Thursday, August 30, 2007

Salam Merdeka /|\ Selam Merdeka

1776 Independence US
1957 Merdeka Malaysia

Selamat Hari Merdeka Malaysiaku

Live Free /|\ Dive Free

Monday, August 27, 2007

Human head hair & hydrodynamics

Olympic swim suit:

Straight hair shafts are ( ) round (didn't change from our long ago ancestors that lived and dove for shellfish on tropical pocket beaches), while curly hair was later derived (the hair shaft became oval (curly) or () elliptical, not round) which protected people who lived inside tropical rain forests from lice (which carry typhus disease), lice lay their eggs (nits) in hair, but in very curly hair the eggs can't stay attached. People with curly head hair also have curly body hair (but straight eyelashes).
Beard, armpit and pubic hair are called coarse secondary hair, it is fluffy and developed during the diving era, where it gave a smooth rounded linear hydro-dynamic profile when diving, filling the body voids in places that skin fat couldn't fill. Below there is more info.

----- Original Message -----
From: DDeden
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 5:38 AM

Hydrodynamic Head Hair => AAT

There are many arguments that can be made for and against AAT, but the one that convinced me was the long straight/wavy head hair for hydrodynamics. Since no other aquatic animal has very long hair, it is not a comparable trait, but I can think of no other reason for 1+ m long head hair except fluid diving and swimming in a mammal which did not become very tube-shaped (unlike most other aquatics) because of pre-existing sessile plucking during feeding. The plucking had existed
during the LCA H-oid as part of the vertical floating/wading and tree food collection, the brain had hard-wired for that feeding style, allowing the face and jaw to reduce prognathism, compared to monkeys and other primates. Modern humans have even less prognathism, indicating even stronger plucking feeding (and tool use).

Plucking => jaws shrink (Homo) or enlarge (boisie nut cracker).

Long head hair is fine at the shores, ok on the savanna but useless, while in the trees it is a problem. People living in tropical rainforests tend to have frizzy hair and/or cut it short or tie it up in some way.

I've written on the frizzy inland hair re. lice and typhus, the main reason I'm sure it's correct is that people with frizzy/nappy hair have straight eyelashes. How could they have started with curly eyelashes? They are more derived biologically than slightly curled or straight haired people, regarding tropical inland adaptation.

So therefore, I doubt that H aq was a large tropical island dweller, as on Papua or Borneo or Taiwan rich in mangroves and muck.

They weren't on coral atolls (due to mineral deficiency) either.

However small to medium volcanic islands with encircling reefs around, perhaps the archipelagos along the Pacific ring of fire, the Maldives and Andamans and Afar, with reduced large cat predators, with some silt/soil for mangroves and fruit trees but not large swamps which crocs favor, and warm reef-protected lagoons which sharks don't favor.

I've written on the frizzy inland hair re. lice and typhus, the main reason I'm sure it's correct is that people with frizzy/nappy hair have straight eyelashes. How could they have started with curly eyelashes? They are more derived biologically than slightly curled or straight haired people, regarding tropical inland adaptation.

Interesting thought but it's possible to select for straight hair in some places and curly in others e.g. pubic hair is curly in straight-haired people.
Elaine Morgan

East Asians tend to have relatively straight hair everywhere, although the beard, axillary and pubic hair is less straight and more kinked (but by no means curly). All other people have beard, axillary and pubic hair of similar kinky/straight texture, which is even less straight than East Asians, but still not curled at all.

Inland tropical people with very curly (frizzy/nappy) head hair have very curly body hair, but their beard, axillary and pubic hair is comparatively much more straight, and their eyelash hair is straight.

This indicates that the LCA Homo had straight head hair, straight eyelash hair, straight mustache hair (like orangs), and straight but slightly kinked (not curled) beard, axillary and pubic hair.

I think that kinked-straight hair in the beard, axillary and pubic areas is a result of hydrodynamic selection, since it fills the voids of the body better than straight hair does during swimming. I don't think it's form is due to better odor release, though maybe secondarily.

Therefore, I'd expect that other apes lack this special beard, axillary and pubic form of hair, or only have it to a slight degree.

AFAIK, all people born with the hyperhirsute super-hairy syndrome have straight/wavy hair, never frizzy/nappy nor blonde hair. This occurs most often in Asians (though still very rare). There's a photo of a Chinese guy with this condition in AAT photos, it is probably similar to the LCA Homo hair condition.

That frizzy/nappy hair was ancestral to Hs fits no data whatsoever AFAIK. Our Homo ancestors may have been (shoreside) African, but did not have frizzy/nappy hair.

I suggest that frizzy hair is a recently derived trait in Hs not older than 200ka and more likely 60ka, resulting from the improvement of dugout boats, nets and weapons allowing people into the interior in relative safety. The Khoisan seem to be an intermediate, I don't know precisely their situation, but since they do no diving, likely they were isolated from coastal living at some point, perhaps they were the
rift descendants. Dugouts are widespread all throughout the tropics, that is how I think the tropical rainforest Africans survived away from the sea, safer from [predators but not against pathogens, making increased eccrine sweat and curled hair very important selective traits. Dry air = wavy hair. Humid air = curly hair. Sea diving = straight hair with kinked straight beard/ axil/pubic hair.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Linguistic links

PIE-PAU *enxm *duxm *texm *kexwrm *pfwm *xnxm *xeptm *ahxwm *nahxwm *dexm

(nxm sounds like engksum , pfwm sounds like fum, with e & u in midst of short and long sound)

Not sure where the Latin 5 quinque (French cinque ~ zank) came from
Not sure where the PAu 10 sa-puluq (Samoan safulu) came from, perhaps inverted from pukul (beat); (one hand can punch (panj = 5 fingers) need 2 hands to clap = 10 fingers)

"Humans are merely aquaterrestuarborealistically derived from a more primitive (in the scientific sense) basal primate" a naturalist might say, though I don't recall having heard it...yet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Medium sized Islands with reefs, lagoons

Bucky Fuller right on reefs, probably wrong on atolls

Atolls are Pacific islands where the central volcano has eroded down below the
sea but the coral reefs are above sea level. Although there is
plentiful seafood and coconuts, iron and copper are deficient.

Rainwater dissolves the lime of the exposed reef, calcium carbonates
erodes but lack the volcanic soils that non-atoll islands and
continents possess. So people that live on atolls have poor skeletal
growth, susceptible to osteoporosis, unless supplemented from abroad.

Ancient Homo erectus shows many semi-aquatic traits, and was noted for
having very thick very dense skeletons, not porous skeletons.

It is likely they lived along shores where mangroves lived, rich
silted deposits in tidal waters, where fruit bats roosted, dropping
their seed rich feces, thus planting new fruit trees near the shores.
These mangroves require Iron and copper just like people do, and do
not grow as well on isolated atolls. The result is that mangroves and fruit trees
grow poorly on atolls, but very well on volcanic isles and continental
coasts surrounded by reefs.

Ancient mankind lived on isles near the Indo-Pacific coasts, rich in soil, fruit, fruit-bats, sea-birds, shellfish...going back and forth on occasion (during lower sea levels of the ice ages) by walking/wading/swimming/dugouts to continents
where the big predator cats lived.

Big cats couldn't survive on small islands, crocs might but avoid the
surf and sandy beaches, while sharks risk getting land-locked when
entering the shallow tidal lagoons. I think that slowly dugouts
eventually allowed human ancestors to over-run the continents through
the river systems into the savannas, with sturdy hulls protecting them
and storing their weapons of mass destruction (push-pole thrusting
spears, ballast of large pebbles for throwing), with tensile nets and
woven reed baskets slowly being developed.

--- In, "Dick Fischbeck" wrote:
> here are Fuller's words:
> [�]
> Unquestionably the great barrier reefs there break those
> enormous waves, and inside those lovely
> lagoons are full of fish and all kinds of eatables, and the very,
> very easy shoaling lovely sands
> and you could climb in and out of that as a baby practically, and
> on the shores coconuts falling
> down full of milk, and all kinds of things to eat, and no big
> animals to eat you so I came to the
> conclusion life being born naked and helpless, probably on the
> coral atolls, then began to have
> experience after experience with that water
> [...]

Boat vs backfloat while diving

Re: Atoll divers with bad joints due to mineral deficiency, boats & HV?
I'm guessing here, not enough data to be sure:

Atolls typically lack copper and iron which are needed for bone growth.
With that in mind, it seems likely to me that diving while often deeply hyperventilating might induce divers to stay at depth longer, increasing the chance of the bends, or Nitrogen micro-bubbles in the knee and other joints, with increased deterioration of the already poorly integrated tissues over time, especially if stressed (physical work done) soon after diving.

[still working on this, not sure how much an effect mineral nutrients were in bone porosity vs HV-DCS]

1ma, He divers dove and backfloated and did not hyperventilate (as indicated by dense bones). Alternating partners diving/backfloating w/o HV produces no DCS N2 accumulation.

3.5ka Micronesian divers dove and boated and likely did hyperventilate (see Tarawa disease), possibly getting bent/DCS producing joint pain and possibly increased porosity in leg bones eventually, (as indicated by porous bones in their fossils derived from low Cu/Fe nutrients, but possibly also due to DCS). Individual or Unison diving/boating w/HV may produce DCS/bends/Tarawa disease.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What is a Mangrove? Manggi manggi

What is a mangrove?

The term 'mangrove', is used in the broad sense either to refer to the highly adapted plants found in tropical intertidal forest communities or the ecosystem itself. The term 'mangrove' may have been derived from a combination of the Malay word 'manggi-manggi', for a type of mangrove tree (Avicennia) and the Arabic 'el gurm', for the same, as 'mang-gurm'. As a word, it can be used to refer to a species, plant, forest or community!

A mangrove community

Nature, at the highest level of organisation, consists of the ecosphere which includes all living things (biosphere) together with non-living parts (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere). The next level is the biome which consists of groups of similar ecosystems over large geographic areas. Next is the ecosystem, which is a self-regulating community of organisms and their non-living environment.

The community, consists of interacting populations (single-species groups) of all the different plants and animals in the area, which in this case, is the mangrove. Thus essentially, the mangrove community is the biotic part of this ecosystem, which this book introduces.

Types of tropical rain forest
The term 'tropical rain forest' is used to describe forests of the ever-wet tropics or beyond, where there is, at most, minimal seasonal water shortage. These can be divided into dry-land and wetland rain forests. The first includes tropical lowland evergreen rain forest, which was the main type of forest covering Singapore, parts of which still exist in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

This also includes beach vegetation, which still exists along Singapore's east coast, Labrador Beach in the south, and the southern islands. Wetland rain forests include mangrove, brackish-water, freshwater and peat swamp forests. Of all these, only mangrove forests are under the direct influence of seawater.

Types of coastal habitats
The geological and environmental conditions of the shoreline result in different habitats. Exposure to currents and waves of the open sea results in the formation of rocky shore and sandy beaches. Sheltered shores, on the other hand, allow sediment from rivers and the sea to settle, and eventually become mangrove forests.

high tide (left) low tide (right)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Common Descent 3 by DDeden

Too Deep, Too Often, Too Soon?

At Originally Posted by naiad View Post
Totally OT now, but I am not sure about the role of air in underwater hearing. The most advanced orders of fish, Cypriniformes (carp, minnows, most coarse fish, danios, loaches etc.), Characiformes (tetras), Siluriformes (catfish), and Gymnotiformes (electric eels, knifefish), have a series of bones connecting the air bladder to the inner ear, allowing them to hear a much wider range of sounds than other fish. This must be important, because species which no longer need an air bladder for buoyancy (catfish, loaches), still have a small one for hearing, and in some cases for producing sounds.
DD: Do most of those fish live somewhat amphibiously, compared to pelagic ocean fish? If so, air conduction would be significant, as it is in frogs and seals. AFAIK most ocean pelagic fish have one inner bone connected to the inner ear, while mammals have three. (I'd guess sharks have none). Do you know for certain that these (catfish, loaches) while at depth have air-filled bladders connected to their ears? Can the bladders empty at depth, (or fill with water or oil) and then refill with air at the surface? It is also possible that their ears are functionally deaf at depth but they pick up (hydrosonic) vibrations via their lateral line and/or bones.

I think there's a freshwater fish that squirts water up at flying insects, I would guess that fish has good air-conduction aural capabilities (ear-air-sac), but also good water-conduction aural capabilities.

o0O0o0O0o0O0o `<8{(((>< o0O0o0O0o0O0o Regarding hearing underwater Too Deep, Too Often and Too Soon; although I think that ancestral humans dove at equatorial seashores in warm surface water, I've no doubt they encountered cool to cold water at depth and especially during coastal migrations farther from the equator. Evidence of ear exostosis (bony ear canal rings) has been found in a number of human fossils (Upper Nile River, Peruvian coast, Rome coldwater baths), this occurs due to sustained periodic exposure to cold water in the external ear canal over time. I think exostosis indicates mostly youthful single males habitually competing at greater depths without sufficient surface intervals to warm the ear canal and cerumen, over time this would produce bony accretion around the canal. This may indicate spearfishing more than mollusc hunting, since spearing requires a longer time at depth. However the fact that humans are no where nearly as hydrodynamic mammals like dolphins, sea lions, etc. indicates that spearfishing or "fast" chasing pelagic fish was not as common as "slow" diving for sessile/benthic foods (molluscs, oysters, marine snails, etc.). I'd guess spears were more jabbing-thrusting-prying tools, rather than shooting weapons; useful for crabs, flounder, immobile camoflaged octopi and such. AFAICT, paired archaic divers backfloated/dove in rotation at warm sunlit surface, the middle ear was warm-water filled and the external canal also warm-water filled, the earwax kept this warm water in place during the dive into the colder depths when the MDR was engaged, acting like thermal ear-plugs but not air-holding ear plugs. Although yet unconfirmed, I feel quite certain that simultaneously a similar thermo-retention system was employed in the sinunasal cavity and affiliated middle ears (via the eustacian tubes) by allowing warm surface water (larynx was valved shut) in and then closing the nasal passage via the swollen inferior concha (VR) and/or philtrum closure early during the dive into the cooler depths, preventing the "sinus-ice cream headache" otherwise sure to affect the diver (and which is now often covered by mask or hood) and alleviating the need for continuous equalizing with each elevation/pressure gradient.

So archaic human seashore divers/backfloaters used water-conduction hearing during their dive-foraging cycles, when hearing the dive partner was more significant than hearing prey or predator.

Allowing sun-warmed, UV-sterilized blood-temperature surface saline into the external ear, middle ear & sinonasal cavities just before diving deep meant that cold water at depth would trigger the facial and trigeminal nerves on the face maximizing the MDR, (unlike a full face mask & hood), yet (presumably) avoid the accompanying ice cream headache typical of prolonged cold water immersion of the bare face and forehead. This kept the brain warm at depth (conserving oxygen and energy), while the blood from the extremities moved towards the body core and the rest of the body acclimatised to the chilly temperature. Upon resurfacing, backfloating allowed maximum solar absorption, and blood returned to the small blood vessels of the sunwarmed extremities.

Ear extoses: Diving into the cold w/o retaining the warm Here's an article by DiBartolomeo JR 1979

Exostoses of the external auditory canal

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl 88 (6 Pt 2 Suppl 61) :2-20.

Exostosis of the external ear canal is a disease unique to man. It has been
identified in prehistoric man, affecting the aborigines of the N.American
continent. Aural exostoses are typically firm, sessile, multi-nodular bony
masses which arise from the tympanic ring of the bony portion of the
external auditory canal. These growths develop subsequent to prolonged
irritation of the canal. The large, primitive jaw of prehistoric man placed
great mechanical stress on the tympanic ring. Chronic aural suppuration seen
in the pre-antibiotic era was soon followed by exostoses.

Today, prolonged
contact of the external ear canal with cold sea water is
the most prevalent
cause (aquatic theory). As a result the disease is now
essentially limited
to coastal regions. In this way we have seen exostoses
appear in different
stages of the evolution of man as a result of mechanical,
chemical and now
thermal irritation.

The author is an otolaryngologist in a coastal region.
In examining 11,000 patients during a 10-year period, 70 cases of
symptomatic exostoses of the external auditory canal were identified. The
incidence of exostoses was found to be 6.36 per 1000 patients examined for
otolaryngologic disease. It is a predominantly male disease. The development
of these "irritation nodules" is painless until the tenth year of aquatic
exposure to irritation, when symptoms of obstruction occur. The hearing loss
associated with exostoses is usually a conductive type, secondary to
occlusion of the canal by impacted cerumen or acute external otitis. The
results of studying the thermal characteristics of the body of water used
for such aquatic activities is presented.

DDeden (Thanks MV at AAT)
"Dive well and come up for more"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Common Descent 2 by DDeden

I think human ancestors a million years ago dove daily for food (clams etc.) at tropical seashores, which is why we don't look like our closest genetic cousins the chimps. These human seashore ancestors did not hyperventilate before diving, did not pack or wear fins, masks or
scuba. They dove alternatively in male-female diving teams; while one backfloated above in the very warm sunlight lagoon surface water, the other dove down into the cool dark blue along reefs collecting sessile shellfish, repeating this over and over, switching roles, until they got their fill of seafood, then went back to the beach for a coconut cocktail.

This would require that at depth, the water was cool, not hot, otherwise the [MDR] Mammalian Divers Reflex would not fully engage, which means oxygen would not be conserved well. The MDR was an essential energy-saving part of the dive cycle; whereas during back-floating at the surface the opposite occurred, "wasting" [O2] oxygen in order to remove excess [N2] Nitrogen and [CO2] Carbon Dioxide and accumulated waste products. [SEE NOTE AT POST BOTTOM] Urinating during the dive, and sweating at
the sunny surface removed urea (which contained Nitrogen), and humming at the surface removed [NO] Nitric Oxide from the sinuses (killing waterborne bacteria in the water which was allowed into the nasal/sinus/middle ear cavities during the dive to avoid equalizing constantly). This humming at the surface by the backfloater (likely with a chest-held infant that was clinging to the long head hair or beard) was the first lullaby, the NO-enriched air was inhaled by the infant
(who could not hum (until later first saying "mama" and could not yet shed tears, so the parent's NO provided antibiotic protection to the infant's face), and the humming could be heard by the dive partner below (not distracted by noisy scuba bubbles), who then made tongue clicks which was heard by the backfloater, this "hydrosonic" communication was the original form of sustained speech, (which later derived into the vowels and consonants) allowed non-visual contact between the partners, the sound waves carried efficiently through water and the very dense occiput (the skull plate on back of head which in ancient humans was the most dense bone in the body, perfect for sound transmission via bone conduction as found in dolphins and sea cows).

So, "too deep. too often, too soon", according to the archaic diving cycle was not an issue, as long as the diving partners alternated consistently, allowing gas exchange at the surface. I assume max depth was 100 m, but much more likely 30m max for adult males, 15m for females repetitively, and probably often less. No diving in fast current, cold surface water, hot depth water, big surf or rainy weather. [They don't teach all this in kindergarten or sunday school, but I think it's accurate.] :-) DDeden

KP @ i'm buying most of it but since i can't make loud clicking sounds with my tongue while having the ease of air around - i can't imagine being able to do it loud enough underwater [UW] for someone's skull plate to feel the reverberation. Perhaps those (archaic) folks had larger sinus cavities and mouths as well? kp

(DD) Neandertals living on the coasts had huge sinuses. According to some anthropologists, their voices (according to fossil anatomy, hyoid bone structure) probably had somewhat high-pitched during speech compared to modern folks.

Perhaps their mouths were larger (they lacked chins), I don't think that would matter so much. I think their visible external ears (pinnae) were smaller than ours, maybe even smaller than gorilla or gibbon ears, but pinnae don't fossilize so it's unknown.

Still water carries sound far far better than air does, that's why both dolphin clicking and humpback whale song can be heard at long distances. For the same reason, solid flat ground (savanna) carries sound. Bull elephants make thunderous bass trumpeting sounds that carry for miles, the females hear the sounds through their FEET via bone conduction from the solid ground, NOT primarily through their huge external ears via air conduction. Air simply doesn't carry sound very effectively. Human hearing is 50% air conduction, 50% bone conduction. In water, only bone conduction functions.

As long as the backfloater is on the still surface with the ears and occiput in the water, and the entire ear (inner, middle and outer ear) is fluid filled (in a lagoon, not in open sea with loud surf), and the diver's ears are also fluid filled, any clicking or humming sounds will carry a good distance. In air, clicking doesn't carry very far, (though the Khoisan people retain clicks in their language), but dolphins prove that UW clicking is both effective and efficient communication.

The problem with hearing UW is presence of air in bone cavities, once air is replaced with water, sounds carry well, no need for loud clicks, even soft clicks carry a ways. Simply ticking the teeth together works too for a short distance. Some shrimp, crabs and fish make clicking sounds in various ways. There's no loss of air in clicking, unlike vocal speech or humming.

Caution, this stuff is potentially DANGEROUS if you don't know what you're doing. It's still just theoretical, I haven't tested it yet, being poor and stuck in Nor Cal by cold water, I need to get down to the tropics to do empirical research.---

MV: Makes a lot of sense to me, except the surface sweating: do we have more sweat glands on the abdomen?

DD: No, fewer. Eccrine sweating is a whole body phenomenon. However, the top 6 inches (15cm?) of sunwarmed lagoon equatoreal water is very warm at midday. Therefore the whole body sweats AFAIK, but the body is not appreciably cooled unless a breeze is present. Do you think a backfloater would benefit from having many sweat glands on the abdomen? UV light is anti-biotic, it can damage eccrine sweat glands even in melanized people IIRC. Do Phocids have sweat glands more dorsally or ventrally on abdomens or flippers?

btw, I just read (Discover or Nature mag.) that urea (fresh) is anti-fungal and anti-biotic. That confirms my earlier speculation (w/Elaine etc.) that UREA, in addition to the cathlicidens (spelling), defensins and dermcidin in eccrine sweat, ALL are components of the biochemical antibiotic armor in humans. What I don't know is whether urea converts back to ammonia in the presence of air or seawater. I know that urine smells ammonia-like after mixing with air, but is that uric acid or urea converting to ammonia? Ammonia is highly toxic both to humans and microbes.

the reduction of the olfaction in hominoids and further in Homo, was it associated with the reduction of the bony conchae/turbinates as well? I would expect so, since semivertical floating would select for lightening of the protruding nose, while backfloating would also select for lightweight nose as long as some structural integrity was present. I'd expect that the LCA Hominoid - LCA Hominid had a relatively low density skull and or skull bone thinning as opposed to modern chimps & gorillas. This only changed with Homo erectus. (So apiths would not be
expected to have thick skulls except the mandibles for chewing). Significantly, those animals with large protruding noses (probosis monkey, tapir, elephant) do not have hyperventilatory air sacs but do have tails, they employ a different form of vocalization resonance than tail-less apes, and do not float semivertically, but rather swim or wade. Macaques seem split, with long tail divers and short tail waders/floaters? AFAIK only the floaters have enlarged lar air sacs
(need to verify). I think the pinnae were smaller, and this was retained in gorillas,
gibbons, but later enlarged in the chimps, humans due to heavier predation pressure later on (more savanna type environments).

NOTE: DT: Do you mean that the NO and urine remove excess Nitrogen that was absorbed from air?
If so then I don't see how that is possible, N2 is inorganic and needs to be "fixed" inorder to be metabolized, as far as I know mostly unicellular organisms have Nitrogen fixation capabilities and we definitely don't... and I doubt symbiotic bacterias can produce enough during diving for it to make any difference....

DD: thanks much for checking.

I erred, mixing (apples) inert N2 from air, and (oranges) Nitrogen compounds from high protein molluscs. I'd thought that N2 was not easily absorbed into blood, that scuba at depth increased absorption, but that a significant part came from high-protein foods, and that adding N2 at depth was just a part of it, the straw that broke the camel's back.

Do you know whether, upon switching from inhaling air to O2, does blood N2 drop down to zero? If so, would digestion of hi-protein food rich in nitrogen compounds (molluscs) cause an increase in N2 in the body, especially in the blood? That is what I thought happened, which is why I thought of excretion. I was thinking of other chemicals which end in the bloodstream (drugs etc.).
Anyway, I'll review and edit my post, for now i'll just note it.

Note on NO production sources: From Wikipedia: (KM at AAT)

"In the body, nitric oxide (the 'endothelium-derived relaxing factor',
or 'EDRF') is synthesized from arginine

Arginine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and oxygen
Oxygen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia by various nitric oxide synthase
Nitric oxide synthase - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (NOS) enzymes
Enzyme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and by sequential reduction of inorganic nitrate."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Common Descent 1 by DDeden

If sneezing evolved only for clearing the nose, which is the typical reason given, then why don't humans have closable nostrils to allow build up of air pressure to remove particles in the nasal cavity?

Why do we sneeze, which is a complex, whole body reaction, only to remove microscopic pollen, when simply blowing the nose is more effective and more efficient?

If sneezing is to remove particles, then why do people often blow their nose AFTER sneezing? And why the runny nose AFTER sneezing, if the particles are supposedly removed already?

It just does not add up to natural selection for fitness.

If sneezing is a former diving exhalation, (completely refilling the lungs instantaneously as dolphins do), and if our ancestors allowed seawater into the nasal, sinus and middle ear cavities to avoid equalizing, then having closable nostrils would NOT be advantageous.

And if sneezing removed this water upon surfacing, backfloating between dives would select for longer noses pointed towards the sky, but with ventral-position nostrils since the occiput was dense and sinuses were lightweight, the head would tilt back further, so ventral nostrils would be higher up than prognathic outward pointing nostrils.

Now we see why the human nose, including He, Hs and Hn, does NOT have dense bone except at the base. The external nose in Homo is cartilage and tissue and fat, because it is lighter weight than solid bone.

The human nose is hollow tetrahedral structure (pyramid like) therefore using the least amount of structural materials (ie. light weight), and dense bone is found only at the foundation as part of the skull.

This was a difficult puzzle, as it made sense for the snorkel to be bony for protection, yet only the base is bony. The solution lies in the need to balance the heavy occiput during backfloating, in order to position the nostrils in the perfect position, like the sea otter. The presence of the keel on the He calvaria fits with this well, the occiput providing ballast for centering thus keeping the nose at the highest position. Presumable the keel shape was slightly advantageous during back stroke and back sculling as well as during diving.

Is the sea otter occiput or spine more dense (pachyostotic) or enlarged compared to the river otter or stoat? Is it keeled? Is the nose thick boned or thin and hollow cartilaginous?

Why do neandertal skulls have a notch in the occiput? One Hs skull also has this notch. (Update: a 2nd one, a small mix skull in Spain 23ka also has it).

Why do humans have white eye sclerae? Because even though humans are very visual oriented, during backfloating the eyes were kept closed generally, with vocal-aural information transmitted via song, clicking and abbreviated calling which evolved into resonance vowels and staccato consonants easily produced while backfloating.

The sunlight which penetrated through the thick fatty eyelids (Khoisan/East Asian type) hit the white sclerae and reflected back out through the lids, rather than being absorbed into the eyes (as with dark eyes) thus preventing damage over the long term due to UV.

Lullabyes and love songs derived from food gift exchange and sharing while diving and backfloating. Probably monogamous diving pairs, but based on size difference of male to female, possibly mini-harem system, 1 male with 1 pregnant and 1 non-pregnant female, so one is watching kids while other is diving with male? Possible similarity to bonobo female-female sharing, to prevent jealousy, better child raising in harsh environment?

Regarding the apparent size dimorphism in He, compare to sea otters, the males are much larger than females, IIRC river otter dimorphism is reduced. So IMO He may have dived monogamously as partners, but not foraged on land as pairs? Males patrolled beaches with sticks (possibly dugouts to get freshwater?), females guarded small kids at shore while wading, male teens in coconut palms & fig trees dropping foods and look out for predator/prey above water and beach and higher ground, female teens babysitting on dry sand with a palm leaf for shade and camoflage?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dug-out canoes & spears

(from discussions in SAP & AAT)

Association of extant arboreal Pan, tree hollow, spear thrusting
Association of early Homo, hollow log dugout, spear thrusting

Some chimps use thrusting spears to hunt African bushbabies
in hollow trees. This is arboreal, not savanna (bushbabies don't
live in trees surrounded by grass), they sharpen the spears with
their teeth. Some Suaq swamp orangs use very small spears to get
the (Durio sp) neesia oilseeds from the spiny neesia fruit, they
manipulate the spear with their mouth, not their hands. This is
done arboreally, not on the ground, not on savanna. Some Ndoki
swamp gorillas have been seen crossing water with wading sticks.
I think savanna baboons never use sticks as weapons or tools.

Great apes & most likely extinct hominids & humans manufacture/d
thrusting spears/push-poles/wading sticks of some form. unlike
other known anthropoids.

Mario: Actually, the presence of sharp sticks is very common in
nature, and you don't have to invent anything. A lot of animals
have sharp antlers on their heads. Baboons have two sharp spears
in their mouth. -- Mario

DD: Sharp fangs and horns require close contact, spears allow
further distance.

each one allows safer distance while retaining accuracy.

A dugout canoe vehicle has a wood hull that partly conceals and
provides a spearing/throwing platform, made of solid cellulose
fibers nearly impenetrable to teeth of hippos, cats, crocs.

Spearing fish or animals from a dug out canoe is relatively safe,
so I think that push-pole spears were used very effectively, one
person (wife) push-poling the boat, the other stabbing the
prey/predator (husband) and also steering & push-poling at times.
Piles of pebbles in the bottom (heavy ballast to prevent tipping
over) allowed fast throwing with reasonable accuracy, so there
was no need for large groups of Homo for protection at all times
(which had been necessary during the previous swimming-diving-
wading-beachcombing period), this allowed expansion inland and
thus slowly began inland shore trade for sea nutrients (salt,
sun-shore-dried fish & shellfish).

Seems that the swimming-diving-wading-beachcombing and dugout
development co-occurred for a lengthy period.

Dugongs are arrowed by Andaman people from dugouts.
Whales trapped during their birthing time in bays/lagoons could
have been targets for dugout users, as they were for whaling
vessels in Baja Calif.

An international research team, including two geologists from
UT Austin, has unearthed ancient stone tools from an unusual
geological setting in Africa that may contribute to solving
the mystery of the geographic origins and adaptations of modern
humans. The findings push back by 10,000 years the date for
earliest evidence of human consumption of shellfish, marking
the onset of a new type of feeding strategy in human evolution.
The tools were found within a fossil reef terrace on the Red
Sea coast of Eritrea. They suggest that early humans were
adapted to coastal marine environments and ate seafood,
including clams, crabs, scallops and oysters, as early as
125,000 years ago. Eritrea is located north of Ethiopia and
southeast of the Sudan. The findings were published in
the May 4 issue of the journal Nature.
Dr. Richard T. Buffler, a professor of geological sciences and
senior research scientist at the UT Austin Institute for
Geophysics, and Berhane Negassi Ghebretensae, a UT Austin
graduate student from Eritrea, participated in the project.
The project was headed by Dr. Robert C. Walter, a geologist and
geochronologist with Mexico's Centro de Investigacion Cientifica
y Educacion Superior de Ensenada in Baja California. The
research team includes scientists from Eritrea, the U.S.,
Mexico, the Netherlands, France and Canada.

The Paleolithic hand axes and obsidian flakes and blades were
discovered in a fossil reef terrace near the Eritrean village of
Abdur on the Gulf of Zula. The reef terrace is about ten km long
and about six to fourteen meters above current sea level.
"This is the oldest documentation in the world of the use of
marine resources - clams, crabs and oysters - which are found
in this reef along with the stone tools," Buffler said. "The use
of marine seafoods as a food source indicates a new behavior for
early humans." "We would like to call this the 'first oyster
bar,'" said Walter. "Abdur is an important site, not just because
it is the earliest evidence for coastal marine occupation to
date, but because it opens up the entire coast of Africa as a
whole new realm of exploration for early human archaeology and
paleontology." The geographic origin of modern humans is a
subject of intense debate. One school of thought contends that
modern humans evolved semi-independently in Europe, Asia and
Africa between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago. Another holds that
modern humans evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000
years ago, migrating to Eurasia at a later period.
Direct paleontological, archaeological and biological evidence
is required to resolve the conflict. The importance of finding
ancient tools in Eritrea is that it favors an "out of Africa"
migration. "It is right on the potential migration route of
modern humans out of Africa into Europe, Central Asia and over
into Far Eastern Asia," Buffler said.
The age of the stone tools found embedded in the rock was
based on dating the fossil corals close to the tools by
uranium-thorium mass spectrometric techniques to 125,000
years ago. The oldest previously known coastal site, the
Klasies River mouth in South Africa, is estimated to be
115,000 years old, some 10,000 years later than the Abdur
site. Rare occurrences of bifacial handaxes have been found
on the surface of Pleistocene marine terraces from the Danakil
Rift Valley of Eritrea and the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea.
But they were not found in geological context, meaning direct
estimates of their age were not possible.
"Nowhere else have stone tools been reported to be in a reef
rock itself. So we know that the ancient people at Abdur were
there on the reef and dropped these tools where they harvested
their food. And the tools then became part of the geological
record," Buffler said the team of researchers was traveling
to another field area in the winter of 1997 when the group
stopped near the reef. "We camped overnight and in the morning
we started looking around and discovered the paleolithic tools
in the reef," Buffler said. The team,led by Walter and partly
funded with a National Science Foundation grant, returned to
study the area in more detail in January and February of 1999.

As I understand it, the hand tools were within a fossil coral
reef matrix which was tectonically uplifted at some time in the
past. "about six to fourteen meters above current sea level."

I can't comment on the technology used to determine the dates.
I would not be surprised with dates from any period, from
3+ million years ago to 50 years ago. People still use stone
tools for various purposes.

"Paleolithic hand axes and obsidian flakes and blades..."

It's certainly nice to see those clearly crafted tools in the
reef, no doubt others will be found when people start looking.

"Rare occurrences of bifacial handaxes have been found on the
surface of Pleistocene marine terraces from the Danakil Rift
Valley of Eritrea and the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Research Submarine (??)

Excellent investment for (* THE-ARC *) me thinks!! Any smart wealthy investors out there concerned about future coral reefs & ocean fisheries & food supplies?? Simply e-mail me, DDeden, we'll work it out. Let's not wait til it's too late...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Assorted pics & vids

1) Pacific walrus exhaling water via nostrils
2) Atlantic walrus feeding on clams (pharyngeal air sac as water piston?)
3) Floating kudu
4) Kudu waterside

Spin-dancing gorilla video

Gorilla siverback in water, dominance, forest opening, diagonal

Arboreal goats in trees