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Further Evidence of Intermediate Form Theory

A couple of years ago I posted an essay here called “An Intermediate Form Looks Forward to His Replacement.” Please feel free to scroll down and read it if you haven’t. In that article I postulated that mankind’s evolution may have slowed or stopped on a macro-physical level, but that our social abilities are still very much evolving. I connected a brain chemistry change that has been pegged to roughly 6,000 years ago to our starting to live in cities and write down histories. I admit the connection is hardly unimpeachable, but it is one whopper of a coincidence. Also, a change like that gives us hope that we will be able to change again as our social world continues to contract and become more complex.

Now it appears cross-disciplinary science has once again connected the dots and given us a new understanding of facts we have known but could not explain. Neaderthal skulls have a bump in the back that Cromagnons do not. Unless their brains were structured completely differently than all other primates, the bump would accommodate a larger visual cortex. Neanderthal skulls also have a more sloped forehead, which would mean a smaller frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is where all the sensory cues get processed into what we call a social sense, which includes a conscience, the ability to self regulate behavior like patience, and to form long lasting opinions like loyalty. This is why they used to detach the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain when someone went criminally insane.

So now we have a new theory that Neanderthals had great eyesight and their brains were wired around this sensory modality, and they had little ability to deal with other humans socially. This fits nicely with evidence that Neanderthals didn’t travel far from home and had a very small trading radius of only 30 miles, compared with their contemporary modern humans who had up to a 200 mile trading radius.

Along comes the Ice Age 35,000 year ago, Neanderthals fail to network for resources, and they perish. Some crossbred with humans, but they are the only ones to survive.

Isn’t this part of the same path as our becoming city-dwellers 6,000 years ago? How much longer before we move to another stage where we can cope better with pan-global social interactions? Throw another log on the fire, Mr. Darwin.

Categories: Religion
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