A few days ago I had the privilege of interviewing a Native American elder. Below is a transcript of part of that interview. I present it here without comment:
“This is my people’s story of long ago. We call it the Crying Times. The ancestors say that long ago every day was the same. All the people went about their business doing the same things every day. Yesterday was like today and today was like tomorrow. One day the elders and the holy people began to realize that something was happening with the Earth Mother that they didn’t understand. They began to notice that the Spring, the Summer, and the Fall began to grow shorter and the Winter came earlier and earlier. The elders also noticed that the growing seasons were becoming shorter and that the animals were growing their winter fur earlier. They knew something was changing and they began to speak of how tomorrow might not be like today but only a few of the people listened because they had been doing the same things everyday for a very long time. Continue Reading
I’ve been doing some unofficial snooping around and looking at people’s genealogy charts 🙂 I’ve been mainly interested in those that go way, way back because it is in many of these that I notice the farther back you go the more people tend to be related to each other. And I’ve also noticed that a lot of people die in the month of April for some reason.
That the further back you go in time the more people tend to be related either closely or distantly doesn’t surprise me at all because there weren’t that many people back then. And the further back you go, the less people still. We tend to view things in our contemporary context of things and sometimes we forget that back in 321 A.D., for example, there were certainly not 7 billion people on planet Earth! And going back to the “Stone Age” we’re lucky if there were a few million! Continue Reading
Question from a recent email:
“I understand that in Florida there was a discovery of bog people at a site called “Windover” and that these remains found in the mud were well-preserved and date back thousands of years. It’s also my understanding that these people were northern Europeans as proven by their DNA. Is this true?”
“Naira” a reconstructed face from a Paleoindian skull. Lived 13 kya in North America. Notice the obvious Oriental facial features? This skull was found in the Yucatan in Mexico in 2007.
I blogged about America’s Bog People back in September 2016 (see link below) but let me review it here. The skeletal remains were discovered by a backhoe operator in 1982 in Brevard County, Florida. Remains included men, women, children, and infants. In all thus far 168 skeletal remains have been discovered buried in peat covered by about 3 feet of water. The remains show evidence of disease and healed wounds and some show signs of having suffered from Osteoarthritis and malnutrition. Some showed signs of skull fractures as well. Most were buried in the fetal position with their faces facing north. The bodies were held down by stakes to prevent them from rising to the surface as their bodies decomposed.
Some of the bodies had preserved brain tissue from which DNA was obtained. DNA analysis indicated that these people were of Asian origins and had a rare haplogroup X gene. DNA also showed NO BIOLOGICAL AFFILIATION OR RELATIONSHIP to modern Native Americans known to have lived in the area! Dating revealed results between 6990-8120 years ago via C14 dating techniques. This is not the only site. There are several sites in Florida with underwater/peat burials and it is believed these people may have believed water would prevent the spirits of the dead from rising. Continue Reading
Most fossil remains of ancient human ancestors have been found in East Africa in the Rift Valley and that area was once dotted by volcanoes. Volcanic ash killed these ancestors, buried them, and preserved them but that is not the case when it comes to Eurasia and that is ONE reason why we don’t find the amount of ancient human remains like that found in East Africa. That said, however, there have been some ancient remains found and I want to focus on those found in China in this post.
Artistic bust of Peking Man
Peking Man (aka: Beijing Man) was actually pieced together from fossil remains of several different individuals found at the Dragon Bone Hill site in Zhoukoudian near Beijing, China. It is an Eurasian H. erectus. It has prominent brow ridges, a saggital keel, an occipital bun, and a protruding upper jaw (prognathism) but no chin. These are all primitive features but its cranial capacity is about 1075 cc. The teeth and arm bones are almost indistinguishable from those of modern man! Also there is evidence of tool use was found nearby. Peking Man is estimated to be 500-300 kyr (thousand years old) which is older than Kabwe Man of Africa also known as “Broken Hill Man” and “Rhodesian Man.” The original skull of Peking Man was lost in WW2. There is also evidence of fire use at site as well as evidence of tool use and manufacturing. These were flaked stone tools and they also show he was right-handed. (according to Howells 1948, pg 49 et al). Continue Reading
An article appearing in the BBC is claiming researchers assessing results from 185 studies conducted between 1973-2011 are claiming significant sperm count drops in men could lead to EXTINCTION of the human race! Researchers told the BBC that if this trend continues that humans may face a mass extinction event. This research was conducted at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and what they found was a 52.4% decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3% decline in total sperm count in men…..FROM……
and New Zealand.
The study also indicated that the rate of decline in men living in these countries is continuing and maybe even increasing. Other researchers are not so sure about this including myself! Continue Reading
I ran across an interesting article this morning in New Scientists regarding sleep and sleep habits in the elderly. Turns out their sleep habits of going to bed early and getting up at the crack of dawn may be an adaptation for survival in the wild graciously handed down to us by our ancient human ancestors! Thank you very much H. erectus!!
A study of this phenomena focused on the Hadza people who live in the bushlands of Tanzania. The wild poses many dangers for these people especially while sleeping but NO ONE keeps watch at night! In fact there’s not need to because it seems that natural variation in sleep patterns among the tribesmen means that there is always someone alert enough to sound the alarm if need be.
Fifty years ago psychologist Dr Fredrick Snyder postulated that animals who live in groups stay vigilant during sleep with some sleeping and others acting as sentinels. This is known as the “Sentinel Hypothesis.” What Dr Snyder apparently didn’t realize is that his hypothesis may also apply to HUMANS! Continue Reading
A recent study earlier this month by the Max PLanck Institute for the Science of Human History reports that Neanderthals received a genetic contribution from Africa by hominins who were closely related to modern humans more than 220 kya. The study obtained mtDNA (inherited from our mothers) from the femur bone of a prehistoric European hominin in an effort to resolve what appears to be our complicated relationship with Neanderthals. The genetic data has now given us a timeline for a possible migration out of Africa that took place after Neanderthal ancestors arrived in Europe and suggests Neanderthals were more closely related to modern humans than any other hominin species. What this means is that there may have been a migration out of Africa of hominins 220 kya.
What the study suggest is that after the Neanderthals arrived in Europe there was another migration out of Africa and those people interbred with the Neanderthals in Europe leaving their genetic marker in the Neanderthals mtDNA and these hominins appear to be closely related to modern humans. In addition, although likely this took place 220 kya it could have taken place as far back as 470 kya and may NOT have been a one time event either! Continue Reading