Sunday, November 12, 2006

Eating Raoul

Recent findings about early hominds shows that they were not vegan as earlier thought. Which was the reason scientists thought they became extinct.

Hominid extinction theory long in the tooth

The findings came as a surprise, since Paranthropus had previously been thought to have a fairly unvaried diet, especially when compared with the emerging hominids from the genus Homo - the line we are descended from. Their finicky eating had been cited as one of the reasons Paranthropus eventually went extinct in the face of a drying African continent. Meanwhile, the varied tastes of Homo meant it was better equipped to handle changing environmental conditions."Since we have now shown Paranthropus was flexible in its eating habits over both short and long intervals, we probably need to look to other biological, cultural or social differences to explain its ultimate fate," said lead author Matt Sponheimer.

So why did they become extinct?

Well perhaps it was because our ancestors ate them.

After all some folks still eat our primate cousins.
Something the scientists have overlooked.

the food supply of the Huaroni tribe, who has lived in the rainforest for thousands of years and is one of the last tribes in the Amazon to voluntarily live in seclusion in the rainforest, Hartley says.They’re not farmers, she says, but hunter-gatherers, so they rely on eating monkeys, snakes and birds, among other things.

Of course eating our relatives is a bad idea. For several reasons. Not the least is it leads to their extinction. And it could lead to ours.

Team finds HIV-related virus in gorillas
In May, the same research team published results tracing the seeds of the AIDS pandemic to chimpanzees living in Cameroon. At the time, scientists reported evidence - gathered through genetic analysis of fecal samples - that chimps were infected with HIV-1 by eating infected prey monkeys and, in turn, humans became infected by butchering infected chimps for food.

And it is of course a moral issue as well. Which maybe why scientists have not looked at this possibility as the reason for the extinction of prehistoric non-homo hominds.

Drive to give 'human' rights to apes leaves Spanish divided

Spain could soon become the first country in the world to give chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and other great apes some of the fundamental rights granted to human beings under a law being proposed by members of the ruling Socialist coalition.

Moral 'bastards' have brain hormone problems
Research by primatologists Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal at Emory University has shown that monkeys also have what look like moral values. When two monkeys work for food, a fair split is expected. If a fair division is not received, it elicits cries of outrage and hurled food by the wronged partner. Moral values have powerful physiological representations in humans, too, and we feel them strongly when they are violated.




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