Sunday, November 22, 2009

In days of yore, when men were men...

From a review of a book that summarizes genetic research into chimps and humans comes an, I don't know, warning(?) about seeking too much comfort.
 ...humans in the last 30, 40, or 50,000 years have been domesticating ourselves.  If we're following the bonobo or dog pattern, we're moving toward a form of ourselves with more and more juvenile behavior.  And the amazing thing once you start thinking in those terms is that you realize that we're still moving fast.  I think that current evidence is that we're in the middle of an evolutionary event in which tooth size is falling, jaw size is falling, brain size is falling, and it's quite reasonable to imagine that we're continuing to tame ourselves.
Recorded history, which for me means the last two thousand years or a little more, is probably too short to really notice the changes described above.  On the other hand, reading about how the Spartans lived is awe-inspiring at least partially because of the privations they faced, and how i would likely have curled up on the ground and cried facing a tenth of them.

Yeah, my lack of toughness and resilience isn't a good indicator.  I felt much the same way in reading Johnny Reb, a book about the day-to-day lives of confederate soldiers.  The Civil War was too recent see evolutionary change in people.

Anyway, when I think of domesticated animals, I think first of dogs.  Dogs are known to be less intelligent than wolves, with smaller brains.  On the other hand, dogs are better able to read and understand human expressions.

I also think about Idiocracy.

Great, another reason to be worried about my son's future - and his children's, and their children...

1 comment:

PAKA said...

That's why we need to toughen our kids up. Forget about electronic toys and games. I'm sure you can't wait to take the little one camping...REAL CAMPING. Not this Korean pension crap-style camping.