Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The big news today

When I was a little 'un, I would listen to the Radio, yes RADIO. It was fun on Saturday mornings and Sunday nights. Ramar of the Jungle, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Our Miss Brooks, Amos and Andy, Jack Benny, Suspense, etc.Brother Bob and I inherited Daddy's old brown, bakelite clock radio...automatic 'cause it had an alarm you could set to wake you up.

Anyway...while listening tonight to BBC News, I heard something that fascinated me. They have found a new Humanoid, Homo floresiensis, making it 4 species who were walking the earth at the same time! I love it.

Tarzan was one of my favorite programs. He sometimes would go to some prehistoric "land that time forgot". He'd go through a cave, come out and start hobnobbing with Triceratops dinosaur. He'd start whacking it's  horn to tame it, and ride it around for a while. I always wondered why they didn't included a cave man like Alley Opp for the poor Tarzan to run with...he had to leave Jane, Boy and his ape buddies at home on these crusades.

I had a friend and mentor, Alden Capen, in West Virginia who was a great naturalist and writer. He and I would get into discussions about various things, and one being the origins of man. You always have those arguments in your twenties, don't you?

He claimed it started with the Garden of Eden, alright, and the Garden is still there today. Before there were "real" people in the Garden, their were two kinds of apes holding down the fort, sort of a test run.

One branch of the family ate a banana and threw the peel on the ground from their lofty perch .The others climbed down and buried the peel. Guess which one we were to take after. The ones who buried the peel were eaten by sabre tooth tigers, it seems. Our "Throw it out the window, you idiot, we don't want no garbage in this here mighty fine 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass", comes naturally.

All this talk of man and prehistory lead to my fascination with Louis Leakey and the Olduvai Gorge,  the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Louis Leakey, an English palaeontologist. and his wife made most of the important discoveries of early humanoid fossils in the this century in the Gorge. I heard him speak at Smithsonian back in the late 60's. A treat, as I look back on it.

I would eagerly await copies of Science magazine every month to learn of his latest forays into the past in Oldivai . Now I can learn more on the internet in 20 minutes than I learned in months. Louis, born in 1903, has gone on to meet some of his relatives, if common thinking holds true.

So, WE have been sharing Condo Earth  with four separate lines of walking, talking, thinking, bipedal animals cogitating over how best to take advantage of the tool box at all our disposal. Seems the smaller cousins came out the loser. Probably buried their peelings, and weren't aggressive enough...decided Siberia was an alternative to having their heads caved in by their Homo Sapien cousins.

It has been long theorized that  Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens coexisted for quite a while, but they eventually succumbed. Hmm, were we a contributing factor again?  DNA tests can run your  DNA back 30, 000 years. In fact, my old Gator buddy Lloyd had his DNA run and took him back to his Neandethal roots. I can't help but include this artist conception ( no pun intended) of a Neanderthal, Homo Sapien union?

There is also evidence that the Great Woolly Mammoth succumbed to hunting pressures put on it by our Homo Sapien ancestors. "Eat and Elephant A day and keep the doctor away." Poor Richard got it wrong!
We Bad! Way too bad for our own good ,at times.

We are what we are...Homo Sapiens. We have survived thus far. The rest have been driven into oblivion, it seems. I offer that with a  little cleaning up, a  few manners, and some group therapy, you guys have the capacity to make life wholesome for our lot...or it will be oblivion for us by our own doing. We just need to get rid of that little mean streak.

Family conversations would be different, though the themes would be similar. "Oh, You're acting like that Homo Florisiensis Grand father of yours, the one on your Dad's side.",  or "It's the Neanderthal in him, Gladys, just hope he grows out of it," or "I wish we have never migrated, I don't like it here, all the kids are different."

Wonder what you'd look like if all four species were still around? I think I probably look like my Neanderthal ancestors. I'm pretty comfortable with it!  They call me Shrek at work. I don't think there were any Hobbitlike folks in my past. Too cold for my people in Siberia, though I do have relatives in Pennsylvania! That's where they migrated. Maybe they will start growing fur in ten million years, and my ancestors will get a permanent tan.

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