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Ancient Hominids
April 12, 2005 7:46 AM   Subscribe


 
Ergh.

This is a bit tea-leafy and touchy-feely to me. I don't doubt that the emergence of "compassion" could be an identifiable milestone -- I'm just not sure this marks it. People can be enormously resourceful, and if game was plentiful, I could imagine a clever old man finding ways to subsist for a year or more without the ability to chew solid food.

That's not to say that i don't believe "compassion" was practiced among early hominids. I think it's practiced in lots of places; early hominids were probably not unique, just as humans aren't unique in its practice today.
posted by lodurr at 8:05 AM on April 12, 2005


MetaFilter: employed by early hominid tool makers
posted by Wolfdog at 8:21 AM on April 12, 2005


or perhaps he lost all but one of his teeth at once, and then died. (or his teeth fell out as he starved)
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on April 12, 2005


[delmoi: Analysis of the skull seems to indicate that he was toothless (save one) for at least a year before he died. Also, the big issue here is not that they've found remains of old or near-crippled people; those have been found for years at later sites. This site is very early and these hominids appear to be pre-H. erectus.]
posted by lodurr at 8:39 AM on April 12, 2005


Lodurr, I was looking for information on early african ancestry to refute your point but all I could find was this.

My research has failed and I concede defeat.
posted by dfowler at 9:04 AM on April 12, 2005


lodurr writes "I could imagine a clever old man finding ways to subsist for a year or more without the ability to chew solid food. "

But he wasn't a clever old man: "The little "people" - who stood at around four feet tall.... were short, long-armed, small-brained, thin browed."

He wasn't a sapiens, he wasn't even an erectus; he was perhaps some sort of habiline, ape-like.

And it wasn't for just a year: "The tooth sockets had been resorbed into the skull, suggesting that he had lost the teeth several years before dying."
posted by orthogonality at 9:14 AM on April 12, 2005


this month's National Geographic has articles about these ideas as well.
posted by memnock at 3:09 PM on April 12, 2005


"Will you still need me, will you still feed me..."
posted by davy at 3:12 PM on April 12, 2005


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