/fun of what I regard as intellectual topic
between yourselves.
I do not have the education/patience to participate
on your level and would be thinking with the brain
of an ape so to speak.

Toko, I read your submissions to this topic. It took
quite a few re-reads, but I believe I understand what
you’re saying. If we were to be all the same genetically there would be no common cause for up-lift or self betterment in life, or for that matter a difference of opinion.

Sh*t Toko, you too can be like me, just look at my avatar.

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:41 am 
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From what I can gather from this excellent thread to-date, H.E., you could never have a brain of an ape! You'd rather surprise us with your abilities ... so. from now on, I'm going to look out for that validation! :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:40 am 
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B3006, thanks for the thought provoking comments :clap: . I understand where you are coming from but as Toko says, race is based on other factors than genetic variation. Yes, Zulus are different from San who are different from Caucasians etc etc etc however, on a genetic basis we all fit into the mold of Homo sapiens. Bear in mind that H. sapiens, apart from the anatomical differences to our predecessors are defined by our capabilities as well.

Regardless of what H. sapiens physically look like they all have the same capabilities and even within our socially defined races the range of these capabilities varies hugely.

H.erectus – as I've intimated, still walks among us :wink:

H.erectus is an interesting part of our evolution – here we have a species that appears to have been around for well over a million years, was most likely the first of our ancestors to control fire, was probably the first of our ancestors to develop dark skin thus leading to the loss of body hair, physically they developed a posture that would allow better hunting, developed technologically sound tools, most likely hunted in groups that managed to hunt animals as large as the horses (think about how significant a development this is – given no vehicles or any of the other items that we take for granted in our modern society). Yet, there are no traces that this ancestor could think abstractly – there are no cave paintings, decorations etc found at any of the fossil sites - we'll come back to this shortly, but I have a research Q for you all.

As there were no significant extinction events (that we are aware of) that would have caused H. erectus to disappear, would you consider that H.erectus did not actually die, but evolved continuously to what we are today, maybe following different lines? Please provide some reasoning, not just "Y" or "N"

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:33 am 
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No research yet, just putting down some thoughts that are in my mind.

I do not think that the lack of evidence of an extinction event can be used to argue the fact that H. erectus did not become extinct, but evolved and is still amongst us. Extinction is not necessarily indicated by a specific event, but can also be brought about by a change in the environment to which the organism in question cannot, or does not, adapt, and thus become extinct. Extinction can be an "instantaneous" event like a cataclysmic catastrophe, such as the meteorite that caused the Vredefort Dome hitting earth, or the dodos being hunted into extinction. However, it could also be a gradual extinction in which population growth slows for some or other reason, and normal attrition is higher than population increase, until the day finally arrives where there's simply nothing left.

Thus the lack of an identifiable extinction event does not prove that H. erectus didn't go extinct. Neither am I saying that they did, just that the lack of evidence of a specific extinction "event" doesn't prove that they kept going.

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:42 am 
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Beautiful B3006 :thumbs_up: :clap: this is exactly the type of thinking that I'm trying to draw out.

This is certainly not a black and white subject and the points you have made should lead to further speculation on why (if at all) H. erectus may have become extinct.

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:09 am 
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Phenomenal points and counterpoints, TP and Bishop. :clap: :clap: :clap: Fascinating arguments and assessments. I'm loving it. Just can't think for myself at the moment; too tired, but will expand my lateral thinking a bit in the coming days.

One point, though, TP: you said that we all have the same capabilities, yet our capabilities are extant over a range. This suggests that we don't actually have the same capabilities. :hmz: Perhaps you means that we inherently have a certain type of capability - for example, lingual expression - but that, within a continuum, some have a better ability than others?

I will need to research your excellent Q first, TP, but I seem to think that miscegenation could have resulted in the elimination of H. erectus as a separate species, but that, since he was around other species at certain timelines, he merged with others, resulting in both defined species being hybridised into a new type. This has happened with many races and cultures throughout modern history: for example, some of the native tribes in South Africa that were conquered by the Zulus, were largely merged with them through cross-breeding. To further underscore my point, some already suggest that, by the year 2500, the separate races present now on earth - such as Negroid, Caucasian, and Mongoloid - will be essentially eliminated as phenotypes through miscegenation! The large majority of people on earth will then be a hybrid of the traits that traditionally distinguish race today.

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:47 am 
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Quote:
One point, though, TP: you said that we all have the same capabilities, yet our capabilities are extant over a range. This suggests that we don't actually have the same capabilities. Perhaps you means that we inherently have a certain type of capability - for example, lingual expression - but that, within a continuum, some have a better ability than others?


Ja OWN. All human beings have the same capabilities, including speech, abstract thought, problem solving etc unless something is physically stopping that human being being able to achieve the capabality inherent in the species. An example would be someone who may have been brought up completely without speech is capable of learning speech much later in life, unless there is an impairment that prevents speech. Even deaf people can be taught to speak albeit not as we would expect because they cannot hear the sounds like a hearing person does.

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:07 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Thanks TP! That allows me to put that thought into its context again. Fascinating discussion, really! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:19 pm 
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As I'm sure you are well aware TP it is very difficult to give an accurate answer here as there is so much controversy surrounding this subject, but due to the fact that there is some controversial evidence that other species in the fossil records are descendants of erectus, in which case it would not be strictly correct to say that they are extinct. It's a linguistic controversy to say that an animal whose descendants are still alive is not properly extinct, even if it has evolved into a different species.

So I will go with the fact that perhaps it is an issue of slow change, and cro-magnon/homo erectus simply represented significant stages in overall development and morphology. (Just one of the available options) :doh:
:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:30 am 
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:hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:57 am 
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Siobain :thumbs_up: :clap: spot on comments.

A big puzzle for me through all my readings on paleoanthropology has always been the overlapping timelines. Graphically the species are usually shown as completely seperate but it just does'nt gel for me. There has to have been a continuous evolutionary process so H.habilis for example morphed into H.erectus and so on. This probably happened in an area where conditions were inducive to evolution occurring.

Evolution probably occurs through pressures imposed on the species from their environment, so if one "tribe" of the species was not in an area where evolution was pressured on them then they would remain while another tribe becomes something else again. H.neanderthalensis only seems to have developed in Europe slightly eastwards into Russia, while H.sapiens appear to have a more African origin. They are probably both evolved from H.erectus.

Thoughts please? :huh:

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