Posts Tagged ‘Origins’

Philosophy Suggests That Advanced Homo Is From Eurasia

April 27, 2019

The spark of a correct guess is often drowned into a sea of wrong guesses. I am going to give here an example of the philosophical method, the method of the artful guesses, used in paleontology, on human origins. The official story goes this way: man originated in Africa, nothing to see, let the professionals do their work. it’s probably wrong.

But a philosopher will say this to a specialist: how do you know that man evolved in Africa? Usual answer: because that’s where the fossils are from.  My counter-objection: conservation bias. And a philosopher would add: why did man evolve so fast? Usual answer: natural selection (as if there was another… even human selection is natural, Homo being part, a meta part, but still a part of nature!) My counter-objection: how to we know there was no accelerator of evolution?

At this point our friend the official paleontologist of the old school will become suspicious: accelerator? And the philosopher will point at technology, the companion and extension of Homo. To live in the most hospitable regions of East Africa, once one has found how to limit losses due to ferocious animals, one doesn’t need technology absolutely: one can just frolic in the buff.

Not the case in Europe, which, for most of the last 2.7 million years was too cold to live without clothing, fire, shelter, etc. And europe was probably Homo occupied for at least two million years (date at which varied Homo Ergaster fossils were found in the Caucasus, a place quite cold in winter in Dmanisi, Georgia. Hominid fossils as well as stone tools were found throughout the 1990s. The fossils looked similar to those of Homo erectus. But in 2000, an unusual jaw was found; its size and shape didn’t quite match H. erectus or any other known hominid that lived about 1.8 million years ago. So the team named Homo georgicus. Since then, more bones belonging to H. georgicus have been unearthed.

Homo Georgicus Female Looking At You Boy, 2 millions years across, and Saber Tooth Tigers Don’t Faze MeMore recently, a completely new Homo species was found in the Philippines, and some Australian researchers have started to claim the human occupation is at least 120,000 years old. Obviously, the hypothesis long-favored in China that human origins are from all over, is gaining ground.

And a philosopher will say: how come that was not obvious all along? Just look at a map, and think!

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Out Of Africa? Not So Sure, Even If Anglo-Saxon Saint Darwin Proposed It:

Once an English gentleman passed by East Africa, found it quite old, and decreed that man came out of East Africa. n his 1871 book The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin suggested that the hominin group originated in Africa – an idea most anthropologists believe today, because beliefs are easier to remember. But Darwin also wrote that the group may have arisen in Europe because, at that time, fossils of large apes had already been uncovered there.

 

Now, indeed, the climate in East Africa; typical dry, high altitude, is prospitious for preserving fossils. So naturally very old hominin fossils were found there. It is a case of all the drunks finding all the keys below all the lamps.

 

Hominins are a group of primates that includes modern humans, more or less extinct humans like Neanderthals and Denisovans, our immediate ancestors, and more distant species such as the mysterious Homo Antecessor, Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, and earlier species on extinct branches, including australopiths like the famous Lucy. It is harder to find their fossils in Europe, because the climate and soils there were harder for fossil conservation.

 

So what happens? Rare fossils are found in temperate areas, and many of them… don’t fit the “Out of Africa” story. For example one, just one, fossil found in Italy looks ancestral to some forms found in Africa. Fossils of a 7.2-million-year-old ape called Graecopithecus that once lived at Nikiti in Greece seems to have small canines, plus hominin-like “fused” roots to one of its premolars. In 2017, a team cautiously concluded that Graecopithecus might be a very early hominin.

Under this scenario, the 8 to 9-million-year-old Nikiti ape could represent a group of “proto-hominins” that gave rise to hominins in Europe, represented by Graecopithecus at 7.2 million years old. Hominins then would have migrated into Africa around 7 million years ago.

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Conservation Bias Beware:

Conservation of things can introduce a “conservation bias”. An example: the Egyptian desert climate preserves old paint very well. However, Egyptians were not the only ones using paint in the past. The “Picts” of Scotland who confronted the Romans were called that way, the “Painted” (Picti) because they were covered with colors. Due to damp Scotland, those colors didn’t get preserved (although they beat the Romans)… Nor was the Picts’ writing. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t write… they wrote.

In general fossil are not conserved well in a wet, biologically active climate.

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Impenetrable Africa:

Subtropical areas are one thing:  they typically have a wet season, are endowed with savannah park, and are easy to penetrate. Full tropical areas, though, are much less welcoming of human travel. A further problem is that most of the savannah park is crisscrossed by forest galleries, forests built around water ways. A simple forest gallery in Africa is more than a wall. It’s a chain of obstacles with obscurity, exuberant vegetation, tse tse flies, dangerous animals, snakes, spiders, crocs, ambushes… A forest gallery, with its profusion of trees and lianas, not to say leopards and giant carnivorous rats, can make hundreds of meters, and sometimes kilometers of nearly impassable jungle.

Forest galleries partition a lot of the tropics into small pockets which don’t communicate with each other.Hence the profusions of extremely varied languages in Africa. (In my quasi-native Senegal, six languages ruled, some tonal, others not; they are mixed, with pockets all over!)

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Gigantic Eurasia, Garden of the Gods, Easy Travel:

But then look at a map: the regions of East Africa susceptible of maximum accelerated human evolution (temperate, high altitude reasonably wet) are a small fraction, no more than 5% of what Eurasia offered… Once enough technology to resist the cold had been invented. Then wet, temperate Eurasia, presented an enormous area in which human groups could evolve, trade, compete, exchange ideas. Moreover, as I said, to just subsist in Eurasia one was technologically spurred more than elsewhere… namely in the tropical areas.

Most of the world temperate area is located in Eurasia, and particularly in Europe. Very little is found in Africa.

Eurasia, instead is easy to travel across… if one is a Mongol, some would object. Indeed, there is a giant steppe from Hungary to Korea, and the Huns and Mongols used it, a lot. But they were not the first to do so. The Indo-Europeans did this, much earlier. From West of Mongolia, in the Altai, they could go west to Europe, south to India, and east to China. And they did. Not coincidentally, the first Denisovan was found at Denis’ cave, in the Altai.

It is known that many advances of Chinese civilization were launched by European types originating from the Altai, 5,000 years ago. I suggest the same mechanism of dissemination of people and ideas was at work already two million years ago. A hint is that Chinese scientists claim to have discovered human usage of fire, in China, 1.3 million years ago.

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Conclusion: If one visited from another star system, one would find likely that humanity emerged in the largest continent, Eurasia. All the more as it was more challenging technologically, and the easiest to trade people, goods and ideas. Call that the anti-Tasmanian Effect. The Tasmanian effect is that an isolated society which has it all too easy, will devolve (Tasmania is temperate and got isolated after the last glaciation):

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/tasmanian-effect/

The anti-Tasmanian effect is that a maximally exposed mental maelstrom of a society will be most creative. But that carries over, with roughly the same mathematics to phenotypes: a maximally exposed phenotype maelstrom of an hominin population will be phenotypically most varied, enabling the evolution of most successful types, and thus becoming the main engine of evolutionary progress..  

Thus Neanderthals invented the burning of fossil fuels, 80,000 years ago in Europe (an interest of living in an extremely old continent rather than much younger continents or islands full of volcanoes). Europe was the best place to have a big debate on what were the best technologies, for two million years. Now, of course, citizens of nearly all countries can run air conditioning, talk and even see at a distance. But this is now. The most natural place for Homo species to evolve more was Eurasia. This is what philosophy says…

Science will follow and figure out the details, to be certain.

Darwin RIP…

Patrice Ayme

 

MOON From NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, Glancing Blows?

February 27, 2014

Imagination ought to be stronger than cognition: such is human genius: invent what you don’t know (yet).

Luna, or Moon, played a crucial role in the rise of life on Earth. It is rather unlikely that advanced life could have evolved without it. Luna provided tremendous chemical mixing on Earth’s surface and otherwise unlikely stability of rotation of the planet (so nice seasons, instead of super winters and super summers, etc). Simultaneously.

Luna allows all sorts of rotations of the Earth to be close to the perfection needed for advanced life.

Other planets have unstable rotation (with up to a 40 degrees wobbling axis: Mars), or insufficient spins (Mercury, Venus), or lay completely flat on the ecliptic plane like beached whales (Uranus). The angular momentum of the Earth-Moon system is one, yet it’s spread on a huge area (about 1/6 of the Sun’s cross-section). Luna used to graze the Earth, at the Roche Limit, causing kilometer tides flushing continental margins continually (thus mixing organic materials with earth, sea and sky, as in an infernal organic materials churning reactor).

Earth-Moon From NASA's Galileo, Heading To Jupiter

Earth-Moon From NASA’s Galileo, Heading To Jupiter

How did Luna form?

John Kennedy’s Apollo Project sent a geologist to the Moon, and brought back precious rocks that were generously divided among laboratories (and various animals) worldwide.

Exploring the Moon was a better use of money than feeding the starving in Africa. Actually there were not much starvation in Africa yet. Indeed there were no wars among the savages, yet, hence no starving in Africa, yet. Moon exploration also demonstrated that the USA does not have to be a nasty den of pirates 100% of the time.

First verdict of Moon science? Isotopic studies (2001) confirmed that Luna is made of Earth’s mantle rocks.

The surprise was considerable. Before that (isotopic) discovery, it was widely expected that Luna was a captured minor planet. Instead, the Earth and Moon came from the same body. How could that be? The obvious scenario that comes to mind is that a Mars sized object hit the Earth. Melted debris would have gathered around Earth, and coalesce, forming the Moon. George Darwin, fifth child of the most famous Darwin, himself a distinguished astronomer, suggested this in 1898.

However, closer, more modern inspection reveals that if Luna was made of Terra, it was not made from an impact… because what happened to the impactor’s material? Luna’s titanium isotope ratio (50Ti/47Ti) is so close to the Earth’s (within 4 parts per million), that none of the impactor’s  mass could have been part of the Moon.

Moreover there is another drastic problem with the impact hypothesis. The dynamics don’t work. A grazing impact would have resulted with debris in a highly eccentric, grazing ellipse. Such a very elongated ellipse is not observed, and impossible to imagine (the debris would have crashed back to Earth, either from air resistance, or the Roche Limit). We are left with a deeper oblique impact, where the impactor is fully absorbed. But then it’s unclear that we can get massive ejecta with a required speed of ten kilometers per second or so, plus high enough an altitude to escape the Roche Limit.

All the more as astronomical considerations lead one to believe the collision happened at low-speed (at most 4 kms/s).

Still another problem of the impact theory is that it implies that the entire planet would have melted. However, there is plenty of evidence that the planet did not entirely melt. Rocks (zircons) have been found to be 4.375 billion years old, plus or minus 6 million years! These are granite like, water rich rocks. That means the supposedly melted Earth would have become solid within 100 million years of impact (by contrast those who believe Earth Core has just residual heat, no active fission heat, claim the core cools at the rate of 100 degrees Celsius every billion years. They generally also believe in the Impact, and thus contradict themselves, thanks to the zircons!)

Thus the impact theory does not seem to work.

The basic problem is that the Moon was created from Earth. Imagine the Earth as a soup: you need to put part of the soup in orbit. You need to rocket it up.

Any brighter idea? I propose there was no magma soup (because so was the fact).

I propose the NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS THEORY (NET). Wow. It’s half tongue in cheek, it has a more serious variant. I replace the overall melting of the impact theory, by powerful local explosions that could hurtle water rich rocks in orbit (mini impacts also do this, that’s the serious variant). As I pointed out in Life Giving Earth Nuclear Reactor, we (probably) have below our feet the largest fission reactor in the known universe.

The Inner Core of Earth is about 70% of the size of the Moon, 2440 kilometers across. It is also around 5,800 Degrees Kelvin, the temperature of the surface of the Sun. Should the rest of the planet become transparent, it would appear to us about 35 wider than the Sun, and just as bright. That would transfer to us about 1,000 times more energy than the Sun does. We would quickly fry.

In my vision of Earth’s genesis, a lot of radioactive fission products were gathered, when Earth formed. Being denser, those fissionable nucleotides tended to sink in molten Earth, and so doing, concentrated. As they did so, their neutrons hit each other. Nuclear fission pockets formed, and violently erupted in tremendous nuclear explosions, deep inside the Earth’s mantle.

(In most so-called thermonuclear bombs’ explosions, contrarily to Communal Wisdom, most of the power actually comes from fission, by using the cheap trick that Uranium 238, the “stable” isotope of Uranium, fissions when exposed to fast neutrons; in the young Earth, there would have been plenty of Uranium 238; this subtlety no doubt escaped geophysicists, since they are unused to nuclear bomb making… In other words, tapping my nuclear know-how, I notice that there is way more fissionable nuclear fuel down below if one thinks, not as Voltaire’s proverbial watch maker, but as a nuclear bomb maker! Is not thinking fun? The reserves of U238 inside the Earth are enormous, and those reserves were more than double that, 4.5 billion years ago).

These enormous nuclear explosions, within the mantle, created plenty of ejecta, thank you Lord. Most fell back with a splash, but plenty had enough correctly directed momentum to achieve high enough orbit.

This is smarter than it looks. The Earth rotated at least once every five hours (8,000 kilometers/hour at the equator). That means ejecta thrown up at the equator would have had one-third of the energy needed for satellization. Hence only equatorial ejecta would have formed the Moon, explaining both why the Moon’s orbit is coplanar, and Luna spins the way it does.

The hot debris gathered, and formed the Moon, just beyond Édouard Roche’s (liquid) Limit. At least, so I propose. Never underestimate all things nuclear. One can combine my nuclear ejection theory with coplanar mini collisions (so not on Mars size body). The whole thing would have looked like one of these spirals generated by some stars… If a star can do it, so could the nuclear boiling Earth…

Some will object that the theory above does not explain the high angular momentum of the Earth-Moon system, that an impact provides with. They will object that I have to introduce this as an independent assumption.

It is true that, the more the independent assumptions in a theory, the weaker it is, or the more empirical.

My own Nuclear Core Theory (NCT) explains a lot of characteristics of the Earth. Could it also explain the high angular momentum? Yes. How? NCT considers that Earth formed not just in the Habitability Zone, but in a Nuclear Zone (NZ). The NZ cloud dust was full of heavy elements. Heavy nuclei can’t be held together by the nuclear force, so they fission, So the densest elements are radioactive.

As the NZ condensed, the heavy elements carried more angular momentum (angular momentum is the product of speed by mass by radius). So any planet in an NZ (which I believe necessary for long-term life evolution), once it has condensed from an NZ cloud, will have more angular momentum. The NCT implies high angular momentum.

Reality is stronger medicine than fiction, because what’s within is a pale imitation of interpreted fragments out there that it has been our good fortune to come across.

Conscience without science is only dwarfing of the soul.

Patrice Aymé

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Note 1: Angular momentum was locally augmented by explosions, be they partly of nuclear origin, or caused by mini-impacts, or a combination of both. Mini-impacts would have been automatically in the orbital plane… Something the usual macro impact theory does NOT have! (Let me repeat slowly: the usual Mars sized body impact theory is very unlikely just on the ground that the impact has little probability to be within the plane of the ecliptic. The theory above makes this automatic: non-ecliptic impacts and explosions get de-selected, as the Earth’s OWN rotation, which is basically co-planar with the ecliptic is used crucially… OK, cynics may retort that it’s not quite so, and thus evidence for an off-ecliptic massive impact, agreed… Computer modelling will decide…)

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Note 2: As I pointed out in passing, the more the independent assumptions in a theory, the weaker it is, or the more empirical? This may sound all too vague. However, it’s very practical. For example racism is logically weaker than non-racism, as it hypothesizes supplementary logics. (Which is, moreover, unobserved!) Some will say that this is just a version of the law of parsimony (lex parsimoniae, Occam razor; the idea is explicit in Aristotle: “We may assume the superiority ceteris paribus [other things being equal] of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses.“.)

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Note 3: Searching for my own essay on the Internet, July 8, 2018, to my somewhat dispirited surprise I stumbled on the following paper, which I never heard of, let alone read, before:

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1001/1001.4243.pdf

Which argues the Moon formed in one big nuclear explosion, using some of the logic above (nuclear fission being the only source of power capable of lifting the material, etc…) The difference with my theory is that I don’t do it with just one big explosion, but a whole sequence of them. One big one looks completely implausible to me (the math of coalescing so much nuclear material in just one spot at one time don’t work). Many, yes… So my own idea holds its own, all the more as the mini nuke and mini impact theory go together well, in whichever proportions… Alleluia…