Modern man, are we really that modern?
The oldest fossil of Modern man found in 2009, in a cave in Laos suggest that modern man has been around between 46,000 and 63,000 years. Earlier species of Modern man have been found in Africa but these were developing species such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus ( upright man). The fossil found in North Laos suggests that early man ventured from Africa and inhabiting the coast lines settled into deeper terrain earlier than thought. Given its age, fossils in this vicinity could be direct ancestors of the first migrants to Australia. But it is also likely that mainland Southeast Asia was a crossroads leading to other migratory paths.
Our early relatives would have found shelter in caves and up amongst the trees and they would have been good pickings for bigger, better predators at the time and before the advent of fire and social groups. (Before Facebook and twitter,,, sorry!) In this period they would have been virtually defenceless against most predators such as large cats, huge hyenas, bears, snakes and other primates, fortunately for us many survived to pass on their genes, but did they pass on another trait that maybe with us today from that unruly time?
There are those that think that under pressure with a beating heart or uncomfortable feeling when we see a shadow or movement in the grass, when we go into yellow alert, and even as daft as it sounds, when we become defensive in an argument or feel threatened by a tax bill, that these feelings are inherent from that time, a time when a quick response from a predator would be life or death, after all, we are unlikely to come across a sabre- toothed tiger while taking a walk through our local wood and although some bills nearly kill us right on the spot we know they’re not life threatening, but we still have these legacies. Have you ever picked up small defenceless animal in a playful manner but then take on a much more serious stance when it does something you weren’t expecting? I certainly have.
These defence mechanisms are a good thing and have seen us through time, and although we don’t meet any sabre tooth’s they help us defend our family, our friends and ourselves no matter what the threat is. So the next time you tickle that lovely bunny and it takes a nip at your finger try not to beat it to death with your briefcase just remember for that split second it’s your genes that tell you it could be a giant venomous rat, because 63 thousand years ago, it probably was!
Here’s a great example of modern man fending off an attack by a giant squirrel
(you may need flash player to get the whole effect or move cursor over pics)