Posts Tagged ‘Neanderthal’

How Neanderthals, Dinosaurs Disappeared?

June 23, 2015

IS THE SAME FUNDAMENTAL MECHANISM AT PLAY?

Dinosaurs are still around: they are called birds. Birds are those dinosaurs which enjoyed high metabolism. In difficult circumstances, those who acted quick could stay warm, and make the slow, or their eggs, into lunch. Mammals, too, and probably even more, exerted deadly pressure on dinosaur reproduction.

Dinosaurs were big (the smallest, like Velociraptors, were feather covered, and turkey sized). To create the same number of average individuals dinosaurs may have required a thousand times more energy as for the average bird: obvioulsy after a disaster, their population would not rebound as fast.

The Past Is Printed With DNA, & We Can Read It.

The Past Is Printed With DNA, & We Can Read It.

[As we can read DNA like a printed book, Paleontology is becoming history, complete with written documents! Represented above: the 40,000 years old Homo Sapiens jaw which was sequenced, and found to be a Sapiens Sapiens- Sapiens Neanderthal hybrid.]

Much spectacular progress is made in paleontology, every month. In the latest, some dinosaur protein would have been isolated. Sequencing and making a Jurassic Park, someday, is not science fiction anymore. Such was the truth, in June 2015. (In the preceding month, that would have sounded like science-fiction.)

Now we have a new fact supporting the theory I hold that Neanderthal’s traits were outbred. Here is yesterday’s recap from Nature:

http://www.nature.com/news/europe-s-first-humans-what-scientists-do-and-don-t-know-1.17815

Neanderthals are also still around. Or more exactly Neanderthal genome: 1% to 3% (although some claim up to 9% of combined Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry!). And more so in East Asia and among Native Americans. Some find strange that Neanderthal genome disappeared more in Europe, where Neanderthal reigned so long.

But it just means that genetic competition between Sapiens Neanderthal and Sapiens Sapiens traits was more in favor of the later there… Perhaps simply because winters are milder in Europe.

Neanderthals had evolved from Archaic Homo Sapiens, and ruled Europe for 300,000 years. Most of the time, the continent was in the grip of glaciation. Neanderthals evolved genetic adaptations to these Arctic conditions, such as a larger body mass, and a more compact, more muscular, powerful body.

However technological advances such as clothing, burning coal (!), the propeller (to launch javelins further), and the bow made those Neanderthal genetic modifications obsolete, moot, duplicative. A prime defect was higher mass. Reproducing the same number of Neanderthals required more energy than the same number of more gracile forms of Homo Sapiens.

When in competition, the reproductive advantage of the more gracile traits grow exponentially in time:
https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

It is not about Homo Sapiens Sapiens enjoying superior traits relative to Neanderthals.

The disappearance of Neanderthals is about most Sapiens Neanderthal traits having become excess evolutionary baggage. So the traits got out-selected. One should expect that the heavy, Arctic genetic traits were weeded out, and only superior traits (the 3%) were kept. As observed. And more so in Europe, as winters are milder there than in the rest of the Eurasian land mass (South Asia excluded). As observed. In other words, after an Arctic excursion, Neanderthals transmutated back into what they came from, keeping some useful mutations (many having to do with skin).

The tree of evolution is rather a network (with a non-trivial topology).

A case in point is Homo itself. The first prototypes (so to speak) may have separated from chimpanzee like ancestors, ten million years ago. But the official theory has it, at this point, that there was some interbreeding with chimpanzees, around six million years ago again.

BTW, it is not true that no Neanderthal DNA is found in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s so yesteryear, 2014. Neanderthal DNA has been found all the way down to South Africa’s tip (2015 discovery), and the migration route traced.

Patrice Ayme’

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Speciation Math; Why It’s Crucial

February 16, 2014

Believing in Christianity and its Dog God barking in the sky is a fundamental element of the subjugation of the masses in the USA. In Europe, it’s natural to be an atheist (except if one is a Muslim or a Pole, and even then…). In the USA, atheism is impolite. That’s why the president ends all his homilies with an appeal to Dog God. God the Dog is watching over you, its son, the NSA, also, and bless be the United States of America.

It’s unlikely a honest to goodness American will be prone to revolution, as this would implicitly recognize the primacy of man over the creation of Pluto Dog God. So no wonder creations of man such as science (a form of anti-Plutocratic revolution from excessive usage of the nervous system) are attacked at every turn.

Mammoths were very clever. Science was well started when Neanderthals made mammoth hunting plans on the plains:

Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis: Same Species, Us.

Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis: Same Species, Us.

[The colored eyes of Neanderthals are a proven thing, so are the facial features; the hairline is probably too low… The will to make Neanderthals beastly is obdurate…]

Such were the idle thoughts brought to me by a rant against evolution on so called “Big Think”. The conclusion struck me, with the issues it brought:

…” [Evolution Theory is] also terrible at explaining the speed at which speciation occurs. (Of course, The Origin of Species is entirely silent on the subject of how life arose from abiotic conditions in the first place.) It doesn’t explain the Cambrian Explosion, for example, sudden appearance of intelligence in hominids, or the rapid recovery (and net expansion) of the biosphere in the wake of at least five super-massive extinction events in the most recent 15% of Earth’s existence.”

This is all false or misleading, but still it’s interesting to answer.

OK, I will let pass the fact that Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species was published in 1859, about a century before laboratory experiments enabled to create organic chemistry in the lab from the sort of atmosphere, water and lightning Earth enjoyed for billions of years. 1859: that was two years before Lincoln became president. Slavery was lawful in the USA.

Reducing Evolution to Darwinism is silly: Darwin himself was an enthusiastic Lamarckist. Lamarck established biological (Lamarck’s neologism) evolution by studying the changes in fossilized mollusks over millions of years (the order of mollusks had been scientifically determined by Cuvier, Lamarck’s predecessor) . Lamarck was banned with rage and consummate fury by the very Christian universities that dominated England (Oxbridge, etc.). This explains why neither Wallace, nor Darwin, nor Spencer were university professors. The former two were not just great expositors of the (French) Theory of Evolution, but pushed it further with discoveries, from the Wallace Line, to Patagonia or the Galapagos.

Let’s go back to the stupid quote on top (excellent lemonade can be made from old lemons, though).

One statement is clearly false: Contrarily to that misleading quote, supreme intelligence took millions of years to appear in hominids. Supreme intelligence, as evidenced, more exactly, by brain size, followed the evolution of bipedalism (and, thus, attendant change of in behavior, diet and environment). We know it took at least 5 million years, from bipedalism to the apparition of brainy Homo Erectus.

What this means is that bipedalism opened a new ecological niche. Bipedalism allowed a number of related species of primates, the hominids, to roam around, and literally, dominate the landscape. As they roamed around, the opportunity for even more sophisticated behaviors arose, and caused a sort of evolutionary sucking: nature abhors a vacuum, and biological evolution, like the Quantum (and it’s probably related) tends to occupy all the space it can occupy (this is why the math of the Quantum are represented by Hilbert Spaces spanned by Quantum States; the exact equivalent in evolution are ecological niches… the complication with life is that life itself creates the niches. The same happens with renormalization in QFT!).

Thus the hominids evolved an increasing number of environmentally disruptive and manipulative behaviors, which, in turn, favored mutations favoring them. That evolutionary phenomenon is thus non-linear, a sort of exponential, it can go fast.

A new function, bipedalism, allows to bear arms, using one’s… arms. That in turn, makes bellicose and predatory behavior, let alone good eyesight, more profitable, and so on.

Actually, a similar type of mathematics is at play after mass extinction, explaining that life’s diversity tends to augment with them.

After life got wiped out of billions of ecological niches in a major extinction event, those get reoccupied quickly by maladapted species. Maladapted to said niches, that is. Thus billions of speciations will tend to occur. These speciations cannot happen in steady state, because the environment of the steady state includes a fine balance of the physical environment with the existing, entangled species. If an event wipes those out, the old steady state cannot be recreated, and each niche acts like a throw of the dice.

Thus massive extinction tends to lead to massive speciation. It’s purely mathematical.

A lot of complicated mathematics and physics underlays Evolution Theory. I presented my own to help explain the apparent disappearance of Neanderthals. My theory rests on subtle mathematics, physiological, and environmental considerations. It’s actually not a theory of Neanderthal disappearance, rather than a theory of the disappearance of a Neanderthal appearance. So it would in particular predict that Europeans are much more Neanderthal than one thought.

Why? Neanderthal had evolved into a superior species (hilarious: Nazism is coming back, but instead of being Aryan, it’s Neanderthal… The Thal of Neander is on the Dussel, basically in the Ruhr…). Neanderthal has had to have evolved in a superior species, or she would not have rules the freezing North (a related species, the Denivosan, ruled the North-East, and evolved into Chinese, or, at least Australian bushmen).

If Neanderthal was that superior, he could not be wiped out. So, instead, one needed a more subtle explanation, which I provided: “Mathematics “Extinguished” Neanderthals”. Two very recent (end January 2014) DNA computational studies support my point of view. (See note.)

Oh, by the way, mathematics is not just about equations. It’s first of all, about ideas. Anybody who had Euclidean geometry or Mathematical Logic will confirm this. The phenomenon of occupying the entire space is the essence of Quantum Physics (Me, myself and I say). It’s the math of Hilbert Space. It’s also the math of evolution.

All these mathematics of evolution are no idle pursuit. Right now, the planet is at a fulminant stage of evolution, thanks to us. Understanding what the laws that will command our destiny, are, is the quintessence of humanity.

Patrice Aymé

Note: With up to 30% Neanderthal genome, it is found that some Neanderthal traits survived very well (say about skin), while other disappeared. Take the lack of waist of Neanderthal: an advantage in very cold climate, but not anymore after clothing became good enough; and probably a disadvantage for running and combat.

 

MATH “EXTINGUISHED” NEANDERTHALS, Sort Of.

March 14, 2013

HOW & WHY (SOME) NEANDERTHAL TRAITS WERE OUTBRED:

Many racist theories about the “disappearance” of Neanderthals. The latest one, from Oxford University, claims that Neanderthals’ big, beautiful eyes, and their big muscles caused their demise: Neanderthals were too busy looking at things, while flexing their muscles. The “idea” is that larger eyes would have crowded the Neanderthal brain out, making them relatively stupid. In particular eyes made them incapable of having social groups as large as those of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Big Eyes Do Not Kill

Big Eyes Do Not Kill

Sapiens girl on the left, Neanderthal girl on the right (reconstitution published in Science Magazine a few years ago).

I have long argued that the strength of democracy came from having many brains working in parallel. There is little doubt that larger social groups bring a higher cultural intelligence, hence higher individual intelligence. So I agree about that bit of logic. Yet, ironically, to reach the conclusion that Neanderthals’ social group were less numerous, the simple fact that Neanderthals were bigger, is enough. There is no need for hazardous demeaning allegations about Neanderthals’ brains.

That big eyes made Neanderthals stupid contradicts some facts that were thought to be established:

1) Sapiens Neanderthalis’ brains were significantly larger to start with. See Wikipedia.

2) Many very clever Homo Sapiens Sapiens have small brains. Famously Anatole France, an intellectual, had only a 1,000 cubic centimeters brain. Homo Floresiensis, the “hobbit” species living on the island of Flores, Indonesia, until it was wiped out recently, was extremely intellectually capable, although it had really small (and completely different) brains.

3) In the Middle East, Neanderthals and Sapiens went back and forth through the same large caves over 50,000 years. So whatever happened, it was not in evidence for 50,000 years.

So, of course, I have my own theory. That’s what philosophy is all about: trying to guess what really matters most, and how that most significant data logically articulate. Then scientists, politicians and writers can swoop, figure out the details, and attribute themselves the glory.

What could have happened by around 28,000 years ago that caused the demise of Neanderthals? At the time, the last fierce glaciation was gaining ground. (It reached its maximum 25,000 years ago.) Some have argued, absurdly, that the Neanderthals could not take it. That’s beyond silly, as Neanderthals had evolved, from half a million years ago, precisely to handle extreme cold.

Neanderthals were stocky, powerful, and they had thrived through hundreds thousands years of glaciation, mostly on a meat diet, hunting big game. But they also knew how to cook plants, and eat them.

27,800 years ago, Cave Bears were exterminated. That huge animal who lived in caves, primed real estate Sapiens Sapiens and Neanderthals craved for. Could the disappearance of Cave Bears be logically linked to the disappearance of Neanderthals? Yes. That’s a consequence of my theory. More advanced technology played a direct role. So did size: Cave Bears disappeared, because they were larger than European Brown Bears (called Grizzlies in America), according to the mechanism below, differential exponentiation.

How did men kill Cave Bears? With technology. We do not know exactly what weapons men had at their disposal. However, technology had improved, and kept improving. Recently it was found that Sapiens Sapiens (Homo SS; I hope one gets the joke) in Africa had invented bows and arrows 80,000 Before Present (BP).  (About 60,000 years earlier than previously thought!) Before bows and arrows, the propeller had been invented, and was used in Europe. The propeller took advantage of angular momentum to send a sort of mini lance further and stronger than by hand.

Why did the Neanderthals and Denisovans (another human species from Central Eurasia) lose their edge? Advancing technology is the obvious answer. When technology of clothing and weapons was sufficiently advanced, the physiological advantage that the Neanderthals genetically had, disappeared. Homo Sapiens Sapiens could thrive just as well through winter.

At that point, Homo Sapiens Sapiens from Africa could be as successful as the Neanderthals through the freezing wastelands of Europe. OK.

But the Homo SS outbred the Neanderthals, so they became genetically more successful. How do I explain that?

Simple. However, the explanation involves the exponential function, the same function found all over, and that the mathematician Rudin called “the most important function in mathematics”. The exponential also explains the plutocratic phenomenon, and that is why it’s so dangerous. The exponential always rules extinction events, that’s why one day a species is all over, like the American Pigeon, or the Tasmanian Tiger, and the next day, it’s gone.

So visualize this. Neanderthals were bigger than Homo SS, just like the Polar Bear is bigger than the Black Bear. Bigness is an adaptation to cold. Southern Europe’s Brown Bears are smaller than those found in Kamchatka, or Alaska (also known as Grizzlies: the Grizzly is an emigrated European Brown Bear!) Bigger makes warmer inside. That’s why the most massive animal that ever was, the Blue Rorqual, at up to 180 tons, is nearly twice the mass of the largest dinosaur (it’s not just that it’s floating, but also that water is cooler than Jurassic air, I hold).

To simplify, let’s use a bit of exaggeration (that’s reasoning by exaggeration, one of my preferred tactic of thought; the one humor exploits, and why joking helps thinking). Let’s assume Neanderthals were twice more massive than Homo SS (certainly, in the average, Cave Bears were twice the mass of Brown Bears).

Now let’s consider an habitat where Homo SS and Neanderthal bands roamed. They will tend not to mix, for obvious racist reasons. The racial hatred between Neanderthals and Homo SS has got to have been colossal. People who look too different are not even sexually attracted to each other (and where Neanderthals and Homo SS were in contact in the Middle East, for 50,000 years, there is no evolution of an interbred species, an indirect proof that there was no love lost there!)

The density of human mass is going to be roughly the same all over, because that density depends only upon the resources available (mostly meat on the hoof, and fur in burrows in glaciating conditions).

Thus, there would have been apartheid. But the Homo SS would have been twice more numerous, where they reigned (from my assumption of twice the mass). So now graft on this a catastrophe; a drought, a flood, a very tough winter, a volcanic super disaster, whatever. The climate was highly variable, starting about 40,000 years ago, just when Homo SS appeared. Some have stupidly argued that Neanderthals were too stupid to adapt to this changing circumstances. Like this paralyzing stupidity struck them just when Homo SS were around. My explanation is more subtle.

After a catastrophe in said habitat, say one of these numerous habitat in Europe isolated by glacial mountain ranges, or seas and lakes, most of the human population would be wiped out, Homo SS, just as Neanderthals. There would tend to be always a small remaining population, because the greatest limit on man is man himself: as a population gets wiped out, resources rebound, and life of the survivors tend to get much easier (that’s what happened in Europe after the Black Death of 1348 CE; if nothing else, survivors could ask for higher salaries from their plutocratic masters, and they did).

So say 90% of the population of the habitat was wiped out. As suddenly resources are no limited, the human population will rebound exponentially. The equation is: N(t) = N(0) exp(Rt). “R” is the “Malthusian” parameter, the rate of growth. Now it’s going to require twice the resources to feed a Neanderthal to sexual maturation (under our outrageously simplifying assumption that Neanderthals are twice the mass). Thus one may assume that R(Homo SS)/R(Neanderthal) is 2. The end result is that the quotient:

Number Homo SS/ Number Neanderthal = A exp(2t). (Where A is the ratio of the populations H SS/Neanderthal after the catastrophe.)

Thus the population of H SS would exponentially grow relative to that of the Neanderthals, resulting in a quick extinction. And in no way this is happening because Homo SS were superior. Just because they were more gracile.

Hence the mystery of the evolution of contemporary man is smoothly explained. Just a bit of math. QED.

Europeans & Asians: Not Just African

Europeans & Asians: Not Just African

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Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: what of the mentally deliquescent and racist article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society? First, they sank so low as to using orbit size as a proxy, that Neanderthals had larger visual systems than contemporary AMH [Anatomically Modern Humans]. That’s about as intelligent as saying that, because special forces use night vision goggles, they have got to have bigger visual systems.

The main woman author also found the same physiological feature, bigger eyes, in the past, about people presently living at high latitude. She contentedly asserted that, because light levels are lower in the north, people living in the north (40,000 years at least for Homo SS) have bigger eyes. Amusingly, she did not draw, in that case the conclusion that Norwegians and the English are therefore more stupid. Somehow, though, in her lack of smarts, she applies that controversial reasoning to Neanderthals. Does she have giant eyes?

Seriously the Oxford study rests on a central fact that contradicts one of established facts about Neanderthals. Indeed it claims Neanderthals’ brains were not any larger than Homo SS.

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Note 2; what catastrophes am I talking about? Well the climate fluctuated wildly, to start with. Second, A Campanian ignimbrite volcanic super-eruption around 40,000 years ago, followed by a second one a few thousand years later, certainly crashed Neanderthal populations (based on logic, and evidence from Mezmaiskaya cave in the Caucasus. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of a specimen there is C14 dated 29,000 years BP, one of the latest living pure Neanderthals). After such a catastrophe, the exponential rebounds of populations would have advantaged Homo SS, as explained above.

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Note 3: OK, I exaggerated with the mass ratio. (Mathematicians often do this, considering an exaggerated case to understand the mean, through the tails.) But the real mass ratio would be aggravated because, Neanderthal was built in such a way, relative to gracile Homo SS, that they consumed more calories per day (some paleontologists have come up with 300). So there is no doubt that the effect above will play a role, even if the mass ratios were not as bad. Notice the mechanism above would tend to extinguish the Neanderthal traits that were most characteristic of the subspecies.

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Note 4: A preferred trick of Neanderthals’ haters is to exhibit Archaic Neanderthals‘skulls, and compare them to those of modern men. The skull of an Archaic Neanderthal of 400,000 years ago should not be compared to a modern human, less than 40,000 year old! All the more since Neanderthals’ brain size augmented faster than the brain size of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

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Note 5: Part of the mechanism above generalizes for other species in competition. It provides with a disappearance mechanism after ecological turbulence, according to species’ ecological footprint. The reasoning can be generalized to other species’ extinctions. Let’s recapitulate the preceding, while generalizing it:

1) it is hard to transform a near extinction event into total eradication (see the Black Plague of 1348 CE). Indeed, the more the extinction, the easier it gets for the survivors, as resources rebound (this is similar to the famous lynx-rabbit oscillation).

2) However, larger animals (Neanderthals, dinosaurs), or animals with a higher metabolic load (Neanderthals) are going to be to be left behind exponentially, during the rebound phase.

In the case of Neanderthals the periodic catastrophes could have been of climatic origins (waves of cooling, warming and unstable climate as the earth underwent various tipping points, one way or another, into the occasionally severely glaciated period between 60 K and 11 K BP. A severe volcanic catastrophe or two would have added near extinctions episodes.

In the case of dinosaurs, the massive Deccan eruptions, over millions of years, culminated with the most acute episode, more or less contemporaneously with a massive asteroid impact (!). According to the exponential extinction theory, the back and forth of near extinctions would have put a severe extinction pressure on the dinosaurs and the like, as smaller, more efficiently active mammals and birds would have put huge pressure on dinosaurs and flying reptiles (same in the sea). By eating their eggs to start with, as mammal and bird population would have exploded very fast back up at any relief. (This would have happened in addition to other extinction pressures, such as cooling.)

See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/

Note 6: A first reading of the ideas above may lead one to wonder why it is that small species do not overwhelm big ones, when they are in competition. But, in normal circumstances, one has an equilibrium ecology, the equivalent of equilibrium thermodynamics. the effect above does not apply. The effect above, exponential extinction, occurs only during non equlibrium ecological dynamics (hence the importance of near-extinctions). It’s the equivalent of non equilibrium thermodynamics (when Prigogine suggested the latter, he was viewed as nuts; until he got the Nobel Prize).