This post is a continuation of: https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/domestication-jared-diamond/
The earlier post includes an illustration comparing pairs of animals, one the result of domestication, the other, a related species that cannot be domesticated.
What happened to the original Wild Humans that could not be domesticated?
Are they extinct due to being “stupid”? Or hunted down and killed off by modern humans? Or do their traits “linger” in some modern humans?
This is a very important question in the history of humanity. There are two are well-known lines of thought on this problem, The Out-of-Africa model and the Multiregional model. Material is available about these competing models, so I won’t go into detail here. Neither of these models explains the fate of Wild Humans.
The Out-of-Africa model assumes that anatomically modern Homo sapiens arose in Africa 200,000 years ago and was identical to humans living today, which means they became modern social humans long before leaving Africa 50,000 years ago. It should be noted that the OOA model has largely discredited by recent research: Its appeal was its simplicity; Homo sapiens won the evolutionary race for the ultimate species. It also repeats the familiar Begat, Begat, Begat format in the Bible, and feeds the conclusion that We are God’s Chosen Species. We must remember that OOA is a mathematical model and not the Word of God. The Multiregional model is likely accurate in some configuration, but either way, we are left with a nutty race-based pop culture obsession with supernatural overtones: a jigsaw puzzle of misunderstanding as to how evolution works. Americans, at least, are poring over MtDNA road maps to discover their relation to “Eve” or are bragging about their Bad-Ass Neanderthal relatives, who surely would have loved beer, guns and football. It’s amazing how many people want to be Neanderthal.
Based on various lines of evidence, not limited to the conceptual error that 200,000 years ago, a newly-minted Homo sapiens was an exact model for modern social humans, I see an important problem. Modern social behavior is the result of 10 – 15,000 years of domestication and urbanization, of humans moving into agricultural zones, creating dense clusters of settlements, which of necessity required selection for obedience, magical thinking, and compliant personalities, and if you didn’t fit in, you were run off or eliminated. Homo sapiens self-domesticated using the same methods that were successful in redesigning the few animal species that could be domesticated. The result was Homo sapiens sapiens, or modern social humans.
Selection for juvenile traits, especially in females, which are linked to both behavior and physical appearance, resulted in increased fertility, tolerance of being ‘handled’ and living in close quarters, and shorter, not longer, life spans due to slavery, violence, overwork, poor nutrition and the easy spread of viral and bacterial infections and degradation of the environment – critically the overuse of and pollution of water sources. The study of Archaeology is crowded with failure: “advanced” urban and agricultural “empires” that had to be abandoned, with a return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle or partial agricultural slash and burn subsistence, which remains to this day and continues to destroy tropical forests.
I find it quite unbelievable that 10,000 years of technical invention and the accumulation of Culture, which modern humans depend upon, and indeed could not survive without, can be utterly ignored as significant in the definition of Homo sapiens sapiens. Individuals today can literally spend their lives sitting on a couch in front of a TV, and be supplied food, clothing, shelter, energy and entertainment by other humans, often thousands of miles distant, who are essentially captive prey (slaves) who live in dreadful conditions.
No wild human lived like this. Each individual had to be intelligent, curious, and a fast learner, and to shoulder the responsibilities of adulthood. Wild humans had to be continuously aware of the total environment, and be prepared to act instantly when challenged by danger and opportunity. Everyone had a job and shared the work of survival. Modern social humans would utterly fail to measure up.
As populations diverged into two types, agricultural – urban, and nomadic hunter – gatherer, the behavior of urban humans became aggressively hierarchical and steeply stratified into predator and prey classes. Expansion became an inevitable response to inadequate food supplies for growing populations. It’s still “Good to be Pharaoh” whether or not one lives in a quasi-democracy or one is subject to Top Male dictators, gods, Popes or Wall Street crooks; the top of the social hierarchy writes the rules.
What did happen to Wild Humans?
Modern humans have relentlessly exterminated Wild Humans, not only during a single interval – 100,000, 50,000 or 20,000 years ago, but during recent history, and are still using capitalism, colonialism, religionism, environmental destruction, war-mongering, starvation, cultural aggression, and species extermination – scorched earth policies, to eliminate any and all remaining competition.
Have Wild Humans totally vanished? I don’t think so.
Below: Google images of “Wild Humans.” Good grief! The socially modern infantile view of nature: young women “seduce” wild creatures into the supernatural category of “cute stuffed animals”.