Anthropologists are receiving a jolt about the intelligence of early man. Long before the cave paintings showed our forebears exercising art appreciation, new findings suggest they were gifted individuals, not brutes. The first report was about manufactured beads dated older than 82,000 years. Science Daily said, “The shells are currently at the centre of a debate concerning the origins of modern behaviour in early humans.” For one thing, it’s too early for common ideas that humans did not have “a sophisticated symbolic material culture” that long ago. Another surprise is that these shell beads, found in Morocco, are nearly the same as those found in South Africa dated 72,000 years old. The research team said that “the most striking aspect of the Taforalt discoveries is that identical shell types should appear in two such geographically distant regions.” Indeed some of the beads found at four sites may be older than 110,000 years. The research team leader explained, “These new finds are exciting because they show that bead manufacturing probably arose independently in different cultures and confirms a long suspected pattern that humans with modern symbolic behaviour were present from a very early stage at both ends of the continent, probably as early as 110,000 years ago.” Another hint of “unknown smarts” in ancient man was announced in National Geographic based on a paper in PNAS1. Researchers studying stone axes noticed that the red ochre around the shaft was not just a decorative feature; it was a kind of superglue. A mixture of red ochre and gum acacia actually bound the axe to the shaft firmly. The problem is that this gives the shaft to anthropological theories that humans were too unsophisticated to make such things. Glue manufacture required harvesting and testing remote ingredients for the best effect. “It was mentally taxing work that would have required humans to account for differences in the chemistry of gum harvested from different trees and in the iron content of ochre from different sites,” the article said. How could they know about pH and iron content? Success must have required a significant amount of goal-directed experimentation. “The finding also suggests the intelligence of Stone Age humans was more akin to that of modern humans than previously thought,” a team member said. “Their technology was a lot more competent than we have given them credit for.”Update 06/10/2009: Thomas Wynn (U Colorado) tried to explain where the human mind came from and why anatomically modern humans were smart enough to invent a glue to haft their spears supposedly 70,000 years ago:One [implication] that has held central stage in paleoanthropology for two decades is the problem of modernity. When and how did the modern mind evolve? Most of the focus in this debate has been on the role language [sic] and symbolism but, as Wadley et al. make clear, there is more to modern cognition than language and the use of symbols. Indeed, language has proven to be a particularly intractable topic for archaeologists, a point made cogently by Botha. By focusing on activities that tax reasoning ability and are also visible archaeologically, such as hafting, archaeologists are in a better position to contribute to an understanding of the evolution of the modern mind. In the current example, Wadley et al. have been able to demonstrate that some elements of modern cognition were in place by 70,000 years ago.Meanwhile, debate still rages about the “Hobbit” bones of miniature people from Ling Bua cave in Indonesia (see 10/24/2004, 10/25/2005, and 08/21/2006). Papers in Nature last week suggested that the tiny people underwent “island dwarfism” by living too long on the isle. Another paper said the foot bones show primitive features. Some are suggesting these were early versions of Homo erectus that migrated out of Africa ahead of the rest, and developed independently on their isolated island The skeletons, however, are dated at 18,000 years old – much younger than their axe-gluing, shell-button-manufacturing kin. Robert Eckhardt, an evolutionary biologist at University of Pennsylvania, isn’t buying the argument that it represents a new species of human. “In science, poor hypotheses identify themselves by needing ad hoc revision after revision,” he remarked. “This is what is happening with increasing visibility in the [descriptions] of ‘Homo floresiensis.’” For an intelligent design perspective on these skeletons, see an article by Robert Deyes on ARN.1. Wadley, Hodgskiss and Grant, “Implications for complex cognition from the hafting of tools with compound adhesives in the Middle Stone Age, South Africa,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online May 11, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900957106.2. Commentary by Thomas Wynn, “Hafted spears and the archaology of mind,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 8, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904369106.Evolutionary anthropologists throw their dating schemes around with reckless abandon. Step back from the dogma and look at the big picture. They would have you believe that human societies, smart enough to invent superglue and share bead technologies across a continent (unless you buy their line that this represents convergent evolution) were too dumb to invent cities and agriculture for some 100,000 years – an order of magnitude greater than all recorded human history, in which time humans built Sumer and Rome and New York and the Hubble Space Telescope. Once the ridiculousness of their picture sinks in, you see the evolutionary scenario for what it is: a made-up story concocted to keep the Darwinian picture of the emergence of man from apes the dominant religion among scientists. All their head-scratching and controversy and “ad hoc revision after revision” looks comical in that light. (Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
File photo of fomer Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.This year’s auction saw money splurging on players for record deals but there were some big names who, surprisingly, found no takers from among the 10 franchisees.Having doubled his base price to $4,00,000 (Rs 1.84 cr), former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was in for a rude shock when he failed to find any bidders at the auction from amongst the 10 IPL teams.Ganguly wasn’t the only big name who was given a cold shoulder by the franchises as even former West Indies skippers Chris Gayle and Brian Lara were snubbed.While Lara hasn’t played much of cricket in the last four years and does not have much experience in the shortest format of the game, Gayle’s fate was unexpected.The big Jamaican is a proven T20 cricketer with his attacking strokeplay and useful off-spinners and was one of the most talked about signing in the first IPL auction where Kolkata Knight Riders inked a deal with him. Besides, there are other names like England’s Graeme Swann and South African Herschelle Gibbs who weren’t picked.While Ganguly and Lara failed to prove their prowess for the highly demanding IPL seasons, doubts over the availability of Gayle and Swann, arguably the best off-spinner in the world at the moment, for the event could have cost them a place in the Twenty20 extravaganza.But with no takers on Day One of the auction, it is still not the end of the road for the unsold players as they will be up for sale on Sunday after the first round of auction. But it is highly unlikely that any of these names will fetch anything more than their base price. It was surprising that Ganguly decided to double his base price from $2,00,000 even though it was clear that he was not likely to get too many bidders.advertisementBut there could be some thought in that move. At Rs 1.84 crore, franchisees may have found Ganguly an expensive signing and preferred to put in their money on younger players.But on Sunday, Ganguly could well be seen in the camp of Pune Warriors for the base price.Those who remain unsold: Tamim Iqbal, Chamara Kapugedera, Murali Kartik, Ajantha Mendis, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Dilhara Fernando, Luke Wright, Matt Prior, Mark Boucher, Graeme Manou, Brian Lara, Herschelle Gibbs, Jesse Ryder, Sourav Ganguly and Chris Gayle.FAQ’sWhat are marquee players? Those players, who went under the hammer first and are picked according to a combination of their valuation and star power. These players will be retained by their franchisees for 3 editions. For this year’s auction, there are 27 marquee players.How many teams will be participating in IPL-4? Ten. This includes the eight existing teams and two news teams – Team Kochi and Pune Warriors.What is the total purse for each franchisee? $ 9 million. But the teams that have retained some players will have their budgets reduced as the price of such players.What is player retention? Each of the eight franchisees, who were part of the last three editions, were allowed to retain four players.What’s the condition regarding overseas players? A team is allowed to play only four overseas players in a match. Besides, four players must belong to the catchment area where the team is located.What is the maximum pool of players a franchise can have? Each franchise can have a maximum squad of 30 players. They must have 4 under-21 players in the pool.Who is the master auctioneer? Richard Madley, a professional auctioneer from England, is accepting the bids from all the franchisees as he did for the last 3 editions.