Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dive-Surface-Sneeze-Speak ARC

Speech, though completely dependent upon the
mouth/larynx, is not particularly sensorial. Eating, breathing,
sniffing, sneezing are all face-sense-related, talking isn't. Talking
is all about internal air valve control.

One cannot talk underwater, yet if not for underwater air valve
control, speech would not have happened.

In a way, both speech (audio sense only) and physical gestures (visual
sense only) require an absence/reduction of other of senses, otherwise
risking interference. (Compare the small eyes of echolocating
cetaceans (especially river dolphins, which are almost blind) vs huge
eyes of ancient non-echolocating marine reptiles.)

What is the physiological opposite of the anaerobic MDR Mammalian
Divers Reflex which occurs at depth? Instant exhalation
(photic/pressure/thermal induced) & aerobic breathing at surface, with
optional controlled exhalation vocalized speech. Has anyone
immediately upon surfacing from a *long* dive, spoken during the first
exhale? I think humans are programmed/selected not to, just like
seals. First exhale, then speak/bark. Not sure though.

I think also that the LCA Hominoid/Hominid could not call while
floating vertically, possibly due to (water) pressure on the
throat/sac/hyoid/thyroid cartilage. Only when pressure was eased,
could a vocal sound be produced (compare to having a "knot in ones
throat" or feeling choked up), I guess. This allowed breathing clearly
through the nose during floating, then upon grasping and lifting up or
wading, the air sac pressure is off, and oral breathing and calling
can start.

[{Highly significant}]
This might have been a predecessor of being able to suction feed in
Homo underwater, having the oral breathing disconnected during
submersion, allowing the open pharynx for feeding and swallowing, then
upon re-emergence to light/pressure change, the larynx reopens to the
mouth and instantly exhales but with no vocalization, just a pure
instant complete air exchange of the lungs, trachea, mouth. Only the
little air in the nasal area is not forcibly exchanged. Why? Either
because the sinuses and eustacean tubes were pre-flooded with seawater
(per Seb Murat), or because of some other reason (high-pressure nasal
sneeze might cause damage to delicate nasal
veins/arteries/turbinates/olfactory nerves/middle ear/inner ear

Today's scuba divers and free divers instead keep their chin down near
the throat, with their eyes 60 to 90 degrees from the streamlined linear
posture (and more like a vertical floating ape posture), which differs
from this ancient diving technique, and may indicate why the photic
sneeze "doesn't work" in today's divers. DDeden

To sing, to click, to speak

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waterborne Civilization

"Waterborne Civilization" Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller

...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... [RBF Everything I know]

In order to realize a more sustainable way of urban development, we shall start with some understanding of local conditions of the region. S. Jumsai in his book “NAGA” argues that due to the fact that much of the research in human origins has taken place in Africa, the theory of Darwin concerning primate evolution into the human species is then usually considered to have occurred in that continent. However, in May 1979, primate fossils were discovered in the Ponduang Hills west of Mandalay, Mianmar. Dated to around forty million years and so far the oldest of their kind, the fossils immediately gave rise to speculation that primates originated instead in South-East Asia and migrated to Africa via western Asia.

According to the anthropology evidences found, little is known in the long line of primate and human evolution until a much later date. This is especially so of South-East Asia. Until now, the earliest hominid find in the South-East Asian region is the skull of a child of the Homo erectus type. It is dated between one and three million years and was found at Mojokerto in East Java. In 1941, human fossils of the type called Meganthropus were uncovered at Sangiran in Central Java and are dated a little later than the Mojokerto skull. Thus, if human and their direct ancestors have been on the planet for at least four million years, we may assume that they must have survived a number of glaciations from the close of the Tertiary period onward.

The earth has gone through several ice ages beginning with the earliest known in the pre- Cambrian period of before 600 million years ago. The cooling of the planet would cause a general southerly migration of bipeds and other animals in the northern hemisphere. Only small amount survived above the Tropic of Cancer, including some human’s forebears such as the Peking Man, Homo rheindahlensis, Neanderthal, and Cro-Magnon Man. The Pleistocene Ice Age is, however, far from being a uniform period of glaciation. Recent research points towards the existence of up to twenty secondary glaciations and a corresponding number of interglacials. With so many alterations in the Planet’s temperature, it can only be assumed that several south-to north and north-to-south migrations took place. And, the fluctuation of the water levels could cause several species to evolve.

K. Douglas addresses an interesting theory in New Scientist. She points out several researches that based on the “aquatic ape theory.” One of the researches done by A. Hardy and published in New Scientist forty years ago, suggests that a branch of the primitive ape-stock was forced by competition from “life in the trees to feed on the seashores.”
Bucky's speculation on human prehistory.

RD: signs of stone knapping and butchering in African rift 2.5 Mya, general agreement among paleoclimatologists that from ca. 5 Mya to 3 Mya there was a very warm and humid climate. By 3 Mya the Panama Isthmus was about 100 meters below the surface, until its final emergence at 2.7 Mya, there was an increasing interference with the salinity exchange between the Pacific and the Atlantic with a resulting glaciation in the northern hemisphere. The climatic consequences eventually leading to the widespread extinctions described by Elisabeth Vrba at ca. 2.7 Mya. evidence to support the conclusion that Africa was drying-out at this time, producing savanna adapted species.

PHL recent drying of Sahara:The desiccation of the Sahara Desert is also discussed
in "Climate and environmental history of the Sahara: the
last 6000 years" by Dr.Patrick Honecker at

He states:

"The results of this work document a progressive drying
of theregional terrestrial ecosystem between 5600 and
2700 years ago, in response to gradually decreasing
tropical monsoon rainfall. This drying followed a logical
ecological sequence starting with tropical grassland trees
and herbs being replaced by typical Sahel vegetation,
followed by loss of grass cover and establishment of
the modern desert plant community that is largely
restricted to oases."


Francus, P., J.-P. Cazet, M. Fagot, B. Rumes, J. M. Russell,
F. Darius, D. J. Conley, M. Schuster, H. von Suchodoletz, and
D. R. Engstrom, 2008 Climate-Driven Ecosystem Succession in
the Sahara: The Past 6000 Years. Science. vol. 320, no. 5877,
pp. 765-768.

The abstract to this paper can be found at
[] and []

Their paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the pollen from a
continuous core covering 6000-year from northern Chad indicates
a "progressive drying of the regional terrestrial ecosystem"
that resulted in strong reductions in tropical trees and then
Sahelian grassland cover" and "large-scale dust mobilization"
starting about 4300 calendar years before the present. They
concluded that "today's desert ecosystem and regional wind
regime were established around 2700 calendar years before
the present."

A PDF file of this paper can be found at:


A discussion of this paper can be found in "Study:
Sahara Gradually Dried Up Over 6,000 Years" at:


Another recent paper about the paleoclimatology of the
Sahara Desert is;

The abstract is at []

For the eastern Sahara, they conclude:

"The evidence derived from archaeological excavations and
surveys coupled to nearly 500 14C dates (Figure 2) suggests
that the Holocene wet phase lasted from approximately
9500–6000 B.P. (9000–5000 cal. B.C., calibration: dispersion
calibration program, Cologne 2001, After
the hyper-arid Pleistocene, the tropical summer rain front
moved about 700–1000 km northward (e.g., Haynes, 1987;
Neumann, 1989a; Pachur and Hoelzmann, 2000), which
initiated more humid conditions in the Eastern Sahara."

Notice that the Pleistocene before 9,500 BP was hyper-arid
and the "wet" Sahara was only from 9500–6000 B.P.

The abstract is at []

"Africa During the Last 150,000 Years" by Jonathan Adams at:


"(dates in Guo et al are given in 14C years ago on the
left, approximate calibrated of 'real' dates are given
on the right)

Moist 9,500-8,200 14C ya (10,400-9,100 ya)
Slight drying 8,200-8,000 14C ya (9,100-8,900 ya)
Moist 8,000-7,000 14C ya (8,900-7,900 ya)
Moderately dry 7,000-5,700 14C ya (7,900-6,500 ya)
Moist 5,700-4,000 14C ya (6,500-4,500 ya)
Very dry - as dry as at present - 4,000-3,800 14C ya (4,500-4,100 ya)
Slightly moister than present 3,800-3,500 14C ya (4,100-3,700 ya)
After 3,500 14C ya (3,700 ya). Remaining about as dry as at present"
copied from HOM

Thursday, August 7, 2008


human nature & human nurture


Dolphin kick

Your Inner Fish: Human anatomy article

Human anatomy is a formative experience in the training of future physicians -- it is the students' grand introduction to the body, when they memorize the names of bones, organs and nerves as they painstakingly dissect a real cadaver. That first year, as well as in years after, the medical students were curious about what kind of doctor I am. I am a fish paleontologist who studies finned creatures that have been extinct for more than 370 million years. Seeing the history inside our bodies is like peeling an onion: The first layers we see reveal the history we share with primates (large brains and opposable thumbs). Peel deeper and we find the layers of history shared with other mammals (hair and breasts), reptiles (our distinctive way of chewing food), fish (arms, legs, backbones and heads), worms (an anus on one side of the body and a mouth on the other), jellyfish (the DNA recipe that builds our bodies), sponges (our many celled bodies) and so on.Article