“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
The Mind/Brain Conundrum
This is a tad bit tangential to the Paleo/Hunter-Gatherer/Evolutionary Fitness theme of this blog, however, it is rather interesting to me, and so I thought I’d make mention of it here on TTP. If nothing else, it is thought provoking, and, in a way, this manner of pro-and-con evolutionary argument is of the same genre as what is sometimes bandied-about in the context of genome evolution, and, especially, “rapid” evolution.
The “mind-brain conundrum”, or “consciousness conundrum” debate has become the new battlefield of the intelligentsia, or more enlightened individuals embroiled in the evolutionary/creationist (or, Intelligent Design, if you’d rather) debate. Check out this NPR segment which aired recently, for a good feel for what the debate is all about. Also, some thought-provoking, intelligent discussion and debate (not the usual, mind-numbing drivel from the ID crowd) on this subject can be found on the following blogs:
Tiny Toes Equate to Spectacular Sprints?
Thanks to Raymond Ho, of the Prancing Papio for sniffing this one out. I don’t have much to add to this Wired write-up on the subject, other than to say that I am a bit skeptical of the repeated references to endurance running. I guess more clarification of the term “endurance” is in order before this aspect of the article can be adequately debated. Where one man pictures “endurance” hunting, though, I picture a coordinated, team-effort, and a series of intermittent sprints from the participants. I would imagine that our early ancestors preferred to hunt larger (more caloric bang for the overall energy expenditure of the hunt) and relatively slower game. In my mind, that was the more likely hunting strategy. Why waste unnecessary energy engaged in long, drawn-out chases of smaller, leaner, more fleet-a-foot (or hoof) animals? Anyway, a link to the Journal of Experimental Biology, and the abstract for the above-cited study, can be found here.
Ancillary to this, notice the design of Oscar Pistorius’s prosthetics (and especially the small “foot” pad). Lots of capacity for spring (power storage), and a small overall surface area onto which that spring power is ultimately deployed. Interesting, indeed.