Conceptual Contamination / Paleoanthropology

I keep hammering away at “conceptual contamination” for a reason. Archaic Biblical notions are embedded in JudeoChristian cultures, never really go away, and wind up in the minds and works of scientists.

Most blatantly as the long-standing convention that every ‘researcher’ in the “human evolution community” gets to create one species in his/her own image. The assumption is rampant that the goal of 3.5 billion years of evolution was to produce Homo sapiens sapiens, specifically EuroAmerican white males, as the perfect representation of God on Earth.

I’m not alone in being peevish about this:

Gregor Mendel, Geneticist and Augustinian Monk


Anat Rec. 2002 Feb 15;269(1):50-66.

Morphology-based systematics (MBS) and problems with fossil hominoid and hominid systematics.

Author information

  • 1Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA.


The generalized/primitive nature of the hominoid dentition and often fragmentary nature of fossils, coupled with enthusiastic optimism for making revolutionary finds, has wreaked havoc with recognition of early human ancestors and reconstruction of fossil hominoid phylogeny. As such, the history of paleoanthropology is one of repeated misidentification of fossil ancestors and of occasional fraud. Although this history has led many workers to lose confidence in morphology based systematics (MBS), past and present misidentifications are actually due to a disregard of systematic methodology. Systematics depends on the continuity of life and gains its objectivity largely from the order alpha taxonomy imposes on morphologic discontinuities in closely related taxa (i.e., species and genera). Transformation of characters fixed in species into character complexes, as manifested in taxa nested at different levels of relationship, form the foundation for higher-level taxonomy and for phylogeny. Because in most cases, hominoid fossils are unable to provide the data needed to resolve alpha taxonomy, classification and phylogeny of fossil taxa must be guided by analogies to living taxa. Hominid and hominoid fossil taxonomy and phylogeny, however, has been based largely on pre-evolutionary notions and on misinterpretations of the polarity of assumed diagnostic characters. More often than not, fossils lack resolution for the taxonomic level or rank they are assigned to and taxa are erected without appropriate analogies to living forms. As such, phylogenies based on these classifications are unlikely to be correct. More in-depth anatomical studies that are in accordance with systematic methodology are likely to hold the key to correctly classifying fossils and unraveling hominoid and hominid phylogeny.

PMID: 11891624 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Full article available online

Recent History of Socio-Political Anthropology Battles / Important

From Natural History Magazine:

Remembering Stephen Jay Gould

Human evolution was not a special case of anything.

By Ian Tattersall

For long-time readers of Natural History, Stephen Jay Gould needs no introduction. His column, “This View of Life,” was a mainstay of the magazine, starting in January 1974 with “Size and Shape” and concluding with the 300th installment, “I Have Landed,” in the December 2000/January 2001 issue. What made his columns so popular was not just Gould’s range of chosen topics, but also the way he regularly allowed himself to be carried away on any tangent that he found interesting.

Gould died on May 20, 2002. Last spring, on the tenth anniversary of his death, I was invited to join other scholars at a commemorative meeting in Venice organized by the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in collaboration with the Università Ca’ Foscari. It fell to me, as an anthropologist, to talk about Gould’s intellectual legacy to anthropology. Gould was, of course, anything but a primate specialist. But as it happens, in 1974, the year Gould started writing “This View of Life,” he and I were both invited to attend a specialized meeting on “Phylogeny of the Primates: An Interdisciplinary Approach.” Even at that early stage in his career, I learned, the reach of his writings had broadened well beyond his realms of invertebrate paleontology (he was a fossil-snail expert) and evolutionary theory. He came to address the roles of ontogeny (development of the individual) and neoteny (the evolutionary retention of juvenile traits in adults) in human evolution. What I personally found most interesting, however, was his preprint for the conference, which contained, among much else, a virtuoso canter through the history of human evolutionary studies. He effortlessly displayed mastery of a huge literature on a scale that many professional paleoanthropologists fail to achieve in entire academic lifetimes.

Despite a paucity of strictly technical contributions, there can be no doubt that Gould’s influence on anthropology, and on paleoanthropology in particular, was truly seminal. Foremost among such influences was his 1972 collaboration with Niles Eldredge in developing and publicizing the notion of “punctuated equilibria,” the view that species typically remain little changed during most of their geological history, except for rapid events when they may split to give rise to new, distinct species. This breakthrough enabled paleoanthropologists, like other paleontologists, to treat the famous “gaps” in the fossil record as information, a reflection of how evolution actually proceeded.

Similarly, it was Gould who, in collaboration with Yale paleontologist Elisabeth S. Vrba (then at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria, South Africa), emphasized that an anatomical or behavioral trait that evolved to serve one function could prove a handy adaptation for an entirely unanticipated one—and that the term exaptation was a better name for this phenomenon than preadaptation, which implied some kind of inherent tendency for a species to follow a certain evolutionary path. Anthropologists were forced to recognize exaptation as an essential theme in the history of innovation in the human family tree.

Speaking of trees, I am convinced that Gould’s most significant contribution to paleoanthropology was his insistence, from very early on, that the genealogy of human evolution took the form of a bush with many branches, rather than a ladder, or simple sequence of ancestors and descendants. As he wrote in his April 1976 column, “Ladders, Bushes, and Human Evolution”:

“I want to argue that the ‘sudden’ appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. Evolution usually proceeds by “speciation”—the splitting of one lineage from a parental stock—not by the slow and steady transformation of these large parental stocks. Repeated episodes of speciation produce a bush.”

Before World War II, paleoanthropologists had overwhelmingly been human anatomists by background, with little interest in patterns of diversity in the wider living world. And having been trained largely in a theoretical vacuum, the postwar generation of paleoanthropologists was already exapted to capitulate when, at exact midcentury, the biologist Ernst Mayr told them to throw away nearly all the many names they had been using for fossil hominids. Mayr replaced this plethora, and the diversity it had suggested, with the idea that all fossil hominids known could be placed in a single sequence, from Homo transvaalensis to Homo erectus and culminating in Homo sapiens.

There was admittedly a certain elegance in this new linear formulation; but the problem was that, even in 1950, it was not actually supported by the material evidence. And new discoveries soon made not only most paleoanthropologists but even Mayr himself—grudgingly, in a footnote—concede that at least one small side branch, the so-called “robust” australopithecines, had indeed existed over the course of human evolution. But right up into the 1970s and beyond, the minimalist mindset lingered. Gould’s was among the first—and certainly the most widely influential —voices raised to make paleoanthropologists aware that there was an alternative.

In his “Ladders, Bushes, and Human Evolution” column, Gould declared that he wanted “to argue that Australopithecus, as we know it, is not the ancestor of Homo; and that, in any case, ladders do not represent the path of evolution.” At the time, both statements flatly contradicted received wisdom in paleoanthropology. And while in making the first of them I suspect that Gould was rejecting Australopithecus as ancestral to Homo as a matter of principle, his immediate rationale was based on the recent discovery, in eastern Africa, of specimens attributed to Homo habilis that were just as old as the South African australopithecines.

Later discoveries showed that Gould had been hugely prescient. To provide some perspective here: In 1950, Mayr had recognized a mere three hominid species. By 1993, I was able to publish a hominid genealogy containing twelve. And the latest iteration of that tree embraces twenty-five species, in numerous coexisting lineages. This was exactly what Gould had predicted. In his 1976 article he had written: “We [now] know about three coexisting branches of the human bush. I will be surprised if twice as many more are not discovered before the end of the century.”

Indeed, his impact on the paleoanthropological mindset went beyond even this, largely via his ceaseless insistence that human beings have not been an exception to general evolutionary rules. Before Gould’s remonstrations began, one frequently heard the term “hominization” bandied about, as if becoming human had involved some kind of special process that was unique to our kind. Gould hammered home the message that human evolutionary history was just like that of other mammals, and that we should not be looking at human evolution as a special case of anything.

Of course, Gould had ideas on particular issues in human paleontology as well, and he never shrank from using his Natural History bully pulpit to voice his opinions. Over the years he issued a succession of shrewd and often influential judgments on subjects as diverse as the importance of bipedality as the founding hominid adaptation; the newly advanced African “mitochondrial Eve”; hominid diversity and the ethical dilemmas that might be posed by discovering an Australopithecus alive today; sociobiology and evolutionary psychology (he didn’t like them); the relations between brain size and intelligence; neoteny and the retention of juvenile growth rates into later development as an explanation of the unusual human cranial form; and why human infants are so unusually helpless.

(Removed here; a narrative about the search for who had perpetrated the Piltdow Man hoax)

Gould’s devotion to the historically odd and curious, as well as his concern with the mainstream development of scientific ideas, is also well illustrated by his detailed account of the bizarre nineteenth-century story of Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman. Dubbed the “Hottentot Venus,” Baartman was a Khoisan woman from South Africa’s Western Cape region who was brought to Europe in 1810 and widely exhibited to the public before her death in 1815. Gould’s publicizing of the extraordinary events surrounding and following Baartman’s exhibition may or may not have contributed to the repatriation in 2002 of her remains from Paris to South Africa, where they now rest on a hilltop overlooking the valley in which she was born. But what is certain is that Gould’s interest in this sad case also reflected another of his long-term concerns, with what he called “scientific racism.”

Principally in the 1970s—when memories of the struggle for civil rights in the United States during the previous decade were still extremely raw—Gould devoted a long series of his columns to the subject of racism, as it presented itself in a whole host of different guises. In his very first year of writing for Natural History, he ruminated on the “race problem” both as a taxonomic issue, and in its more political expression in relation to intelligence. He even made the matter personal, with a lucid and deeply thoughtful demolition in Natural History of the purportedly scientific bases for discrimination against Jewish immigrants to America furnished by such savants as H. H. Goddard and Karl Pearson.

Gould also began his long-lasting and more specific campaign against genetic determinism, via a broadside against the conclusions of Arthur Jensen, the psychologist who had argued that education could not do much to level the allegedly different performances of various ethnic groups on IQ tests. And he began a vigorous and still somewhat controversial exploration of the historical roots of “scientific racism” in the work of nineteenth-century embryologists such as Ernst Haeckel and Louis Bolk.

But Gould’s most widely noticed contribution to the race issue began in 1978, with his attack in Science on the conclusions of the early-nineteenth century physician and craniologist Samuel George Morton, whom he characterized rather snarkily as a “self-styled objective empiricist.” In three voluminous works published in Philadelphia between 1839 and 1849—on Native American and ancient Egyptian skulls, and on his own collection of more than 600 skulls of all races—the widely admired Morton had presented the results of the most extensive study ever undertaken of human skulls. The main thrust of (Morton’s) study had been to investigate the then intensely debated question of whether the various races of humankind had a single origin or had been separately created. Morton opted for polygeny, or multiple origins, a conclusion hardly guaranteed to endear him to Gould. Along the way, Morton presented measurements that showed, in keeping with prevailing European and Euro-American beliefs on racial superiority, that Caucasians had larger brains than American “Indians,” who in turn had bigger brains than “Negroes” did. (Cranial-brain size DOES NOT correlate to intelligence)

After closely examining Morton’s data, Gould characterized the Philadelphia savant’s conclusions as “a patchwork of assumption and finagling, controlled, probably unconsciously, by his conventional a priori ranking (his folks on top, slaves on the bottom).” He excoriated Morton for a catalog of sins that included inconsistencies of criteria, omissions of both procedural and convenient kinds, slips and errors, and miscalculations. And although in the end he found “no indication of fraud or conscious manipulation,” he did see “Morton’s saga” as an “egregious example of a common problem in scientific work.” As scientists we are all, Gould asserted, unconscious victims of our preconceptions, and the “only palliations I know are vigilance and scrutiny.”

That blanket condemnation of past and current scientific practice was a theme Gould shortly returned to, with a vengeance, in his 1981 volume The Mismeasure of Man. Probably no book Gould ever wrote commanded wider attention than did this energetic critique of the statistical methods that had been used to substantiate one of his great bêtes noires, biological determinism. This was (is) the belief, as Gould put it, that “the social and economic differences between human groups—primarily races, classes, and sexes—arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology.”

We are still plagued by this pseudo-scientific “justification” of poverty and inequality; of misogyny and abuse of “lesser humans” by the Human Behavior Industries. Remember, this is very recent history, and the forces of social “control and abuse” are very much still with us.  

It is alarming that the revolution in DNA / genetic research has shifted the “means” of this abuse of human beings into a radical effort to “prove” that socially-created and defined “human behavior pathologies” are due to genetic determinism. The race is on to “prove” that genetic defects, rather than hidden social engineering goals, underlie “defective behavior and thinking” as dictated by closet eugenicists. Racism and eugenics are being pursued in the guise of “caring, treating and fixing” socially “defective” peoples. Genetic engineering of embryos is already in progress

SEE POST August 11, 2017: First Human Embryos ‘Edited’ in U.S. / 7 billion humans not consulted

In Mismeasure, Gould restated his case against Morton at length, adding to the mix a robust rebuttal of methods of psychological testing that aimed at quantifying “intelligence” as a unitary attribute. One of his prime targets was inevitably Arthur Jensen, the psychologist he had already excoriated in the pages of Natural History for Jensen’s famous conclusion that the Head Start program, designed to improve low-income children’s school performance by providing them with pre-school educational, social, and nutritional enrichment, was doomed to fail because the hereditary component of their performance—notably that of African American children—was hugely dominant over the environmental one. A predictable furor followed the publication of Mismeasure, paving the way for continuing controversy during the 1980s and 1990s on the question of the roles of nature versus nurture in the determination of intelligence.

This issue of nature versus nurture, a choice between polar opposites, was of course designed for polemic, and attempts to find a more nuanced middle ground have usually been drowned out by the extremes. So it was in Gould’s case. An unrepentant political liberal, he was firmly on the side of nurture. As a result of his uncompromising characterizations of his opponents’ viewpoints, Gould found himself frequently accused by Jensen and others of misrepresenting their positions and of erecting straw men to attack.

Yet even after Mismeasure first appeared, the climax of the debate was yet to come. In 1994, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published their notorious volume, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. At positively Gouldian length, Herrnstein and Murray gave a new boost to the argument that intelligence is largely inherited, proclaiming that innate intelligence was a better predictor of such things as income, job performance, chances of unwanted pregnancy, and involvement in crime than are factors such as education level or parental socioeconomic status. They also asserted that, in America, a highly intelligent, “cognitive elite” was becoming separated from the less intelligent underperforming classes, and in consequence they recommended policies such as the elimination of what they saw as welfare incentives for poor women to have children.

Eugenics has never died in American Science; it remains an underestimated force in the shaping of “what do about unacceptable humans”. It is neither a liberal nor conservative impulse: it is a drive within elites to control human destiny.

To Gould such claims were like the proverbial red rag to a bull. He rapidly published a long review essay in The New Yorker attacking the four assertions on which he claimed Herrnstein and Murray’s argument depended. In order to be true, Gould said, Herrnstein and Murray’s claims required that that what they were measuring as intelligence must be: (1) representable as a single number; (2) must allow linear rank ordering of people; (3) be primarily heritable; and (4) be essentially immutable. None of those assumptions, he declared, was tenable. And soon afterward he returned to the attack with a revised and expanded edition of Mismeasure that took direct aim at Herrnstein and Murray’s long book.

There can be little doubt that, as articulated in both editions of Mismeasure, Gould’s conclusions found wide acceptance not only among anthropologists but in the broader social arena as well. But doubts have lingered about Gould’s broad-brush approach to the issues involved, and particularly about a penchant he had to neglect any nuance there might have been in his opponents’ positions. Indeed, he was capable of committing in his own writings exactly the kinds of error of which he had accused Samuel Morton—ironically, even in the very case of Morton himself.

In June 2011, a group of physical anthropologists led by Jason Lewis published a critical analysis of Gould’s attacks on Morton’s craniology. By remeasuring the cranial capacities of about half of Morton’s extensive sample of human skulls, Lewis and colleagues discovered that the data reported by Morton had on the whole been pretty accurate. They could find no basis in the actual specimens themselves for Gould’s suggestion that Morton had (albeit unconsciously) overmeasured European crania, and under-measured African or Native American ones. What’s more, they could find no evidence that, as alleged by Gould, Morton had selectively skewed the results in various other ways.

The anthropologists did concede that Morton had attributed certain psychological characteristics to particular racial groups. But they pointed out that, while Morton was inevitably a creature of his own times, he (Morton) had done nothing to disguise his racial prejudices or his polygenist sympathies. And they concluded that, certainly by prevailing standards, Morton’s presentation of his basic data had been pretty unbiased. (WOW! What an indictment of current Anthropology) What is more, while they were able to substantiate Gould’s claim that Morton’s final summary table of his results contained a long list of errors, Lewis and colleagues also found that correcting those errors would actually have served to reinforce Morton’s own declared biases. And they even discovered that Gould had reported erroneous figures of his own.

These multiple “errors” DO NOT cancel each other out: this is a favorite social typical strategy and magical belief – Present the contradictions from “each side” and reach a “socially acceptable” deadlock. No discussion is possible past this point. The American intellectual-cultural-political environment is trapped in this devastating “black and white, either or, false concept of “problem-solving”. Nothing can be examined; facts are removed to the “supernatural, word-concept domain” and become “politicized” – weapons of distortion in a socio-cultural landscape of perpetual warfare. In the meantime, the population is pushed to either extreme. This is where we are TODAY and this “warfare” will destroy us from within, because the hard work of running a nation is not being done.

It is hard to refute the authors’ conclusion that Gould’s own unconscious preconceptions colored his judgment. Morton, naturally enough, carried all of the cultural baggage of his time, ethnicity, and class. But so, it seems, did Gould. And in a paradoxical way, Gould had proved his own point. Scientists are human beings, and when analyzing evidence they always have to be on guard against the effects of their own personal predilections.

And of the domination and control of their professions by the “elite and powerful” who promote a racist-eugenic social order and control how their work is “messaged” and used to achieve socioeconomic and biological engineering goals – worldwide.


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.


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!

Making Stone Tools / A Non-verbal Process

A super group of videos…

Not a single word is needed to do this or to teach someone else to do this. The “tips” at the end would be demonstrated during the process. Children would see tools and other objects made day in and day out and would naturally copy their elders.

Archaeologists go on and on about how it takes “advanced cognitive skills” (like those needed to push around a shopping cart and swipe a credit card) to create stone tools. I have yet to hear a single researcher mention visual thinking. You can babble at a pile of stones, or another human, all day long, but all that yack-yacking will not produce one stone tool. The earliest stone tools are millions of years old; sophisticated flaked tools (Acheulean) were invented by Homo erectus, not Homo sapiens. Some research indicates that ‘language’ structure had its beginnings in sign language and not in vocalization. Pre and early humans were visual observers,  inventors and communicators – and not at all like modern social humans, who are a very recent “neotenic” variation of Homo sapiens.

All it takes is A FEW adept individuals to preserve techniques and to pass on skills. If a group were lucky, one “genius” might come up with improvements and refinements so that technical advancement could occur – which would probably be forgotten and reinvented many times. And critically, resources in one’s environment dictated solutions: nomadism provided exposure to new raw materials and new people, so “itchy feet” were likely more advantageous than staying in one place too long.



New Experience / Academic insanity meltdown

I’m feeling physically ill this morning; stayed up late subjecting myself to the content of  a “scientific” paper that is the worst pile of crap I’ve ever encountered – published in a serious British journal. The subject: Social evolution of humans. The “line of thinking” is so outrageous, so intellectually offensive, that I would call it pornographic: intellectual porn.

A criminal use of the human brain.

I intended to expose this paper, but it had such a disturbing effect that I couldn’t continue with a critique. My point is, that I’ve discovered this “feeling” in myself of “insult by intellectual attack” and I have no word for it. (I bet the Germans do)Something like a meltdown; an attack on sanity delivered by “thought pollution” and not by sensory overload. And I don’t mean a personal attack, but that the assumptions and assertions made and represented as “scientific” work were published by a top journal, as if no one noticed the absurdities.

I even thought momentarily that the paper was an intentional monstrosity, “planted” to test the (corrupt?) review process of some science publishers…so went looking for more papers using search words that were “ungoof- upable” even by google. OMG! The paper was not a “fluke”.

I did encounter a review of the paper and its ideas by a scientist in the same field and it was “politely” scathing – about as close to a tirade as a review can get. It should have made me feel better. It didn’t, because the paper’s writers are established “prestigious” academics, not “ancient alien” conspiracy crackpots – but crackpots within the sciences.

Am I overreacting? I would say not, because this paper served as the “trigger” for the cumulative response to a lifetime of encounters with “nonsense” as the prevailing trend in modern thought. That is, it is the difference between “studying” earthquakes and being in the zone of destruction when the earth “slips” violently – and suddenly, physically, viscerally one experiences the full meaning of danger.

It’s a “Bhuddist” moment for me.



Neanderthals kept H. sapiens out of Europe for 40,000 years

Neanderthal: general extent of occupation.

The discovery of a hoard of ancient human teeth in a Chinese cave has forced scientists to reconsider our species’ relations with our closest evolutionary cousins, the Neanderthals. The find, revealed in the science journal Nature, shows modern humans must have left their African homeland and reached southern China more than 80,000 years ago.

This unexpectedly early date contrasts with our ancestors’ far more recent arrival in Europe – about 45,000 years ago – and suggests Homo sapiens was prevented, for some reason, from moving there for tens of thousands of years. Anthropologist María Martinón-Torres, from University College London – a member of the team that made the discovery – is confident of the reason. She blames the Neanderthals.

Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and emerged from the continent about 100,000 years ago and swept eastward with little apparent resistance from other hominid species they encountered. But when they headed north, they reached the Levant and met the Neanderthals at the southern edge of their European domain. And there they stopped our spread. Essentially Europe was too small for the both of us.”

Neanderthals were experienced hunters and gifted foragers, and had controlled Europe for hundreds of thousands of years. They were therefore able to keep us at the edge of Europe for 40,000 years, added Martinón-Torres. “It was not a matter of physical confrontation, however. It was a matter of who was best able to exploit resources. They had much more experience of the harsher, colder conditions that existed in Europe. I think we have underestimated them. They were not grunting, ignorant cavemen. They were our equals.”

The discovery of the teeth – 47 found at Fuyan cave in Daoxian, in southern China – was made by a team led by Wu Liu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. The teeth were beneath rocks over which stalagmites had grown. Dating techniques indicate the stalagmites are at least 80,000 years old. And so everything below that layer must be older. (Teeth are made of dentine and enamel and the latter is the body’s hardest tissue. As a result, teeth are often preserved at prehistoric sites while other body parts decay and leave no trace.) In fact, the teeth could be up to 125,000 years old, researchers suggest. Nevertheless they closely resemble those of modern Europeans. “The Fuyan teeth indicate that modern humans were present in southern China between 30,000 to 60,000 years earlier than in the eastern Mediterranean and Europe,” states archaeologist Robin Dennell in a commentary article about the find in Nature.

The difference in timescale is remarkable. Modern humans were thought to have left their African homeland about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, eventually reaching Europe about 45,000 years ago, the earliest date that scientists have established for the presence of Homo sapiens there. It then took a further 15,000 to 25,000 years to complete our conquest of Europe. However, the new study suggests the real figure is far higher and modern humans had to wait between 40,000 and 50,000 years before they got into Europe.

In contrast to our progress northward, modern humanity’s progress eastward was unexpectedly rapid. However, not every scientist blames the Neanderthals for blocking our progress in Europe. “One possibility is that an early dispersal headed eastwards through Arabia away from Europe and that the colonisation of Europe through the Levant occurred via a later dispersal,” said Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London.

“In addition, the climate in Europe was relatively cold and inhospitable then,” he said. “We were not properly adapted to conditions and couldn’t get a toehold – and, of course, the Neanderthals were there already.”

However, when modern humans did arrive in Europe, they made remarkable progress. Within a few thousand years, they had settled across the continent while the Neanderthals had disappeared. As to the causes for this rapid extinction, researchers point to the harsh climate Neanderthals had endured in Europe for the previous 200,000 years, when the continent was swept by ice ages and intense cold. Conditions eventually took their toll and numbers of Neanderthals dwindled. Tribes got smaller and smaller and their genetic diversity was compromised. (Novel-writing)

“Essentially, Neanderthals were eventually left in a genetically exhausted state,” said Martinón-Torres. “When we did get into Europe there were hardly any of them left. The rest went quickly after that.”


Science of Brow Ridge / Primate Torus CARTA

Morphology of the Brow Ridge

Not to be confused with the backward baseball cap tan

from CARTA /

Considerable variation exists between hominoid species in the morphology of the supraorbital region. Gorillas and chimpanzees (and most fossil hominins) possess a prominent supraorbital torus, or brow ridge, presenting as a continuous projecting ridge above the orbits and nose (although continuous, the torus is anatomically divisible into three regions: laterally positioned supraorbital trigones, medially positioned supercillary arches, and a midline glabellar prominence). In these species with prominent brow ridges, a supratoral sulcus is generally present as a shallow groove just posterior to the torus. (Modern) Humans and orangutans lack prominent brow ridges. Brow ridges may develop as an architectural or biomechanical by-product of hafting a prognathic (projecting) face onto the low frontal bone characteristic of apes and earlier humans, such that the lack of a brow ridge in modern humans is a consequence of their having an orthognathic (vertical) face and vertical frontal (high forehead). Orangutans possess a supraorbital rim (a thin, non-projecting ridge across the orbits) rather than a torus, which may be a function of the airorynchy (backwards rotation of the face towards the neurocranium) that characterizes these apes.
Seemingly thousands of scientific papers, popular musings and other articles focus on TESTOSTERONE / low-high, male-female and the implications in morphology, human variation, attractiveness, social status, etc. So I won’t go into all that here.
But I did notice something about primates, while looking at images under “brow ridge” and related searches.
Nature is “in love with” built-in architectural protection for eyes:
And often combines this feature with other defensive-offensive skull features.
In most primates, male and female skulls have a “torus” that reinforces the eye sockets and provides protection and sun shade – glare reduction for the eyes. 
The vegetarian, mostly docile gorilla, has a significant brow that actually makes it difficult to see its eyes…
which are visible from a certain head position. We might call this the primate dominance gaze. Not overtly aggressive, but perfectly clear as a statement of power.
And, in fact, this “gaze” has been utilized by Hollywood to great effect: it is a standard publicity pose for leading male actors.

Rudolph Valentino

And it is effective in male dominance: Eyes shaded to “hide” information as to one’s mental-emotional state from a possible opponent…
 which increases the visual effectiveness of the true dominance stare. 
which is a lot like the pan-species “predator” stare:

which in modern western cultures is interpreted to be a “sociopath-psychopath” stare.
So be careful…
Military helmets are often designed to amplify the brow ridge effect, especially if it’s missing. And how can we ignore the ultra-male Klingons?
Sunglasses might be considered to be an artificial enhancement or prosthetic “brow ridge”.