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Out of FACTfrica

1650 words

Ever since Chris Stringer and Peter Andrews (1988) discovered that the genetic and archaeological evidence confirms OoA, there has been uproar in some of the less intellectually inclined and ideological sects of the Internet. These people emphatically deny—without evidence (using their emotions like a leftist, ironic…)—that the OoA hypothesis is wrong, because ‘I can’t be related to Africans, my skin is white and theirs is black—black skin cannot turn white!’ (one of the more ridiculous statements I’ve come across in my time). The fact of the matter is, people who deny OoA have ideological reasons to do so, which are not backed by science. I will provide the best (and most recent) data pointing to the OoA hypothesis, as well as go through the main paper that OoA-deniers may bring up.

OoA was first proposed by archaeologist Christ Stringer in the late 1980s (Stringer and Andrews, 1988). The totality of genetic and archaeological evidence points to Africa as the home for Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). One of the best points of evidence is that Africans have the highest level of genetic diversity amongst humans on the planet (Campbell and Tishkoff, 2008; Gomez, Hirbo and Tishkoff, 2014;  Ashraf and Galor, 2014). Furthermore, Tattersall (2009) showed that a “radical reorganization of gene expression that underwrote the distinctive physical appearance of H. sapiens was probably also responsible for the neural substrate that permits symbolic cognition.” Here are the first signs of behavioral modernity that PumpkinPerson speaks about. What people do not understand (nor grasp), is that most of our modern-day behaviors originated in Africa (see comments by Jm8 here).

Proving OoA, nowadays, is pretty ‘easy’. I say ‘easy’, because nothing ever really gets ‘proven’ in science; as any theory can be uprooted when new evidence is available. However, there are a few key data points that point to OoA being a fact:

  1. Melanesians and Australoids share genetic affinities linked to the OoA exodus 50kya.
  2. OoA was only really in dispute due to the lack of AMH fossil evidence in Melanesia/Australia (at the time of the exodus they were a conjoined landmass (the landbridge becoming submerged underwater around 8kya).
  3. Minor secondary gene flow into the area, but after the disappearance of the land bridge, they became more homogeneous. So any differences in the archaeological record are due to isolation from the landbridge disappearing. Hudjasov et al (2007)

Further, genetic evidence also attests to the appearance of AMH in Africa. Nei (1995) provides evidence that AMH arose 100-200 kya with all humans alive today being descendants of migrations that began ~100 kya (around 70 kya). Further, since genetic diversity decreases as the distance from Africa increases shows the OoA hypothesis to be true. Bottlenecks and founder effects reduce genetic diversity. There is also recent data that suggests that the population bottleneck coming OoA along with deleterious alleles that introgressed from Neanderthal to Eurasians caused a 1 percent decrease in historic fitness respectively (Harris and Nielson, 2016). This is further evidence that AMH began in Africa: the main piece of evidence is the population bottleneck. Since population bottlenecks and founder effects reduce genetic diversity, and the further you go from Africa, more and more populations show less and less genetic diversity from Africans, this is one major clue.

Furthermore, a human skull discovered in South Africa further attests to the truth of OoA. This skull shows similarities with skulls found in Europe at that same time period; predicting that AMH would have been found in Europe about 40 kya. This is true, and yet another piece of evidence for the OoA hypothesis. Why would two skulls separated by tens of thousands of miles be similar? Because they have the same origins, obviously.

For a solid review of the OoA hypothesis vs. the multiregional hypothesis see Edwards (2012). The preponderance of evidence points to Africa as the origin for AMH. (This article will be frequently updated with new information).

OoA Denial

Referring back to what I stated at the beginning of this piece, many people will deny OoA due to ideological reasons. When they hear of people pushing (what is currently archaeologically/genetically true) OoA, they get upset. “How could I be descended from people with dark skin, I am white!” Clearly, people don’t understand the mechanisms of evolution, nor how people adapt to climate through natural selection (obviously drift, migration and mutation plays a role here as well). I will present and go through two pieces of ‘evidence’ that OoA deniers cite when attempting to show the OoA hypothesis wrong.

No, Not Africa, RUSSIA!

This one is ridiculous. It is also the most cited study from OoA deniers. In 2012, researchers Klyosov and Rozhanskii reportedly ‘debunked’ the OoA hypothesis. Their most major claims are: AMH arose on the ‘Russian plain’ which extends from Russia to Germany and France (WOW what a huge ground for them! Seems like he ‘posited’ this large area so he ‘may be right by chance—a fat chance); that the AMH spoke a proto-Slavic language (….); Indo-Europeans being synonomous with Slavs etc. It’s ridiculous. A comment from the abstract of the article:

The earliest anatomically modern humans outside Africa and the Middle East very close to Africa, (there are some 100,000 year old specimens in Israel), are 60,000 years old-and they didn’t come near Russia. The next oldest anatomically modern humans in Europe and most of Asia are 46,000 years old. So the very concept of the first anatomically modern humans first coming into being in Russia is hilarious.

And now we have this article: Jewish-Academic subversive, malicious ‘Out of Africa Hypothesis’ annihilated which uses the Kysolov study, as well as misrepresenting another in order to ‘prove’ that the OoA hypothesis is false.

One of the largest claims he makes is that Kysolov’s paper proves there is no link to Australia from Africa. However, Hudjasov (2007) showed that Melanesians and Australoids do show affinities to Africans.

His main point is that it’s not Out of Africa—it’s Out of Australia. “Humans weren’t one coherent group”, except Homo Sapiens dispersed OoA, spreading maternal haplotype L3 all around the world between 50,000-100,000 ya (Moreno, 2011; Pagani et al, 2015; Stock, 2008; Klein, 2009). The dispersal of the L3 haplogroup confirms OoA (Rito et al, 2013).

Finally, we have the evolution of white skin. The allele that codes for white skin, SLC24A5, evolved around 7500 ya (Malick et al, 2013). This allele has the greatest effect on skin color in Europeans and neighboring populations (Cochran and Harpending, 2009). This throws a wrench into that theory; the phenotypes we racially code are recent (Mathieson et al, 2015). This is why peoples can ‘look similar’ despite being geographically separated: because the races we see today are new. Europeans are an amalgamation of three populations: the Yamna, West-European hunter-gatherers and Anatolian Farmers. I’m not saying that racial categories aren’t meaningful; just saying that they’re recent (which attests to the recent how fast racial differences have been occurring). Furthermore, faster evolution means more racial differences due to genetic isolation.

In sum, the preponderance of evidence points to Africa as being the birthplace of AMH. People can deny it for ideological reasons due to ignorance of how the evolutionary process works, but just because people don’t believe something doesn’t mean it’s not true. In my opinion, one of the best pieces of evidence for the dispersal of Man out of Africa is, as Darwin first noticed, apes and gorillas evolved in Africa. It’s only logical to posit that Man also evolved in Africa, from a primate with a common ancestor. Multiregional hypotheses don’t make sense with the genetic data.

References

Ashraf, Q., & Galor, O. (2011). The “Out of Africa” Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development. doi:10.3386/w17216

Campbell, M. C., & Tishkoff, S. A. (2008). African Genetic Diversity: Implications for Human Demographic History, Modern Human Origins, and Complex Disease Mapping. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics,9(1), 403-433. doi:10.1146/annurev.genom.9.081307.164258

Cochran, G., & Harpending, H. (2009). The 10,000 year explosion: how civilization accelerated human evolution. New York: Basic Books.

Edwards, S. (n.d.). (2012) ANTHROJOURNAL Analysis of Two Competing Theories on the Origin of Homo sapiens sapiens: Multiregional Theory vs. the Out of Africa 2 Model. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from http://anthrojournal.com/issue/october-2011/article/analysis-of-two-competing-theories-on-the-origin-of-homo-sapiens-sapiens-multiregional-theory-vs-the-out-of-africa-2-model

Gomez, F., Hirbo, J., & Tishkoff, S. A. (2014). Genetic Variation and Adaptation in Africa: Implications for Human Evolution and Disease. Cold Spring Hanrbor Perspectives in Biology,6(7). doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a008524

Harris, K., & Nielsen, R. (2015). The Genetic Cost of Neanderthal Introgression. Genetics, 2016 doi:10.1101/030387

Hudjashov, G., Kivisild, T., Underhill, P. A., Endicott, P., Sanchez, J. J., Lin, A. A., . . . Forster, P. (2007). Revealing the prehistoric settlement of Australia by Y chromosome and mtDNA analysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,104(21), 8726-8730. doi:10.1073/pnas.0702928104

Klein, R. G. (2009). Darwin and the recent African origin of modern humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,106(38), 16007-16009. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908719106

Klyosov, A. A., & Rozhanskii, I. L. (2012). Re-Examining the “Out of Africa” Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogy. Advances in Anthropology,02(02), 80-86. doi:10.4236/aa.2012.22009

Mathieson, I., Lazaridis, I., Rohland, N., Mallick, S., Patterson, N., Roodenberg, S. A., . . . Reich, D. (2015). Genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians. Nature,528(7583), 499-503. doi:10.1038/nature16152

Nei, M. (1995). Genetic support for the out-of-Africa theory of human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,92(15), 6720-6722. doi:10.1073/pnas.92.15.6720

Mallick, C. B., Iliescu, F. M., Mã¶Ls, M., Hill, S., Tamang, R., Chaubey, G., . . . Kivisild, T. (2013). The Light Skin Allele of SLC24A5 in South Asians and Europeans Shares Identity by Descent. PLoS Genetics,9(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003912

Moreno, E. 2011. The society of our ‘out of Africa’ ancestors (1). Communicative & Integrative Biology, 4, 163e170

Pagani, L., Schiffels, S., Gurdasani, D., Danecek, P., Scally, A., Chen, Y., . . . Tyler-Smith, C. (2015). Tracing the Route of Modern Humans out of Africa by Using 225 Human Genome Sequences from Ethiopians and Egyptians. The American Journal of Human Genetics,96(6), 986-991. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.04.019

Rito, T., Richards, M. B., Fernandes, V., Alshamali, F., Cerny, V., Pereira, L., & Soares, P. (2013). The First Modern Human Dispersals across Africa. PLoS ONE,8(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080031

Stock, J. T. (2008). Are humans still evolving? Technological advances and unique biological characteristics allow us to adapt to environmental stress. Has this stopped genetic evolution? EMBO reports,9. doi:10.1038/embor.2008.63

Stringer, C., & Andrews, P. (1988). Genetic and fossil evidence for the origin of modern humans. Science,239(4845), 1263-1268. doi:10.1126/science.3125610

Tattersall, I. (2009). Human origins: Out of Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,106(38), 16018-16021. doi:10.1073/pnas.0903207106

Human Mating and Aggression—An Evolutionary Perspective

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One of the many oft-repeated statements from feminists is “Who commits over 80 percent of all violent crime?! MEN!!!!” This is true. No one denies this. Is this stark disparity due to biology or culture? Anyone who reads this blog knows the answer to that question, however, a lot of people (mostly feminists and other radical leftists) disagree and, of course, believe that all differences within and between people are explainable by environmental factors.

Men commit 80 percent of all crimes. Feminists may point to this stat and say that men are more dangerous than men, and, for instance, use the crime argument for separation from men the way some people use the black crime argument as a point to argue for separation. It’s clear that people who say these things don’t understand biology, because things such as this are easily explainable.

Men average 270-1,070 ng/dl on average compared to women’s 15-70 ng/dl.This large variation in testosterone between men and women is an indication that the testosterone ‘gap’ (which should be there, biologically speaking) is the main factor in explaining the crime disparities between males and females (Dabbs et al, 1995; Batrinos, 2012).

Testosterone regulates morphological traits which are then sexually selected for (Hillgarth, Ramenofsky and Wingfield, 1997). So, in a way, testosterone itself was being selected for, as it is the mediator of all of the morphological characteristics that make Men men.

These same differences in testosterone between men and women also explain the huge variation in muscle mass and strength between men and women. Muscle mass was, potentially, a way to attract mates. Though muscle mass itself is a sexually selected trait, in terms of natural selection it is a negative. This is because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you need to consume. Men have 61 percent more upper body strength than women and 75 percent more arm mass, which translates to 90 percent greater upper body strength in men. 99.9 percent of females fall below the male mean here, which is to be expected with what we know about anatomy and physiology in regards to the human sexes. The effect was almost as large when it came to lower body mass, with men having 50 percent more muscle mass while being 65 percent stronger than women (Lassek and Gaulin, 2009). Muscle mass is also a feature in men that gets sexually selected for (Puts, 2016)

When women are ovulating, they “show a weakness” for men with “good genes” when they are at their most fertile. This shows a causal mechanism through sexual selection for high levels of testosterone to be selected for in men, which then causes the differences in fat-free mass and aggression rates, among other variables. Indeed, we do know that, on average, women want a mate that is successful, good looking, has money, has a desire for home and children, and being a loving partner. Women, obviously, secure a man’s genes when she bears his child. So a woman would always attempt to secure the best combination of these traits in the same man (Buss and Shackelford, 2008). Sexual selection explains sex differences in aggression (Archer, 2009). So, as you can see (evolutionarily speaking), it’s women that are the cause for the so-called aggression that feminists complain about—they sexually selected us for higher levels of aggression and testosterone, then complain about it in the modern world. 

Sexual and natural selection are the causes for increased aggression/testosterone rates in men when compared to women. These traits were clearly advantageous during in our ancestral habitat, as a more aggressive mate would provide better protection and food acquisition. When organisms compete for scarce, nutritious food, mates, and space, competition increases between organisms. This can lead to injury or death (the less-able being naturally selected out of the gene pool); chronically elevated levels of testosterone associated with aggressive competition may suppress the immune system and have negative effects for health and fitness (elevated cortisol levels, which triggers fight or flight is also a negative); it may increase risk of predation since a high testosterone organism won’t notice predators around them; aggressive contests tend to be physically demanding, sapping energy; and it may damage social relationships, for instance if a male is aggressive to a female that male won’t mate and thus get selected out of the gene pool (Georgiev et al, 2013).

A study in Sweden looked at the frequency and how often men committed acts of violent crime compared to women (Trägårdh et al, 2016). They discovered that in the two decades from 1990 to 2010, there were 1,570 cases of deadly violence with men accounting for 1,420 of the cases (90.4 percent) while 150 women committed violent crime (9.6 percent). Women accounted for one-third of crimes committed against children, however, which has its basis in evolutionary psychology as well.

The risk of being killed is highest in your first year of life (Friedman and Resnick, 2007). Why? Infanticide. The mean age that mothers commit filicide at is 29.5 while the mean age of the babe is 3.5 years (Rouge-Maillart et al, 2005). The evolutionary explanation for this is that the mother still has time to conceive more children, so the fitness hit is not too large. Further, women are more likely to commit filicide if they have a second child under the age of 20 (Bourget, Grace, and Whitehurts, 2007). So obviously, the older a woman is the less of a chance there is that filicide will be committed since it would be a fitness hit since older women have less of a chance to conceive children, along with a higher chance for the child to have birth defects (Stein and Susser, 2000; Lampinen, Vehviläinen-Julkunen and Kankkunen, 2009; Jolly et al, 2000). So from an evolutionary perspective, it doesn’t make sense for a woman to kill her child if she’s about to hit the age-40 wall (Reproductive Endocrinology Infertility Committee et al, 2011; O’Reilly-Green and Cohen, 1993; van Katwjk and Peeters, 1998; Yaniv et al, 2010).

Male infanticide is associated with social monogamy in primates; male infanticide may be what causes females to stay and mate with one male (Opie et al, 2013). This is caused by females choosing to stay faithful to mates, which then drives monogamous relationships. Serial and social monogamy is the norm for humans (Brandon, 2016). This, then, goes back to what a woman looks for in a man, and has her want to stay with that one man who has all of the qualities necessary to be a good mate and father.

In sum, when feminists complain about male aggression and crime, there are substantial evolutionary underpinnings behind them. They do not even realize that even when they are fighting for ‘equality’ between the sexes, that they are directly helping our arguments that there are inherent biological, physiological and morphological differences between the sexes—driven by sexual selection—which is then a cause for a large amount of the variation in crime (and other variables) between men and women. These intrinsic differences between men and women are why we are so different from each other.The sexes also differ in the brain. There are numerous biological explanations between differences in aggression between men and women, and they come down to sexual selection and what propagated our species in during our ancestral evolution. A large cause for these differences is mate selection—which would, technically, make women the culprits, as they  selected us for these traits. The fact that these differences are still so profound in modern-day society is not at all surprising.

References

Archer, J. (2009). Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression? Behavioral and Brain Sciences,32(3-4), 249. doi:10.1017/s0140525x09990951

Batrinos, M. L. (2012). Testosterone and aggressive behavior in man. International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 10(3), 563-568. doi:10.5812/ijem.3661

Bourget D, Grace J, Whitehurst L. A review of maternal and paternal filicide. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 2007, vol. 35 (pg. 74-82)

Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (2008). Attractive Women Want it All: Good Genes, Economic Investment, Parenting Proclivities, and Emotional Commitment. Evolutionary Psychology,6(1), 147470490800600. doi:10.1177/147470490800600116

Dabbs, J. M., Carr, T. S., Frady, R. L., & Riad, J. K. (1995). Testosterone, crime, and misbehavior among 692 male prison inmates. Personality and Individual Differences, 18(5), 627-633. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(94)00177-t

Friedman SH, Resnick PJ. Child murder by mothers: patterns and prevention. World Psychiatry 2007;6:137-41.

Georgiev, A. V., Klimczuk, A. C., Traficonte, D. M., & Maestripieri, D. (2013). When Violence Pays: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Aggressive Behavior in Animals and Humans. Evolutionary Psychology,11(3), 147470491301100. doi:10.1177/147470491301100313

Hillgarth, N., Ramenofsky, M., & Winfield, J. (1997). Testosterone and sexual selection. Behavioral Ecology,8(1), 108-109. doi:10.1093/beheco/8.1.108

Jolly, M. (2000). The risks associated with pregnancy in women aged 35 years or older. Human Reproduction,15(11), 2433-2437. doi:10.1093/humrep/15.11.2433

Lampinen, R., Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K., & Kankkunen, P. (2009). A Review of Pregnancy in Women Over 35 Years of Age. The Open Nursing Journal,3, 33-38. doi:10.2174/1874434600903010033

Lassek, W. D., & Gaulin, S. J. (2009). Costs and benefits of fat-free muscle mass in men: relationship to mating success, dietary requirements, and native immunity. Evolution and Human Behavior,30(5), 322-328. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.04.002

Opie, C., Atkinson, Q. D., Dunbar, R. I., & Shultz, S. (2013). Male infanticide leads to social monogamy in primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,110(33), 13328-13332. doi:10.1073/pnas.1307903110

O’Reilly-Green C, Cohen W R. Pregnancy in women aged 40 and older.  Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 1993;  20 313-331

Puts, D. (2016). Human sexual selection. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 28–32. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.011

Reproductive E, Infertility C. Family physicians advisory C, maternal-fetal medicine C, executive, council of the society of O et al. Advanced reproductive age and fertility. Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, Canada : JOGC. Journal d’obstetrique et gynecologie du Canada : JOGC. 2011;33(11):1165–75.

Rouge-Maillart, C., Jousset, N., Gaudin, A., Bouju, B., & Penneau, M. (2005). Women Who Kill Their Children. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology,26(4), 320-326. doi:10.1097/01.paf.0000188085.11961.b2

Stein, Z., & Susser, M. (2000). The risks of having children in later life. Western Journal of Medicine,173(5), 295-296. doi:10.1136/ewjm.173.5.295

Trägårdh, K., Nilsson, T., Granath, S., & Sturup, J. (2016). A Time Trend Study of Swedish Male and Female Homicide Offenders from 1990 to 2010. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health,15(2), 125-135. doi:10.1080/14999013.2016.1152615

van Katwijk, C., & Peeters, LLH. (1998). Clinical aspects of pregnancy after the age of 35 years: a review of the literature. Human Reproduction Update 4(2):185–94.

Yaniv, S. S., Levy, A., Wiznitzer, A., Holcberg, G., Mazor, M., & Sheiner, E. (2010). A significant linear association exists between advanced maternal age and adverse perinatal outcome. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics,283(4), 755-759. doi:10.1007/s00404-010-1459-4

White People Not 100 Percent Human? Afrocentrist Debunked

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I just came across this video on YouTube published yesterday called “White people are not 100% human (Race differences) (I.Q debunked)“, with, of course, outrageous claims (the usual from Afrocentrists). I already left a comment proving his nonsense incorrect, but I thought I’d further expound on it here.

His first ‘evidence’ that whites aren’t 100 percent human is showing some individuals who are born with tails. Outliers are meaningless, of course. The cause of the human tail is due to the unsuccessful inhibition of the Wnt3-a gene. When this gene isn’t successful in signaling the cell death of the tail in early embryonic development, a person is then born with a small vestigial tail. This doesn’t prove anything.

His next assertion is that since “94 percent of whites test positive for Rh blood type” and that “as a result, they are born with a tail”, then whites must have interbred with rhesus monkeys in the past. This is ridiculous. This blood type was named in error. The book Blood Groups and Red Cell Antigens sums it up nicely:

The Rh blood group is one of the most complex blood groups known in humans. From its discovery 60 years ago where it was named (in error) after the Rhesus monkey, it has become second in importance only to the ABO blood group in the field of transfusion medicine. It has remained of primary importance in obstetrics, being the main cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).

It was wrongly thought that the agglutinating antibodies produced in the mother’s serum in response to her husbands RBCs were the same specificity as antibodies produced in various animals’ serum in response to RBCs from the Rhesus monkey. In error, the paternal antigen was named the Rhesus factor. By the time it was discovered that the mother’s antibodies were produced against a different antigen, the rhesus blood group terminology was being widely used. Therefore, instead of changing the name, it was abbreviated to the Rh blood group.

As you can see, this is another ridiculous and easily debunked claim. One only needs to do a bit of non-biased reading into something to get the truth, which some people are not capable of.

What he says next, I don’t really have a problem with. He just shows articles stating that Neanderthals had big brains to control their bodies and that they had a larger, elongated visual cortex. However, there is archeological evidence that our cognitive superiority over Neanderthals is a myth (Villa and Roebroeks, 2014). What he shows in this section is the truest thing he’ll say, though.

Then he shows how African immigrants to America have a higher educational achievement than whites and immigrant East Asians. However, it’s clear he’s not heard of super-selection. The people with the means to leave will, and, most likely, those with the means are the more intelligent ones in the group. We also can’t forget about ‘preferential treatment’, AKA Affirmative Action.

The concept of ‘multiple intelligences’ is then brought up. The originator of the theory, Howard Gardner, rejects general intelligence, dismisses factor analysis, doesn’t defend his theory with quantitative data, instead, drawing on anthropology to zoology findings for his claims, being completely devoid of any psychometric or quantitative data (Herrnstein and Murray, 1994: 18). The Alternative Hypothesis also has a thorough debunking of this claim.

He then makes the claim that hereditarians assume that environment/experience play no factor in performance on IQ tests/life success. We know that both the individual heritability is 80/20 genetics and environment, with the black-white gap being the same (Rushton and Jensen 2005: 279). Another easily refuted claim.

The term ‘inferior’ is brought up due to whites’ supposed ‘inferiority’, though we know that terms such as those have no basis in evolutionary biology.

He claims that a black man named Jesse Russel invented the cell phone, when in reality a white man named Martin Cooper did. He claims that Lewis Latimer invented the filament lightbulb, when a man named Joseph Swan obtained the patent in the UK in 1860. Of course, individual outliers are meaningless to group success, as they don’t reflect the group average as a whole, so these discussions are meaningless.

He finally claims that the “black Moors civilized Europe”. Europeans didn’t need to “be civilized”, I guess people don’t understand that empires/kingdoms rise and fall and go through highs and lows. That doesn’t stop people from pushing a narrative, though. Further, the Moors were not black. People love attempting to create their own fantasy history in which their biases are a reality.

I don’t know why people have to make these idiotic and easily refuted videos. Lies that push people further from the truth of racial differences, genetics, and history as a whole. Biases such as these just cloud people’s minds to the truth, and when the truth is shown to  them, refuting their biases and twisting of history, genetics, and IQ, they then look at it as an attack on what they deem to be true despite all of the conflicting, non-biased evidence shown to them. Afrocentric loons need to be refuted, lest people believe their lies, misconceptions and twistings of history.

The Ape That Took Over the World

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What gave us the ability to become the apes that took over the world comes down to three things: bipedalism, tool-making, and fire use and acquisition. Those three things catapulted our evolution and brain size (number of neurons) and made it possible for us to be human. The cause of our extraordinary cognitive abilities is the number of neurons in our brain in total—16 billion in all. The only thing that could power a brain so energy-demanding is a diet of cooked meat and other foods. This acts as a predigestion outside of the body so more nutrients can get extracted more efficiently, to power a growing brain due to other selective pressures. Clearly, without cooking, our brains we wouldn’t have the cognitive capacity to take over the world.

In 2001 a huge finding was made in Africa, that of an ape with the beginnings of a bipedal pelvis. Soon after, footprints were discovered where the skeleton was found. A huge debate broke out, with researchers wondering how this new finding fit in with our evolution. Since Lucy had the beginnings of a bipedal pelvis, this conserved about 75 percent more energy than walking on all fours did (Sockol, Raichlen, and Pontzer, 2007). Since the human brain is our most costly organ, the advent of bipedalism freed up an immense amount of energy to power our soon to be big brains.

After the advent of bipedalism, we could then manipulate our environment which called for the need for tools. To have the ability to make tools—and make them efficiently—our ancestors needed to have hands and opposable thumbs. Since we are primates just like them, we just happen to have this evolutionary trait. To create a usable stone tool for the right situation, one needed a certain expertise in making that tool. There is evidence that our brain size increased since we needed the expertise to survive in our ancestral past (Skoyles, 2007).

Soon after, our ancestor Homo erectus appeared on the scene. The fossil record shows that our brain size really began to increase around 2 million years ago, (Herculano-Houzel, 2016). What could have driven such a rapid increase in brain size? The advent of cooking. Herculano-Houzel (2016) defines cooking as things cooked with fire, as well as foodstuffs mashed with the stone tools we could now create with our newly freed hands. After these two discoveries, brain size then nearly doubled in size. However, when the neuronal composition of the brain is looked at, it has the number of neurons expected for a brain its size (Herculano-Houzel, 2009). The human brain is not special in its neuronal composition.

Erectus began controlling fire between 1-1.5 mya (Berna et al, 2012). The use of fire softened food, making it easier to chew, decreasing our jaw muscles and size of our teeth which also allowed for our big brains with large amount of cerebral neurons—16 billion in all, the most out of any animal in the animal kingdom, and is the cause of our superior cognitive abilities (Herculano-Houzel, 2016).

Since the human brain is a primate brain, it has some key features that aren’t available in other brains. The most important being that we have the most neurons crowded into our cerebral cortex than other animals. That is the cause for our cognitive superiority over other animals, but not Neanderthals (Villa and Roebroeks, 2014). There is anthropological evidence that our so-called cognitive superiority over the Neanderthals may be a myth, since they discovered no data inferring that we had any ‘superiority’ over Neanderthals in terms of technology, social structure or cognitively.

Without our ability to control and create fire, starting with erectus (Berna et al, 2012), our brains wouldn’t have had the ability to power such a large brain, and thus our brains would have stayed erectus-sized. We can look at the evolution of great apes’ brains (Herculano-Houzel and Kaas, 2011) and say, with confidence, that if our hominin ancestors never would have controlled fire and passed down the useful skill down through the generations then we would not be here today. Looking at it in this way, we can thank the beginnings of cultural transference and acquisition for a large part of the reason why we are here today (mass extinctions and decimations aside). If we would have continued to eat our plant-based diet than our brains would have stayed around 600-800 cc, a size with nowhere near enough neurons for our outstanding cognitive abilities. So, Stephen Jay Gould may be on his way to vindication, as he wrote in his book Full House (1996): “We have no evidence that the modal form of human bodies or brains has changed at all in the past 100,000 years—a standard phenomenon of stasis for successful and widespread species, and not (as popularly misconceived) an odd exception to an expectation of continuous and progressive change.” There is now some evidence to corroborate his theorizing.

When talking about how we evolved to become the ape that took over the world, three things cannot be overlooked: 1) Bipedalism. We know that Lucy was the first hominin to have a pelvis close to our modern one (Harcourt-Smith and Aiello, 2004); 2) we could now stand upright, acquiring kcal was easier and more efficient (Lieberman, 2013); and 3) walking bipedally conserves 75 percent more energy compared to knuckle-walking (Sockol, Raichlen, and Pontzer, 2007). Bipedalism then freed our hands so we could use tools (Marzke, 2011). Furthermore, there are biomechanical reasons for the acquisition of bipedalism: one main factor being that every development of typical human morphology can be explained as adaptations to conserve energy walking long distances (Preuschoft, 2004). Bipedal walking may be one of the most important events in our evolution—for without that, every other great thing you see around you today would not be here since we then would not have the ability to manipulate the environment in which we live.

Just like our capacity for expertise may have increased our brain size, there is evidence that tool making increased our brain size as well (Stout et al, 2015). So this further increased our brain size, and when our brains reached around 800 cc with erectus, the ‘discovery’ of fire was able to occur due to the ability expertise capacity gained from becoming experts with creating tools and learning how to survive. This crude form of cooking (mashing/smashing foodstuffs to extract nutrients) allowed our brains to be fueled by the coming wave of nutrients. Furthermore, since the food was already ‘predigested’, so to speak, it was easier to chew. The softened foods then weakened our jaw muscles (Organ et al, 2011). So, in a way, you can say that human evolution is driven by dietary changes (Luca, Perry and Di Rienzo, 2010).

Conclusion

The advent of bipedalism allowed for the ability to make stone tools, which was one of the first cases of cultural transference. To see how important the use of fire was, one only needs to look at gorillas. Metabolic limitations resulting from the number of hours available to feed along with the low caloric yield of raw foods imposed a limitation on brain size for great apes and gorillas—imposing a tradeoff between the total neuronal amount and body size, making them the outlier in terms of body size (Fonseca-Azevedo and Herculano-Houzel, 2012). Thus, you can see the benefits of cultural transference and acquisition, which gave us the ability to have us become the ape that took over the world with our superior cognitive abilities primarily caused by the advent of cultural transference and acquisition beginning with the advent of bipedalism which allowed us to increase our foraging range, allowing us to consume higher-quality kcal to power our soon-to-be big brains, tool-making, and fire-use.

References

Berna, F., Goldberg, P., Horwitz, L. K., Brink, J., Holt, S., Bamford, M., & Chazan, M. (2012). Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South AfricaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,109(20). doi:10.1073/pnas.1117620109

Dr. John R. Skoyles (1999) HUMAN EVOLUTION EXPANDED BRAINS TO INCREASE EXPERTISE CAPACITY, NOT IQ. Psycoloquy: 10(002) brain expertise

Fonseca-Azevedo, K., & Herculano-Houzel, S. (2012). Metabolic constraint imposes tradeoff between body size and number of brain neurons in human evolutionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,109(45), 18571-18576. doi:10.1073/pnas.1206390109

Gould, S. J. (1996). Full house: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin. New York: Harmony Books.

Harcourt-Smith, W. E., & Aiello, L. C. (2004). Fossils, feet and the evolution of human bipedal locomotionJournal of Anatomy,204(5), 403-416. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8782.2004.00296.x

Herculano-Houzel, S. (2013). The Remarkable, Yet Not Extraordinary, Human Brain as a Scaled-Up Primate Brain and Its Associated Cost.

Herculano-Houzel, S. (2009). The human brain in numbers: a linearly scaled-up primate brainFrontiers in Human Neuroscience,3. doi:10.3389/neuro.09.031.2009

Herculano-Houzel, S., & Kaas, J. H. (2011). Gorilla and Orangutan Brains Conform to the Primate Cellular Scaling Rules: Implications for Human Evolution.

Herculano-Houzel, S. (2016). The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brains Became Remarkable. doi:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034258.001.0001

Lieberman, D. (2013). The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease. New York: Pantheon Books.

Luca, F., Perry, G., & Rienzo, A. D. (2010). Evolutionary Adaptations to Dietary ChangesAnnual Review of Nutrition,30(1), 291-314. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141048

Marzke, M. W. (2013). Tool making, hand morphology and fossil homininsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,368(1630), 20120414-20120414. doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0414

Organ, C., Nunn, C. L., Machanda, Z., & Wrangham, R. W. (2011). Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of HomoProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,108(35), 14555-14559. doi:10.1073/pnas.1107806108

Preuschoft, H. (2004). Mechanisms for the acquisition of habitual bipedality: are there biomechanical reasons for the acquisition of upright bipedal posture? Journal of Anatomy,204(5), 363-384. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8782.2004.00303.x

Sockol, M. D., Raichlen, D. A., & Pontzer, H. (2007). Chimpanzee locomotor energetics and the origin of human bipedalismProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,104(30), 12265-12269. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703267104

Stout, D., Hecht, E., Khreisheh, N., Bradley, B., & Chaminade, T. (2015). Cognitive Demands of Lower Paleolithic ToolmakingPlos One,10(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121804

Villa, P., & Roebroeks, W. (2014). Neandertal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority ComplexPLoS ONE,9(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096424