Being anthropological about Anthropology – intentions, reviews, Neanderthals

The Planning Fallacy rules my life. And I’ [redacted] years of age.

I brought this book with me, with the good intention of reading it while in quarantine. I’d bought it (two quid) a couple of weeks previously, at a charity event.

Yeah, right. Fortunately, today is day 7 of Quarantine (7 more to go) and I decided to do a review of my intentions. On some things (writing, researching, blogging, exercising) I’m doing okay (but see first sentence). Two spectacular gaps – stretching (my hamstrings are a joke, my hip adductors and knee extensors no beter) and… the book.

So today I did some adulting. I actually read the first six excerpts from it.

Lots of it was stuff I knew already, sorta (I went through a reading-binge about “the Doctrine of DNA” in the late 1990s.)

This was good

Meanwhile, back in Africa groups of Homo ergaster evolved into a species known as Homo heidelbergensis by approximately 600,00 (sic) years ago. This is the species that was the common ancestor of bot the Neanderthals and us. Like Homo ergaster before it, this species showed many human-like traits, and would have been a formidable predator that used projectile weapons (spears) to hunt very large prey many times their own size. Groups of this species left Africa and found their way to Europe by about 500,000 years ago, and lived across Europe from the British Isles to Greece. By around 250,0000 years ago we see in the fossils from Europe traits that we associate with the Neanderthals. In Africa we see our own species Homo sapiens appear from 200,000 years ago in the Omo region of Ethiopia.

(page 25)

On Neanderthals, two things. There’s that Far Side cartoon


And there’s William Golding’s “The Inheritors,” which I should read some time (and perhaps re-read some of the monkeys/apes among the humans stuff, including The Right Honourable Chimpanzee, and hilarious novel, co-written by Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident killed with a poisoned umbrella in 1978

Tomorrow, “The Body”…

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