Homo sapiens have walked planet Earth for some 250,000 years plus or minus some reasonable margin of error in evolutionary history. On one hand, we might argue that we have evolved and are continuing to evolve as a species, in response to current environmental, social, and behavioral stimuli. On the other hand, one might argue that we are ‘devolving’.
Along the lines of unravelling this great mystery of ‘where we came from’, there have been some dead ends. For better or worse, perhaps these dead ends just weren’t competing well, or weren’t engineered to continue on as a dominant species. However, it’s not to say that some traits from these dead ends were not desirable, highly advantageous, and may have even survived in some form or fashion along the way. With the severely limited number of pre-human hominid remains, it is incredibly difficult to tell the complete story and pass judgement on the capabilities – physical or psychological – of our ancestors, and contemplate how their capabilities manifested themselves in day to day life. The world may very well have been like something out of a fairy tale.
This morning’s cup of coffee (ok, two) was enjoyed over watching Stan Lee’s Superhumans on the History Channel – truly phenomenal demonstrations of extreme human capability. Particularly striking was a blind man capable of using echolocation (like a bat) to navigate and identify objects…and with incredible accuracy. While a vastly different means to ‘see’ in the dark than I have discussed previously regarding the adaptability to zero visibility underwater working conditions, this echolocation likely has its evolutionary roots in early aquatic mammals. So many questions remain unanswered…is the modern human brain pre-programmed with these superhuman capabilities, only requiring an unlocking mechanism? are they genetic anomalies? are these traits that have proven strong suits in evolutionary dead-ends in our distant past? We may never know.
There are numerous great achievements in ancient human history that we struggle with today. In particular are the engineering and construction of the pyramids, and other megalithic monuments and structures – without the tools and machinery that we have today. Perhaps the mind of the ancients allowed for extreme mathematical capabilities, and/or they were wired for some superhuman strengths? Unfortunately we’ll never know, but with traces of superhuman powers being among us today, there is reason to believe that our species has many surprises yet to come.
Today however, generally speaking, we are couch potatoes. Deep rooted senses, and physical, or psychological capabilities are generally not challenged, nor are they even needed everyday. So what are we evolving to do? or ‘devolving’ to do – other than grab another beer and bag of chips? Only time will tell, and in the grand scheme of things, perhaps even we, Homo sapiens, are on our way to an evolutionary dead end. Considering how we treat our Planet and each other, it may not be too far fetched. Chew on that one for awhile. Share