The Odyssey, Irma and related thoughts

Still using library internet access…

Ordered new computer, but waiting for delivery – could be 10 more days. I’m beginning to FREAK OUT! WHY? Not because I have some “pathological” Asperger attachment to habit or objects – it’s the tool I need to communicate “what’s going on” in my “unconscious visual processing” in the primary language of “social reality” – words. 

I’m lucky to live in a time and place where this arrangement is possible: a reclusive existence in wild Wyoming, but with the ability to express my thoughts to a mysterious “global” world – unknown people from every part of the planet continue to “tune in” (maybe by accident?) It is “mind-boggling” from my point of view from the “Frontier” which lacks modern social development and material abundance.

I’m momentarily fed up with rereading JUNG: do psychologists actually “like” or approve of any human beings (even themselves?) It is quite revealing how with time and experience, one’s view of “standard ideas” is changed and reviewed.

I try to reread the Iliad and the Odyssey on alternate years, so have taken the opportunity to read the Odyssey – coincidentally, while half-listening to coverage of hurricane Irma… (many reactions and thoughts, which will have to wait) but having to do with how modern people see Nature, and how cultural values are shaped as a consequence; very “odd” feelings and ideas which in turn shape our behavior! 

My fascination with both books goes deep: the two are foundations for much of my “introverted” thinking about culture, history and admirable human codes of behavior and interaction that have fallen into forgetfulness: PLUS these are highly dense visual presentations that “speak to me” like few others. At times, the “visual” descriptions come so fast and furious, that I can’t keep up my brain processing speed to match, and I must linger over those descriptions, which “tell me” so much about the people of that time. And which, in a way, make me “homesick”.

AND – Once again (Irma event) I am utterly appalled by the ignorance (as in ignoring the entire subject) of Americans concerning the processes and reality of “geology” in its true scope – a study which reveals How the earth, oceans, atmosphere and “cosmic” location WORK!

American “education” is the “manmade”  disaster that cripples reasonable and effective behavior!

Hmmm. Someone has brought a screaming toddler, possibly named Irma, into the library… time to “evacuate”.





History as Literature / Lewis Mumford The City…


Lewis Mumford / Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1961

“Mid the wanderings of Paleolithic man, the dead were the first to have a permanent dwelling: a cavern, a mound marked by a cairn, a collective barrow.”

“The city of the dead antedates the city of the living. In one sense indeed, the city of the dead is the forerunner, almost the core, of every city. Urban life spans the historic space between the earliest burial ground for dawn man and the final cemetery, the necropolis, in which one civilization after another, has met its end.”


No computer replacement yet; I’m at the library, frustrated! My “vacation” from blogging will not do. I must blog!

Anyway: I’ve been going through piles of books to “dispense with” and reacquainting myself with the small stack of those which I return to again and again for inspiration and reference, and vitally, the handful of ideas that set me off on a journey many years ago toward understanding human behavior (which as an Asperger, is/was a critical topic. It is my hypothesis that Asperger types have a hyposocial, visually-based brain organization that “resembles” that of pre-social “Wild” Homo sapiens.)

The giant effort, The City in History, by Lewis Mumford, is one of those books. I have never read all 576 pages of exhaustive details; the quote above occurs near the beginning, and “struck me” immediately with its importance to modern human destiny; not predestined destiny, but the path of human civilization as it has played out over the previous 10-15,000 years of humans becoming domestic “urban” humans, a distinction that has become more “real” to me as I have explored this “thing” called Asperger’s.

Modern social destiny, and the “type” Homo sapiens that created it, (and whom continues to be created by hypersocial environments), was not a collective direction decided upon by “mankind” but the result of individuals pursuing survival. Climatic change and other natural geologic processes forced the dependence on agriculture and sedentary life; the “idea” of controlling nature must have seemed to be a great and victorious reality at the time, which could only be “good”. This quest remains the central “self-glorification” of modern techno-social humans, but from this one step, disaster has followed.

Mumford’s book is filled with the grandiose “narrative” that archaeologists and anthropologists envy – (frustrated novelists that they are.) Historians are free to “do this” – history has always been a scheme of cultural focus; mythology with either a few facts, or a deluge, added to “support” the myth. Our mistake is in thinking that mythology is “false” and has no value, and that history must be “scientific” – which it is not. It is literature that serves to remind us of the hundreds of millions of lives that have been lived, and great writers like Mumford remind us that “we are not IT” – that is, the supreme and intelligent species that fulfills some imaginary “historical” evolutionary destiny, but instead, our behavior shows us to be one more repetition of the necropolis stage of civilization.

Part 2 Human self-domestication / Martin Brüne

Part 2

Human self-domestication – the development of an idea

Charles Darwin was the first to systematically examine biological changes in species under artificial breeding conditions. Even though he did not refer to the question of human self-domestication in his two volumes on Variations of Animals and Plants under Domestication [2], Darwin proposed clear definitional criteria for the process of domestication. He emphasized (1) that the domestication of animals is more than taming, (2) that it represents a goal-oriented process for human purposes, (3) that the variability of physical and ‘mental’ characteristics is greater in domesticated species than in their wild ancestors, including the occurrence of dwarfism and gigantism, (4) that the behavioural plasticity and educability of domesticated species is greater, and (5) that the brain size of domesticated animals is smaller than that of their wild ancestors’.

In spite of these unequivocal definitional criteria, Darwin was remarkably vague regarding the possibility that humans could have undergone domestication. In The Decent of Man [11], he wrote the following (the most critical phrases are highlighted in italics by the author): “It is, nevertheless, an error to speak of man, even if we look only to the conditions to which he has been exposed, as ‘far more domesticated’ (Blumenbach 1865) than any other animal. … In another and much more important respect, man differs widely from any strictly domesticated animal; for his breeding has never long been controlled, (this is not true! The social hierarchy is a reproductive selection machine!) either by methodical or unconscious selection. No race or body of men has been so completely subjugated by other men, as that certain individuals should be preserved, and thus unconsciously selected, from somehow excelling in utility to their masters. Nor have certain male and female individuals been intentionally picked out and matched, except in the well known case of the Prussian grenadiers;” (p. 29) … By contrast, in another paragraph Darwin stated: “We might, therefore, expect that civilized men, who in one sense are highly domesticated, would be more prolific than wild men. It is also probable that the increased fertility of civilised nations would become, as with our domestic animals, an inherited character …” (p. 45–46). (Darwin was a man of his time and class; likely oblivious to de facto social selection. People married and reproduced within their “proper place” on the pyramid.

With respect to brain size Darwin argued, however, that in contrast to domesticated animals the human brain and skull has increased over time. Nevertheless, in the chapter on human races, Darwin reiterates that “man in many respects may be compared with those animals which have long been domesticated, …” (p. 178); and later: “With man no such question can arise, for he cannot be said to have been domesticated at any particular period” (p. 183). And finally: “With our domestic animals a new race can readily be formed by carefully matching the varying offspring from a single pair, or even from a single individual possessing some new character; but most of our races have been formed, not intentionally from selected pair, but unconsciously by the preservation of many individuals which have varied, however slightly, in some useful or desired manner” (p. 188). In summary, although Darwin did not hold a clear position concerning the possibility that domestication could have taken place in homo sapiens, he pointed to the fact that no scientific proof in favour of such a hypothesis existed, particularly, due to a lack of goal-directedness or conscious selection of traits. However, he also made clear that humans might share some characteristics typical of domesticated animals such as increased fertility.

In the biological literature following Darwin, the term “domestication” became increasingly poorly defined. The criterion of intentional and goal-directed selection, which according to Darwin’s definition was critical for domestication, was largely replaced, at least with respect to humans, by the equation of culture and civilisation with domestication. (One example of intentional goal directedness: The Harem – females selected for social position, connection to allies or subjugated nations, tameness and beauty and continually replenished with youthful baby producers. A broad “blood” base (genetic pool) was available: a veritable farm for producing “top males” for the continuation of a dynasty.

An extensive evaluation of the topic was put forward by Eugen Fischer in his essay on Die Rassenmerkmale des Menschen als Domestikationserscheinungen (“The racial characteristics of man as a result of domestication”, 1914) [12]. A couple of years later, Fischer became known for his publication of Grundriß der menschlichen Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene (“Outline of human genetics and racial hygiene”), which he edited together with Erwin Baur and Fritz Lenz in 1921 [13]; all authors later became leading authorities in Nazi eugenics and supported the legalisation of sterilisation and dismantling of welfare institutions to reinstitute the laws of natural selection [10].

( A prime human conceit that has ravaged the planet: we are so intelligent that our blunders-efforts at reshaping natural processes and entire ecologies are de facto  improvements on nature. WE ARE NOT THAT SMART!)

In his essay on the domestication of man, Fischer suggested that domestication should be defined as a condition in which “the nutrition and reproduction has been influenced over a number of generations by humans” (author’s translation). In line with these greatly relaxed definitional criteria of domestication, Fischer reasoned that humankind should be considered domesticated from the beginning of its existence. (We were never wild animals?) Fischer considered racial differences to be the result of domestication, because “almost all characteristics of human races could be found in domesticated animals, except for the low variability of the external ear and the lack of dappling of the skin or hair.” Interestingly, Fischer regarded blond hair, blue eyes, and bright skin colour of Europeans as signs of domestication-induced partial albinism, as well as, dwarfism and gigantism in some populations, racial differences concerning the disposition for obesity, temperament, character and intelligence. Even “the permanent female breast indicates domestication much like the udder of domesticated cattle” (author’s translation) [12]. However, the point that “Aryans” should be carriers of outstanding signs of domestication was apparently overlooked, a point to which I will return in the discussion. Remarkably, however, the very same attitude towards domestication and racial hygiene including support of sterilisation was also found in leading Jewish scientists such as Richard Goldschmidt, who was Professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology in Berlin-Dahlem [14]. Goldschmidt argued that the abandonment of natural selection and “radical extermination of the unfit” (Goldschmidt, 1933, pp. 214; author’s translation) ought to be replaced by positive and negative eugenic measures (apparently, Goldschmidt later realised that the Nazi regime held an even more radical position regarding eugenics and was expatriated by the Nazis in 1935; he was appointed Professor of Genetics and Cytology at Berkeley, CA). Even anthropologist Franz Boas, who was not a racist and strongly opposed the Nazi regime, described curly hair, variation in stature and increasing or decreasing pigmentation of the skin as signs of human domestication, but was inconclusive about how much environmental and genetic factors contributed to these variations [15]. Thus, although Fischer and colleagues may, to a certain degree, have had an opportunistic interest in mixing scientific ideas with political claims, the association of acknowledging the self-domestication hypothesis with eugenic consequences during the 1930s was not only an issue for racist scientists. (The misconception / mixing of non-scientific social, political, and religious beliefs has not disappeared in psychology. Biological sources are sought for justification of  discrimination. These prejudices do not negate the possibility of domestication, but unfortunately, have made it a “shady” subject for study. The same problem taints psychology and its support and contributions to American Eugenics movement.) 

In the 1920s, another, entirely independent biological concept was adopted from embryology to explain human self-domestication. The Dutch anatomist Louis Bolk (1926) [16] postulated that adult humans would resemble juvenile apes, and that the retention of juvenile characteristics of the ancestral species into adulthood of the descendant, referred to as “foetalisation” or “neoteny”, could be associated with the process of domestication. For example, the zoologist Max Hilzheimer (1926/1927) argued that “the recent European should be considered the most progressively domesticated form whereas Neanderthals were much less juvenilised” (author’s translation) due to the more pronounced retention of juvenile traits in anatomically modern humans compared to Neanderthals (at that time, it was not known that Neanderthals were not ancestral to anatomically modern humans) [17]. The parallel drawn between domestication and neoteny is interesting in light of the currently resurrected debate about human self-domestication (see below).

In the 1940s Nobel laureate Konrad Lorenz’ published some speculations on the relation of human psychological capacities to the process of domestication. In his article Durch Domestikation verursachte Störungen arteigenen Verhaltens (“Domestication-induced disorders of species-typical behaviour”, published in 1940) Lorenz reiterated parallels between the living conditions of civilised inhabitants of metropolitan areas with domesticated animals, which he thought indicated signs of degeneration [18]. (The assumption of “degeneration” damaged scientific research.)

Lorenz proposed that the intensity and frequency of instinctual patterns of behaviour were altered under these conditions, leading to a hypertrophy of some instincts due to a lowered releasing threshold and to a functional disruption of species-typical behaviours. Beside the alleged domestication-associated morphological features in human beings, such as shortening of the extremities and of the base of the skull, atony of the muscles, and obesity, which he later subsumed under the term ‘Verhausschweinung’ (a term hard to translate that roughly compares the physical appearance of human beings with domesticated pigs), Lorenz described a domestication-associated diminished social sensitivity and a functional disruption of love, marriage, and the “copulation drive”. Apart from his appallingly coarse language, which conformed to the writing style of that time, Lorenz did not refrain from discussing racial hygienic consequences such as the “extermination of ethically inferior people.” Moreover, and from our perspective today virtually ridiculous, Lorenz proposed a positive selection for Anständigkeit (decency) and for the physical ideal of the ancient Greek. (As modern western “civilized” and Christian people, we applaud ourselves for having high ethical and moral standards, but what is the underlying goal of military, economic, and cultural invasion by any nation? It’s murder, rape and pillage – virtual extinction of peoples and cultures – on a massive industrial scale. “Democratization=Domestication” How many so-called primitive tribal people, religious minorities, and any “outgroup” that is labeled enemy, or any enemy at all is “cleansed” of its heritage, values beliefs and practices by military, social and corporate actions? Civilian casualties, millions of displaced refugees – hypocritically disguised as the inevitable consequence of the mysterious “fog of war.”)

By contrast, in his chapter on Psychologie und Stammesgeschichte (“psychology and epistemology”, first published in 1943) [19] Lorenz took over Arnold Gehlen’s idea that human beings were specialised in being non-specialised. Gehlen had acknowledged Bolk’s and Hilzheimer’s hypotheses as scientific proofs for his thesis of man as “Mängelwesen” (“deficient being”). Following Gehlen, Lorenz highlighted man’s lack of physiological specialisation while rejecting the hypothesis of deficiency. In contrast to his earlier exclusively negative approval, Lorenz now accepted the hypothesis of domestication-associated neoteny, which accounted for the positively asserted human “Weltoffenheit” (“cosmopolitanism”) and persisting explorative behaviour. This was new, since he now ascribed to neoteny a variety of human behavioural and psychological features in addition to his physical characteristics. Even in his later writings, however, Lorenz stuck to his culturally pessimistic attitude, while partially backing off from his writings during the Nazi regime.

Since the 1960s, both the foetalisation and the domestication hypotheses concerning humans have been refuted by various scientists. Starck (1962), for example, criticised that Bolk’s hypothesis had been so broadly accepted simply because the many problems of explaining human evolution could be resolved with apparent ease. According to Starck, hairlessness and the reduction of pigmentation of the skin (a geographic phenomen due to varying solar radiation) were more reliably explained by chance mutations rather than by foetalisation. Moreover, the retention of juvenile characters (i.e. neoteny) did not sufficiently explain the increased variation of traits under domestication [20]. In addition, Herre and Roehrs (1971) rejected the human self-domestication hypothesis for its lack of goal-directedness and artificial selection of traits; nor was there evidence for a “wild” ancestral human species from which a domesticated homo sapiens should have derived. They further argued that a reduction of instinctual patterns of behaviour in human beings could also better be explained by a more sophisticated cortical control rather than domestication [21]. (Objections based on the lack of scientific evidence at the time and the resistance to Homo sapiens the animal.)

As with many scientific ideas, these hypothesis of human self-domestication has recently been revived as a possible explanation of changes of human physical traits since the late Pleistocene changes include the reduction of body size and decrease in skeletal robusticity, modifications in cranial and dental features including reduction in cranial capacity, shortening of the facial region of the skull and maleruption of teeth, and reduction in sexual dimorphism. In contrast to earlier biological writings, other domestication-associated features observed in animals such as an increased variation in skin colour, increasing fat storage, earlier sexual maturation and activity, and reduction in motor activity are not discussed with respect to human self-domestication in recent accounts [1]. It is indeed plausible to assume that these changes could have taken place due to the creation of an artificially protective environment after humans adopted a more sedentary lifestyle in the Neolithic period, thereby relaxing natural selection pressures. (But! selection pressures changed and increased due to selection by a new urban and dietary environment that required behavioral and reproductive adaptation.  Reproduction became controlled by social customs, class barriers to reproduction partners, and selection of females for tameness.)

Similarly, the idea that foetalisation and domestication could be related has recently been highlighted in a seminal paper comparing anatomical features and behaviour of apes and humans [3]. The authors argue that changes in social structures of early humans, compared to our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee, could have favoured the selection against aggression, and that such selection was accompanied by a reduction of sexual dimorphism in humans and the retention of juvenile characteristics in body shape and behaviour. Interestingly, a parallel development has been proposed in the bonobo, which displays more neotenic physical features and is much less aggressive compared to the common chimpanzee [3].

From a biological perspective the greatest dispute with regard to physical changes in anatomically modern humans akin to domestication pertains to a slight but measurable decline of brain volume from around 1,400 cm3 to roughly 1,300 cm3, which could be interpreted in further support of the human self-domestication hypothesis. However, this decline in stature was accompanied by a reduction in body size such that the allometric brain-body relation remains unchanged [22]. In contrast to humans, domesticated animals show a large disproportionate decline of brain size by up to 30%, especially of the sensory perceptual centres, compared to their wild ancestral species, yet no such pronounced decline has convincingly been demonstrated in any human population.

We have a huge stumbling block in the investigation of self-domestication in humans: Which “human” is our wild ancestor?

Part 3 next…

Ontology and Phylogeny 1977, Gould / Synopsis Review

Published on The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, Arizona State University(

Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), by Stephen Jay Gould [1]

By: Barnes, M. Elizabeth Keywords: Developmental biology [2] Neoteny [3] Epigenesis [4]recapitulation [5] Preformationism [6] Cope’s Law of Acceleration [7] Heterochrony [8] biogeneticlaw [9] Evo-Devo [10]

Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12] is a book published in 1977, in which the author Stephen J. Gould, who worked in the US, tells a history of the theory of recapitulation. A theory of recapitulation aims to explain the relationship between the embryonic development of an organism (ontogeny(ontogeny [13]) and the evolution [14] of that organism’s species (phylogeny [15]). Although there are several variations of recapitulationist theories, most claim that during embryonic development an organism repeats the adult stages of organisms from those species in it’s evolutionary history. Gould suggests that, although fewer biologists invoked recapitulation theories in the twentieth century compared to those in the nineteenth andeighteenth centuries, some aspects of the theory of recapitulation remained important forunderstanding evolution [14]. Gould notes that the concepts of acceleration [16] and retardation [17] during development entail that changes in developmental timing (heterochrony) can result in a trait appearing either earlier or later than normal in developmental processes. Gould argues that these changes in the timing of embryonic development provide the raw materials or novelties upon which natural selection [18] acts.

Gould wrote Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12] while working at Harvard University [19] in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a professor of zoology. He had studied the relationship between ontogeny [13] and phylogeny [15] early in primary school in the New York City public schools. One of his colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History, Ernst Mayr, in the late 1970s encouraged him to write a book on the subject.

Gould noted that Ernst Haeckel [20] in Germany proposed an 1866 recapitulation theory [21] that he termed the biogenetic law [22], and that biologists appealed to the law into the early decades of the twentieth century, after which time experimental evidence disconfirmed the law. Gould argues that the dismissal of Haeckel’s biogenetic law [22] led to a more general dismissal of the theory of recapitulation. Therefore, the bad reputation attached to the theory of recapitulation impacted the way scholars eventually theorized about developmental processes as part of the mechanism of evolution [14].

Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12] is divided into two parts. The first part is entitled “Recapitulation” and reconstructs the history of the theory of recapitulation from Greek roots to Ernst Haeckel [20]’s biogenetic law [22] and to its demise in the first half of the twentieth century. The second part is entitled “Heterochrony and Paedomorphosis.” In this section, Gould proposes his own theories about the relationship between ontogeny [13] and phylogeny [15] and the way developmental processes help to explain evolution [14].

Part one of Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12] begins with chapter two, “The Analogistic Tradition from Anaximander to Bonnet“. In this chapter, Gould describes pre-recapitulation theories as various ways of paralleling ontogeny [13] with the hierarchies of life. For example, some categorized the hierarchy of things as progressing from mere matter, to unconscious life, to the conscious animal, to the rational human. The ontogeny [13] of a human repeats this hierarchy. Starting from the bottom of the hierarchy, the human begins as unformed, unconscious matter and then progresses to form complex living matter. Later in development, the human fetus [23] resembles an animal and then finally progresses to be a rational human. (HAH!)

For instance, Aristotle [24] in ancient Greece described the sequence of development in a human embryo as analogous to a sequence of progressively higher souls unfolding inside the organism as it develops, starting with the vegetative or nutritive soul, then progressing to the animal or sensitive soul, and then finally to the human or rational soul.

Next, in the same section, Gould focuses on recapitulation theories of the sixteenth century and describes how embryologists attempted to explain ontogeny [13] through theories either of preformationism or of epigenesis [25]. Preformationists stated that structures of adults were preformed in the sex cell, and merely unfolded from prebuilt complexity. In contrast, epigenesists hypothesized that organisms began formless and subsequently increased in complexity and form during development. Gould states that historians had characterized preformaitonism in an attempt to retell the history of embryology [26] as a good guy (epigenesicists) and bad guy (preformationists) narrative in which epigenesists triumphed. However, Gould says that preformationist theories were much more rational and respectable then historians portrayed them.

In Chapter three, entitled “Transcendental Origins, 1793 ? 1860,” Gould describes the triumph of epigenesis [25] over preformationism and the subsequent rise of the theory of recapitulation in the movement called Naturphilosophie [27] (philosophy of nature) in Germany during the early nineteenth century. Embryologists claimed that physical laws could explain all natural phenomena, and that motion was the only irreducible property. From these premises, recapitulation became a central theory because it relied on purely natural explanations. Gould describes in detail two contemporary leading theories of recapitulation by Lorenz Oken [28] and Johann F. Meckel, both located in Germany. Meckel stated in the title of his 1811 essay “Entwurf einer Darstellung der zwischen dem Embryozustande der h ö heren Tiere und dem permanenten der niederen stattfindenen Parallele” (Sketch of the Portrayal of the Parallels that Exist Between the Embryonic Stages of Higher Animals and the Adults of Lower Animals) that early embryonic stages of so-called higher animals somehow related to the adult stages of lower animals. Oken, in his 1843 Lehrbuch der Naturphilosophie [27] (Textbook of Natural Philosophy), classified animals based on the linear addition of organs as they developed in the animals.

Gould next discusses Karl E. von Baer, who worked on embryos in Dorpat, later Tartu, Estonia. Gould shows that von Baer argued against the theory of recapitulation. Von Baer stated that many of the features present in embryonic stages are not apparent in the adult, and therefore one could not claim any correspondence between embryos belonging to different species. Von Baer’s 1828 laws of embryology [26] claim that embryos of one species can only resemble the embryonic form of ancestors, but never their ancestors’ adult forms. Von Baer argues that organisms from different species develop from a common general form and then diverge from one another in a branching manner as development proceeds.

Chapter four, “Evolutionary Triumph, 1859?1900”, discusses the period in which Charles Darwin [29] introduced the theory of evolution [14]. Before this theory, biologists struggled to explain the patterns described in Meckel’s recapitulation theory [21]. The claim that life evolved from a common ancestor enabled biologists to view embryonic stages of animals as the actual product of those animals’ ancestries. Scientists developed at least two interpretations of the relationship between ontogeny [13] and phylogeny [15]. First, some biologists interpreted evolution [14] with von Baer’s laws [30] of embryology [26]. This interpretation described development as progressing from the general characters of a large group to the specialized characteristics of that organism’s species. The second interpretation described embryonic stages as the adult forms of our ancestors. Gould notes that Darwin’s embryological arguments for evolution [14] in Origin of Species relied on von Baer’s laws.

Gould then describes how the second interpretation presupposed two claims. First, evolutionary changes must occur through the addition of traits to the end of ontogeny [13], a claim called the principle of terminal addition. Second, there must be a mechanism that shortens ontogeny [13] across generations, otherwise development would be much longer than what we observe today, a claim called the principle of condensation. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, many theories attempted to explain how terminal addition and condensation occurred.

In the last part of chapter four, Gould discusses Ernst Haeckel [20]’s theory of recapitulation, which had an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary recapitulation differed from other forms of recapitulation as it integrates the theory of common ancestry for all organisms. Haeckel aimed to reconstruct phylogenetic lineages of organisms and used the parallels between ontogeny [13] and phylogeny [15] as evidence for his hypothesized lineages. Haeckel’s biogenetic law [22] claimed that phylogeny [15], which is the evolution [14] and diversification of a species, physically caused the embryonic stages in animals’ development. Moreover, Haeckel addressed the principles of terminal addition and condensation as the mechanics of recapitulation. Gould emphasizes how other biologists such as Edward D. Cope and Alpheus Hyatt, both in the US, independently proposed the biogenetic law [22]. All of them proposed similar principles and laws of acceleration [16] and retardation [17]. Gould ends chapter four describing how by the late nineteenth century, von Baer’s laws [30] of embryology [26] fared poorly amongst scientists, whereas Haeckel’s biogenetic law [22] gained popularity.

Chapter five, “Pervasive Influence,” provides excerpts from doctors, poets, writers, physicists, and educators who wrote about recapitulation. Gould speculates that recapitulation was not just influential to evolutionary and developmental biologists, but also to much of society.

In “Decline, Fall, and Generalization,” Gould describes the decline of the biogenetic law [22] in the first half of the twentieth century, and he identifies several factors influencing the decline. First, he notes that the empirical critiques addressing acceleration [16] and retardation [17] made the biogenetic law [22] untenable. Then, Gould says that in the 1920s Walter Garstang [31], in UK, emphasized a contradiction in the biogenetic law [22]: that late stages of development sometimes retain the juvenile characters of the ancestors. Garstang called this phenomena paedomorphisis, and he described its occurrence in the salamanders from Mexico. Garstang argued that, as the biogenetic law required that adult stages of ancestors appear in the juvenile stages of development, it was disconfirmed by evidence of juvenile features of ancestors expressed in the adult forms of organisms. Additionally, Gould notes the difficulties that arose for the biogenetic law once Gregor Mendel’s 1865 theory of genetics and experimental embryology [26] became popular. According to Gould, once new causal explanations accounted for variations in the features of organisms within the same species, the biogenetic law [22] became irrelevant.

Section two of Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12] has four chapters. The first two chapters in this section, chapters seven and eight in the book, are entitled “Heterochrony and the Parallel of Ontogeny and Phylogeny” and “The Ecological and Evolutionary Significance of Heterochrony”. In these chapters, Gould emphasizes the mechanics of developmental timing rather than the results of those processes. He argues that, once Haeckel’s biogenetic law [22] declined in popularity, it prompted the design of many complex theories about the connections between ontogeny [13] and phylogeny [15], theories that focused on the results of changes in developmental timing, recapitulation and paedomorphosis [32], but did not focus on its mechanisms, acceleration [16] and retardation [17].

Gould argues that scientists should study the processes of developmental timing. He identifies two processes causing recapitulation and paedomorphosis [32]: acceleration [16] and retardation [17] of development. Furthermore, the ubiquitous presence of these processes in development shows that heterochrony constitutes the mechanics of evolution [14], as it can result in different evolutionary phenomena such as the number of offspring an organism has or the age at which an organism reproduces.

In “Progenesis and Neoteny” and “Human Evolution,” Gould explains progenesis and neoteny. Progenesis occurs when the sexual maturation of an organism still in a juvenile stage accelerates. For example, some salamanders are able to reproduce during their larval life. Gould argues that neoteny and progenesis are adaptations to different ecological environments. Progenesis enables species to reproduce quickly and in large numbers. Neoteny, on the other hand, causes species to reproduce slowly and in small numbers. Progenesis can result in the evolution [14] of new taxa, because it can relax the developmental constraints that later arise in the development of organisms. Gould points to neoteny as an important process in the development of complex social and cerebral behavior in the higher vertebrates. He says that the ability for an organism to delay its growth can lead to features that would support complex social and cerebral behaviors. For instance, rapid growth of the brain later in the development of humans [33] could support complex cerebral functions. Gould claims that neoteny is the most important factor of human evolution [14].

In the decades that followed its publication, Ontogeny and Phylogeny became widely cited within the evolutionary and developmental sciences. It helped revive research on acceleration [16] and retardation [17] and sparked research about paedomorphosis [32] as a possible factor affecting the evolution [14] of the human lineage. Moreover, Ontogeny and Phylogeny [12], along with other work by Gould, such as “The Spandrels of san Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm” is often credited for influencing the rise of a biological approach calledevolutionary developmental biology [34] or evo-devo, which worked to integrate evolutionary and developmental biology.

Paleontology Lesson: “Splitting or Lumping” of fossils / Too many species

Yes, this is about dinosaurs, but the principle applies to the “every anthropologist who finds a fossil gets to name a new species” problem in Homo evolution, based on “skull” shape and dimensions rather than on “reproduction” as the evolutionary sign of speciation. Here, it’s developmental changes that have to be sorted out. Two articles:

New analyses of dinosaur growth may wipe out one-third of species

October 30, 2009

Read more at:

( — Paleontologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Museum of the Rockies have wiped out two species of dome-headed dinosaur, one of them named three years ago – with great fanfare – after Hogwarts, the school attended by Harry Potter.

Their demise comes after a three-horned dinosaur, Torosaurus, was assigned to the dustbin of history last month at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in the United Kingdom, the loss in recent years of quite a few duck-billed hadrosaurs and the probable disappearance of Nanotyrannus, a supposedly miniature Tyrannosaurus rex.

These dinosaurs were not separate species, as some paleontologists claim, but different growth stages of previously named dinosaurs, according to a new study.

The confusion is traced to their bizarre head ornaments, ranging from shields and domes to horns and spikes, which changed dramatically with age and sexual maturity, making the heads of youngsters look very different from those of adults.

“Juveniles and adults of these dinosaurs look very, very different from adults, and literally may resemble a different species,” said dinosaur expert Mark B. Goodwin, assistant director of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology. “But some scientists are confusing morphological differences at different growth stages with characteristics that are taxonomically important. The result is an inflated number of dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous.”

Goodwin and John “Jack” Horner of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, are the authors of a new paper analyzing North American dome-headed dinosaurs that appeared this week in the public access online journal PLoS One.

Unlike the original dinosaur die-off at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, this loss of species is the result of a sustained effort by paleontologists to collect a full range of dinosaur fossils – not just the big ones. Their work has provided dinosaur specimens of various ages, allowing computed tomography (CT) scans and tissue study of the growth stages of dinosaurs.

In fact, Horner suggests that one-third of all named dinosaur species may never have existed, but are merely different stages in the growth of other known dinosaurs.

“What we are seeing in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana suggests that we may be overextended by a third,” Horner said, a “wild guess” that may hold true for the various horned dinosaurs recently discovered in Asia from the Cretaceous. “A lot of the dinosaurs that have been named recently fall into that category.”

The new paper, published online Oct. 27, contains a thorough analysis of three of the four named dome-headed dinosaurs from North America, including Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, the first “thick-headed” dinosaur discovered. After that dinosaur’s description in 1943, many speculated that male pachycephalosaurs used their bowling ball-like domes to head-butt one another like big-horn sheep, though Goodwin and Horner disproved that notion in 2004 after a thorough study of the tissue structure of the dome.

Many paleontologists now realize that the elaborate head ornaments of dinosaurs, from the huge bony shield and three horns of Triceratops to the coxcomb-like head gear of some hadrosaurs, were not for combat, but served the same purpose as feathers in birds: to distinguish between species and indicate sexual maturity.

“Dinosaurs, like birds and many mammals, retain neoteny, that is, they retain their juvenile characteristics for a long period of growth,” Horner said, “which is a strong indicator that they were very social animals, grouping in flocks or herds with long periods of parental care.”

These head ornaments, which probably had horny coverings of keratin that may have been brightly-colored as they are in many birds, started growing when these dinosaurs reached about half their adult size, and were remodeled as these dinosaurs matured, continuing to change shape even into adulthood and old age, according to the researchers.

In the new paper, Horner and Goodwin compared the bone structures of Pachycephalosaurus with that of a domeheaded dinosaur, Stygimoloch spinifer, discovered in Montana by UC Berkeley paleontologists in 1973, and a dragon-like skull discovered in South Dakota and named in 2006 as a new species, Dracorex hogwartsia.

With the help of CT scans and microscopic analysis of slices through the bones of Pachycephalosaurus and Stygimoloch, the team concluded that Stygimoloch, with its high, narrow dome, growing tissue and unfused skull bones, was probably a pachycephalosaur subadult, in a stage just before sexual maturity.

Dracorex is one of a kind, and thus unavailable for dissection, but morphological analysis indicates it is a juvenile that hasn’t yet formed a dome, although the top of its skull shows thickening suggestive of an emerging dome.

“Dracorex’s flat skull, nodules on the front end and small spikes on back, and thickened but undomed frontoparietal bone all confirm that, ontogenetically, it is a juvenile Pachycephalosaurus,” Goodwin said.

Comparison of these skulls to other fossils in the hands of private collectors confirm the conclusions, they said. In all, they looked at 21 dome-headed dinosaur skulls and cranial elements from North America.

The key to this analysis, Horner said, was years of field work in Montana by his team and Goodwin’s in search of fossils of all sizes.

“We have gone out in the Hell Creek Formation for 11 years doing nothing but collecting absolutely everything we could find, which is the kind of collecting that is required,” he said. “If you think about Triceratops, people had collected for 100 years and still hadn’t found any juveniles. And we went out and spent 11 years collecting everything, and we found all kinds of them.”

“Early paleontologists recognized the distinction between adults and juveniles, but people have lost track of looking at ontogeny – how the individual develops – when they discover a new fossil,” Goodwin said. “Dinosaurs are not mammals, and they don’t grow like mammals.”

In fact, the so-called metaplastic bone on the heads of horned dinosaurs grows and dissolves, or resorbs, throughout life like no other bone, Horner said, and is reminiscent of the growth and loss of horns today in elk and deer. In earlier studies, Horner and Goodwin found dramatic remodeling of metaplastic bone in Triceratops, which led to their subsequent focus on dome-headed dinosaurs.

“Metaplastic bones get long and shorten, as in Triceratops, where the horn orientation is backwards in juveniles and forward in adults,” Horner said. Even in older specimens, such as the fossil previously named Torosaurus, bone in the face shield resorbs to create holes along the margin. John Scannella, Horner’s student at Montana State, presented a paper reclassifying Torosaurus as an old Triceratops at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Bristol, U.K., on Sept. 25.

“In order for that huge amount of bone to move, there has to be a lot of deposition and resorption,” Horner said.

Horner and Goodwin continue to search for dinosaur fossils in the Hell Creek Formation, which is rich in Triceratops, dome-headed dinosaurs, hadrosaurs and tyrannosaurs. Analysis of growth stages in these taxa will have implications for other horned dinosaurs that are being uncovered in Asia and elsewhere.

“There are other horned dinosaurs I think may be over split,” that is, split into too many new species rather than being lumped together as one species, Goodwin said.

Source: University of California – Berkeley (news : web)




TOP: Immature Skull BOTTOM: Mature Adult Skull

UPDATE 2016 \/: Go to article for details and illustrations:


No more Demons and Dragon Kings? Pachycephalosaurus ontogeny

CLIP: On top of all that, some dinosaurs also appear to develop unique structures like horns, domes and crests at various points during their development, and many are quite dramatic, appearing very quickly during ontogeny. No wonder then that it was not uncommon for scientists to name several species of dinosaur found at the same time and same place differentiated largely by size and display structures. And possibly the best example of this situation was Pachycephalosaurus, Stygimoloch (“Styx demon”) and Dracorex (“dragon king”); found at the same time, in the same place, more closely related to each other than to other pachycephalosaurs, and differing only in size and cranial features. And then Dr. Jack Horner changed everything.

One of the most influential discoveries that has radically changed our understanding of dinosaurs and their world is the realization that dinosaurs often went through dramatic physical changes as they aged. It has been well known for some time that unlike modern birds, non-avian dinosaurs took several years to reach adult size and began breeding before reaching skeletal maturity, but shared with them very rapid growth rates, resulting in animals that ‘lived fast and died young’. Thanks to this growth habit, most dinosaurs that we have a significant sample size for show a particular pattern when it comes to their fossil record: hatchling and juveniles tend to be rare due to very high mortality rates (many were eaten and digested, resulting in no preservation), rapid growth rates to larger size and preservation bias that favors fossilization of large bodied, large boned animals. By comparison, there tends to be a large number of individuals that are one-half to two-thirds maximum adult size that represent animals that have reached sexual (but not skeletal) maturity, and a small number of individuals that have reached maximum adult size and skeletal maturity.


Snake Track in Mud / Observing Time


Snake trail.

Most desert critters are active at night, and their presence may only be known by prints and tracks. I think of ancient hunters for whom animal “signs”  may have begun a language of time: the past is visible – in tracks a human can “see” the animal moving; elapsed time can be calculated from the print itself. Knowledge of topography, water availability and animal habits can roll out a future line of activity like a red carpet. This is visual language; concrete, historical and predictive: connected. Gestures are its co-expression; silence is golden.

Subsistence hunting is not easy, nor is success a given. Rates of successful predation are slim, even for top predators. Anything a “puny human” could do to increase the odds would be important. Number one would be to observe, copy, adjust and utilize not only behaviors of prey, but the strategies of carnivores. I think this is a human advantage that is underappreciated and almost entirely overlooked: we not only copy skills and behavior from other humans, but from animals, and we learn how to use materials and solve problems by “clever” insight into geologic processes and raw materials in the landscape.

We too often attribute this observational knowledge to human “imagination” or inventive ability, and not to direct inspiration from the environment.


Impression from fishing boot.


The waddling trail of two low-slung ducks.

The Ascent of Humanity / Charles Eisenstein

Sample from:

The ancestors were actual people not magical beings.

The Ascent of Humanity is about the history and future of civilization from a unique perspective: the evolution of the human sense of self. The book can be read online.

by Charles Eisenstein

No, I haven’t read the full book, just Chapter II, “The Origins of Separation,” but will get to it soon…soon….

Along with the gradual shift to agriculture came a transformation in human attitudes toward nature. Hunting accords with a view of other animals as equals. After all, nature works that way—some eat and some are eaten—and the human hunter is doing nothing different from animal hunters. Domestication imposes a hierarchy onto the interspecies relationship, as man becomes lord and master of the animals. Understandably, this relationship is then projected onto the whole of nature, which becomes in its entirety the object of domestication and control. Yet we must also consider that the innovation of animal domestication could perhaps not have happened in the first place unless nature were first objectified conceptually. The solution to this chicken-and-egg problem lies in the embryonic self-other separation embodied in all life forms, going back to prehuman times. Domestication merely represents its crystallization into a new phase: a slow-motion gestalt which also included all the other elements of separation detailed in the foregoing sections.

The farmer’s new relationship with nature engendered a new conception of the divine. As agriculture and other technology removed humans from nature, so also did the gods become supernatural rather than natural beings. The process was a gradual one, starting with ancient pantheons closely identified with natural forces. Gradually, identity evolved into rulership as the gods were abstracted out of nature, eventually resulting in the Newtonian watchmaker God completely separate from the earthly (the natural) realm. At the same time, as we lost touch with nature’s harmonies and cycles, the gods took on the capricious character exemplified by the Greek pantheon and the Old Testament. Accordingly, the gods must be propitiated, kept happy through the offering of sacrifices, a practice found in most ancient farming and herding cultures but not among hunters.

The angry God that arose in early civilizations is also linked to the concept of good and evil and the concept of sin. The corn is good, the weeds are bad. The bees are good, the locusts bad. The sheep are good, the wolves bad. Technology overcomes nature by promoting the good and controlling the bad. As for nature, so also for human nature. The self is divided into two parts, a good part and a bad part, the latter of which we overcome with the controlling technologies of culture.

Whereas hunter-gatherers could easily adapt to all the vicissitudes of the local climate, farmers were at the mercy of drought, hail, locusts, and other threats to a successful harvest. While the resources of hunter-gatherers were virtually unlimited and their population fairly stable, agricultural civilizations experienced famines, epidemics, and wars that decimated whole populations and defied any attempt at prevention. Here was a source of constant, inescapable anxiety woven into the fabric of life itself—no matter how successful this year’s harvest, what of next year?—as well as a motivation for the increased understanding and control represented, respectively, in science and technology. Scarcity and the threat of scarcity is implicit in the attempted mastery of nature. Jockeying for position in the face of scarcity, we endure an endlessly intensifying competitiveness that is built into our system of money, our understanding of biology, and our assumptions about human nature.

Human speech, breathing, swallowing / Bizarre

This video is a very clear video and graphic combo of “how it works”

A note: It is obvious that “socializing” requires heavy use of verbal communication. I suspect that for some Aspergers, the resulting feeling of exhaustion may be due to an actual physical problem within the “breathing-talking” system. One reason I don’t like “talking a lot” is that it “hurts” (feels awkward and even unnatural) and I quickly  become hoarse and my throat sore. Have other Aspergers noticed anything like this?  

So much is made of the language abilities of humans, but the price for verbal language is the danger of choking to death, as well as numerous breathing problems. Sleep apnea can really mess up restorative sleep, brain activity and/or cause death.

We have a typical counter-intuitive problem in evolution. People (including scientists) speak of humans as somehow being able to make complex changes to our anatomy (from apes to “us”) in order to facilitate modern speech.

Ai, yai, yai! This is not how evolution works! There is no evolutionary destiny, goal or plan; what works must work “in the present time” in a specific environment, in which the organism is a “part of a whole” system.  Time (and physiology) do not flow backwards from the future; from human concepts of narcissistic evolutionary supremacy. The environment drives change; organisms are equipped (or not) to adapt. It’s about reproduction, not sentience, metaphysics, philosophy or science.

The fact that changes in human breathing, feeding, and noise-making anatomy are actually BAD DESIGN for individual survival raises questions. This specific physiology is but one “flaw” or challenge that relates to becoming bipedal. Is human “speech” a consequence (side affect, artefact) – an “adjustment” to overall anatomical change, one that “turned out to b” useful and exploitable? How does human speech “promote” viable reproduction?

We do not know, nor can we claim, that even with the advent of anatomically modern humans that speech as language – as we know it – existed in Homo sapiens, since a prior processing and communication system existed: visual processing of sensory acquisition: a much more detailed, “correct” representation of physical reality that provided superior memory and recall of patterns, connections and “packages” of information about plants, animals, weather systems and organic and inorganic materials; a system that has served, and still does serve, survival of thousands of species.

When and why did dependence on a (very generalized and inaccurate) word model of reality, overwhelm this more specific, concrete, and necessary ancient “sensory-visual thinking system”?

How “modern” is human language? How recent? Since present day language, in all its variety, its subjective content of sound, meaning and “non-universality” is the dominant “method” of social processing of information (social thinking) this question is important. How is mutually unintelligible “verbal language” an “improvement” over visual communication, which can be “understood” across groups, and great distances and deep time?

Whatever our early ancestors “spoke” is lost; their concrete physical products are not; from tools to markings on bone, ivory or stone; from painted symbols, animals and people, to jewelry and textiles, these communicate to us from vanished worlds, if we do not impose our “word-magic” beliefs onto them.

Our “modern languages” must still be translated from one into another; meaning is imprecise, vague, misleading and easily misinterpreted. Word language in practice, is very poor communication. Relationships between individuals, groups and nations is a “guessing game” of meaning and intent, contrary to what “psychologists” portray as a “hooky-spooky mind-reading” ability being a pan-species “magical  property” of the “normal” human brain. Tragedy may hinge on one poorly selected and culturally dependent word or phrase.

The “real power” of verbal language is not in clear communication, but in deception.

The question remains: How does this “dangerous flaw” in anatomy, which provides for human speech, promote viable reproduction of our species?

Maybe it doesn’t. We don’t know how this anatomical evolutionary trial will turn out; will word language contribute to extinction or extension?




The MAN CAVE / Still Popular after 40,000 years

imagesRRROIZPSThe “man cave” has become a popular joke:


“You can be a man, but do it in the garage or basement.”

In most of the American West, the entire region has always been a Man Cave, not only for invaders, but for the Warrior society natives.


Sadly, manly expression for some domestic males is confined to household “fixit” projects, like maintenance of the house, appliances and plumbing. Hence “Homo habilis” the Handy Man (thought to be extinct).


The garage however, can be a secret passage leading to the hunt for trophies of the Anthropocene: Note the common association of vehicles with “Paleolithic Goddess” imagery.

1969_Dodge_Charger-e1412093280137 1971_cuda_hemi_vert_final 132690_Rear_3-4_Web muscle-car-pictures


Of course, the man cave never really “went away.” Extravagant animal trophy rooms, and indeed, entire houses and museums, are still being built to house dead animals procured in both legal and illegal hunts.



Man watching Baseball on television

Man Cave with Modern Hearth

40c31440-742d-4898-a541-495e26513449Tastefull H Trophy Photo

Can men be “neutered” and remain men? That’s a rhetorical question.


When do men smile? After they’ve killed something.




Man the Cannibal / Re-post

Man the cannibal


Cannibalism is common to mythologies worldwide. Evidence for the sacrifice of objects, animals, foods, and human beings is abundant in archaeological reports, but how could the related practice of cannibalism have originated?

Cannibalism is described in many myths, from the killing and eating of captives, to witches that steal children and boil them for dinner, to fathers who are tricked into eating their own child, an “accident” which arises from the fear of uncertain paternity. Cannibalism has left physical evidence in the form of human bones opened for marrow and brains. It is not difficult to imagine that in times of hardship, humans may have killed and eaten their own, or preyed on the competition: slower moving relatives may have been fair game for early human species, and more easily “caught” than large and dangerous prey.

Note: There is no reason to assume that “homo” species saw other “similar” species as anything but potential prey, just as our current “cousins” – Chimps – and also monkeys, are hunted as “bush meat”.  Archaic hominids had no “species” concepts, nor was Homo sapiens (God’s special creation) anything so grandiose in a hungry world! Homo sapiens was not exempt from becoming food like any other animal – and the reverse is also true: This idea of “‘cannibalism” – eating one’s own species as “taboo” is a recent and modern conceit.

An obvious choice for sacrifice during famine would be a child who was too young to contribute to the survival of the group. (This is a tried and true strategy in nature – more offspring can be produced) A magical idea may have been put forth to persuade the mother to give up her child: the mothers of animals sacrifice their children so that humans have food. Perhaps they will accept one of our children in trade, and thus produce more animals to feed us. Necessary cannibalism that sustained a group through extreme conditions may have receded in better times in favor of prophylactic human sacrifices meant to postpone hardship or to jump-start a perilous undertaking. Acts of sacrifice would become a component of the culture myth and thus be incorporated into religious ritual.    

The Last Supper myth is a twisted tale of human sacrifice and cannibalism that Christians reenact, but without recognizing its roots in the annual human sacrifice and cannibalism practiced in agricultural societies. The thirteenth man didn’t serve dinner, he was eaten, and his body parts distributed to the fields, where food crops would be resurrected in the coming year – hence the unlucky number thirteen. The twelve apostles replaced the signs of the zodiac, the calendar that set the time of planting and harvest: Christians merely changed a yearly ritual into a one-off event. The sacrifice and resurrection of the demigod identified as Jesus was made available to cult members through the shared ritual of eating the sacrificial man and drinking his blood, an act of power transference basic to magic. It’s no accident that Christian doctrine banned cremation. Christians copied Egyptian resurrection magic, in which the body must be intact for rebirth to succeed.

In male-dominated cultures, the chief male god is awarded extraordinary talents of procreation, and he often utilizes virgins to secure his paternity. The god can appear in animal form or as a force of nature; he is sometimes hidden by atmospheric effects, such as a storm or beam of light (lightning bolt.) We tend to forget that violation by a god is rape. Recasting a brutal attack into a charming religious story serves to excuse behavior, that if committed by a lesser male would be considered a crime; the worst human behavior is reserved for a Top Male god.

The rape victim will relive the attack, removing details and reducing or accentuating others with the aid of “social” pressure. This process removes the crime to the supernatural realm, where it may live safely forever, despite the actual attack having had a beginning and an ending. This falsification of reality yields a consequence: once the event is recast as supernatural, it is difficult to bring it into the light of day, and to know that it was real. Real events end: supernatural events are eternal.  

Supernatural coping is not coping at all. The victim is stuck with a version of the experience that is eternal, fixed, and not compatible with reality, and which often justifies the crime; guilt is transferred to the victim. Phobias, compulsive behavior, overuse of drugs and alcohol, rage and self-abuse are symptoms of the “supernaturalization” of reality.

Ritual cannibalism is central to Christianity

John 6:53-56 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”

This is not a metaphor; this is a command to perform an actual ritual.

Here we go with archaeo-anthro “narratives again”

It is claimed by many “scientists” that cannibalism was not about “nutrition”. The “fairytale” goes like this:

  1. A horse, bison or mammoth would provide vastly more calories than a “puny human” so if you killed a human and ate it, it couldn’t be for “food” purposes. (Wow!)
  2. The reason for cannibalism must be a lot of socio-cultural religious mumbo jumbo, which applies mostly to “socially modern humans”  but neglects the obvious; eating humans is emphatically “discouraged” by modern societies: cannibalism is a severe “pathology” and crime today.
  3. Mortuary practices and ancestor worship rituals that include defleshing and flesh-eating are invoked, but these are specific rituals that are easily identified in the archaeologic record.
  4. And – a human would be “harder to kill” than a large animal and less “food” per unit of effort. This is so ridiculous! What universe do these folks live in? They obviously have been “well-fed” their entire lives and have never  experienced chronic  hunger or starvation….

No human ever hunted and ate rats, rabbits, squirrels, bats, insects, and any other small bit of living protein. And no one ever “fished” or gathered sea creatures because, It ain’t worth the trouble.

Magic powers are indeed served in “beheading and displaying heads” as war trophies, which is both an easy way to “count” enemy victims and to scare the bejeezus out of the populace and it is universal magic that the head is a source of power – it does all the talking and cannot be removed without killing the person. Blood also is big magic!

This graphic is used to “back up” the claim that no one would eat a human for the nutrition. Really? Look at those calories!