9/30/2009

anthropological musings

I wonder if the homo erectus was the first "real human": They had a much smaller brain and no modern language skills, but lived in something like huts around central paved places, used fire, became independent from a specific ecological nice, competed carnivores out of their ways, made specialized stone tools. Experts in reconstructing those stone tools say, a modern human would need ca. 2-3 weeks of intense and guided training to reproduce them. (-> see more, new infos and links above, at the entry "some updates")

The homini erecti probably were the first hominids who became "personas", because the heights of women suddenly increased after some climate change modified their food collecting methods. Earlier women were ca. half as high as men, male homo erectus' were ca. 1.80 m, women-h-e's ca. 1.40 m high. This change forced homini-erecti-women to avert a "monopolization" by dominant males, because the later would not have been able to nourish them any more. But the males' perception systems were still adapted to small women, so that they had trouble to perceive the startling elongated women as such. Women used that to invent some sort of attractive cosmetics and aliennating camouflage for guiding how they were perceived. In an article, an archeologist speculates that women dressed each full moon with animal parts and ashes as gastly "zombies" to drive males out of the settlements for hunting - when the males returned, suddenly the "zombies" had become attractive women again. This way, homo erectus women invented culture. IMO that could have been the root of advanced nonverbal social skills and social role playing. Perhaps our intuition about other people comes from those times and stayed on the level? Then, we would be essentially "blind" for those later developed higher mental functions which we usually proudly use to define us. Could it be that the core of real modern humanity is actually beyond our mental radar?

In that case, there should exist people with extremly restricted variants of human mentality which avoid detection by normal social intuition. A recent documentary seems to show that this is the case. An other case of a grossly deviant science fraudster (actually, Meinertzhagen was much worse, e.g. killed at least 25 people and his wife after she discovered his frauds. Meinertzhagen became model for "James Bond" when he impressed Fleming with his tales). Finally here an essay by Yuri I. Manin on reflections of the associated "trickster" figure in mythology, similar reflections of such cases in early european mythology, in antique greek culture and society, and in antique chinese literature.