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originally posted by: DazDaKing
a reply to: peter vlar
Thanks for the informative reply man!
I've realised I got the 7 foot tall association from the fact that Cro-Magnon men were said to have been able to reach ranges of 6 foot 5 to 7 foot tall. This wasn't the average height however.
My honest mistake. What was the average human height from 40,000-200,000 years ago? I've read figures from 4'10" to 5'2".
I don't understand your natural selection point. Read what I said again. The specimen's bloodline had been in Europe (and hence exposed to European UV levels) for approximately 35,000 years, and yet the skin pigment had still shown practically no sign of changing from brown.
The team itself has proposed an alternative theory to UV radiation, stating that it was in fact an agricultural revolution that led to the relatively quick and recent development of the light-skin gene.
It's strange actually because there's a clear correlation of UV radiation exposure and the skin pigment of the local populace - so we can deduce to an extent that UV radiation is definitely playing a part here.
But here's a question for you... how can skin pigment influence natural selection?
Natural selection works on the principle that a mutation provides a beneficial advantage to survival and thus over time it spreads through reproduction more so than the other variants - in its most simple form.
Skin pigment definitely doesn't provide a survival advantage in terms of gaining lighter skin. What it does provide is increased efficiency.
Vitamin D levels are not going to make the difference between the race surviving or not. I refuse to believe this. It was not like all the dark-skinned males started dying in the sudden drop of UV radiation/Vitamin D absorption, leaving the lucky few lighter skinned mutants to continue breeding - that is absurdity.
If UV radiation can't affect the survival rate of a dark-skinned man within his singular lifetime, it cannot be the driving force of a change over multiple generations due to decreased reproduction.
The difference in Vitamin D could be argued to have affected the hunting capacity of different males for example, hence over many generations becoming the more prevalent gene. However, this is really stretching it.
The only other way to explain it logically from a strictly classical Darwinistic approach is to assume that the lighter skin increased the sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex. That is a controversial statement in itself.
Personally, I feel more like we are witnessing the product of epigenetics rather than classical natural selection. Science has come a LONG way since the days of Darwin.
In the first 4 or 5 years of a humans life, the DNA-Body complex is gathering all relevant environmental information. This data, including factors such as temperature/EM radiation, is not only used to make changes to the 'planned' body but it is also passed down generation to generation.
Essentially, DNA comprises an open feedback loop system. This is actually startling knowledge but I believe it to be scientifically sound now.
Perhaps skin pigment is ultimately a product of this? Either that or these scientists hit the nail on the head and that it was really diet that caused the change - or at least the jump from dark to light.
Back on topic however - I find it absolutely fascinating that we are basically accepting that Neanderthals were boat sailors. This takes a tremendous amount of intelligence and awareness.
originally posted by: DazDaKing
Any humanoid that has the capacity to do this must also inherently have the capacity to achieve what we have achieved today. It means the fundamental basis is there.
It also makes me think back to the red haired visitors in America and even the early human obsession with a previous and different civilization.
It's crazy to think that there were 4 humanoids roaming the Earth at one time, all apparently equipped with at least the fundamental basis for learning and understanding.
The more I think about it, the defining feature that resulted in us being here right now, with me using a device in my hand to relay a message to you god knows where, is the utilization of language.
Only once a proper system of language is established can any other form of human progression occur, from the spiritual to the technological.
I believe it is our specific anatomy that allows us to express the full range of frequency that we do. A Neanderthal could not have produced the entire range that we can. Is our fluke simply down to this?
Then again, as you said, modernly anatomical humans arose approx. 200,000 years ago. Why did it take us approx.195,000 of those years to actually start using a system of writing, which ultimately reflects the achievement of advanced language itself?
Also, before I forget, what's your opinion on what drove humans to migrate all the way to the Nordic lands from Africa, ignoring all the potential areas to settle in between - which are also unarguably more hospitable for life?
Was this a by product of a tribe crossing a frozen portion of the sea and realising they could not afford to risk moving further, and being forced to settle in an otherwise unfavourable area? Any light would be welcome.
By the way - I am aware that the Earth has gone through various environmental changes over the last 200,000 years, but the general rule of the equator will still hold due to the geometry of our solar system.
The closer we get to the poles, the colder and harder life becomes - 200,000 years ago or today.
So developing skin cancer can't affect survival rates in a singular generation? Interesting... but again, as I've noted a couple of times, it doesn't need to be a trait that is beneficial to survival as much as it needs to be a trait that gets you laid.
It's not absurdity. Its science and its survival. You can't survive long enough to pass your genes on if you die of skin cancer.
The modern European gene pool was formed when three ancient populations mixed within the last 7,000 years, Nature journal reports.
Blue-eyed, swarthy hunters mingled with brown-eyed, pale skinned farmers as the latter swept into Europe from the Near East.
But another, mysterious population with Siberian affinities also contributed to the genetic landscape of the continent.
"There's an evolutionary argument about this - that light skin in Europe is biologically advantageous for people who farm, because you need to make vitamin D," said David Reich.
"Hunters and gatherers get vitamin D through their food - because animals have a lot of it. But once you're farming, you don't get a lot of it, and once you switch to agriculture, there's strong natural selection to lighten your skin so that when it's hit by sunlight you can synthesise vitamin D."
Remarkably, the researchers effected this transformation without altering a single letter of the mouse's DNA. Their approach instead was radically straightforward—they changed the moms' diet. Starting just before conception, Jirtle and Waterland fed a test group of mother mice a diet rich in methyl donors, small chemical clusters that can attach to a gene and turn it off. These molecules are common in the environment and are found in many foods, including onions, garlic, beets, and in the food supplements often given to pregnant women. After being consumed by the mothers, the methyl donors worked their way into the developing embryos' chromosomes and onto the critical agouti gene. The mothers passed along the agouti gene to their children intact, but thanks to their methyl-rich pregnancy diet, they had added to the gene a chemical switch that dimmed the gene's deleterious effects.
The even greater surprise is the recent discovery that epigenetic signals from the environment can be passed on from one generation to the next, sometimes for several generations, without changing a single gene sequence. It's well established, of course, that environmental effects like radiation, which alter the genetic sequences in a sex cell's DNA, can leave a mark on subsequent generations. Likewise, it's known that the environment in a mother's womb can alter the development of a fetus. What's eye-opening is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the epigenetic changes wrought by one's diet, behavior, or surroundings can work their way into the germ line and echo far into the future.
originally posted by: Verum1quaere
a reply to: theantediluvian
interesting, EXCEPT that carbon dating is only accurate for a few thousand years.
“You read books and find statements that such and such a society or archeological site is (claimed to be) 20,000 years old. We learn rather abruptly that these numbers, these ancient ages, are not known (speculations and imaginative guesses); in fact, it is about the time of the First Dynasty in Egypt that the last (earliest) historical date of any any real certainty has been established.”
Willard Libby, Nobel Laureate for development of radiocarbon dating