A story in the media caught my eye today about the Huaorani people who live in the rainforest of eastern Ecuador. There are about 4000 people in this tribe of modern-day hunter-gatherers who live off the land and use blowpipes to kill monkeys which they then skin and roast over open fires for their own consumption. That’s interesting enough but what particularly caught my attention was a photo of these people feet! The article (see link below) says, “Their lifestyle has led to their feet evolving–most have flat feet, which help them to climb the trees” in search of their prey, the local monkeys. Ahhh…..NOT EXACTLY!
Apes have flat feet meaning they do not have the characteristic arch in the foot we find in most (but not all) modern humans (Homo sapiens). The Huarorani people also appear to have a divergent big toe much like that of apes and chimps! These traits, following mainstream evolutionary theory. are NOT traits of evolution BUT of DEVOLUTION!
When we think of evolution we tend to think of it as a progression forward but we need to also consider devolution, a progression BACKWARD! Such devolution could be the reason we find later H. erectus has a larger browridge than earlier H. erectus. It should be the other way around, that is, later H. erectus should have a smaller browridge than earlier H. erectus in accordance with evolution being a consistent progression forward. But that’s not the case! I believe that this phenomena is either one resulting from devolution or retrobreeding between later H. erectus and some more archaic hominid species which, essentially, would be devolution as well. In the case of the Huaronai people clearly their feet indicate a DEVOLUTION!
These people are magnificent hunters. They climb the trees going after the monkeys who live in them and use poison darts to kill them. But there is something else “mysterious” about these people and that is SOME of them have 6 toes and/or 6 fingers!! Another trait of devolution perhaps?
Not only do these people eat roasted monkey but they also kill peccary (Javelina) pigs and toucans as well as gather and eat a variety of plants and herbs gathered in the forest by their women folk. The Huaorani live near the river known as Rio Napo which flows into the Amazon. They are a forest people highly in touch with their environment and nature. Their primary weapons are poison blow darts and spears. The Huaorani people are also known as Waorani or the Quechua. Their language bears no resemblance to any other not even the Quechua language widely spoken in Ecuador.
Because there are only 4000 people in this tribe inbreeding is inevitable and may explain the 6 fingers and 6 toes but not the flat feet and divergent big toes. Gender roles are specific in this tribe with men being the hunters and warriors and the women expected to have and raise children, gathering plant foods, and a host of other homemaking responsibilities.
Basically, these people have devolved to tree-dwellers! I must ask if the ancestors of these people ever came down from the trees in accordance with standard evolutionary theory. If they did not then they did not evolve as the rest of humankind. If they did then clearly these people devolved at some point and may even still be devolving! Whatever the case they are an interesting people yet modernization is now threatening their lifestyle and existence as the search for oil is in full force in the region.
It is my hope that the Huaorani do not become yet another victim of modern human society! Meanwhile, anyone for some monkey brain pudding? Yum Yum……….
Read the full story and see all the photos at: