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Thread: Becoming Human: Nova page

  1. #1
    Sergeant Grok's Avatar
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    A good documentary by PBS, available instantly on Netflix. It comes in 3 episodes, the first is about Australopithecus where we split off from other primates, the second is about Homo Erectus one of the first human species, the last is about the Homo Sapien dominance of the other species.


    Weird to think that at one time there was more than one kind of Grok running around, possibly interacting.

    Basically the gist of it

    Grok E=Homo Erectus - Large (a child of 8 was about 5'10") slightly hairy, completely bipedal and larger brain than previous proto homids. Toolmakers


    Grok F=H. Floresiensis - "Hobbits" as they are nicknamed, adults about 3' tall, much smaller brains but still toolmakers. Might be a case of insular dwarfism (species that live on small islands tend to evolve into dwarf versions)


    Grok H=H. Heidelbergensis - Capable of more complex thought, buried dead, fed older group memebers.


    Grok N= H. Neanderthalensis - Larger than us, more muscular, larger brain but with slightly different shape and thus different sizes for different areas, almost exclusively hunters based on bones and tools which were the stone hand ax and large spear, no throwing weapons, seemingly did not eat plants even when available in lull of European ice ages.


    PreGrok - H. Sapien - Early us, still some differences, primarily hunter


    Grok - H. Sapien Sapien - Survivor of the Toba Catastrophe, which almost led to extinction. Adaptations allowed superior survivability which let to other Groks dying out.


  2. #2
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    Grok E evolved in Africa. He had a larger brain than previous species which led to toolmaking and fire. The larger brain required more energy and thus the meat eating became a much bigger part of the human diet. The need for meat coupled with toolmaking and intelligence lead to organized hunting and scavenging. Grok E migrated slowly throughout Africa and beyond after game, but did so in many waves. Last known pocket of Grok E's was in Asia about 200,000 years ago.


  3. #3
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    Grok F is oddity that scientists still are unable to come to any true consensus on. They lived on a series of islands in Indonesia and were about 1 meter tall. Despite there much smaller brain they still made hand tools. They were descendants of one wave of migrating Grok E's. Possible explanations include insular dwarfism where species evolve into smaller versions, like the pygmy elephant which was no bigger than a cow. Another explanation is that it is simply a case of disease related dwarfism as the current residents of the Flores island are pygmies.


  4. #4
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    Grok H was a evolutionary descendant of groups Grok E that didn't migrate out of Africa. However Grok H did. A quartz hand axe most likely made Africa was found at a gravesite in Germany, meaning it was carried and left as an offering. Able to comprehend more complex thoughts but still did not have any new big technological advances. At least one group migrated to Europe and one stayed in Africa.


  5. #5
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    Grok N likely evolved from Grok H group in Europe. He was larger and more heavily muscled than modern humans or eve Grok (think Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his body building days and he would be a runt in the group). He had a larger brain but his skull was less domed so the brain was longer. Led to smaller temporal and parietal lobes. He matured much faster as well. Bone and tool evidence suggests that he was almost exclusively a carnivore. He hunted big game in ice age Europe. Almost every male Grok N had many healed bone fractures, this coupled with their still simple tools meant they probably killed big game up close with large spears and hand axes. Seemed not to consume plants even when available. Shared the same gene responsible for speech but difference in brain structure might have been more primative.


  6. #6
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    PreGrok lived in Africa starting about 250,000 years but still different from Grok and modern humans. Had the same stone tools as Grok N and Grok E. At this time the Tobe Catastrophe happened. The expanding ice age in Europe led to massive droughts and most of Africa would have become desert. PreGrok had to move to at most 6 coastal places and are almost wiped out. The "bottleneck effect takes place. Essentially whole populations of PreGrok die out leaving around 600 breeding individuals. From PreGrok came Grok.


  7. #7
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    Among Grok and us the genetic diversity is very small, almost 10 times less diverse than other species of primates. This leads scientists to conclude a very very small parent population estimated at about 600 breeders. Living on the coast and the changing climate led to shift in diet. Using coastal sources they began to eat more shellfish, gather more plants and hunt game near the coasts. This change from PreGrok to Grok took about 140,000 years. Over this time our tools got more complex. Specialized tools requiring new techniques are developed to take advantage of the wide variety of sources. At the same time, ornamentation in tools begins, showing the ability to use symbols in abstract thought. Primitive symbols, body painting and ornamentation begins. This allows the passing of complex knowledge in abstract ways.


    As the climate and environment improved Grok retook Africa and began migrating. Possibly met with last Grok Es, Grok Hs and even Grok Fs but no concrete evidence exists. However encounters and coexistence between Grok and Grok N are well documented. Genetic testing showed no inter mingling of the two groups. It seems the Grok N and Grok split off from each other at the older Grok H ancestor.


    Grok with his superior intelligence, wider diet of both plants and meat, and his better hunter tools including lighter throwing spears which led to better hunting thrived. While the lack of bigger game from Grok's competition and the warming of the ice age pushed Grok N out of his habitat. He was unable to adapt and died out.


    Grok and his descendants (us) became the last surviving species of human. Our ability to adapt to and use almost every resource of our environment led to our explosion across the world.


  8. #8
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    The last minute has a great line "One thing is for sure, evolution is not stopping. The rate of evolution on a genetic level has increased in the last 10,00 years and probably will continue..."


    Who knows maybe all those non PBers will finally adapt to the poisonous amounts of glucose...lets hope not.


  9. #9
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    They already have adapted to high glucose. They leveraged high intelect to sythesize insulin.


  10. #10
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    The only one that can be called Grok is H. All the others are pre-Grok or Grok proto-species.


    Climate and environment don't "improve", they change. Humans were able to adapt to the change better than other species. Just like the climate and environment, evolution is always in a state of flux (unless of course their adaptation cannot keep up with the change and they become extinct).

    “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
    —Robert A. Heinlein

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