Why does Spencer Wells describe his research as tracing the journey of Man ?
What is meant by the comment in film that “After 50,000 years ago . . . the form is fixed and culture takes off.”?
What were the major routes taken by humans out of Africa? What are the significance of the Kalahari, Australia, India and Central Asia in understanding the “journey of man”?
How does Spencer Wells’ interest in and portrayal of San people in the film compare to that of Lee, Wilmsen and others we have read about in this course?
Why does the Wells argue that “Old fashioned concepts of race are not only socially divisive but scientifically wrong”? If he is correct, what are the implications for societies like Singapore? How do we explain difference without the concept of race?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/12/photogalleries/journey_of_man/ Journey of MAN : Tracing the Y chromosome
“ The Form Is Fixed . . .” http://anthro.palomar.edu/tutorials/physical.htm
2.5 Million Years Ago – Homo habilis (the “handy man”)
1.8 Million Years Ago – Homo erectus (first out of Africa)
100,000 to 50,000 years ago – Modern Homo sapiens*
*Wells calls this “the Great Leap Forward” and “First Big Bang” in modern Human cultural evolution. Marking a qualitative difference between Homo sapiens and others; like Homo erectus . (pp.151)
“ . . . and Culture Takes Off” http://anthro.palomar.edu/tutorials/physical.htm
Biological change in humans has been largely & literally superficial for 50,000 years .
Human diversity is primarily cultural not physical or racial.
Culture is a cognitive capacity for concept formation.
Handwerker* argues that all mammals (and some other species, like birds) share this capacity.
Human’s just have an extremely more complex version than other species.
All humans alive today; and all humans who have lived for the past 50,000 to 100,000 years have the same capacity for Culture – i.e. all !Kung San, all other Africans, all Europeans, all Chinese, all Malays, all Indians . . . Everybody.
* Origins and Evolution of Culture (1989; in Course Pack)
Humans are to Culture what Giraffes are to Necks Do animals have culture like people? Animals think and conceptualize… but is that really CULTURE? Do other animals, have necks? They have stubby connections between their head and body … but is that really a NECK?
Evolution DOES NOT proceed “in a certain direction”. (Error of “teleology” or assuming that because something did happen that it had to happen ).
Example: Marsupials (mammals with pouches; like kangaroos) are the predominant mammals in Australia. Other sorts of mammals are more common other most parts of the world. It could have happened the other way around.
“ Lower, Simpler, Worse… to Higher, More Complex, Better”
Contemporary evolutionary thought does look at emergence of complex systems out of simpler ones. But…
“ Lower to Higher” and “Worse to Better” are value judgments, NOT science.
“ Complexity” only means “more working parts”; NOT “better”