There can be only one?


This image illustrates hominin history over 4 million years, highlighting a recent discovery in the Philippines. Is anyone else as horrified by it as I am?

It illustrates 8 species of Homo in the last million years. The fossil record is spotty, so there are probably more…and the record prior to a million years ago is going to be even weaker, and the number of species is going to be even less representative of reality. Our family was a wonderful flowering bush of diversity, and now its been pared down to a single twig, us.

That’s an illustration of failure. We should be worried, especially since we’re actively exterminating even our distant cousins, taking an axe to the whole family tree. We’re working towards only supporting one primate type on the entire planet, which seems a little selfish and short-sighted.

Comments

  1. F.O. says

    Maybe we’re just murderous assholes.
    Given our thirst for violence and genocide, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Others have been systematically and deliberately exterminated.
    Look at what we’re doing now to people of our own species.
    Imagine what we’d do to people who looked markedly different.

  2. ionopachys says

    Didn’t they find a surprising amount of variation at Dmanisi? Maybe we didn’t kill all the others but absorbed them.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says

    H. Sapiens might have already split, with H. Dumbfucktrumpers being the new twig.

  4. Gregory Greenwood says

    In this Highlander analogy, I take it the Prize is the opportunity to be the ones to finally cause enough ecological damage to wipe ourselves out entirely, thus affording the Earth the opportunity to regenerate its biome over the course of a couple of million years, entirely semi-sentient, semi-insane ape free?

    On considered reflection, that doesn’t seem like a very good strategy for humanity. How about we don’t do that, work to avoid harming the environment and thereby killing ourselves, and then we call all listen to some Queen and watch a certain gloriously cheesy ’80’s action movie secure in the knowledge that we actually aren’t a species compelled to collective suicide by ecological self-sabotage.

  5. Gregory Greenwood says

    ionopachys @ 2;

    Didn’t they find a surprising amount of variation at Dmanisi? Maybe we didn’t kill all the others but absorbed them.

    I remember hearing about that, and I think the same article mentioned recent research that has apparently found what is believed to be considerable quantities of Hominid DNA, particularly of Neanderthal origin if memory serves, in the genome of modern humans. We may be much more of a genetic chimera of the various Hominid species that we realise.

  6. says

    I can’t help but notice the parallel to our imaginings of meeting aliens. It’s the same basic question: Kill it or fuck it?

  7. curbyrdogma says

    @ F.O.: “Maybe”…?
    Perhaps scientists should formally propose a name change. Homo Sapiens Sapiens (“wise man”) to Homo Subtiliter Letalis (“clever lethal man”)

    On another note, ancient Hindu legend tells of a race of “monkey men” (Vanara), represented by the god Hanuman. Could this myth have been based on one of these other hominin species? (One could use this information to troll creationists as to whose religion is more “true”…)

  8. numerobis says

    curbyrdogma: every culture has anthopomorphized animals, giants, dwarves. I’m not sure there’s much to read into that.

  9. sparks says

    “Snarki, child of Loki

    11 April 2019 at 12:50 pm

    H. Sapiens might have already split, with H. Dumbfucktrumpers being the new twig.”

    Indeed.

    “We must have a war on these creatures to teach them a lesson.”

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