10) Human Biological History

Why you can change human nature, since our evolution made us highly flexible.

Natural Selection as ‘Survival of the Grandkids’.  An ‘audit of grandchildren’ is the actual way in which natural selection shapes species. Just having offspring is not enough: they in turn must have children for the genes to survive long-term.  And human life includes other options: Newton left behind no children or grandchildren, but his actual legacy is immense.

Humans Work Best in Cooperative Groups.   We have what’s probably the highest developed group identity.  We also have what may be unique, the ability to reflect on membership of a group and maybe change it.

Why Only Some Children Bounce Back From Bad Childhoods.  Kids as ‘orchids’ or ‘dandelions’: and the ‘orchids’ are often superior if properly raised.

And So Say All of Me.  Unlike a computer, our brains seem to work as an ensemble, several separate centres working together, or occasionally working at cross purposes.

Gifts Close to Madness? The odd way in which we became human, and the ancestral features we still retain.  Giftedness as a mental abnormality, and closely tied to things we class as maladjustment or madness.  And ‘Behind every Great Man there’s a Great Ape’.

Advances Mice and Backward Humans.  DNA studies show that mice have had the strongest Natural Selection pressures.  Apes (including humans) are less evolved than the average mammal in terms of their DNA.

Chimp DNA Changed More Than Ours.  In terms of DNA, though not appearance, chimps have had the most evolution.

Superorganisms – Ant Nests and Human Religions.  Why being part of something aids your survival.

Letter About Memes.  Every Tom, Dave or Sammy bears a name of Jewish origin, as indeed does every Liz, Jane or Mary.  So are Jewish names must be very very good at self-replication?  (Dawkins’s notion is a half-arsed theory of culture.)

Why Motherhood was Created by Natural Selection.  A short review of “Love at Goon Park“.

Cooking Made Us Human.  The notion that we advanced by being able to cook.  And the alternative notion it might have been drying food in the hot sun, before fire was tamed.

Blond Hair Occurred at least Twice.  Dark-skinned Solomon Islanders evolved their own version, using a distinct gene.

Rational Chimps, Hobbits and Starch-Eating Humans.  How chimps really do behave as economists think humans should behave.  Plus how the ‘Flores Hobbits’ might have crossed deep water, and the surprising truth about early human diet.

Chimps Are Never Tame.  A rampaging chimp illustrates how we became less muscular and less robust as we got smarter.  And able most to tolerate each others, as chimps never can.

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