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Neanderthals Built a Water Reservoir

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18 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Ummm Mormyrids? 

I had to look them up.:( Wikipedia says " These fish are also known for having large brain size and unusually high intelligence." but it also says " the cerebellum (part of the brain) is greatly enlarged, giving them a brain to body size ratio similar to that of humans (though other sources give the brain/body proportion as 'similar to that of birds and marsupials'; Helfman, Collette & Facey 1997, p. 191). This is likely to be related to the interpretation of bio-electrical signals. "

They are a bit freakish, and the extra brain matter appears to be related to the electrical systems.

The body/brain mass ratio is only a rough guide anyway, there are other factors in human intelligence, including the folding and the frontal lobes of the cerebrum. 

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2 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I had to look them up.:( Wikipedia says " These fish are also known for having large brain size and unusually high intelligence." but it also says " the cerebellum (part of the brain) is greatly enlarged, giving them a brain to body size ratio similar to that of humans (though other sources give the brain/body proportion as 'similar to that of birds and marsupials'; Helfman, Collette & Facey 1997, p. 191). This is likely to be related to the interpretation of bio-electrical signals. "

They are a bit freakish, and the extra brain matter appears to be related to the electrical systems.

The body/brain mass ratio is only a rough guide anyway, there are other factors in human intelligence, including the folding and the frontal lobes of the cerebrum. 

Just messing with you, they are one of my fav aquarium fish, you can use a detector to "hear" their communications and geolocation. I've also observed altruistic behavior as well... They are also interested in magnets but hate knifefish which do the same things but with much more fish like brains... I think tool use is a bit more useful in estimating intelligence as we know it..     

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5 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Just messing with you, they are one of my fav aquarium fish, you can use a detector to "hear" their communications and geolocation. I've also observed altruistic behavior as well... They are also interested in magnets but hate knifefish which do the same things but with much more fish like brains... I think tool use is a bit more useful in estimating intelligence as we know it..     

I'm sure that's right. But a lot of it is related to culture, not inherent intelligence. There's so little evolved difference, it's pretty certain that you could take a baby modern human from 50,000 years ago, before even the bow and arrow was invented, give it a modern education, and it could get a good degree in physics. So there were people walking around 50,000 years ago, with that much potential, who were using flint stones for blades, and unable to even boil water. 

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Neanderthals were limited by low population levels, an apparent lack of trading of both materials and genes. Small groups widely separated and tied  to caves makes for little gene mixing. Lack of trading for essential materials to make tools might have been a big factor in why we absorbed them genetically. 

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2 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Neanderthals were limited by low population levels, an apparent lack of trading of both materials and genes. Small groups widely separated and tied  to caves makes for little gene mixing. Lack of trading for essential materials to make tools might have been a big factor in why we absorbed them genetically. 

As much as anything, I think it was a numbers game. Neanderthals had a culture of settling in favoured places, and not moving much. Places like gorges, where migratory game got squeezed, and hunting was easy. Modern man was more mobile, and followed herds instead of waiting for them to show up. 

When the ice age got really severe, Neanderthals had starved to death and disappeared over much of Europe, so that when it ended, they didn't have the numbers to repopulate, and modern humans just drifted in from the South, following game, and absorbed the remaining Neanderthals by interbreeding. (that's my best guess, based on the various versions and theories I've read). 

 

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

I'm sure that's right. But a lot of it is related to culture, not inherent intelligence. There's so little evolved difference, it's pretty certain that you could take a baby modern human from 50,000 years ago, before even the bow and arrow was invented, give it a modern education, and it could get a good degree in physics. So there were people walking around 50,000 years ago, with that much potential, who were using flint stones for blades, and unable to even boil water. 

I've heard this or something similar with regard to 5,300 years ago (time of Otzi the iceman) but never heard it 10 times further back. Is this accepted theory?

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12 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I've heard this or something similar with regard to 5,300 years ago (time of Otzi the iceman) but never heard it 10 times further back. Is this accepted theory?

There is no accepted theory for the level of intelligence of ancestral humans. It has to be entirely guesswork and opinion. A lot of people go by the inferred lifestyle, judging by the quality of tools and building etc but really, that's down to culture. Even today, there are hunter gatherers living who build nothing out of stone etc, who's lives are hardly different at all from people living a million years ago. And yet they have fully modern brains, capable of the highest levels of modern learning and achievement.

About 800,000 years ago was the last "burst" of brain size increase in humans, when Homo heidelbergensis appeared with a bigger brain than Homo Erectus.        Their brain size was about the same as ours, they stood about 5ft 9 inches on average, and really wouldn't stand out much if you met them today, apart from a robust build and slightly sloping forehead. 

Their brains were about 1250cc as are ours, and Neanderthals averaged slightly more. Anatole France, a Nobel prizewinning author, was found to have a brain of just 1,000 cc on his death. And it's not inevitable that human intelligence should increase over the years. It can easily go the other way, if the selection pressures are not maintained. Brain size is a killer in childbirth for many humans who don't have modern medical help.

According to wikipedia "Some studies suggest that the average brain size has been decreasing over the past 28,000 years.[8][9] Others suggest that the cranial capacity for males is unchanged, but that the cranial capacity of females has increased."

Really, 50,000 years isn't a lot of evolution, for a long-live animal like a human. 

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11 minutes ago, mistermack said:

There is no accepted theory for the level of intelligence of ancestral humans. It has to be entirely guesswork and opinion. A lot of people go by the inferred lifestyle, judging by the quality of tools and building etc but really, that's down to culture. Even today, there are hunter gatherers living who build nothing out of stone etc, who's lives are hardly different at all from people living a million years ago. And yet they have fully modern brains, capable of the highest levels of modern learning and achievement.

I think many people underestimate the amount of intelligence it requires to live as a hunter gatherer. Humans do not have fur, claws, great night vision, and etc. We lack the physical ability of our predator peers like Bears and Cougars. The average person today would die from some combination of dehydration, hunger, infection, and exposure inside a couple weeks if left on their own in a natural environment. The fact early humans thrived in the locations they did at all speaks to have intelligent they were. 

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4 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

I think many people underestimate the amount of intelligence it requires to live as a hunter gatherer. Humans do not have fur, claws, great night vision, and etc. We lack the physical ability of our predator peers like Bears and Cougars. The average person today would die from some combination of dehydration, hunger, infection, and exposure inside a couple weeks if left on their own in a natural environment. The fact early humans thrived in the locations they did at all speaks to have intelligent they were. 

I suppose I have to say yes and no to that. Baboons are hunter gatherers, and are very successful at it. While they are highly intelligent compared to most animals, they don't compare to us. On the other hand the males are well armed, and they are much more nimble and fast than humans, so that compensates.

With humans, it's inventions that have changed our fortunes over the last 5,000 years. In today's climate, inventions come in a steady stream, and we are used to it. But before 5,000 years ago, people hardly invented at all. They just did what their parents did. Generation after generation. You get whole eras, that are characterised by a particular way of making a flint spear point, as in the Clovis people. Or a particular clay vessel, as in the Beaker people. Nothing changed in the designs for thousands of years.

Then all of a sudden, people began inventing, and improving on inventions, and we never looked back. But it's just a question of attitude. Anyone can invent, but you have to have the mindset to try it. Or to be willing to try new methods that others have invented. It's not a change in intelligence, it's attitude. 

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40 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Baboons are hunter gatherers, and are very successful at it. While they are highly intelligent compared to most animals, they don't compare to us. On the other hand the males are well armed, and they are much more nimble and fast than humans, so that compensates.

Baboons are significantly stronger physically than humans. A baboon could tear a human apart. Also they have fur and the ability to climb/forgage places human cannot.  A human with those physical advantageous could survive with a lot less intelligence.

48 minutes ago, mistermack said:

With humans, it's inventions that have changed our fortunes over the last 5,000 years. In today's climate, inventions come in a steady stream, and we are used to it. But before 5,000 years ago, people hardly invented at all. They just did what their parents did. Generation after generation. You get whole eras, that are characterised by a particular way of making a flint spear point, as in the Clovis people. Or a particular clay vessel, as in the Beaker people. Nothing changed in the designs for thousands of years.

I suspect fire was our great catalyst and that was hundreds of thousands of years back.

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1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

I suspect fire was our great catalyst and that was hundreds of thousands of years back.

It certainly was, one of them anyway. But the use of fire wasn't one single invention, it was a process of gradual tiny improvements in technique, over a huge time scale. It would have started just as opportunistic use of naturally occurring fires, followed by discovering ways of keeping the fire going longer, and then learning how to move a fire from place to place by carrying burning sticks, and then smouldering embers etc etc.

Keeping a fire going might have been part of the attraction of caves. Out in the open, your firewood gets wet, and a downpour could put your fire out, and you might have to wait a long long time for the next naturally occurring fire. In a cave, you can keep a smaller fire going all winter, and your stored firewood will dry out. 

Actually creating a new fire from non-burning materials was a much more recent development.

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2 hours ago, mistermack said:

It certainly was, one of them anyway. But the use of fire wasn't one single invention, it was a process of gradual tiny improvements in technique, over a huge time scale. It would have started just as opportunistic use of naturally occurring fires, followed by discovering ways of keeping the fire going longer, and then learning how to move a fire from place to place by carrying burning sticks, and then smouldering embers etc etc.

Keeping a fire going might have been part of the attraction of caves. Out in the open, your firewood gets wet, and a downpour could put your fire out, and you might have to wait a long long time for the next naturally occurring fire. In a cave, you can keep a smaller fire going all winter, and your stored firewood will dry out. 

Actually creating a new fire from non-burning materials was a much more recent development.

 You don't think that flint knapping had anything to do with fire? 

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2 hours ago, Moontanman said:

 You don't think that flint knapping had anything to do with fire? 

I don't think that there's an essential connection there. Chimpanzees and Baboons kill prey and eat meat whenever they can, without cooking it. And human ancestors were using primitive "choppers" well before any evidence of fire use. That's not to say that a connection didn't develop at some point, but I haven't heard of any major connection. There have been claims of fire being involved in the process of flint knapping, on occasions, but I don't think it's a necessary part of it.

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On ‎7‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 10:46 AM, mistermack said:

The absolute mass of the brain isn't the indicator of intelligence. It's the RATIO of brain mass to body mass that is a guide to the intelligence of the animal.

 

I’m kinda sorta curious as to what were the credentials of the person or persons who created the IQ Tests for “testing” the various animal species that resulted in the scientifically factual claim that, …. to wit:   

 

“The RATIO of brain mass to body mass is a reliable guide to the intelligence of the members of a specific animal species.”

 

And just how was it possible for the aforesaid person or persons to create a reliable IQ Test for testing a member or members of the aforesaid animal species without being capable of “intelligently” communicating directly with the different test subjects?

 

Members of several different animal species are not only capable of common sense thinking, logical reasoning and intelligent deductions ……. but are also capable of abstract thinking.

 

But the aforenoted mental attributes pretty much have to be recognized when observed by a person, ….. they can’t really be tested for.  

 

Crows, squirrels, dogs, horses, orcas, etc., etc. are extremely intelligent animals.

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16 minutes ago, SamCogar said:

“The RATIO of brain mass to body mass is a reliable guide to the intelligence of the members of a specific animal species.”

A very rough guide would be a more accurate statement. I've never seen it described as a reliable guide.

Maybe you could rely on it to give you a rough idea. :)

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And if I pay more attention to the text accompanying the research paper's images (I don't have the full paper), then I write fewer pointless comments... Erratum and comments to my message of July 15, 2018 6:40 pm...

The paper does not tell that calcite doubles its susceptibility upon heating. It's clay.

A clay sample from that location more than doubled its susceptibility "upon heating". Doubling can't explain the measured magnetic anomalies. Maybe the temperature was too low: Kostadinova-Avramova and Kovacheva observed a much stronger effect at 700°C than 400°C. The effect results from permanent magnetization much more than from increased susceptibility. The same clay sample can be re-heated to 700°C for new measures.

The irregular black colour, especially on fig.3, resembles char by a fire, and spectroscopic analysis confirmed. The authors carefully dated several fires to an age compatible with the artefact itself, that is, with a few thousand years accuracy. A previous study by C-14 had found a fire much more recent. Dating by the growth rings at calcite has already been used.

I would find hard to believe that the orange or brown colour results from fire: too uniform. Clay incorporated to calcite looks better to my (untrained!) eyes. The more recent stalagmite on the artefact is white. Chemical analysis would tell better if the orange calcite incorporates clay. Comparison with other near locations in that cave would indicate whether that colour was brought by a flood, by temporary changes in the stalagmite formation, or by human action.

I haven't seen whether the orange colour reaches deep in the stalagmites or is superficial. Clay samples from hearth and from nearby locations in the cave would usefully have a known orientation, to compare their magnetization with the observed perturbation, before and after new heating.

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3 hours ago, SamCogar said:

 

I’m kinda sorta curious as to what were the credentials of the person or persons who created the IQ Tests for “testing” the various animal species that resulted in the scientifically factual claim that, …. to wit:   

 

“The RATIO of brain mass to body mass is a reliable guide to the intelligence of the members of a specific animal species.”

 

 

I think they were almost 3%...so well above average...

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6 hours ago, mistermack said:

I don't think that there's an essential connection there. Chimpanzees and Baboons kill prey and eat meat whenever they can, without cooking it. And human ancestors were using primitive "choppers" well before any evidence of fire use. That's not to say that a connection didn't develop at some point, but I haven't heard of any major connection. There have been claims of fire being involved in the process of flint knapping, on occasions, but I don't think it's a necessary part of it.

 I've always been interested in prehistoric hominids and the mixing of the different species that resulted in us. Jean M. Auel popularised the era in her series of books. She supposedly did a considerable amount of research in the various pre stone age culture. In one book she describes a person who makes fire with flint in an era when steal would have been almost impossible to obtain. My point would be that fire had several stages as you pointed out but think of the implications if someone was knapping flint and came across a meteorite, such a discovery and it's effects on what was hominid society would be interesting... 

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On 7/16/2018 at 5:05 PM, Moontanman said:

Ummm Mormyrids? 

Quote

the cerebellum (part of the brain) is greatly enlarged, giving them a brain to body size ratio similar to that of humans (though other sources give the brain/body proportion as 'similar to that of birds and marsupials'

from the Wikipedia article on Mormyrids.

It's quite impossible to say how intelligent Neanderthals really were. Tissue conservation techniques weren't exactly advanced around 40ka ago, so we can't examine the brain of a "true" Neanderthal for differences in the internal arhitecture between Neaderthals and Sapiens. Also we couldn't really examine how an ancient Sapien would do on a modern IQ test, because you can't see cultural evolution in a brain, either. 

 

Edit: Wow I totally missed the 2nd page...

Edited by YaDinghus

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10 hours ago, Moontanman said:

 I've always been interested in prehistoric hominids and the mixing of the different species that resulted in us. Jean M. Auel popularised the era in her series of books. She supposedly did a considerable amount of research in the various pre stone age culture. In one book she describes a person who makes fire with flint in an era when steal would have been almost impossible to obtain. My point would be that fire had several stages as you pointed out but think of the implications if someone was knapping flint and came across a meteorite, such a discovery and it's effects on what was hominid society would be interesting... 

I remember as a kid, we used to pick up rounded cobble stones from the local fields, probably ice age remnants, and smash them together in our hands. You could produce tiny sparks, and they would give off a burning smell that was pleasant to sniff. Probably a bit of iron in the mix. The sparks were so tiny that you could never have started a fire with them, but you could see them sometimes, in the dark. 

I can imagine ancient hominids doing the same thing. If they ever did come across an iron meteorite, it would be interesting to know if they ever managed to light  a fire from it. Probably not, though.

There is a tribe alive today, on Sentinel Island, near India, that is so isolated they've never had close contact with modern people. They don't know how to make fire, and just wait till a natural fire starts, and keep it going. If it goes out, they have to wait for another lightning strike. From what I've read, making fire from friction or flint/iron is a very recent development, and before that, all humans did what the Sentinelese do. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinelese  

 

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On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 7:18 AM, mistermack said:

With humans, it's inventions that have changed our fortunes over the last 5,000 years. In today's climate, inventions come in a steady stream, and we are used to it. But before 5,000 years ago, people hardly invented at all. They just did what their parents did. Generation after generation.

In actuality, there is not much difference in the “climate of inventions” over the last 5,000 years (or 50K years for that matter) than there is in today’s “climate of inventions”.   

 

Like the people of yesteryears, the people of today who are forced to spend most of their awake hours just trying to stay alive, ….. really don’t have any idle time to be thinking about inventing something.

 

Those persons who didn’t/don’t have to work for a living have plenty of free time to be inventing, painting, researching, sculpturing, etc., etc. Iffen one had a rich benefactor ….. or was a sailor in olden times, pre-19th Century, …. then one had considerable “free time” for thinking n’ inventing.

 

11 hours ago, Moontanman said:

but think of the implications if someone was knapping flint and came across a meteorite, such a discovery and it's effects on what was hominid society would be interesting... 

Great point, a small metallic iron meteorite would surely make a great hammerstone for napping flint, ……. which would surely cause "sparks" to fly every now n' then.

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8 minutes ago, SamCogar said:

Like the people of yesteryears, the people of today who are forced to spend most of their awake hours just trying to stay alive, ….. really don’t have any idle time to be thinking about inventing something.

I'd like to see your source on that.

Back in the day in anthropology classes, especially in prehistoric economy, we learned that hunter/gatherers only need(ed) to spend 2-4 hours a day on average to get the food they needed to do more than survive. The hardest part about surviving was knowing how to treat severe injuries and avoid food poisoning...

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I don't think it's a lack of free time that stifles invention. It's resistance to change, which seems to be an inherited part of the human character. 

When I was a kid, I used to go to my Uncle's farm in Ireland in the school holidays. I was amazed at how some things were done, and would make suggestions that I knew would be better, but there was no chance of getting my uncle or grandfather to change. They were absolutely determined that that is how we've always done it, and we're not going to change now. That was more than fifty years ago, times have changed now. We're swamped with new inventions, and people see the value in them every day so it's almost a different world now.

You might also have the influence of religion and spirits in ancient times. There might be ritual involved in flint knapping, or fire making, and mystic communication with the ancestors. To change it might be the equivalent of religious heresy.

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14 hours ago, mistermack said:

I don't think it's a lack of free time that stifles invention. It's resistance to change, which seems to be an inherited part of the human character. 

When I was a kid, I used to go to my Uncle's farm in Ireland in the school holidays. I was amazed at how some things were done, and would make suggestions that I knew would be better, but there was no chance of getting my uncle or grandfather to change. They were absolutely determined that that is how we've always done it, and we're not going to change now. That was more than fifty years ago, times have changed now. We're swamped with new inventions, and people see the value in them every day so it's almost a different world now.

You might also have the influence of religion and spirits in ancient times. There might be ritual involved in flint knapping, or fire making, and mystic communication with the ancestors. To change it might be the equivalent of religious heresy.

I'd say resistance to change is pretty much a universal principle (compare to inertia - the resistance to change direction and velocity of movement).

From an economic point of view, it makes sense to keep practises that have worked well so far and implement changes carefully (it doesn't make sense however to keep the old ways when the new ways are established as producing better results).

Also I am not aware of any ritualistic practises in prehistoric toolmaking. I wouldn't outright reject the idea, though. Ritualisation is a powerful tool for conveying ideas across generations, and aspects of this can be identified in many traditional crafts and trades. 

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22 hours ago, mistermack said:

There is a tribe alive today, on Sentinel Island, near India, that is so isolated they've never had close contact with modern people. They don't know how to make fire, and just wait till a natural fire starts, and keep it going. If it goes out, they have to wait for another lightning strike. From what I've read, making fire from friction or flint/iron is a very recent development, and before that, all humans did what the Sentinelese do. 

It is not known whether or not they know how to make fire. Contact with the Sentinelese has repeatedly failed. Nothing is definitively known about them. It isn't even know what the size of their population is. No outside people have spoken with them or observed them do anything other than shoot arrows. It isn't even known if they have a primary village somewhere on the island or several outposts spreed out across it. 

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