Hypertrichosis seen in a young man
I got an email a while back and this post is in answer to that email but first here is the email with the name changed to protect the reader:
Dear Dr. Peron:
I realize you are an anthropologist and not a medical doctor but do you know anything about excessive body hair growth at birth? If so, can you put up a post about it? Here’s why I am asking you this question.
When I was born I had a reddish “fur” all over my newborn body. Probably it was hair but my grandparents described it as “fur” like that seen in a little monkey or puppy. I also had a projecting jaw that was corrected by orthodontics when I was about 13 years old, thankfully. I also had a somewhat flat nose and pointed ears. In fact, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. said I looked more like a ” baby ape” than a “human baby.” I lost the “fur” during the first few years of my life but retained a colorless hair type all over my body which kind of shines like a blond color when I am in the sun. I know this might all sound freaky but my family is reluctant to talk about this and my mother gets very angry and absolutely refuses to discuss it whenever I bring it up. Additionally, when my father arrived at the hospital (he was off somewhere and had to travel) he took one look at me and angrily said, “That’s not my son!” and stormed out of the hospital never to return. Needless to say he and I did not have a very good relationship when he was alive, unfortunately. I just want to know if you’ve ever heard of anything like this and if you can post a bit about it if you have.
Miguel I’m not claiming to be an expert in this subject but here are some things that might aid in your understanding of this phenomena. Also, note that things like this DO happen so you are NOT alone.
Before I begin let me define a few terms. First is the term “atavism.” An “atavism” is a term used in biology to describe an “evolutionary throwback.” Traits appear in a species or individual that have generally disappeared generations before. Atavisms can occur in several ways. One way, and the most common, is when genes for previously existing phenotypical features are preserved in DNA and they become expressed through a mutation that knocks out the overriding genes for the new traits OR makes the old traits override the new one(s). A number of traits can vary as a result of shortening of fetal development of a trait (neoteny) OR by prolonging of it (neoteny). In such a case a shift in the time a trait is allowed to develop before it is fixed can bring about an ancestral phenotype. I do not wish to insult you so please do not take what I’m writing that way. What you are describing comes closest to the ancient human ancestor species known as Homo habilis (aka: Tool Man, Handyman, et al) minus the heavy brow ridge. This species existed roughly between 2.1–1.5 mya. That in my mind is significant and if you have any pictures of you as a newborn with this condition I would be HIGHLY interested in taking a look at them. Continue Reading
We’ve got a lot of 30-something males still living at home with mommy and daddy today. They don’t work and aren’t married and basically all they do is sit in the basement playing video games endlessly or engaging in some other recreational activity that one would expect to see a teenage boy doing. It’s as if these young men aren’t really men at all. Well….that is…mentally. They have the bodies of grown men but they have the minds of teenage boys and although they are sexually and physically mature they seem to still act like teen boys depending on their parents or grandparents (or someone else) to pay all of the bills, provide a roof over their heads, and supply massive amounts of food. This is a growing problem in America today especially among white males and although most are in their late 20s or early 30s there are growing numbers that are in their early to mid-40s!
There is a word for this “phenomena” and it is “Neoteny.” Neoteny refers to individual organisms who remain child-like even after they’ve reached sexual maturity. Although physically adults, mentally they retain their child-like mentality. These guys have the bodies of men but the minds and emotions of adolescents. “Children in adult bodies” is a good basic definition of Neoteny.
Biologically, an organism becomes sexually mature and an adult when it is capable of reproducing. When it enters into adulthood, then, the organism becomes physically mature. Human evolution has produced a variety of genetic changes in our species and one of the MOST IMPORTANT is neoteny. Humans are the most neotenic of all primates, in fact! Some have even gone so far as to characterize humans as “sexually mature fetuses.” And there are some reasons for this. For example, in most quadrupedal fetal animals the foramen magnum (where the spinal column connects to the brain) is near the center of the base of the skull as it is in modern humans. BUT, as that animal matures the foramen magnum moves to the rear of the skull. However, this doesn’t happen in modern humans! Our foramen magnum stays in the center….in the INFANT position!! Even in apes the young lose their neotenic features as they grow up and there are big changes in the way they look physically and act mentally. This is obvious in chimps, for example, as infants and the young look far different from adults. And they act far different from adults too. But, the position of the foramen magnum is not the only feature seen in modern humans that causes some researchers to characterize modern humans as “sexually mature fetuses.” Continue Reading
Cerutti Mastodon Site in San Diego, California discoveries indicate that early humans were in North America at least 130 kya.
Calico Hills Early Man Site in California indicate humans were in North America 100-200 kya.
Bluefish Cave Site, Canada indicates humans were in North America 24 kya.
Puebla, Mexico Site indicates humans were in Mexico 200-250 kya
Pedra Furada Site in Brazil indicate humans were in South America 48-60 kya.
And there are more…………….
When we take a look at these sites and the dates they have yielded we find that it appears humans have been in the Americas since 250-200 kya. But this is far from being the generally accepted timeframe for when humans migrated into the Americas! That timeline says we migrated across the Bering Landbridge around 15 kya! However, the more archaeologists discover, the more it appears that “someone” was in the Americas before 15 kya and that “mystery population” is affectionately known as “POPULATION Y.” Additionally, the more we learn about Paleoindians the more apparent it becomes that they did NOT look like modern Native Americans and, in fact, were quite different. At the tip of South America we have a people known as the Fuegians who ironically have many features sen in Homo erectus and we find the same features in a people known as the Pericues who lived at the tip of Baja California. But, according to mainstream thinking H. erectus was long extinct before these timeframes. I suggest that hypothesis is WRONG and note that some researchers believe H. erectus could have existed up until 20-30 kya!! Continue Reading
A new study and find has come out and in my mind it is MAJOR NEWS when it comes to ancient human ancestors being in North America. The San Diego Natural History Museum has announced that a recent Mastodon discovery shakes up our beliefs of when early man came to North America and the evidence comes from broken bones and rocks.
At an Ice Age site in San Diego, CA bones 130 kyr and teeth from a mastodon show evidence of EARLY HUMAN modification. Analysis of these finds dramatically alters the timeline for when humans first arrived in N. America. The report was published today in the journal “Nature.”
Museum paleontologists discovered the remains during routine work to clear the way for a new freeway expansion in the area. The discovery includes bones, teeth, and tusks and many of them have been sharply broken. They were buried alongside large stones that apparently were used as hammer stones and anvils. This makes the site the oldest in situ and well documented site in North America according to the museum.
According to Judy Gradwohl who is president and CEO of the Museum this discovery rewrites our understanding of when “humans reached the New World.” She went on to say, “The evidence we found at this site indicates that some HOMININ SPECIES was living in North America 115,000 YEARS EARLIER than previously thought.” Did you get that? SOME HOMININ SPECIES! That’s CODE TALK! Why didn’t she say Homo sapiens, or modern humans, or something along those lines? Instead she uses the phrase “some hominin species.” Why” Because I bet they suspicion this “hominin species” was NOT modern humans!!
Gradwohl went on to state, “This rasises intriguing questions about how these EARLY HUMANS arrived here and WHO THEY WERE.” In other words they don’t know who these early humans were and they don’t even know if they were early modern humans are some more archaic human like HOMO ERECTUS! And I’m betting my money on HOMO ERECTUS! In my mind this is evidence of this species being in the Americas around 100 kya!! Continue Reading
Back in January 2016 I posted about one of my favorite ancient human ancestors known as the Red Deer Cave People(aka “Enigma Man”) (see link below). These people lived in China up until about 70 kya and their fossil remains were discovered in 2012 in SW China. Then in December of 2015 it was announced that yet another bone of these people had been found which was described as being “highly unusual.” I’ll return to this a bit later……….
The Red Deer Cave People are somewhat of a mystery. They are believed to have been a pre-modern (pre-Homo sapiens) people and analysis shows they have some remarkable similarities in morphology to archaic H. sapiens DESPITE that they lived between 14-11 kya. Continue Reading
Today the average height for a male is around 5 ft 10 in (177 cm) and 5 ft 5 in for women (163-164 cm). Race can also affect height with the average for some races being taller and for others a bit shorter. Food intake and disease can also affect height as well as environment.
Humans have not always been these average heights. In paleoanthropology we use fossils to calculate the heights of some of our ancient human ancestors. The femur (thighbone) is the most useful bone for making such determinations as it typically composes about 1/4 of human height and is the longest bone in the human body.
Using femur bones and other bones we have been able to estimate height in some of our ancient ancestors. For instance, Homo heidelbergensis lived around 700-200 kya and we estmate males stood an average of 5 ft 9 in tall with females being slightly shorter standing on average 5 ft 2 in tall.
The “Hobbit” (aka: Homo Floresiensis) lived between 95-17 kya and were much shorter. A female skeleton from this species of ancient human ancestor reveals she stood slightly over 3 ft.
Neanderthals who lived between 200-28 kya had an average height of 5 ft 5 in for males and 5 ft 1 in for females. Most paleoanthropologists believe their short, stocky body type helped them stay warm and survive the harsh ice ages they lived through. Continue Reading
Artistic depiction of the 5 Dmanisi skulls
The majority consensus is that our ancient human ancestors came out of Africa and populated the world. And the consensus is also that human evolution took place in Africa as these newly evolved humans migrated out of Africa they replaced more archaic species along the way. This is the OOA/Replacement Theory. More recently there has been evidence found that, in fact, there were not only migrations out of Africa but also back into Africa. However, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting all of this is NOT the case at all and part of that growing evidence are the finds at the Dmanisi site in Georgia (Russia).
The finds at the Dmanisi site clearly challenge the conventional opinion and the more we find the more it is beginning to appear that Africa was NOT the sole “cradle of humankind.” For, what is being found at the Dmanisi site suggests STRONGLY that there was a “Eurasian chapter in the long evolutionary story of man.”
Location of Dmanisi site in Georgia Republic
The Dmanisi discoveries upset the conventional view that ancient human ancestors migrated out of Africa not so long ago in evolutionary terms. In fact, these discoveries strongly point to ancient human ancestors migrating out of Africa FAR earlier than the conventional view holds. Of course, some of this is being demeaned by the suggestion (speculation) that there was simply a long evolutionary interlude in Eurasia before moving back into Africa to complete our evolution. Frankly, I think that is an absolute CROCK! I think what was going on at Dmanisi was far MORE than simply an “evolutionary interlude.”
The Dmanisi fossilized bones have been dated at around 1.8 myr and they are the oldest remains discovered outside of Africa to date. The Dmanisi remains are far more primitive appearing than Homo erectus which is believed to have been the first hominid species to migrate out of Africa about 1 mya. How is this possible that we have a hominid species outside of Africa long before H. erectus migrated out of Africa and began their conquest of the world?
When we compare the Dmanisi remains to H. erectus remains we come up with some very interesting comparisons. The Dmanisi had brains about 40% SMALLER than the average H. erectus brain! We also find that the Dmanisi were significantly shorter than the average H. erectus. Further, the conventional view has been that when H. erectus came out of Africa they had sophisticated stone tools (Acheulean) and that their physical anatomy was “advanced” in terms of brain size and limb proportions. BUT what is found at Dmanisi is very DIFFERENT from this! Continue Reading