mardi 2 juin 2009

Human and Proud

We men like to think of ourselves as the crown of evolution or masterpiece of creation. Or at least powerful hunters, the lords of animal kingdom. Man the hunter -- this sounds proud. But this pride has been somewhat shaken by the idea that perhaps man was originally much more a hunted than a hunting animal. There's even a book: "Man the Hunted, Primates, Predators and Human Evolution" by Donna Hart and Robert Wald Sussman first published around 2005. An addition to the voluminous library on intriguing hypotheses on human evolution that includes some quite popular books as "The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris or the Acquatic Ape hypothesis by Elaine Morgan. If I were young and enthusiastic enough, I would add one more book to this library: a book elaborating a hypothesis that, besides being both hunters and hunted, our ancestors were also quite skilful commensalists of big predators. Perhaps our babyface, the Lorenzian "Kindchengestalt" helped us, suppressing their predating instincts and stimulating their nurturing ones. Perhaps our ancestors even shared caves and other safe places with cave bears and other animals as do sparrows who often build their nests in the heap of branches that serves as foundation of a stork's nest. When the bear (lion, tiger) was hungry, the humans took refuge in some holes or crevasses hiding there until the danger was over and the boss had eaten or just stayed at safe distance.

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