In the wrong side of the Congo

This article In the wrong side of the Congo was originally an integral part of the parent article "Why are we here?", but given the fact the parent article was growing extremely huge, I decided for the sake of simplicity to have the section "In the wrong side of the Congo" on a separate thread for simplicity and easy reading. See below the summary of the main article "Why are we here?" and the location of In the wrong side of the Congo, in section 2 article 5. I recommend and encourage you to read all these articles in order (after all, they follow the chronological order of our creation) so that you get the whole picture of really why are we here

Section 1, our star the Sun, without it nothing will be possible

  1. The Primeval Atom
  2. The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level
  3. The inflation period
  4. Floating in the magic of hydrogen
  5. The Helios nebula

Section 2, the perfect position of planet Earth in the Universe, and the chain of random accidents that caused your existence

  1. The kiss of planet Theia
  2. Diving into the origins of Water
  3. The spark of Life
  4. Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
  5. In the wrong side of the Congo

Section 3, the abstract of your thoughts and the illusion of control

  1. Ancient Civilizations, our roots
  2. Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind
  3. Religion and believes, the intangible reality
  4. Our brains, the biggest mystery
  5. Conclusion

 

5. In the wrong side of the Congo, 2 millions years ago

Hominids Horribilis... that probably would be the name a future civilization will give to our species whenever it is on the future that they find our fossilised remains. If all humans were to disappear today from the face of the Earth, 10 million years after that (literately the blink of an eye in geological times) the only things remaining of our glorious civilization would be some shapeless four faces figures in Mount Rushmore and a thin layer of putrefactus-plastic-morbidus materials about 10 meters below the soil at ground level. That would be it. That would be the legacy of our glorious civilization in the future (satellites and spacecrafts are another history). If there was a global nuclear war today (a disaster that unfortunately is always on the menu), with all the nukes in arsenals being detonated, very likely the human race (so called by himself Homo Sapiens Sapiens) will be extinct in about 50 years maximum after the nuclear blast, unable to survive the gigantic nuclear winter that that kind of war will generate. Most of the species that now populate our planet (under the extreme conditions that we are allowing them to live, or better said, to survive) will also perish in the aftermath of a nuclear war. But again, as our planet has proven since its beginning, Life itself is very resilience and persistence, and it will indeed survive and outlast our self-generated cataclysm... is just so happens that we won't be there to tell

Our species, the Homo Sapiens, evolved in East Africa, around Ethiopia, about 200,000 years ago; that's about the best statement that all anthropologies studying the human race will agree. Before the 200,000 years frontier, and in between there and 2 million years ago, there are quite a lot of species of homos with quite a few missing links that makes the road map to our ancestor quite a puzzle, and every new fossil  specimen that is discover seems to be adding more complexity and confusion to the origin of our species rather than clarity. We are the only surviving species of Homininis.... all the other ones that had ever existed are extinct for unknown reasons. As you can see from the diagram below, of all the species of Hominids only us remain, while we have pushed to the edge of extinction the parallel species in the Gorillini branch. Just so you know, there is a difference between Hominid and Hominin, where Hominin are our gang (can walk up-right) and Hominid are the Apes from Africa only. A final distinction is that the Apes are... well, all Apes

CreditHuman Evolution [the above graph, though, misses the Asian Apes, Orangutan, from East Asia, it should be on a parallel branch to those two]

 

I always found fascinating that we and Chimpanzee/Bonobos share a 99.5% amount of DNA code. They are our closest relatives because all the other species or Hominini are gone, most of them were the bridge used by Mother Nature to evolve into us, but some of them who co-existed with us might have actually being exterminated by us, homo sapiens. It always torture me the possibility that we may be the "aggressive" species. Just like Chimpanzees and Bonobos, which develop very different social skills, behaviours and attitudes depending on which side or the river Congo they were born, it could be that, by analogy, we were also on the wrong side of the Congo, grew on an area of East Africa were resources were scarce, and we are genetically coded to be violent and selfish. Just having a 10 minutes lecture of World War 2 history will show you that we, as a species, are the most dangerous ever to have walked on the face of planet Earth... by far. Not only we kill other species, but we also kill each other, and even our ancestors, mothers, fathers, brothers and lovers: we can kill them all

Could we have caused the extermination of Homo Netherlanders and Cro-Magnon too? If so, if we happen to be inherently violent by nature and unable to control our emotions, like those cells that invented sex by devouring each other underneath the ice crust of the first snowball earth, perhaps we are not meant to understand the meaning of our existence. Perhaps the meaning of existence lays plainly in front of us, like a car in front of an ant, but we cannot see it or perceive it. Perhaps we are just a slightly more complex organism from others, with a keen attitude and a highly developed cortex tune specifically to kills and devours things. We are by far the most lethal species to have ever existed on the planet

And you wonder... why for example during the Dinosaur reign that lasted over 200 million years, none on these species developed intelligence? Why did Evolution had to wait until the Hominid reign, to finally push reasoning as the ultimate masterpiece of survival technique, why so long? And if this new technique of evolution called "reasoning" is such a great advantage for a particular species, just like the eye-sight was when first adopted by organisms 3.5 billions years ago, could other species alongside our timeline have adopted this survival technique? It clearly creates an advantage over others species, just look at us: we dominate the whole planet either you like it or not. Could our love for music and dance fuel the development to a higher intelligence? We have to consider the possibility that maybe there was an intelligence species at the time of the dinosaurs, able to avoid predators, catch prey and built in communities just like we and many other species on this planet do (you name it, herds of mammals, flocks of birds, colonies of ants, hive of bees... evolution does value unions of individuals to protect the species and thrive). This documentary below highlights the importance of controlling your emotions, maybe emotions is the key component that trigger the evolution of our cortex

 

 

 

 

In our quest for searching the meaning of Life and why are we here, we need to consider the possibility that potentially we are not the chosen species by the Universe to answer that sublime question, that is (of course) if there ever was meant to be a chosen species in the Universe to give meaning to anything. Perhaps Bonobos (or their successors) are indeed the ones who will gather a full understanding of the purpose of this Universe, and we are here just to lead them onto the path of preservation until that moment when intelligence sparks on their brains just like it did on ours; given their background of cooperation and non-aggression, surely they'll create a much better civilisation than ours. We are not the only "intelligence" species on this planet, anyway. As we all know, ants are very sophisticated, dolphins have languages, bees can differentiate between the concepts of "same" and "different", and even a humble fish, the pufferfish, generates structures that somehow have to fit on its tiny, tiny brain... how does he do that? https://www.livescience.com/40132-underwater-mystery-circles.html

Last time Yellowstone Caldera exploded was around a 4th July 630/640,000 years ago (Americans love fireworks:)), and without any doubt it must have had an effect in the evolution of humankind, devastating the planet and perhaps laying the ground for our particular species to evolve. Why there are no monkeys in North America? Maybe it was due to the opening of the Drake Passage, that cooled down the North Hemisphere so much, but I believe that the explosion of Yellowstone might have something to do with the lack of Hominids and Monkeys in North America, such an incredible event must have have a decisive influential effect in the evolution of many species. This diagram shows the estimated amount of magma that was emitted in the last Yellowstone eruption... enormous... but guess what?... it pale in comparison with the Toba eruption

CreditHuman Origins 101: The Basics

 

I wonder if the stress that early Hominid would have to endure due to the nuclear winters (mini-ice ages), lasting surely decades, could have been a factor towards the evolution of our species, towards the mutation of the genes that make us what we are. It would be interesting to cross-relate the amount of volcanic eruptions and stress that suffered the planet with the evolution of our brains, beautifully represented on the picture below. As we all know, evolution doesn't trigger unless the environment changes, therefore we have to assume that, in order for the Homos to evolve, a significant change must have occurred on their ecosystem to trigger the mutation that lead to the development of "reasoning"

 

Credit: Dr Sycamore

 

Flood Basalt Eruptions are also devastating killers, how did it affect the evolution of Apes? The oldest Homo Sapiens fossils has been found in Morocco, and dated 300,000 years ago, meaning we are indeed flipping old, older than the 200,000 most palaeontologist believe our species are, and evidences prove that for thousands of years Home Sapiens where living mostly in Africa while Homo Netherlanders occupied Europe, and touches and genetic exchange between the 2 species could have been possible. All changed, however, after the Toba eruption, as it created a decade or so of nuclear winter plus a global drop of temperatures for decades to come after that, pushing all species to the blink of extinction. Our mitochondria DNA shows that we are the resultant of a group of about 5,000 individuals who lived in East Africa around 75,000 years ago... clearly the survivors of the Toba eruption which occurred in the planet at that time.Those were the Homo Sapiens who conquered the whole planet, we are their descendent, the product of a cataclysm. This video does a great look about how the Toba eruption in the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) shaped the way we are and makes us genetically identical

 

Consider that this eruption, a supervolcano eruption, is indeed "one colossal catastrophic event", not the type of volcano that you see it "kindly" coming to you like the Hawaii or any other slow-magma volcanos. This eruption must have been from one day to the next, just like the drop of a gigantic nuclear bomb, the smash of an asteroid or the impact of a gargantuan tsunami: not a happy ending at all. Most likely due to to the Toba eruption, 75,000 years ago, the Homo Sapiens that were in East Africa abandoned the area in search of new hunting grounds. Taken into account that there was an Ice Age going on (most likely exacerbated by the global cool down period of the Toba eruption), most of Northern Europe was  covered in glaciers and ice sheets, with sea levels much lower than now, thus enabling land bridges for the Homo Sapiens to move out of Africa, crossing the Arabian peninsula and establishing themselves in lower Mesopotamia, where the first civilisation known to mankind arouse a few thousands years later: the Sumerians

Credit: Out of Africa Theory and Early Modern Humans

So here again we seems to have it, very similar to the Theia impact which enabled our planet to host life: a single event, in this occasion the Toba eruption and its thereafter consequences, greatly defined the evolution of this particular species called Homo Sapiens, giving them an initial point of stress that eventually lead to their advantage over other species. But as we have learnt on this article and throughout the history of planet Earth, the path to evolution is way more complex than the common thought of a linear ascending arrow, the path is subjected to climate changes and random Earth events, like for example supernova explosions. Could the Supernovas that exploded 2 million years ago caused the mutation that generated "reasoning" to the brain of the Homo Sapiens? And could have been the Toba eruption the event that ultimately triggered the expansion of that "reasoning"?

 Credit: Ancient star explosions could have led early humans to walk upright

 

Click on this link to watch a great video about how humans populated Great Britain, a clear and illustrative example of what was going on all over Africa, on other parts of Europe and the Middle East as the early homos were spreading across the planet, with the ultimate supremacy of Homo Sapiens, us, as the dominant species... undoubtedly the more aggressive of them all

I would like to finish off this chapter by listing what is the first most significant achievement of Hominid, most likely first conquered by the Homo Erectus. Agriculture, you might say? Nope, that is Homo Sapiens. The invention of the wheel? That is Homo Sapiens second best hit. I'm talking about fire: we are made of fire, our brains and digestive system cannot live without it. In fact, it is argue that the Homo Erectus, as a scavenger, found easy food on the animals that perished after wild fires, which must have been common in a increasingly dried Africa, slowly developing the "brain" of our stomach which lead to a neuron-rich brain that eventually sparked the "reasoning" survival technique

 

 

References:

Mankind and its relatives modern homo species https://www.zmescience.com/science/archaeology/humanitys-relatives-modern-homo-species/

Homo Ancestors http://aquatic-human-ancestor.org/ancestors/homo-ancestors.html

DNA: comparing humans and chips https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/human-origins/understanding-our-past/dna-comparing-humans-and-chimps

Bonobos join Chimps as closest human relatives https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/06/bonobos-join-chimps-closest-human-relatives

Why we're closer than ever to a timeline for human evolution https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2016/dec/22/why-were-closer-than-ever-to-a-timeline-for-human-evolution

Oldest hominid skeleton revealed https://www.nature.com/news/2009/091001/full/news.2009.966.html

7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains found in the Balkans https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523083548.htm

The Human Family's earliest ancestors https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-human-familys-earliest-ancestors-7372974/ 

Free-living African Apes https://chimpsnw.org/resources/advocacy/conservation/african-apes/

Do humans really have a killer instinct or is that just manly fancy? https://psyche.co/ideas/do-humans-really-have-a-killer-instinct-or-is-that-just-manly-fancy

Here's Why there are no Monkeys native to North America https://www.sciencealert.com/why-are-there-no-monkeys-in-north-america

World's oldest Homo Sapiens fossils found in Morocco https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/world-s-oldest-homo-sapiens-fossils-found-morocco

Supernovae 2 million years ago may have changed human behaviour https://www.newscientist.com/article/2093270-supernovae-2-million-years-ago-may-have-changed-human-behaviour/

Nearby Supernova Explosions may have affected human evolution https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nearby-supernova-explosions-may-have-affected-human-evolution-video/ 

Cro-Magnon vs Neanderthal in the battle of extinction https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/presenting-cro-magnon-v-neanderthal-battle-extinction/ 

Food for Thought: Was Cooking a Pivotal Step in Human Evolution? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/food-for-thought-was-cooking-a-pivotal-step-in-human-evolution/

Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain https://www.livescience.com/24875-meat-human-brain.html

Sorry Vegans: Here's How Meat-Eating Made Us Human https://time.com/4252373/meat-eating-veganism-evolution/

 

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