Sunday, September 20, 2015

Darrel Falk's Post on Homo naledi

Darrel Falk has a short post on Homo naledi, in which he discusses the nature of the science and misconceptions that we have had with regard to human evolution.  He writes:
Interestingly, besides all the PR associated with the discovery, it is documented by likely the finest Nova/National Geographic production I have ever seen on human evolution, which is available to view online here. I've watched the first hour of the two hour special which will appear next Wednesday evening (Sept 16) on PBS. I love it because it shows in absolutely exciting detail how the science is done. It also shows how wrong earlier paleontologists were regarding the nature of our early ancestors—they weren't 'killers' as depicted in early film and scientific literature. They were plant eaters with likely the occasional meat meal. The natural forces associated with the evolution of the human body were NOT selection for the fittest killers. Indeed, although not specifically discussed in the film (I've not quite finished it), cooperation was likely a much more important shaper of the distinctively human mind than competition.
As was outlined in the Nova special, it was the work of Bob Brain, who discovered that marks in the skull that had been attributed to interpersonal violence on the part of australopithecines, were, in fact, created by large cat predators.

My BioLogos post on Homo naledi will be out shortly.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you posted a link to the Nova - National Geographic special, which I had the delight and wonder to watch last night. It is exquisitely produced and sheds a lot of light on the complex and often counter-intuitive results of what we find when we follow the fossils. It also makes the claim of some who deny the existence of transitional fossils in the human line increasingly untenable.