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  1. #1
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    Default Fat, Not Meat, May Have Led to Bigger Hominin Brains

    Fat, Not Meat, May Have Led to Bigger Hominin Brains

    In a wide-ranging review published in February’s issue of Current Anthropology, Thompson joins a team of researchers to weave together several strands of recent evidence and propose a new theory about the transition to large animal consumption by our ancestors. The prevailing view, supported by a confluence of fossil evidence from sites in Ethiopia, is that the emergence of flaked tool use and meat consumption led to the cerebral expansion that kickstarted human evolution more than 2 million years ago. Thompson and her colleagues disagree: Rather than using sharpened stones to hunt and scrape meat from animals, they suggest, earlier hominins may have first bashed bones to harvest fatty nutrients from marrow and brains.

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    Sound very plausible. It would make sense about using stones as hammers and anvils coming first. The technology and brain power needed to pound something is a lot less than what is needed to immediately start knapping flint and other stones to make sophisticated tools. But the very act of routinely handling stones could certainly select for creatures with opposable thumbs and fine motor control. Requires changes in the brain circuitry and getting marrow for dinner certainly would not hurt at all. Making finer tools would evolve later.

    It really makes sense and maybe someone can prove it.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
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    Marrow and the bones that contain it are something that could be scavenged from the kills of large predators, which would also tend to advantage intelligence.
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    This sort of "science" is really adorable.

    Let me preface my remarks with a couple of points.

    First, I spent many years in college studying evolutionary biology prior to switching gears and getting my doctorate in veterinary medicine. I understand natural selection and evolution and agree that both are true principles that have happened historically and that continue to happen presently.

    Second, I also went to naturopathy school and am a practiticing naturopath that knows quite a lot about nutrition and I agree that eating lots of fat and protein (particularly from animal sources) is extraordinarily good for our brains and bodies. So, no disagreement from me on the presumed premise of the thread that eating such things is a good idea.

    However, the idea purported by these researchers that diet drives evolution is patently absurd (and BTW, it's not a new idea. I heard the same nonsense 30 years ago from other researchers). Tyranosaurus rex ate lots of fat and protein for millions of years and it didn't make him any smarter. There is no biological basis for the idea that eating more fat or protein could cause any evolutionary change in anatomy or physiology in any species. That isn't how natural selection and evolution work.

    The way it works is that there is a spontaneous genetic mutation that turns out, by sheer dumb luck, to be advantages. So, some guy is born with a mutation of having longer legs. As a result, he is able to run faster and doesn't get eaten by the lions chasing the tribe. He has kids who also have long legs because they inherited the gene from dad. Those long-legged guys tend to run faster, live longer and make more babies than their contemporaries and, presto! Evolution occurs.

    Eating more meat or fat or broccoli or whatever does not, in any way, impact the genes. Lamarck thought that's how things worked a hundred years ago...that giraffes had long necks because for millions of years they stretched them really a lot trying to reach the leaves on the trees. Lamarck was an idiot. Giraffes have long necks because a freak was born with a long neck and thus out competed all the short guys.

    Evolutionists also love to talk about how the origin of tool use by the ape-men of Ogilve Gorge drove mental evolution...that those clever tools somehow stimulated their brains and made them smarter. Well, the fact is that those idiots used that same sharp rock (and according to this wonderful new research, used those sharp rocks to get marrow out of bones and eat it) for about three million years with no change or improvement whatsoever. If anything, that seems to illustrate a phenomenal resistance to evolution. LOL ....Those were not our people.

    Contrast that with a guy named Adam who shows up on the scene around 6 thousand years ago with a written language and all sorts of complex ideas about abstract things. He immediately out competes all the rock-banging monkey men and, 6 thousand years later (a mere nanosecond in geologic and evolutionary time) his people have progressed from running around naked in the garden to doing brain surgery and building space shuttles and putting red dots on pistols.

    I suppose it's possible that Adam's parents were rock bangers and that he was a mutant born with an enormously larger and more complex brain than mom and dad. I once heard a lecture on that very question by a mathematician/statistician who had developed a computer model to assess the probability of such an enormous genetic change (it ain't just one gene that would have to mutate to go from monkey brain to man brain). His data indicated that the odds of that genetic change happening via spontaneous mutation and natural selection, in the time frame involved, would be slightly less likely than a tornado running through a junk yard and accidentally producing a functional 747 airplane. Sure, it could happen, but the odds are against it. Incidentally, that lecture was at a major university (not some church basement) and the guy was not religious.

    In my opinion, the reason humans got suddenly, vastly smarter isn't because their monkey-brained predecessors started using tools or sucking bone marrow from bones. It's because God got involved and changed the game completely.

    So anyway...yeah, eat more fat and protein. It'll make you stronger and healthier. But don't count on it evolving you in any way. You need a spontaneous genetic mutation for that. And, if you're already born and are reading this, it's too late for that to happen.
    Last edited by DogDoc; 04-03-2019 at 03:21 PM.
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    OMG,Patrick,this post is awesome!. You’re a genius.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DogDoc View Post
    This sort of "science" is really adorable.

    Let me preface my remarks with a couple of points.

    First, I spent many years in college studying evolutionary biology prior to switching gears and getting my doctorate in veterinary medicine. I understand natural selection and evolution and agree that both are true principles that have happened historically and that continue to happen presently.

    Second, I also went to naturopathy school and am a practiticing naturopath that knows quite a lot about nutrition and I agree that eating lots of fat and protein (particularly from animal sources) is extraordinarily good for our brains and bodies. So, no disagreement from me on the presumed premise of the thread that eating such things is a good idea.

    However, the idea purported by these researchers that diet drives evolution is patently absurd (and BTW, it's not a new idea. I heard the same nonsense 30 years ago from other researchers). Tyranosaurus rex ate lots of fat and protein for millions of years and it didn't make him any smarter. There is no biological basis for the idea that eating more fat or protein could cause any evolutionary change in anatomy or physiology in any species. That isn't how natural selection and evolution work.

    The way it works is that there is a spontaneous genetic mutation that turns out, by sheer dumb luck, to be advantages. So, some guy is born with a mutation of having longer legs. As a result, he is able to run faster and doesn't get eaten by the lions chasing the tribe. He has kids who also have long legs because they inherited the gene from dad. Those long-legged guys tend to run faster, live longer and make more babies than their contemporaries and, presto! Evolution occurs.

    Eating more meat or fat or broccoli or whatever does not, in any way, impact the genes. Lamarck thought that's how things worked a hundred years ago...that giraffes had long necks because for millions of years they stretched them really a lot trying to reach the leaves on the trees. Lamarck was an idiot. Giraffes have long necks because a freak was born with a long neck and thus out competed all the short guys.

    Evolutionists also love to talk about how the origin of tool use by the ape-men of Ogilve Gorge drove mental evolution...that those clever tools somehow stimulated their brains and made them smarter. Well, the fact is that those idiots used that same sharp rock (and according to this wonderful new research, used those sharp rocks to get marrow out of bones and eat it) for about three million years with no change or improvement whatsoever. If anything, that seems to illustrate a phenomenal resistance to evolution. LOL ....Those were not our people.

    Contrast that with a guy named Adam who shows up on the scene around 6 thousand years ago with a written language and all sorts of complex ideas about abstract things. He immediately out competes all the rock-banging monkey men and, 6 thousand years later (a mere nanosecond in geologic and evolutionary time) his people have progressed from running around naked in the garden to doing brain surgery and building space shuttles and putting red dots on pistols.

    I suppose it's possible that Adam's parents were rock bangers and that he was a mutant born with an enormously larger and more complex brain than mom and dad. I once heard a lecture on that very question by a mathematician/statistician who had developed a computer model to assess the probability of such an enormous genetic change (it ain't just one gene that would have to mutate to go from monkey brain to man brain). His data indicated that the odds of that genetic change happening via spontaneous mutation and natural selection, in the time frame involved, would be slightly less likely than a tornado running through a junk yard and accidentally producing a functional 747 airplane. Sure, it could happen, but the odds are against it. Incidentally, that lecture was at a major university (not some church basement) and the guy was not religious.

    In my opinion, the reason humans got suddenly, vastly smarter isn't because their monkey-brained predecessors started using tools or sucking bone marrow from bones. It's because God got involved and changed the game completely.

    So anyway...yeah, eat more fat and protein. It'll make you stronger and healthier. But don't count on it evolving you in any way. You need a spontaneous genetic mutation for that. And, if you're already born and are reading this, it's too late for that to happen.
    I was definitely not talking about Lamarkian science and really is no one else here talking of it. Organisms will evolve to better exploit food sources and at times these will be the richer food sources in the case for members of our genus Homo.

    It is not the substances in the food, rather a greater success in reproduction that drives the selection of certain traits which I am sure you already know of, even if you do not accept it.
    The baleen whale is specialized to eat by straining the waters for small organisms, mammalian carnivores often have teeth that have evolved for the capture and consumption of meat, and Vets are certainly familiar with the modifications of ruminants to digest cellulose. The forces of nature are responsible for this. What these forces are at times dip into philosophy and religion.
    If one already have a very strong belief in Adam and Eve, natural selection of primates into humans is not an idea that will be acceptable. And really in the long run of things if people adamantly believe in some form biblical creationism or not is really not so important. This is America after all. The stars will remain in the universe and life in one form or another on earth goes on and evolves regardless of what humans think one way or the other.
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  7. #7
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    Barnetmill,

    For clarity my post wasn't a response to yours. I actually didn't read yours before writing mine. I was responding to the article.

    As to your other comments...



    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    I was definitely not talking about Lamarkian science and really is no one else here talking of it. Organisms will evolve to better exploit food sources and at times these will be the richer food sources in the case for members of our genus Homo.
    Organisms don't evolve to do anything. It's all an accident and dumb luck. Primates didn't evolve bigger brains because they were sucking the marrow out of bones instead of eating the entire rest of the animal. They evolved bigger brains because they had genetic mutations that were advantageous. Nutrition does not drive mutation.

    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    It is not the substances in the food, rather a greater success in reproduction that drives the selection of certain traits which I am sure you already know of, even if you do not accept it.
    I fully accept the reality of natural selection and evolution. It's been happening for millions of years and is still happening...though in our particular species, a lot of the current "selection" isn't natural...but that's another thread. LOL


    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    The baleen whale is specialized to eat by straining the waters for small organisms, mammalian carnivores often have teeth that have evolved for the capture and consumption of meat, and Vets are certainly familiar with the modifications of ruminants to digest cellulose. The forces of nature are responsible for this.
    The forces of nature select in favor of individuals who have experienced spontaneous mutations that give them an advantage. The first whale to be born with baleen instead of teeth could eat krill and got his belly full more easily than his contemporaries that had to hunt and kill larger prey. However, contrary to the premise of the article, eating krill did not in any way stimulate further mutation to make krill eating easier. If a whale was born that could do it better, he survived and reproduced more successfully but the diet didn't drive or shape anything.
    The availability of krill would make adaptations to exploit it an advantage, but that is a very different thing than suggesting that the krill somehow drove the process. If the whale had spontaneously mutated to be able to eat kelp, that would have been successful too (and would have been a terrible emotional blow to the poor krill who thought they were managing the whole process of whale evolution).


    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    What these forces are at times dip into philosophy and religion.
    If one already have a very strong belief in Adam and Eve, natural selection of primates into humans is not an idea that will be acceptable. And really in the long run of things if people adamantly believe in some form biblical creationism or not is really not so important. This is America after all. The stars will remain in the universe and life in one form or another on earth goes on and evolves regardless of what humans think one way or the other.
    Brother, I'm a trained evolutionary biologist. My belief in God (and Adam) does not in any way color my acceptance of or belief in evolution. I mentioned Adam because, for me, it's the most plausible explanation as to why there was a stupendously, acute change in mankind's biology a few minutes ago in geologic time after three million years of primates being stuck in a static, rock-banging, marrow-sucking rut. If you don't believe that, that's OK. There are other possible explanations, heck, maybe it was aliens. Maybe it was the tornado in the junk yard and fate luck and astoundingly complex and precise mutation really did cause a guy like Adam to be born to a couple of hairy morons that were smashing bones with the same rock their ancestors had used for 3 million years. My point was merely that the marrow didn't change a thing for anybody. It just isn't that much richer in nutrients than anything else on the dead animals the cave men were eating. And, even if it were the most amazing super food known on Earth, it would have no power to drive genetic mutation. It just doesn't work that way. Crocodiles have been eating bone marrow literally for eons. They're still pretty stupid. See what I mean?

    My point was merely that the premise of the study (that eating bone marrow has any power to drive cerebral evolution) is flawed. Don't worry, scientists occasionally say really stupid things and it won't affect their tenure or anything drastic like that (remember the scientists that told us to quit eating animal fats and switch to margarine...also dumb guys).

    On a side note, I don't subscribe to the idea that all of this started 6 thousand years ago after God created for six days. I think poor old Moses got shown what happened and tried to write it all down as best he could. He was neither a biologist nor a geologist and I think we can cut him a lot of slack on the details. I also have no problem with God using evolution to do a lot of what was done here in the past 4.5 billion years. But I do believe that divine intervention impacted the process at critical points. My education in how things work biologically has only strengthened that belief. Still, I wasn't there for any of it so what do I know?
    Last edited by DogDoc; 04-03-2019 at 09:07 PM.
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    Your use of spontaneous mutation could be reconsidered. In general most populations have genes that arose from mutations that are pre-existing. Darwin did not understand the origin of variation or the mechanism of meiotic segregation and independent assortment. He knew there was existing variation that was the ammunition for natural selection. Fact is in the short term a tremendous amount of evolution can occur without a single new mutation occurring due the natural genetic variation already existing. Mutation is the source of this variation so in the long run it is essential. Point is natural selection is not necessarily waiting for a new mutation to spontaneously pop up. Now sort of like the Lamarkians there are stressful conditions that can result in more spontaneously mutations occurring that could help rapidly reproducing organisms have more alternate genes for selection to adapt/evolve to environmental changes. I do not know a whole lot about it. I do know life is infinitely complicated and capable all sorts of responses to the environment that have not all been yet described.
    An example of a mutations in humans being selected for would be the various forms of sickle cell anemia which are thought to give advantages to surviving malaria. Otherwise they tend to be eliminated when there is no survival advantage to maintain their presence.

    I will stop nitpicking here. I mentioned the mutation thing because many people do not understand variation exists in healthy populations and is desirable for long-term survival. People often like pure bred animals and plants for example. Currently almost all bananas are the Cavendish variety that is threatened by a disease. Many commercial plants are clones and I suspect that is the case for the Cavendish and so if there is a disease it can wipe out everything. Most animals are not yet clones, but with genetic engineering people are getting closer to doing it. For dogs I am impressed with the cur that are highly variable but still are excellent dogs and perhaps modern man are like cur dogs.

    Peoples that left africa continued to evolve in many things especially relative to diet, those peoples of northwestern europe and parts of asia not too far from Urals can drink fresh milk as adults which was advantageous in their expansions into other lands. We are finding now that western europeans have certain percentages of Neanderthal genes in them and some people on far flung Islands going towards Australia and New Guinea have up to 5% genes from Denisovans. Some of this DNA we believe to be helpful and some may not be. People in Tibet are said to have a Denisovan gene that helps being at high altitudes. Africans do not have these genes, but may have other genes from mixing with other hominids. Human variation general is said to low from what I read, but I see there is quite a bit of variation. The question with modern medicine is just how effective is selection on humans today.
    In the old days in the south there was horrendous selection of cur dogs and poorly performing dogs were killed which is why cur dogs are excellent working dogs. Obviously we can not do that to humans.


    Quote Originally Posted by DogDoc View Post
    Barnetmill,

    For clarity my post wasn't a response to yours. I actually didn't read yours before writing mine. I was responding to the article.

    As to your other comments...





    Organisms don't evolve to do anything. It's all an accident and dumb luck. Primates didn't evolve bigger brains because they were sucking the marrow out of bones instead of eating the entire rest of the animal. They evolved bigger brains because they had genetic mutations that were advantageous. Nutrition does not drive mutation.



    I fully accept the reality of natural selection and evolution. It's been happening for millions of years and is still happening...though in our particular species, a lot of the current "selection" isn't natural...but that's another thread. LOL




    The forces of nature select in favor of individuals who have experienced spontaneous mutations that give them an advantage. The first whale to be born with baleen instead of teeth could eat krill and got his belly full more easily than his contemporaries that had to hunt and kill larger prey. However, contrary to the premise of the article, eating krill did not in any way stimulate further mutation to make krill eating easier. If a whale was born that could do it better, he survived and reproduced more successfully but the diet didn't drive or shape anything.
    The availability of krill would make adaptations to exploit it an advantage, but that is a very different thing than suggesting that the krill somehow drove the process. If the whale had spontaneously mutated to be able to eat kelp, that would have been successful too (and would have been a terrible emotional blow to the poor krill who thought they were managing the whole process of whale evolution).




    Brother, I'm a trained evolutionary biologist. My belief in God (and Adam) does not in any way color my acceptance of or belief in evolution. I mentioned Adam because, for me, it's the most plausible explanation as to why there was a stupendously, acute change in mankind's biology a few minutes ago in geologic time after three million years of primates being stuck in a static, rock-banging, marrow-sucking rut. If you don't believe that, that's OK. There are other possible explanations, heck, maybe it was aliens. Maybe it was the tornado in the junk yard and fate luck and astoundingly complex and precise mutation really did cause a guy like Adam to be born to a couple of hairy morons that were smashing bones with the same rock their ancestors had used for 3 million years. My point was merely that the marrow didn't change a thing for anybody. It just isn't that much richer in nutrients than anything else on the dead animals the cave men were eating. And, even if it were the most amazing super food known on Earth, it would have no power to drive genetic mutation. It just doesn't work that way. Crocodiles have been eating bone marrow literally for eons. They're still pretty stupid. See what I mean?

    My point was merely that the premise of the study (that eating bone marrow has any power to drive cerebral evolution) is flawed. Don't worry, scientists occasionally say really stupid things and it won't affect their tenure or anything drastic like that (remember the scientists that told us to quit eating animal fats and switch to margarine...also dumb guys).

    On a side note, I don't subscribe to the idea that all of this started 6 thousand years ago after God created for six days. I think poor old Moses got shown what happened and tried to write it all down as best he could. He was neither a biologist nor a geologist and I think we can cut him a lot of slack on the details. I also have no problem with God using evolution to do a lot of what was done here in the past 4.5 billion years. But I do believe that divine intervention drove the process in many ways. My education in how things work biologically has only strengthened that belief. Still, I wasn't there for any of it so what do I know?
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

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    Excellent post Barnetmill. I don’t disagree with any of it.

    One of the other things I find “adorable” is when scientists (myself included) think we begin to really understand the complexity of how any of this stuff actually works.
    Last edited by DogDoc; 04-03-2019 at 09:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogDoc View Post
    Barnetmill,




    Organisms don't evolve to do anything. It's all an accident and dumb luck. Primates didn't evolve bigger brains because they were sucking the marrow out of bones instead of eating the entire rest of the animal. They evolved bigger brains because they had genetic mutations that were advantageous. Nutrition does not drive mutation.


    So you are saying there has never been a case of biological adaptation over millions of years due to environmental influences? This is certainly not my field and i'm sure as you are well aware ,we are all taught in high school that everything is a result of adaptation. Interesting to hear another view.

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