While surfing the net the other day I ran across this intriguing headline. “Top 10 Mysteries of First Humans.”
Since our generation shows every indication of being the last humans, I thought I’d take a look. Never know when you might strike something with insight into our own peculiar condition. Besides, I might have an insight or two myself which would help unlock the mystery concerned.
Here, then, in the order in which they appeared in the article, and exactly as they are written, are the 10 archeological mysteries concerning our ancient moms and dads. My answers are not necessarily those of the scientific community.
First mystery: “Where did modern humans come from?”
Same place as ancient humans. Human physiology hasn’t changed all that much, even if it has been two or three million years. Ever since someone first told that story about the birds and the bees, six-year-olds know the answer to that one.
For an entirely different slant on the question, and an entirely different answer, modern archeologists have turned to Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. You have to ask why? You’ve never heard of the movie “Out Of Africa”? Okay, then. The question is answered. Stun.
Second mystery: “Who were the first hominids?”
My immediate reaction is a resounding who gives a rat’s posterior? I don’t even know what a hominid is. I think it refers to ancient bipeds who could have been our ancestors. There’s a picture of one in a book I have. It has huge, long arms, tiny thumbs and ridiculously small feet.
This hominid seems to be female in that there is no penis, or maybe it’s just very small, like its feet. On the other hand, there is a very well defined vagina. Don’t know what that says about hominids or about us. He, she or it is covered with hair except for the breasts which are entirely hairless and look as though they were covered by a bikini.
Third mystery: “Did we have sex with Neanderthals?”
Beats me. Ask Maria Shriver. Speaking personally, I’m pretty sure not. Still, the Neanderthal in the picture is positively attractive compared with the hominid. Either our ancient ancestors did, and we humans are the result of that union, or our human ancestors beat the hell out of the Neanderthals and they died out (see seventh mystery). Science hasn’t decided. I have a third cousin once removed who bears a passing resemblance to a Neanderthal.
Fourth mystery: “Why did modern humanity expand out of Africa 50,000 years ago?”
The answer to that is as simple as it’s obvious. They were driven out by those ridiculous horns they were blowing during the FIFA soccer names in South Africa.
Fifth mystery: “What is the hobbit?”
The hobbit is a character from Middle Earth if you read JR Tolkien. Or, if we stay with the first humans bit, it’s the name given to very small human skeletons found in Southeast Asia. No one can figure out where they came from or where they fit in with all the rest of us. OK, so?
Sixth mystery: “Is human evolution accelerating?”
Better question, has it started? Depends whether you start with Adam and Eve or hominids. Perhaps Adam and Eve were hominids. Perhaps they were Neanderthals. If we begin with the original two in the Garden of Eden, a good argument may be made that evolution is decelerating — we’re going backwards. I’d be prepared to argue that.
Seventh mystery: “Why did our closest relatives go extinct?”
Because everybody has relatives they wish would disappear. Way back when, they didn’t just wish it, they went and did it. We didn’t like the Neanderthals so we bumped them off. Or we got to know them in the biblical sense and assimilated them to death. Sort of a “Guess who’s coming to dinner” idea.
Eighth mystery: “What happened to our hair?”
Whatever it was, it’s still happening but at different rates of speed and in different body places. Some fellows lose it from their heads in their 20s and 30s, others their 40s and 50s and others keep it into advanced old age. The latter tend to have an almost primitive sexuality which is highly appealing to females.
Some men, while losing the hair on top, have it in liberal quantities on the rest of their bodies. Such men have other primitive qualities going back to the caveman era when they hunted wild beasts and dragged women around by the hair of their heads. Some women are still attracted to this quality.
These days, younger people have simply taken to shaving it all off.
Ninth mystery: “Why do humans walk on two legs?”
Simple. Because we don’t have four legs. Some idiot has suggested we developed arms out of our front legs so that we could carry more things around, like groceries, and fight better with clubs and bows and arrows. A much more practical reason is that we could hold on to our women better — and vice versa — and consequently have more babies and therefore become more numerous than anyone else in the neighborhood.
Tenth mystery: “Why do humans have larger brains?”
There is some evidence to suggest our brains are not as large as we think. Such evidence can be found in George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle. These, of course, are all American politicians. Not my fault. Canadian evidence includes: Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day and Gail Shea, the federal fisheries minister.
Why are we still with politicians? Never mind. Other contradictions to the theory that our brains are larger are the senior management of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the senior management of Marine Atlantic and the senior management of PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
That’s how so-called mysteries are explained and resolved. Any questions?
Ed Smith is an author who lives
in Springdale. His e-mail address