Tuesday, 13 December 2011
According to research by members of Tel Aviv University on a site of human occupation of around 400,000 years ago, even before my time, they suggest that one of the keys to human development was the elephant in the habitation.
The old Homo erectus they believe existed largely on a diet of elephants. These are animals that are slow moving, very big, easy to spot and bring down, they provided a rich long term store of nutrients at relatively little effort or thought.
Then for various reasons the elephants died out and those humans faced an era of severe austerity for which they were ill equipped. From somewhere another breed of humans emerged, faster, quicker and much cleverer and able to find, kill and feed on a wide range of smaller and more mobile animals.
Homo sapiens then made the world their own and happily chased all sorts of animals for food until a relatively short time ago they decided on a different form of diet, one based on farming. This was thought to have a number of advantages.
One of these was the creation of urban areas which became power blocks to dominate their local areas. These power blocks became bigger and bigger and with the growth in the number of this breed of humans more and more became based in urban areas and their immediate hinterlands.
For many reasons these humans retained a capacity for thought at an advanced level together with a variety of skills of survival, social interaction and substantial physical capability. When we look at what recent generations could do and did it is astonishing in comparison with most of the humans of today.
Now when looking at my fellow humans and their activities they seems to be an increasingly useless and physically incapable lot. They know little, have few skills, have poorer and poorer language capability, more and more limited abilities in complex social interaction and are completely dependent on others.
As I look about me and think back not too many years they seem to be another species in the long chain of human development.
The question is whether homo sapiens is giving way now to homo stupidus?