Human organ evolution (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, April 20, 2018, 15:16 (243 days ago)

Deep divers have big spleens:

https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...


Researchers have identified a genetic variant that likely results in larger spleens among the Bajau people in Southeast Asia, conferring better endurance for free diving in the ocean. The study, published today (April 19) in Cell, is an uncommon example of natural selection in modern humans that likely occurred on the order of hundreds or thousands of years.

“'This is a fascinating example of how humans can, in a relatively short amount of time, adapt to a local environment,” says study coauthor Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley.

"The Bajau people live in villages scattered throughout Southeast Asia, spending much of their day using traditional spears and other simple equipment to collect fish and shellfish by free diving—holding their breath. They have subsisted on this hunting method for more than 1,000 years.

"The human body has a few tricks to increase the time spent underwater in an oxygen-deficient environment. One way is to boost red blood cell production, which allows for more efficient oxygen delivery to organs and tissues, or to expand their lung capacity. A third adaptation—which the authors describe for the first time today—is increasing the size of the spleen, which stores oxygenated red blood cells and contracts during diving to release the blood cells into circulation. (another article says it boosts oxygenated red cells by 9%)

***

"Ilardo and her colleagues found that the spleens of the Bajau people were about 50 percent larger compared to the Saluans, even while taking into account individuals’ gender, age, weight, and height.

"Next, the team compared the genomic sequences of Bajau and Saluan participants to those of the Han Chinese as a control, unrelated group. Scanning for variants, the group identified the top 25 polymorphisms that were unique to the Bajau genomes, suggesting natural selection pressures were at work. The study authors created a phylogenetic tree, calculating that the Bajau and Saluans diverged about 15,000 years ago, suggesting that the Bajau-unique genetic variants evolved some time after this divergence.

***

“'This work provides the first evidence for genetic adaptation in diving human populations and elucidates genetic pathways important in hypoxia tolerance,” Tatum Simonson, who studies the physiology and genetics of high-altitude adaptation at the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences, and was not involved in the work, writes in an email to The Scientist.

"The team’s top hit, a variant adjacent to the BDKRB2 gene, is the only other gene that has previously been found to be associated with a human diving response, but not with spleen size. “We have no idea what it does to change the diving reflex. That is something we would like to explore next,” says Nielsen."

Comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

Human organ evolution

by dhw, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:17 (242 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

Human organ evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 15:19 (242 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case. I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

Human organ evolution

by dhw, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 13:18 (241 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

DAVID: It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case.

Yes, as I said above (now bolded), that is natural selection. Nice to see you defending Darwin for a change! But the alternative origin seems equally possible to me: that usage resulted in expansion, which was passed on to following generations.

DAVID: I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

If particular usage can change the structure of the brain, and exercise can expand muscles, I don’t see why it can’t change other structures too, but the question is always to what extent, and in this case how quickly. The answer is that we don’t know. Given the choice between your God changing pre-whales’ legs into fins before they entered the water, and pre-whales entering the water with legs, and legs then changing into fins, I would opt for the latter, saltation or not. But of course that is a subjective view.

Human organ evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 15:20 (241 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Deep divers have big spleens:
https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/52347/title/Free-Divers-From-Sou...

DAVID’s comment: This is an organ adaptation, not a change in the human species.

dhw: Yes indeed, but it confirms a pattern which runs through so many of these threads. Adaptation to the environment causes changes to the body, but we don’t know the extent to which the body can change itself. The divers didn’t tell their spleens to get bigger. Of course it may be that natural selection caused bigger spleens to outlive smaller spleens, but an alternative would be the process already observed elsewhere, i.e. that concentrated usage results in expansion of the organs used. With musicians and taxi drivers it’s parts of the brain, and with the divers it’s the spleen. One can envisage the same process occurring when land animals entered the water, and limbs became fins, or vice versa, with fish evolving legs out of fins. Not proven, of course, but there is a satisfying consistency in this hypothesis, and it still allows for your God as the inventor of the mechanism that makes it all possible.

DAVID: It is possible that the explanation lies with the first that dived. Those with larger spleens were more productive and produced more divers. The process repeated over and over made the folks we have today. Pure Darwin which makes sense in this case.

dhw: Yes, as I said above (now bolded), that is natural selection. Nice to see you defending Darwin for a change! But the alternative origin seems equally possible to me: that usage resulted in expansion, which was passed on to following generations.

Yes, possible.


DAVID: I see no parallel in those mammals that took to water. That has to be saltation.

dhw: If particular usage can change the structure of the brain, and exercise can expand muscles, I don’t see why it can’t change other structures too, but the question is always to what extent, and in this case how quickly. The answer is that we don’t know. Given the choice between your God changing pre-whales’ legs into fins before they entered the water, and pre-whales entering the water with legs, and legs then changing into fins, I would opt for the latter, saltation or not. But of course that is a subjective view.

Enlargement of muscles is a process unique to muscles. Brain plasticity is unique to the brain. Water habitat requires enormous anatomical and physiological changes well beyond the muscle or brain changes.

Human evolution; influence of our biome

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 23, 2018, 19:48 (178 days ago) @ David Turell

Resident good bacteria have influenced our evolution:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621172437.htm

"Research tells us that the commensal or "good" bacteria that inhabit our intestines help to regulate our metabolism.

"In the intestine, digestive cells use an innate immune pathway to respond to harmful bacteria. But other intestinal cells, enteroendocrine cells, use the same pathway, known as IMD, to respond to "good" bacteria -- by fine-tuning body metabolism to diet and intestinal conditions.

"'Some innate immune pathways aren't just for innate immunity," says Watnick. "Innate immune pathways are also listening to the 'good' bacteria -- and responding metabolically."

"Watnick and her colleagues knew from their previous research that bacteria living in flies' intestines make a short-chain fatty acid, acetate, that is essential for the flies' own lipid metabolism and insulin signaling. Flies with no bacteria in their intestines (and hence, no acetate) accumulated fat droplets in their digestive cells. The lab of Norbert Perrimon, PhD, at Harvard Medical School had previously found similar fat droplets in flies whose enteroendocrine cells lacked tachykinin, an insulin-like protein important in growth, lipid metabolism and insulin signaling.

"'When there's a problem processing glucose or lipids, fats get stuck in these droplets in cells that are not designed for fat storage," she says.

***

"Watnick believes these fat droplets, whether caused by loss of intestinal bacteria, loss of tachykinin or loss of the innate immune pathway, are the equivalent of fatty liver. Their accumulation is a sign that the body cannot properly metabolize carbohydrates and fats. In essence, Watnick thinks these flies have metabolic syndrome, commonly associated with obesity and type 1 diabetes.

"How are intestinal bacteria, the innate immune system and metabolism related? Through a series of experiments, the team began to tease out exactly how bacteria exert their metabolic influence. They showed that:

"The innate immune pathway spurs enteroendocrine cells to produce tachykinin.

"In the absence of either bacteria or their breakdown product, acetate, no tachykinin is made.
When germ-free flies are given acetate, the innate immune pathway is reactivated and their metabolism normalizes.

"A specific innate immune receptor on enteroendocrine cells, PGRP-LC, is required to receive the acetate signal.

"'We know bacteria control our metabolism, but no one realized that bacteria were interacting with innate immune signaling pathways in enteroendocrine cells," says Watnick. "Maybe these pathways are really a system that allows cells to recognize bacteria for different reasons."

***

"Though Watnick would now like to confirm these findings in a mammalian model, the study further sketches out what appears to be a two-pronged interaction between our microbiome and our metabolism. Good bacteria ferment nutrients in our diet and release short-chain fatty acids like acetate, which help us optimize our use and storage of nutrients. Pathogenic "bad" bacteria do the opposite: They consume fatty acids, impeding healthful metabolism. An imbalance in our intestinal microbiome has been linked to obesity and sometimes contributes to malnutrition."

Comment: since is seen in fruit flies, it more than likely the bacterial mechanism was present in early primate ancestors and passed on to us. Both viruses and bacteria guided evolution.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 1

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 23:41 (168 days ago) @ David Turell

Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond. Please read the article for completeness provided by the diagrams and for the voluminous text which has new research beyond the book I've quoted from 1992:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/why-human-speech-is-special--64351?utm_campaign=...

"as most speech scientists agree, there is no such thing as pure phonemes (though some linguists still cling to the idea). Discrete phonemes do not exist as such in the speech signal, and instead are always blended together in words. Even “stop consonants,” such as , [p], [t], and [g], don’t exist as isolated entities; it is impossible to utter a stop consonant without also producing a vowel before or after it. As such, the consonant [t] in the spoken word tea, for example, sounds quite different from that in the word to. To produce the vowel sound in to, the speakers’ lips are protruded and narrowed, while they are retracted and open for the vowel sound in tea, yielding different acoustic representations of the initial consonant.

***

"computer systems that recognize and synthesize human speech are commonplace. All of these programs, such as the digital assistant Siri on iPhones, work at the word level. What linguists now know about how the brain functions to recover words from streams of speech now supports this word-level approach to speech reproduction. How humans process speech has also been molded by the physiology of speech production. Research on the neural bases of other aspects of motor control, such as learned hand-arm movements, suggests that phonemes reflect instruction sets for commands in the motor cortex that ultimately control the muscles that move our tongues, lips, jaws, and larynxes as we talk. But that remains a hypothesis. What is clear about language, however, is that humans are unique among extant species in the animal kingdom. From the anatomy of our vocal tracts to the complexity of our brains to the multifarious cultures that depend on the sharing of detailed information, humans have evolved the ability to communicate like no other species on Earth.

***

" In the human body, the lungs serve as the bellows, providing the source of acoustic energy for speech production. The supra-laryngeal vocal tract (SVT), the airway above the larynx, acts as the pipes, determining the formant frequencies that are produced.

***

"During speech, however, the diaphragm is immobilized and alveolar air pressure is maintained at an almost uniform level until the end of expiration, as a speaker adjusts her intercostal and abdominal muscles to “hold back” against the force generated by the elastic recoil of the lungs.

"This pressure, in combination with the tension of the muscles that make up the vocal cords of the larynx, determines the rate at which the vocal cords open and close—what’s known as the fundamental frequency of phonation (F0), perceived as the pitch of a speaker’s voice.

***

Adult women produced formant frequencies that were higher for the same vowels because their SVTs were shorter than the men’s. Adolescents’ formant frequencies were higher still. Nonetheless, human listeners are typically able to identify these spoken vowel sounds thanks to a cognitive process known as perceptual normalization, by which we unconsciously estimate the length of a speaker’s SVT and correct for the corresponding shift in formant frequencies.

***

"In short, people unconsciously take account of the fact that formant frequency patterns, which play a major role in specifying words, depend on the length of a speaker’s vocal tract. And both the fossil record and the ontogenetic development of children suggest that the anatomy of our heads, necks, and tongues have been molded by evolution to produce the sounds that clearly communicate the intended information.

***

"In addition to the anatomy of the SVT, humans have evolved increased synaptic connectivity and malleability in certain neural circuits in the brain important for producing and understanding speech. Specifically, circuits linking cortical regions and the subcortical basal ganglia appear critical to support human language."

Comment: Go to 2

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 2

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 23:51 (168 days ago) @ David Turell

The Evolution of this system is complex:

"In On the Origin of Species, Darwin noted “the strange fact that every particle of food and drink which we swallow has to pass over the orifice of the trachea, with some risk of falling into the lungs.” Because of this odd anatomy, which differs from that of all other mammals, choking on food remains the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. This species-specific problem is a consequence of the mutations that crafted the human face, pharynx, and tongue so as to make it easier to speak and to correctly interpret the acoustic speech signals that we hear.

"At birth, the human tongue is flat in the mouth, as is the case for other mammals. The larynx, which rests atop the trachea, is anchored to the root of the tongue. As infants suckle, they raise the larynx to form a sealed passage from the nose to the lungs, allowing them to breathe while liquid flows around the larynx. Most mammalian species retain this morphology throughout life, which explains why cats or dogs can lap up water while breathing. In humans, however, a developmental process that spans the first 8 to 10 years of life forms the adult version of the SVT. First, the skull is reshaped, shortening the relative length of the oral cavity. The tongue begins to descend down into the pharynx, while the neck increases in length and becomes rounded in the back. Following these changes, half the tongue is positioned horizontally in the oral cavity (and thus called the SVTh), while the other half (SVTv) is positioned vertically in the pharynx. The two halves meet at an approximate right angle at the back of the throat. The tongue’s extrinsic muscles, anchored in various bones of the head, can move the tongue to create an abrupt 10-fold change in the SVT’s cross-sectional area. (See illustration)

***

" This gives the adult human supralaryngeal vocal tract (SVT) two parts of nearly equal lengths that meet at a right angle: the horizontal portion of the oral cavity and the vertical portion associated with the pharynx. At the intersection of these two segments occur abrupt changes in the cross-sectional area of the SVT that allow humans to produce a range of sounds not possible for infants and nonhuman animals.

"As it turns out, the configuration of the adult human tongue’s oral and pharyngeal proportions and shape allow mature human vocal tracts to produce the vowels , , and [a] (as in the word ma). These quantal vowels produce frequency peaks analogous to saturated colors, are more distinct than other vowels, and are resistant to small errors in tongue placement.5 Thus, while not required for language, these vowel sounds buffer speech against misinterpretation. This may explain why all human languages use these vowels.

"This anatomy also begins to answer long-standing questions in language research: How did human speech come to be, and why don’t other animals talk? In 1969, my colleagues and I used a computer modeling technique to calculate the formant frequency patterns of the vowels that a rhesus macaque’s SVT could produce, based on an estimated range of tongue shapes and positions. We found that even when the monkeys’ tongues were positioned as far as possible toward the SVT configurations used by adult human speakers to yield the vowels , , and [a], the animals could not produce the appropriate formant frequencies. Three years later, using X-ray videos showing the movement of the vocal tract during newborn baby cries, we refined and replicated this study and found that, although chimpanzees and human newborns (which start life with a monkey-like SVT) produce a range of vowels, they could not produce s or s. This finding has since been replicated in independent studies, including in 2017 by the University of Vienna’s Tecumseh Fitch and colleagues. Those scientists used current computer techniques that readily model every vocal tract shape that a macaque could produce, and the research team confirmed that monkey vocal tracts were incapable of producing these vowels.

***

"It is now apparent that a massive epigenetic restructuring of the genes that determine the anatomy of the head, neck, tongue, larynx, and mouth enhanced our ability to talk after anatomically modern humans split from Neanderthals and Denisovans more than 450,000 years ago. A few years ago, David Gokhman, then at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and colleagues reconstructed the methylated genomic regions of a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil, an older Denisovan fossil, four ancient humans who lived 7,000 to 40,000 years ago, and six chimpanzees, comparing these with a methylation map of human bone cells assembled from more than 55 present-day humans. This comparison enabled the team to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between the human and Neanderthal-Denisovan groups, and between humans and chimps.9,10 The researchers found that the genes that were most affected were those that controlled development of the larynx and pharynx, suggesting that epigenetic regulatory changes allowed the human vocal tract to morph into a shape that is optimal for speech.

"Of course, the fact that monkeys don’t talk like humans isn’t purely due to the physical limitations of their vocal tracts. They also lack the neural networks necessary for producing and processing speech. "

Comment: See 3 which covers mutations and neural change.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 00:04 (168 days ago) @ David Turell

Mutation changes:

"One key contributor to the evolution of human speech is the FOXP2 transcription factor. Humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans share a mutation in the gene for FOXP2 that nonhuman primates lack. Early evidence of FOXP2’s role in human speech and language comes from studies of the KE family, a large extended family living in London in the second half of the 20th century. Some members had only one copy of FOXP2 and had extreme difficulty talking; their speech was unintelligible, and problems extended to orofacial motor control. They also had difficulties forming and understanding English sentences.

"The importance of FOXP2 has been further confirmed by knock-in mouse studies. When the human version of the gene for the FOXP2 transcription factor is inserted into mouse embryos, the animals exhibited enhanced synaptic connectivity and malleability in cortical–basal ganglia neural circuits that regulate motor control, including speech. The evolution of these circuits appears to have a deep evolutionary history going back to the Permian age, 300 million years ago. Avian versions of the FOXP1 and FOXP2 transcription factors act on the basal ganglia circuits involved when songbirds learn and execute songs.

"Exactly how the brain dictates the movement of the vocal tract to produce speech remains murky. Many studies have shown that “matrisomes” of neurons in the motor cortex are instruction sets for the motor commands that orchestrate a learned act. Assemblies of neurons in the motor cortex are formed when a task is learned, and these assemblies guide coordinated muscle activity. To sip a cup of coffee or type at a keyboard, for example, hand, arm, wrist, and other movements are coded in matrisomes. Similar matrisomes likely govern the muscles that move the tongue, lips, jaw, and larynx and control lung pressure during speech, but researchers are just starting to explore this idea. In short, brains and anatomy were both involved in the evolution of human speech and language.

"In 1971, Yale’s Edmund Crelin and I published our computer modeling study of a reconstructed Neanderthal vocal tract.14 We concluded that Neanderthals had vocal tracts that were similar to those of newborn human infants and monkeys and hence could not produce the quantal vowels [a], , and . However, the available archaeological evidence suggested that their brains were quite advanced, and that, unlike monkeys, they could talk, albeit with reduced intelligibility. We concluded that Neanderthals possessed both speech and language. In short, current research suggests a deep evolutionary origin for human language and speech, with our ancestors possessing capabilities close to our own as long as 300,000 years ago.

"Speech is an essential part of human culture, and thus of human evolution. In the first edition of On the Origin of Species, Darwin stressed the interplay of natural selection and ecosystems: human culture acts as an agent to create new ecosystems, which, in turn, directs the course of natural selection. Language is the mechanism by which the aggregated knowledge of human cultures is transmitted, and until very recent times, speech was the sole medium of language. Humans have retained a strange vocal tract that enhances the robustness of speech. We could say that we are because we can talk. "

Comment: Different folks do very different things with their languages which shows how flexible the speech mechanism can be: Hawaiian has almost no consonants, just 'l' and 'k'. In the Kalahari of Africa the bushmen use a click language. About 7,000 languages are recognized! The last paragraph indicates that we are much more than primates from a functional standpoint. We may look like apes, but the relationship stops there. Please read the whole article for deeper appreciation of my point: we are tremendously different in kind.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by dhw, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 11:25 (168 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond.

I greatly appreciate the research you do and the vast variety of articles you provide to give me and others an ongoing education, but you really don’t have to go to all these lengths to demonstrate that we are “highly different from apes” and are a “giant highly different step beyond”. It is blindingly obvious from everything that we have created (and destroyed). Thank you for all the information, but there is nothing in these posts for us to discuss.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism, 3

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 17:33 (168 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Until it is understood how complex is our ability to speak, how the changes from the ape form are so different and require obviously a tremendous number of mutations, it becomes obvious we are highly different from apes, and much more than primates. We are a giant highly different step beyond.

dhw: I greatly appreciate the research you do and the vast variety of articles you provide to give me and others an ongoing education, but you really don’t have to go to all these lengths to demonstrate that we are “highly different from apes” and are a “giant highly different step beyond”. It is blindingly obvious from everything that we have created (and destroyed). Thank you for all the information, but there is nothing in these posts for us to discuss.

I agree. I present these posts as evidence to be considered in the discussions about the presence of God and His role in evolution in line with the purposes of this website.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 01:09 (158 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 14, 2018, 02:15 (158 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.


Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 04:43 (158 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.

To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 14, 2018, 05:47 (158 days ago) @ David Turell

A new theory proposes H. sapiens sprung up in several places in Africa and gradually coalesced into our current form:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/11/no-single-birthplace-of-mankind-say-sci...

" a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

***

"This continental-wide view would help reconcile contradictory interpretations of early Homo sapiens fossils varying greatly in shape, scattered from South Africa (Florisbad) to Ethiopia (Omo Kibish) to Morocco (Jebel Irhoud).

***

"The latest analysis suggests that this patchwork emergence of human traits can be explained by the existence of multiple populations that were periodically separated for millennia by rivers, deserts, forests and mountains before coming into contact again due to shifts in the climate. “These barriers created migration and contact opportunities for groups that may previously have been separated, and later fluctuation might have meant populations that mixed for a short while became isolated again,” said Scerri.

"The trend towards more sophisticated stone tools, jewellery and cooking implements also supports the theory, according to the paper...

***

“'Someone finds a skull somewhere and that’s the source of humanity. Someone finds some tools somewhere, that’s the source of humanity,” she said, describing the latest approach as: “‘Let’s be inclusive and construct a model based on all the data we have available.”

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.


David: To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?

Trade, most likely.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Human evolution; from several starting points in Africa

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 15:18 (158 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

"The analysis also paints a picture of humans as a far more diverse collection of species and sub-populations than exists today. Between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago, our own ancestors lived alongside a primitive human species called Homo naledi, found in southern Africa, a larger brained species called Homo heidelbergensis in central Africa and perhaps myriad other humans yet to be discovered."

David: Comment: It is a strange thought to imagine various types of humans evolving everywhere from their ape-like ancestors, all to end up as one surviving type. Sounds like a purposeful drive. A major problem is the paucity of wide-spread homo fossils to fill in the story.

Tony: Sounds like the scattering at Babel. Within a few generations the dominant morphological traits of the group would be pretty much set. It would also explain a lot of other non-biological mysteries.


David: To reach one cohesive phenotype, there would have to be inter group cross breeding. How does that happen if they are scattered into small enclaves?


Tony: Trade, most likely.

Trade has been recognized as contact points.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 18, 2018, 15:06 (31 days ago) @ David Turell

As explored by an artificial simulation of how the brain probably handles language grammar:

http://maxplanck.nautil.us/article/341/brainwaves-encode-the-grammar-of-human-language?...

"Every day you hear at least some utterances you’ve never heard before. That you can understand them is partly due to the fact that they are structured according to grammatical rules. Scientists have found that the human brain may use the relative timing of brainwaves to encode and decode the structures in a sentence.

"Grammar is a way of structuring information that makes language an efficient way to communicate. Knowing the grammatical rules of our language allows us to say pretty much anything we want, including things we have never heard before by combining words to (new) sentences. Being able to learn and use grammar is unique to humans. But it also creates a challenge for the science of how the brain processes human language—how do our brains, essentially a bunch of cells in a network, represent something as abstract as grammatical rules?

"Scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics study this question with the help of computer-based models. They constructed an artificial neural network that simulates key features of the brain, such as densely connected populations of neurons that show neural oscillations. Neural oscillations are wave-like patterns of activity that happen at different frequencies, some very fast and some slow. The relative timing of these neural oscillations can help the brain encode grammatical relationships between words in a sentence, as Andrea Martin and Leonidas Doumas report in a paper in PLOS Biology.

"By encoding words in one oscillation, and phrases in another, the brain can keep track of words and phrases at the same time. This demonstrates how something as complex as a sentence can be encoded in the neural currency of oscillations. A key finding of the new study is that these artificial neural networks, when fed example sentences, give off patterns of energy that mimic what the brain does when it processes a sentence. Martin, lead author of the study, says: “This work helps us understand how the brain solves a complex puzzle and why it gives off the activity patterns that it does when processing language.”

"In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences. Such knowledge may also lead to biologically inspired advances in human-like artificial intelligence and computation."

Comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, November 19, 2018, 10:07 (30 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences."

DAVID’s comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

Perhaps more to the point in the context of so many of our discussions, it fudges on the origin of the consciousness that determines what use we make of language. It states explicitly that the brain gives rise to our daily experiences. I think most dualists would argue that our daily experiences are the result of the interaction between brain and soul. (I remain neutral on the subject.)

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, November 19, 2018, 15:08 (30 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences."

DAVID’s comment: A computer simulation that actually mimics the actual brain wave patterns, suggests this result is a true representation of how brain plasticity has adapted to handle language grammar. In describing the brain as 'arguably' the most complex, the article fudges on accepting that the brain is obviously the most complex result of evolution.

dhw: Perhaps more to the point in the context of so many of our discussions, it fudges on the origin of the consciousness that determines what use we make of language. It states explicitly that the brain gives rise to our daily experiences. I think most dualists would argue that our daily experiences are the result of the interaction between brain and soul. (I remain neutral on the subject.)

The article has obvious limitations, since it is a reductionist study of how the brain has modified to handle language and speech.

Human evolution; stone tools very early in Asia

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 18:49 (28 days ago) @ David Turell

A type of advanced stone tool is now found in Asia and dated to as much as 130-180,000 years ago:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181119160256.htm

"A study by an international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. Developed in Africa and Western Europe as far back as 300,000 years ago, the cores are a sign of more-advanced toolmaking -- the "multi-tool" of the prehistoric world -- but, until now, were not believed to have emerged in East Asia until 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

"With the find -- and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations -- researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world.

***

"Levallois-shaped cores -- the "Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools," Marwick said -- were efficient and durable, indispensable to a hunter-gatherer society in which a broken spear point could mean certain death at the claws or jaws of a predator. The cores were named for the Levallois-Perret suburb of Paris, where stone flakes were found in the 1800s.

***

"The researchers analyzed more than 2,200 artifacts found at Guanyindong Cave, narrowing down the number of Levallois-style stone cores and flakes to 45. Among those believed to be in the older age range, about 130,000 to 180,000 years old, the team also was able to identify the environment in which the tools were used: an open woodland on a rocky landscape, in "a reduced rainforest area compared to today," the authors note.

"In Africa and Europe these kinds of stone tools are often found at archaeological sites starting from 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. They are known as Mode III technology, part of a broad evolutionary sequence that was preceded by hand-axe technology (Mode II) and followed by blade tool technology (Mode IV). Archaeologists thought that Mode IV technologies arrived in China by migration from the West, but these new finds suggest they could have been locally invented. At the time people were making tools in Guanyindong Cave, the Denisovans -- ancestors to Homo sapiens and relative contemporaries to Neandertals elsewhere in the world -- roamed East Asia. But while hundreds of fossils of archaic humans and related artifacts, dating as far back as more than 3 million years ago, have been found in Africa and Europe, the archaeological record in East Asia is sparser.

***

"In the evolution of tools, Levallois cores represent something of a middle stage. Subsequent manufacturing processes yielded more-refined blades made of rocks and minerals that were more resistant to flaking, and composites that, for example, combined a spear point with blades along the edge. The appearance of blades later in time indicates a further increase in the complexity and the number of steps required to make the tools.

"'The appearance of the Levallois strategy represents a big increase in the complexity of technology because there are so many steps that have to work in order to get the final product, compared to previous technologies," Marwick said."

Comment: It looks as if advanced H. sapiens were more widespread over the world than just Africa and then Europe.

Human evolution; exercise helps the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, November 23, 2018, 21:03 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

We are still hunter-gatherers who evolved bodies to be maintained by exercise activities:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise-64934

"Researchers have long recognized that exercise sharpens certain cognitive skills. Indeed, Maejima and his colleagues have found that regular physical activity improves mice’s ability to distinguish new objects from ones they’ve seen before. Over the past 20 years, researchers have begun to get at the root of these benefits, with studies pointing to increases in the volume of the hippocampus, development of new neurons, and infiltration of blood vessels into the brain. Now, Maejima and others are starting to home in on the epigenetic mechanisms that drive the neurological changes brought on by physical activity.

***

" Moses Chao, a molecular neurobiologist at the New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues recently found that mice that ran frequently on wheels had higher levels of BDNF and of a ketone that’s a byproduct of fat metabolism released from the liver. Injecting the ketone into the brains of mice that did not run helped to inhibit histone deacetylases and increased Bdnf expression in the hippocampus. The finding shows how molecules can travel through the blood, cross the blood-brain barrier, and activate or inhibit epigenetic markers in the brain.

***

"The result also offers support for the 58 clinical trials currently being done on exercise, cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease. There are nearly 100 ongoing trials, including Petzinger’s, investigating exercise’s role in easing Parkinson’s symptoms, and hundreds more looking at exercise as an intervention against depression. Some researchers are even testing the effects of exercise on aging.

“'An active lifestyle is not going to turn a 70-year-old brain into a 30-year-old brain,” says Petzinger. “But studying exercise’s effect on the nervous system could help researchers identify the best and most efficient strategy—whether it’s activity alone or activity paired with drugs—to maintain brain health as we age.'”

Comment: And the same thought applies to muscle health, since we are now not hunter-gatherers:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-muscles-age--and-how-exercise-can-slow-it-64708

"In 1988, Tufts University’s Irwin Rosenberg coined the term “sarcopenia” from Greek roots to describe this age-related lack (penia) of flesh (sarx). Muscle aging likely has several underlying factors, including decreased numbers of muscle stem cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, a decline in protein quality and turnover, and hormonal deregulation. Loss of muscle mass is associated with—and possibly preceded by—muscle weakness, which can make carrying out daily activities, such as climbing stairs or even getting up from a chair, difficult for many seniors. This can lead to inactivity, which itself leads to muscle loss at any age. Thus, older people can enter a vicious cycle that will eventually lead to an increased risk of falls, a loss of independence, and even premature death.

"The good news is that exercise can stave off and even reverse muscle loss and weakness. Recent research has demonstrated that physical activity can promote mitochondrial health, increase protein turnover, and restore levels of signaling molecules involved in muscle function. But while scientists know a lot about what goes wrong in aging, and know that exercise can slow the inevitable, the details of this relationship are just starting to come into focus.

***

"Although the causes of muscle loss are numerous and complex, there is now copious evidence to suggest that exercise may prevent or reverse many of these age-related changes, whereas inactivity will accelerate muscle aging. Earlier this year, for example, Janet Lord of the University of Birmingham and Steven Harridge at King’s College London examined the muscles of 125 male and female amateur cyclists and showed that a lifetime of regular exercise can slow down muscle aging: there were no losses in muscle mass or muscle strength among those who were older and exercised regularly. More surprisingly, the immune system had not aged much either.

"Exercise’s influence on muscle health likely acts through as many mechanisms as those underlying age-related muscle loss and weakness. For example, the number of satellite cells can be increased by exercise, and active elderly people have more of these cells than more-sedentary individuals do. This is the reason why exercise prior to hip and knee surgery can speed up recovery in the elderly.

"Physical activity also affects the muscle’s mitochondria. A lack of exercise decreases the efficiency and number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle, while exercise promotes mitochondrial health.

***

"For now, regular exercise combined with good nutrition is still the most effective way to fight sarcopenia, and possibly aging overall."

Comment: The articles are filled with biochemical studies, if interested.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 25, 2018, 19:18 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

Recognizing speech starts in the womb. We are obviously programmed for language:

http://maxplanck.nautil.us/article/342/from-a-babys-cry-to-goethes-faust?utm_source=Nau...


"Speech is generally believed to start with our very first cry at the moment we enter the world. In fact, however, it begins much earlier. We can already understand individual sounds in the womb. From then on, it would appear that speech develops paradoxically in the course of life: We reach many milestones at a blazing pace in the first three years of life, while other language skills do not develop fully until adulthood. For the first time, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have described the exact nature of this path in a comprehensive model. The model is based on an innovative method that sheds light on how a 3-year-old’s brain processes speech.

"It might appear paradoxical: On the one hand, even newborn babies are able to distinguish acoustically between individual syllables such as “ma” and “pa,” and 3-year-olds can already understand simple sentences effortlessly. On the other hand, the ability to understand complicated formulations without difficulty, even if they consist of simple words, only develops in adulthood.

***

“'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.

***

"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.

"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

***

"With increasing age, Broca’s area is not only more strongly activated during speech processing, but also becomes more closely integrated in the overall speech network. This ability crucially depends on a bundle of nerve fibers known as the arcuate fasciculus, which forms a connection between these two speech centers, the left temporal lobe and Broca’s area. Only when this bundle of nerve fibers is mature are we able to process complicated sentences as quickly and efficiently as simple sentences. That does not happen until roughly toward the end of puberty.

***

"The findings were obtained thanks to an innovative method that was elaborated at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. “For a long time, our knowledge of how the brain develops the ability to process complex language was sketchy. It seemed impossible to look into the brains of young children while they are processing speech,” she explains. It was thought that the usual technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is unsuitable for young children—especially because they find it difficult to hold their head still during the procedure.

"Friederici and her team succeeded in refining MRI measurements to the extent that it is now possible to peer into the brains of 3-year-olds. The key idea behind their method was to combine business with pleasure. They practiced keeping still with children as a game while the children watched an animated film. “This method paved the way for our current understanding of the development of our speech network,” she adds."

Comment: We come into this world ready to learn how to understand language. Of course I think designed that way .

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, November 26, 2018, 11:44 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: “'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.
***
"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.
"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

I can only go on thanking you for the astonishing range of articles you keep presenting to us, bringing us up to date with the latest findings in so many areas of our discussions.

This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, November 26, 2018, 19:05 (22 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: “'The regions of the brain responsible for processing speech and the connection between them, a kind of data highway, mature at different rates,” as Angela D. Friederici, director of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute, explains.
***
"According to the model, a specific region of the cerebrum is involved in speech processing from the outset. Known as the left temporal lobe of the cerebrum, it enables us to differentiate “mama” from “papa” automatically in the space of just a few thousandths of a second. It can already process simple sentences consisting of a few words. Until around the age of 3, the temporal lobe is therefore the epicenter of speech.
"Only then is it gradually joined by a second central speech region, which forms part of the overall speech network, namely Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal region of the cerebrum. It is here that complex linguistic information is processed.

dhw: I can only go on thanking you for the astonishing range of articles you keep presenting to us, bringing us up to date with the latest findings in so many areas of our discussions.

This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 15:33 (22 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.
My “in passing” comment could be added to the discussion under “Innovation, Speciation”.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 17:21 (22 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 11:55 (21 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 18:15 (21 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: This article makes me wonder if the current individual evolution of the brain does not mirror its historical evolution. Leaving aside the great divide between dualism and materialism, we have concepts requiring expression and the brain developing as the range of concepts expands. Currently these concepts are learned, but each one originally had to be invented. The implementation of each invention historically would have required new neurons and new connections, and now individually the learning does the same. Similarly, the embryo itself starts out as a throwback to our animal ancestry and then “evolves” into our current human form. (In passing, this can also be seen as a clear pointer to common descent.)

DAVID: The brain is designed to provide these necessary areas to take over the jobs required by language: speech, writing, reading, typing, etc. The chimp does none of this, but has comparative areas they never put use, because they cannot. Our brain advances are not explained by chance evolution. We are obviously designed.

dhw: My post has nothing to do with chance versus design. I am pointing out the parallel between the development of the current individual brain and the historical development of the brain from pre-sapiens to sapiens. In each case the implementation of new concepts is what changes the structure. This can actually be observed today, and there is no reason to suppose that the same process did not take place in pre-humans.

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, November 29, 2018, 10:08 (20 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

DAVID: You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

No one would doubt that speech requires greater complexity than non-speech, but we needn’t go over all that again. Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 29, 2018, 15:23 (20 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What can a new concept to act upon or do if the newly needed structure is not in place? Cart before horse.

dhw: It is implementation of concepts new to the individual that creates new neurons and new connections as the person learns. I thought you had accepted this, as it was clearly illustrated by the examples of the Indian women, taxi drivers, musicians. We do not know where the original concepts come from, but I am not trying to restart the discussion on materialism versus dualism, and should not have opened the door to that particular subject. My apologies. I am simply wondering (pure conjecture) whether the “evolution” of the individual’s brain as it adds and complexifies through childhood and into adulthood mirrors the evolution of the brain through history, with its additions and complexifications – just as the “evolution” of the individual embryo appears to relive (that might be a better term) at least part of the history of human evolution. It’s just a thought that struck me. Maybe the idea is too fanciful?

DAVID: You've jumped to minor plasticity in newly literate Indian women using a very complex brain they were given and plastically changed a little. Speech requires the complexity of the human brain starting 300,000 years ago. The eventually completed complex brain takes until 25 years old and may in part (I agree with you) mimic evolution of it.

dhw: No one would doubt that speech requires greater complexity than non-speech, but we needn’t go over all that again. Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, November 30, 2018, 13:29 (19 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, November 30, 2018, 15:41 (19 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, December 01, 2018, 14:05 (18 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 01, 2018, 18:19 (18 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 12:51 (17 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 15:16 (17 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Thank you for your agreement that individual evolution may mirror/relive/mimic historical evolution. This ties in with a vague concept I have of microcosms mirroring macrocosms, but this would be a colossal field that you are certainly better equipped to explore than I am.

DAVID: It is certainly true that a bacterium in its membrane lives and does many of the same things our bodies with its trillions of different cells does. Simple yeast cells teach us much about how cells work. 'Nough said.

dhw: Thank you. An excellent example. It’s a theme I would love to develop, ranging from microorganisms to the universe itself and, of course, a possible God. But it is too vast for me to embark on.

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Monday, December 03, 2018, 14:02 (16 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Monday, December 03, 2018, 16:55 (16 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The universe started with a Big Bang. Are the first living cells a 'big bang' start for life?

dhw: I’m not sure if the universe started with a Big Bang, but it’s nice that you’re also looking for parallels.

DAVID: At least we are looking at two of the most major starts of all starts. Can you think of a third?

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 14:14 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

Human evolution; hominins late in Arabia

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:01 (15 days ago) @ dhw

New stone tool findings:

https://www.livescience.com/64203-ancient-hominins-saudi-arabia.html?utm_source=lsa-new...

"Ancient human relatives lived on the Arabian Peninsula for an astonishingly long time — from about 240,000 to 190,000 years ago — and spread into the heart of the region by following its blue rivers and lakes, a new study found.

"These early human relatives persisted for so long that they could have run into some modern humans, or Homo sapiens, along the way, the researchers said in the study,

***

"'Early hominins had small brains and made crude tools," Scerri told Live Science. "However, later hominins had bigger brains and were more sophisticated. Instead of crudely banging rocks together to produce sharp-edged stone flakes, they created beautiful, symmetrical artifacts called hand axes."

"Large, expertly shaped cutting tools (such as hand axes) made by hominins are known as Acheulean tools. These instruments — called the "the Swiss army knife of prehistory" — date to 1.5 million years ago; they come from the longest-lasting tool-making tradition in prehistory, Scerri said. Because it's rare to find hominin bones, Acheulean tools are a great stand-in for hominins when trying to figure out when and where they lived, the researchers said.

"It's unclear which hominins made the hand axes in Saudi Arabia. "However, hominins that have been found with Acheulean tools include Homo erectus, who was probably a direct ancestor of humans," Scerri said.

***

"The dating revealed that hominins lived in Saffaqah as recently as 188,000 years ago, making it the youngest Acheulean site in southwest Asia, the researchers found. This finding is remarkable, because it shows that the Arabian Acheulean ended just before or at the same time as the earliest H. sapiens made it to the region, the researchers said.

"The international team used luminescence dating to determine the age of the tools. This method measures how much light is emitted from energy stored in certain types of rock and soils, as certain minerals store energy from the sun at a known rate, Scerri said.

"When these minerals are buried, they can no longer store this energy," she said. "By heating the minerals, the stored energy becomes emptied, and the amount of energy that is emptied gives a measure of a point in time when that mineral was last exposed to daylight."

"The research also revealed that these hominins spread throughout Saudi Arabia's landscape via its blue waterways. Although Arabia is a vast desert today, it was greener during several brief periods in the past.

"'The hominins making the Acheulean tools at Saffaqah seemed to have made their way into the heart of Arabia when these now-dry river networks and channels were active," Scerri said.

"But Saudi Arabia was turning dry again by about 188,000 years ago, she said. So, it's likely that "the hominins responsible for these stone tools were quite resilient in the face of environmental challenges," she said. "Although the site of Saffaqah was not a desert when these Acheulean hominins were there, it was probably still quite an arid environment.'"

Comment: Disappearance of a hominin type is not like turning off a light bulb. They die off slowly. That H. sapiens and H. erectus lived side by side suggests sapiens appeared with no intermediate forms. H. sapiens by direct creation is possible.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:09 (15 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The start of our solar system and Planet Earth was pretty major for you and me, but an eternal and infinite universe could have had an infinite number of major starts.

DAVID: Up to this point we were talking about possibilities with significant evidence. The eternal and infinite universe is pure hypothesis and without a smidgen of evidence.

dhw: Fair comment. I should have stuck to our solar system and planet. Apologies for taking us off onto a different track. An interesting one, though. One has to ask: what was there before the Big Bang, if it ever happened? Nothing at all is also pure hypothesis, as is an eternal mind without a beginning. There is no way we shall ever know, unless your pure hypothesis is correct and your God reveals himself!

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 11:53 (14 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciosuness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 20:22 (13 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: According to Guth and his cohorts there is no 'before' before the Big Bang, proven mathematically in a paper presented in 2002 at Hawkings 60th birthday party/ symposium, my book, page 63. Put simply, time starts with the BB. Just as life starts with the first functional living cell. Both starts are followed by an evolutionary process which are too complex to be the result of chance. If there is a cause for each event, it is simpler to attribute them to one source than to conjure up two causes for two such pivotal creations.

dhw: A strange volte face. According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciosuness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 13:25 (13 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 19:33 (12 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species? ignore

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:44 (12 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:55

Still under debate about it, but sure looks like it:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2187639-exclusive-controversial-skeleton-may-be-a-...

"More than twenty years after it was first discovered, an analysis of a remarkable skeleton discovered in South Africa has finally been published – and the specimen suggests we may need to add a new species to the family tree of early human ancestors.

"The analysis also found evidence that the species was evolving to become better at striding on two legs, helping us to understand when our lineage first became bipedal.

"The specimen, nicknamed “Little Foot”, is a type of Australopithecus, the group of hominins to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belonged. Lucy’s species is called A. afarensis, but we know of several other species of these human-like primates living in Africa around 2 million years ago, including A. africanus.

***
"The Little Foot fossil came to light in the 1990s. Ronald Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa was asked to go through a collection of bones from Sterkfontein Cave in South Africa. In 1994 he found that four foot bones, thought to belong to monkeys, actually resembled existing fossils belonging to the Australopithecus group.

"The foot bones were quite small, prompting Clarke’s now-deceased colleague Phillip Tobias to dub them “Little Foot”, in reference to the Bigfoot hominin that some believe roams North America.

"In 1997, Clarke and two colleagues found more of the skeleton encased in rock within the same cave. He began excavating it, a process that continued for over a decade. Because the fossilised bone flaked easily, Clarke chose to painstakingly remove the bones from the rock using only an air scribe – a tool that shoots out a thin jet of pressurised air.

***

"The result is a virtually complete skeleton that promises to tell us much about early human-like primates.

A flurry of initial studies, published at last, reveal that Little Foot was an elderly female, about 130 centimetres in height.

"According to a study led by Travis Pickering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Little Foot had an arm injury. He suspects she fell onto an outstretched hand during her youth, and that the resulting injury troubled her throughout her life.

"Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, UK and his colleagues have analysed how she would have walked. He says it is the first fossil of this age ever to have been discovered with its limbs fully intact.

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species?

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 01:45 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

Still under debate about it, but sure looks like it:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2187639-exclusive-controversial-skeleton-may-be-a-...

More than twenty years after it was first discovered, an analysis of a remarkable skeleton discovered in South Africa has finally been published – and the specimen suggests we may need to add a new species to the family tree of early human ancestors.

"The analysis also found evidence that the species was evolving to become better at striding on two legs, helping us to understand when our lineage first became bipedal.

"The specimen, nicknamed “Little Foot”, is a type of Australopithecus, the group of hominins to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belonged. Lucy’s species is called A. afarensis, but we know of several other species of these human-like primates living in Africa around 2 million years ago, including A. africanus.

***
"The Little Foot fossil came to light in the 1990s. Ronald Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa was asked to go through a collection of bones from Sterkfontein Cave in South Africa. In 1994 he found that four foot bones, thought to belong to monkeys, actually resembled existing fossils belonging to the Australopithecus group.

"The foot bones were quite small, prompting Clarke’s now-deceased colleague Phillip Tobias to dub them “Little Foot”, in reference to the Bigfoot hominin that some believe roams North America.

"In 1997, Clarke and two colleagues found more of the skeleton encased in rock within the same cave. He began excavating it, a process that continued for over a decade. Because the fossilised bone flaked easily, Clarke chose to painstakingly remove the bones from the rock using only an air scribe – a tool that shoots out a thin jet of pressurised air.

***

"The result is a virtually complete skeleton that promises to tell us much about early human-like primates.

A flurry of initial studies, published at last, reveal that Little Foot was an elderly female, about 130 centimetres in height.

"According to a study led by Travis Pickering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Little Foot had an arm injury. He suspects she fell onto an outstretched hand during her youth, and that the resulting injury troubled her throughout her life.

"Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, UK and his colleagues have analysed how she would have walked. He says it is the first fossil of this age ever to have been discovered with its limbs fully intact.

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is roughly Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

Human evolution; another Australopithecus species?

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 04:57 (7 days ago) @ David Turell

“'This hominin had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves,” says Crompton. This is an interesting finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like great apes do. “That means it was being selected for stride length in bipedalism,” says Crompton.

"Little Foot would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been better at climbing trees than modern humans.

"That would have suited her home: a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she roamed widely.

A further paper examines the deposits in which Little Foot was encased and concludes that the fossil is 3.67 million years old, more than a million years older than previously thought. (my bold)

"Clarke has argued for over a decade that Little Foot does not belong to any of the known Australopithecus species, and should be named a new species in its own right. He favours calling it A. prometheus.

"The name was coined in 1948 by Raymond Dart, to describe a piece of skull found at Makapansgat in South Africa. Dart is a key figure in anthropology, because in 1925 he described the first Australopithecus specimen, the Taung Child. He used the fossil to argue that humans evolved in Africa. At the time most biologists thought our origins lay in Asia, and Dart was ridiculed for years until other discoveries confirmed that he was right.

"Clarke is convinced that many of the bones from Sterkfontein, including Little Foot, are not A. africanus, so he has resurrected the name A. prometheus. “There are many, many differences, not only in the skull but also in the rest of the skeleton,” he says. They include a flatter face than A. africanus, and larger teeth with a big gap between the upper canines and incisors.

"There is also Little Foot’s diet. Based on her teeth, she ate almost nothing but plants. “A. africanus was more omnivorous,” says Clarke."

Comment: The main thrust here to recognize is that this lady is roughly Lucy's age in fossil time, but she has longer arms than legs and Lucy is longer arms. What this means is a that there were several lines of hominin development going on at different places in Africa in the same periods of time. Places of discovery, to remind us, Lucy is Northeastern Africa and Little Foot is South Africa. It suggests God liked diversity in evolving humans, just as He created diversity in the huge bush of like. I suspect the reason for the diversity in life is econiches for food, while I suspect He already knew what H' sapiens would be like when evolution got to that point..

This comment is incorrect in that it reversed arm and leg length, which is clear in the article. Little foot had longer legs and is more advanced in bipedalism than Lucy who is younger in the timing of evolution.

New article really adds little::

https://www.livescience.com/64275-little-foot-hominin-excavated.html?utm_source=ls-news...

Human evolution; "Little foot's" brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 19:09 (12 hours, 29 minutes ago) @ David Turell

Her brain is both ape and human:

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-peering-foot-million-year-old-brain.html


"MicroCT scans of the Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot shows that the brain of this ancient human relative was small and shows features that are similar to our own brain and others that are closer to our ancestor shared with living chimpanzees.

"While the brain features structures similar to modern humans—such as an asymmetrical structure and pattern of middle meningeal vessels—some of its critical areas such as an expanded visual cortex and reduced parietal association cortex points to a condition that is distinct from us.

***

"The endocast showed that Little Foot's brain was asymmetrical, with a distinct left occipital petalia. Brain asymmetry is essential for lateralisation of brain function. Asymmetry occurs in humans and living apes, as well as in other younger hominin endocasts. Little Foot now shows us that this brain asymmetry was present at a very early date (from 3.67 million years ago), and supports suggestions that it was probably present in the last common ancestor of hominins and other great apes.

"Other brain structures, such as an expanded visual cortex, suggests that the brain of Little Foot probably had some features that are closer to the ancestor we share with living chimpanzees.

"'In human evolution, when know that a reduced visual cortex, as we can see in our own brain, is related to a more expanded parietal cortex—which is a critical cerebral area responsible for several aspects of sensory processing and sensorimotor integration," says Beaudet. "On the contrary, Little Foot has a large visual cortex, which is more similar to chimpanzees than to humans."

"Beaudet and her colleagues compared the Little Foot endocast with endocasts of 10 other South African hominins dating between three and 1.5 million years ago. Their preliminary calculation of Little Foot's endocranial volume was found to be at the low end of the range for Australopithecus, which is in keeping with its great age and its place among other very early fossils of Australopithecus from East Africa.

"The study also has shown that the vascular system in Australopithecus was more complex than previously thought, which raises new questions on the metabolism of the brain at this time. This might be consistent with a previous hypothesis suggesting that the endocranial vascular system in Australopithecus was closer to modern humans than it was in the geologically younger Paranthropus genus. (my bold)

""This would mean that even if Little Foot's brain was different from us, the vascular system that allows for blood flow (which brings oxygen) and may control temperature in the brain—both essential aspects for evolving a large and complex brain—were possibly already present at that time," says Beaudet.

"Given its geological age of over 3 million years, Little Foot's brain suggests that younger hominins evolved greater complexity in certain brain structures over time, perhaps in response to increasing environmental pressures experienced after 2.6 million years ago with continuing reduction in closed habitats.

"'Such environmental changes could also potentially have encouraged more complex social interaction, which is driven by structures in the brain," says Beaudet. "

Comment: Little Foot is obviously a transitional form. But note my bold about the somewhat advanced vascular system. Advanced planning by God? Social relations were also dictated by hunter-gatherers groups which had to form for survival as small groups cooperation provided food and protection.Brain plasticity would have made brain changes as socialization progressed.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Friday, December 07, 2018, 13:45 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith, as bolded above.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Friday, December 07, 2018, 21:14 (11 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: According to you, your God caused the BB, and so he existed before the BB. Before, now and after are one concept of time. Nobody can possibly prove anything about what happened before the BB (if it happened). I agree that one cause is simpler than two causes. The one cause may be an eternal and infinite universe of energy and matter constantly changing itself. No, I don’t believe it, and I don’t disbelieve it, just as I don’t believe or disbelieve in a single, conscious, sourceless, eternal mind. Maybe the complex evolutionary process was created (top down), or maybe it evolved (bottom up).

DAVID: All I presented has appeared here before. If bottom up, from what, and what pushed it to evolve?

dhw: Yes, we have discussed it many times. Bottom up from eternally changing combinations of materials. But I can't tell you how they might have acquired the basic consciousness to form life, any more than you can tell me how a sourceless, universal, conscious mind can simply have been there for ever. Two first cause hypotheses that are as inexplicable as each other. Enough to make a thinker embrace agnosticism!

DAVID: Not if one tries to explain the complex designs in living forms.

dhw: I accept that as a good reason for your faith – but you have always acknowledged that it requires faith and not reason to accept one mystery as the answer to another.

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith, as bolded above.

A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by dhw, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 10:09 (11 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith. [...]

DAVID: A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

Thank you. I wonder how many of the remaining 60% are atheists and how many are agnostics.

Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 08, 2018, 22:14 (10 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Reasoning about the need for a designer is strong enough to lead to faith. In my mind there must be a designer. The complex living biology I see and understand with my medical training requires that conclusion. You and I have different backgrounds, which may explain our different positions.

dhw: It has nothing whatsoever to do with background – unless you now wish to claim that every doctor, biologist, biochemist etc. shares your faith. I don’t know how often I have to repeat that I accept the design argument as good reason for faith, and it is one of two major influences (along with psychic experiences) that leave me open to the possibility of a God. But in all these discussions you simply refuse to acknowledge the reason why I myself cannot take that leap of faith. [...]

DAVID: A survey, a number of years ago, found 40% of physicians are believers. I acknowledge your problem.

dhw: Thank you. I wonder how many of the remaining 60% are atheists and how many are agnostics.

Have no idea

Human evolution; a gene for primate brains

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 09, 2018, 00:32 (10 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in a new study. Our brains are different than other mammals:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206120047.htm

"University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates -- great apes and humans -- apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder.

"Dr Adam O'Neill carried out the research as part of his PhD at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Robertson, discovering that the PLEKHG6 gene has qualities that drives aspects of brain development differently in primates compared to other species.

"'Broadly speaking, this gene can be thought of as one of the genetic factors that make us human in a neurological sense,"...

***

"Their results showed that the particular genetic change that disabled a component of this gene (PLEKHG6) altered its ability to support the growth and proliferation of specialised stem cells in the developing brain. In addition, some of these cells also failed to migrate to their correct position in the growing "mini-brain" during the first few weeks of brain development.

"Professor Robertson says it has been known for a while that these stem cells behave differently between primates/humans and other animals, but understanding what genes regulate these differences has been a mystery.

"Adam's achievement has been to show that this particular component of the PLEKHG6 gene is one such regulator that humans have 'acquired' very recently in their evolution to make their brains 'exceptional'."

"Dr O'Neill says there are very few genetic elements that are primate specific in our genome, so this discovery adds to a very short list of genetic factors that, at least in one sense, make us human."

Comment: A lucky chance break? If that is the case all of the preparatory steps to reach the point where primates could appear are lucky contingencies. Doubtful.

Human evolution; a gene for primate brains

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:52 (8 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in a new study. Our brains are different than other mammals:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181206120047.htm

"University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates -- great apes and humans -- apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder.

"Dr Adam O'Neill carried out the research as part of his PhD at the University of Otago, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Robertson, discovering that the PLEKHG6 gene has qualities that drives aspects of brain development differently in primates compared to other species.

"'Broadly speaking, this gene can be thought of as one of the genetic factors that make us human in a neurological sense,"...

***

"Their results showed that the particular genetic change that disabled a component of this gene (PLEKHG6) altered its ability to support the growth and proliferation of specialised stem cells in the developing brain. In addition, some of these cells also failed to migrate to their correct position in the growing "mini-brain" during the first few weeks of brain development.

"Professor Robertson says it has been known for a while that these stem cells behave differently between primates/humans and other animals, but understanding what genes regulate these differences has been a mystery.

"Adam's achievement has been to show that this particular component of the PLEKHG6 gene is one such regulator that humans have 'acquired' very recently in their evolution to make their brains 'exceptional'."

"Dr O'Neill says there are very few genetic elements that are primate specific in our genome, so this discovery adds to a very short list of genetic factors that, at least in one sense, make us human."

Comment: A lucky chance break? If that is the case all of the preparatory steps to reach the point where primates could appear are lucky contingencies. Doubtful.

The original paper summary:

The mammalian neocortex has undergone remarkable changes through evolution. A consequence of
such rapid evolutionary events could be a trade-off that has rendered the brain susceptible to certain neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions. We analyzed the exomes of 65 patients with the structural brain malformation periventricular nodular heterotopia (PH). De novo coding variants were observed in excess in genes defining a transcriptomic signature of basal radial glia, a cell type linked to brain evolution. In addition, we located two variants in human isoforms of two genes that have no ortholog in mice. Modulating the levels of one of these isoforms for the gene PLEKHG6 demonstrated its role in regulating neuroprogenitor differentiation and neuronal migration via RhoA, with phenotypic recapitulation of PH in human cerebral organoids. This suggests that this PLEKHG6 isoform is an example of a primate-specific genomic element supporting brain development.

https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/pdf/S2211-1247(18)31775-3.pdf

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 14:37 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

This much seems well established but how actual language started is still problematic:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2018/12/07/where-does-language-come-from/#.XBJqq...

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates. (my bold)

"Next is our tendency to communicate for the sake of communicating. To encapsulate this, biologist Fitch used the German word Mitteilungsbedürfnis, “the drive to share thoughts.” Whereas chimps use a finite set of calls and gestures to convey the essentials — food, sex and danger — humans talk to bond and exchange ideas, and strive to ensure we’re understood. Most researchers attribute this difference to an idea called “theory of mind,” the understanding that others have thoughts. Chimps demonstrate more limited theory of mind, whereas humans know that other humans think things — and we’re constantly using language to uncover and influence those thoughts.

"The last difference is hierarchical syntax. Phrases and sentences have nested structure and these provide meaning beyond the simple sequence of words. For instance, take the sentence: “Chad, who was out to lunch with Tony, was late to the meeting.” Hierarchical syntax processing allows us to correctly interpret that Chad was late to the meeting, even though “Tony” is closer to the verb “was late.” Over 60 years ago and still today, linguist Noam Chomsky proposed hierarchical syntax as the key to language.

"So hypotheses for language origins must explain (at least) these three traits: precise vocal learning and control, overtly social communication and hierarchical syntax."

Comment: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Friday, December 14, 2018, 10:37 (5 days ago) @ David Turell

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Friday, December 14, 2018, 15:26 (5 days ago) @ dhw

"There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 11:59 (4 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 14:25 (4 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "There are at least three elements of language only present in hominins:
First, is a fine-control over our vocal tracts. Other apes are likely born with a more limited repertoire of vocalizations. The difference comes down to how our brains are wired: Humans have direct connections between the neurons controlling our voice box and the motor cortex, the region of our brain responsible for voluntary movements. Brain scans show these connections are lacking in other primates.
(David's bold)

DAVID: Note my bold. We are physically wired differently. This describes the basics, beyond this is pure unestablished sets of theories. We are different in kind.

dhw: I really don’t think there are many people who would say that we are exactly the same as our fellow primates, and I doubt if many people would say that elephants are the same “kind” as whales or ants or the duckbilled platypus. Yes, we are different, and our language is a million times more complicated than that of our fellow animals, and we are self-aware and very clever. But that still doesn’t mean that your God’s sole purpose from the very start was to create us, and that elephants, whales, ants and the duckbilled platypus were specially designed simply to provide food until he could specially design us.

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top pf the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 11:46 (3 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 14:45 (3 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

dhw: If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 16, 2018, 15:09 (3 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Ah, it seems you have forgotten that 'different in kind' refers to the other primates we left behind and also Adler's theory which supports our assent to the top of the heap. All the animals you listed are obviously foodstuff, and not on the point of my comment, Another of your inventive neatly formed sidesteps.

dhw: I have no objections at all to your saying that we are a different species (= different in kind) from our fellow primates, just as our fellow primates are different in kind from elephants, whales and ants, and I could hardly have made it clearer that in terms of language, self-awareness and cleverness we are top of the heap. All life, including ourselves, is ultimately foodstuff. I simply object to your assumption that this means we were your God’s goal from the very beginning, and he specially designed everything else over 3+ billion years for the sole purpose of providing food until he could specially design us. This is the logical gap which you prefer to sidestep rather than bridge.

DAVID: What is logical to me is illogical to you. What you describe is what we see. All I have done is said God did it. God can do it any way He wants.

dhw: If you had only said God did it, there would be no problem. But you insist that he specifically preprogrammed or personally dabbled every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder over 3.5+ billion years, and did so for the sole purpose of providing food until he specifically designed H. sapiens – his only goal for creating life. You can’t explain why he “chose” this method, even though he was always in full control and could have done it any way he wanted. If you can’t think of an explanation, how can you say it is logical to you? In the four theistic alternative explanations I have given you, which you acknowledge to be logical, God still did it, and in the hypothesis that I have offered, your God could still have done it by inventing the original mechanisms that propelled evolution. But you reject all these logical God-did-it possibilities in favour of the one you can't understand.

The first bold above is the nubbin of our disagreement. In analyzing God's methods and motives, a conclusion will depend upon one's concept of God. All of both our proposals are logical. I view God as more controlling and purposeful than you do, and therefore favor the proposals I've given. You can't explain God any more than I can. What is logical to you is logical to me. It is not an issue of my understanding. You have misunderstood my comment about God and His use of evolution (second bold). My thought has always been, why did He evolve life if He had the capability to do direct creation as in Genesis? Since it happened it was obviously His choice of method of creation. And as I sit here answering you, I am as far removed from apehood as anything you can imagine. We are the current endpoint. If God used evolution to guide creation and we are the current result, I just accept it as a logical conclusion that we have been His purpose all along. And furthermore, where does evolution go in the future? Superhumans? Same endpoint! Flying humans? We already have that. Case closed.

Human evolution; theory of hominin language

by dhw, Monday, December 17, 2018, 11:37 (1 day, 20 hours, 0 min. ago) @ David Turell

I have combined this thread with "Divine purposes and methods".

Human evolution; how we became marathoners

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 21:30 (10 hours, 7 minutes ago) @ dhw

A gene has been found, which allowed us to run down prey. We sweat, they don't:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/simple-genetic-mutation-helped-humans-become...

"Roughly two million to three million years ago, a primate moved from the forest to the savanna. It grew longer legs, larger muscles and wider feet. It developed sweat glands that allowed it to remain cool under the blazing African sun. It was also around this time, according to recent research, that a mutation in a single gene called CMAH spread throughout the species. Now a study in mice supports the idea that this genetic tweak enabled humans to run long distances and hunt their prey to exhaustion.

"According to biologist Ajit Varki of the University of California, San Diego, the mutation rendered the CMAH gene completely inactive. Varki wondered if there was a link between this genetic event and a knack for long-distance running. Because all humans share the same nonfunctional gene, he could not simply compare the running abilities of people with different versions of it. But he had spent years studying mice bred to have the same CMAH inactivation as humans to gain insight into diabetes, cancer and muscular dystrophy. Varki's work suggested a link between CMAH loss and muscle biology, but he needed proof.

“'For about 10 years I've been trying to convince somebody in my lab to put these mice on a treadmill,” Varki says. When he finally did the experiment, “lo and behold, without any training, [the CMAH-deficient mice] were one and a half times better at running.” The rodents' muscles—especially those in their hind limbs—used oxygen more efficiently and were more resistant to fatigue.

"In 2004 Harvard University biologist Daniel Lieberman had hypothesized that running—as opposed to bipedal locomotion alone—played a major role in human evolution. Lieberman, who was not involved in the new mouse research, says it is “the first really good, careful genetic study that fits our predictions” about running's role in the rise of modern humans."

Comment: You can easily overheat your dog by jogging with him at a distance that is too far. On two feet we obviously needed this ability to run down game. We trded hair for sweat glands. It is another way we are different in kind rather than degree from apes and monkeys.

Human evolution; language and abstract concepts

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:32 (8 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:54

Our language ability allows us to have abstract concepts:

https://mindmatters.ai/2018/12/how-is-human-language-different-from-animal-signals/

"A hallmark of human beings is the ability to use language. No other species of animal has language, although other species are capable of understanding and communicating quite a few things. Yet (non-human) animal communications cannot properly be called language. A closer look at human language and animal communication, and at the function language serves for us reveals important things about the human mind and about what it is to be human.

***

"A designator, however, is a kind of sign that differs in a very important way from a signal. A designator points to an object, but it does so abstractly, not concretely. The spoken or written word “cat” has nothing physically to do with a cat. Unlike a gesture (pointing to a cat) or making the sound “meow”, the letters C-A-T feature nothing that concretely links the word to the animal. You only know what “cat” designates if you understand the word as used in English. By contrast, you could understand a signal like pointing to a cat or saying “meow” even if you spoke no English. Designators differ from signals in that they point to objects—things or concepts—abstractly.

"Language is the systematic use of designators—the rule-based use of abstract signs. That is why a lion’s roar, an ape’s gesture, or a bird’s song are not really language. They are signals. A signal is not rule-based (signals have no grammar) and signals are concrete, not abstract.

"Only humans have language because only humans are capable of rule-based abstract signing. Animals can often employ complex signals but no animal uses rule-based designators. Animals that can be trained to communicate using “language” (such as parrots or apes) are using words as signals, not as designators. For example, you can train your dog to go fetch the leash when you say “Do you want to go for a walk?” because he has learned to fetch the leash in response to those sounds, which he hears as a signal. He does not understand them as a grammatical construction and will certainly not go on to discuss the weather forecast with you. His communication is concrete, not abstract.

***

"What is the purpose of language? Why does man, and no other animal, use language in addition to signals? As linguist Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the purpose of language is not essentially to communicate. Signals work well for communication. Language permits more complex communication under some circumstances but some signals are quite complex and serve to facilitate communication quite well. Sign language, which is mostly a system of signals, is a quite effective means of communication, even of conveying abstractions, but it is not (except when it signs the alphabet) language. It is derived from language.

"The purpose of language is not primarily to communicate. The purpose of language is to enable man to think in a human way. Man alone is capable of abstract thought—thought about concepts that are universals, and not particular things. Man thinks about justice, and about mercy, about politics and imaginary numbers, and about countless concepts that are not particular physical things. This is abstract thought, and only humans think abstractly.

"Animals are limited to thought about particulars. Dogs think about the food in their bowl. Humans think about nutrition. Dogs think about the good feeling they get when they are petted. Humans think about joy and love in an abstract sense. Both humans and animals have the capacity to think about particulars. Only humans also have the capacity to think about abstract concepts.

"Every thought is about something. All thought is intentional, in the technical philosophical sense that it points to something. Thoughts about particular things—physical objects in the environment, imagination, or memory—are akin to signals.

"But humans cannot think abstractly using signals. A signal points to a physical thing—a physical (or imagined or remembered) object. An abstract concept, such as mercy or justice, is not a physical thing. In order to think abstractly, we must use abstract signs—designators—to point to the conceptual objects of our thoughts. Consider: How could we contemplate mercy if we did not have the word “mercy,” if our thoughts were restricted to concrete objects (akin to signals)? We could imagine situations, persons, or objects that might be associated with mercy but we couldn’t contemplate mercy itself unless we had a word for it. Mercy isn’t a physical thing we can point to.

"Language, which is the rule-based use of abstract designators, is essential for abstract thought because only designators can point to things that have no concrete physical existence. Only human beings think abstractly, and language is what makes abstract thought possible."

Comment: This clearly shows humans are different in kind, not degree. Only we have abstract thought and are aware we are aware. See: Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 17:32

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