Re: memetics-digest V1 #1017

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Sun Apr 14 2002 - 22:19:58 BST

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    Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 22:19:58 +0100
    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1017
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    > Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 12:19:41 +0100
    > From: Steve Drew <>
    > Subject: Early Lunch
    > Has any one read the article in this weeks New Scientist (13/4/02, Vol 174,
    > No 2338)?
    > For those that haven't Richard Coss thinks our transition from ape to human
    > was kick started not only by leaving the trees, but also because rather than
    > being the hunter, 5 million years ago we were the hunted. He argues that our
    > hunting behaviour, social systems all result from the need to devise
    > defences against creatures the like of which aren't around today.
    > I find the idea quite reasonable as it provides an answer why did we begin
    > tool using. Whacking something with a stick or rock that is bigger than you
    > has a better success rate than shaking a fist at it. As we become more adept
    > with bigger and better sticks we learnt to fight back which is a good
    > precursor to learning hunting. If you can clobber a sabretooth, a small deer
    > (say) becomes a feasible target.
    > Basically it was an evolutionary arms race with us trying to catch up.
    > He also argues for certain predispositions of an evolutionary psychology
    > nature. That is instincts that have become hardwired. In one test he
    > constructed a virtual model of some savannah and showed it to some
    > pre-school kids. He introduced a lion to the scene and asked the kids to
    > pick the safest spot from 3 choices: In a crevice, a thorn bush or on top of
    > a boulder. Only 1 in six chose the boulder which was the only safe spot.

    Typo here which changed the whole thing the this should have read the only
    truly dangerous spot, as lions like to sun themselves on top of rocks

    > definitive evidence I know, but the article does contain other interesting
    > ideas and theories.
    > As has already been noted, in relation to language, he argues that language
    > evolved from cries of alarm to a proto language exhibited by some apes today
    > that distinguishes between specific threats through to language proper.
    > Interesting piece. It also notes that anthropologists are not at all keen on
    > it.
    > Regards
    > Steve

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