I am not sure if anyone here is following the Out-of-Africa vs. Multiregionalism debate, but according to THIS article from the Guardian, the most known opponent of Multiregionalism, Chris Stringer, now “embraces” the multi-regional hypothesis. Weird. It’s like Dawkins saying that he now embraces the punctuated equilibrium. No idea what to make of this…
I always follow your posts with great interest George….
But this multiregional idea presents a problem to me using Ockham’s razor. If it is agreed on that hominids originated in Africa, then how, when and where did Neanderthal originate? By the same process as the African hominid? In Europe? At the same time?
Seems to me that if Hominids originated in Africa, they are the parents of all subsequent Hominidae. True, Neaderthal may have developed after migration into Europe or Asia, or wherever, the fact remains they originated in Africa.
I believe we are in agreement there?
Then comes the question, at what point did Neanderthal split from its African ancestor and why? Another question did Neaderthals’ adaption to a different environment make it smarter than the earlier hominids? And also the question, in view of the great variety of habitats in Africa, why would Neaderthal not have also developed in Africa.
What creates a natural need for having to become smarter in order to adapt? Migration itself places a demand on inventing temporary shelters, transport vehicles, portable storage devices, transportation of fire, etc, etc .
But migration, started also in Africa, there are many tribes which are nomadic, each with specific skills adapted to their range.
IMO, Neaderthals may well have been the “most adventurous” of the African hominids and as thet migrated farther and farther away from “home” they acquired greater knowledge of climates, environmental challenges, animal diversity, etc. Thus “by exposure” they learned to adapt (artificially), wherever they went.
A famous architect once remarked that the “teepee” is an example of advance technology in a portable home. It has an adjustable chimney. which allow it to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, the poles are not only the structural foundation but also the transport mechanism (portage) and it can be erected and taken down in a matter of minutes, yet house a large number of people.
These techinical requirement resulted in a variety of teepees, each ideally suited for their specific use.
Thus the question arises, do nomadic people become smarter than their cousins who stayed on the farm and developed their own advances in planting, harvesting, non destructive use of the forests, animal husbandry?
How can you possibly tell? Each sub-species developed their own unique skills in accordance to demand placed on them by their environment.
IMO and I have stated it before, the brain’s potential, once it has acquired the ability to think and imagine, is almost limitless in ability to grow synapses and analytical powers when required by environmental pressures.
The concept of “smart” is a relative concept.