Big brains, baldness and a hybrid
What especially caught my eye in this paper was how often the word 'remarkable' was used. Scientific papers are almost always dry, sober reports, their authors do not want to sound emotional and flighty, and so it is illuminating that the authors saying remarkable in two particular paragraphs. Here they are:
“It has long been noted that brains of various extant and extinct primates display remarkable variation in size, organization, and behavioral output (Noback and Montagna, 1970; Armstrong and Falk, 1982; Byrne and Whiten, 1988; Matsuzawa, 2001). This is particularly true for the evolutionary lineage leading from ancestral primates to humans, in which the increase in brain size and complexity was remarkably rapid and persistent throughout the lineage (Jerison, 1973; Walker et al., 1983).” Page 1.
“It is remarkable that 17 out of the 24 primate-fast outliers [rare or exceptional genetic changes] are linked to the regulation of either brain size or behavior.”
The third ‘remarkable’ is of special significance, for it touches upon a very strange story.
This sounds, at first glance, to be a reasonable progress of development. Bigger brains enable tool use, group coordination, planning etc. The only problem is… the odds of gaining the required genetic changes to have these big brains through natural selection, in the time described, are vanishingly small.
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a brilliant theory and it can apply to many, many species on our planet. But it has a problem. As I’ve explained in an earlier article, the process of evolution through the acquisition of new traits attained through random genetic changes is incredibly slow. A creature must acquire a genetic change, through a virus, chemical or radiation damage, in their sperm or ovum. It is the only way that the genetic change can be passed to the next generation. That genetic change cannot kill the creature.; it also has to be stable. If those properties are present then if the creature does reproduce, it’ll be in that creature’s offspring. From that point on, the new genetic change has a chance to then spread through the population.
Not surprisingly, with such a tenuous chain of events, it can take an incredible amount of time for such random mutations to alter a species. This might explain why evolution was so slow on Earth before the Cambrian Explosion, when the simple organisms present on our early planet suddenly developed all sorts of new designs. Before that explosion, all creatures on Earth were evolving through random mutation but the Cambrian Explosion accelerated development because something else was going on.
Returning to the matter of Homo Habilis and Homo sapiens, evolution through random mutation is much easier, as a development process, if a single genetic change gives a straightforward advantage to the species. If a single, useful, genetic change occurs, then the creature has that new attribute in one generation. That creature has a palpable advantage and its genetic alteration should spread through the population because everyone wants to mate with that creature, because of its better attribute.
But if a host of new genes need to all be present for a successful development to occur, then things are very different, because the odds of them all appearing in one generation becomes miniscule. In the case of brain development, it's no good getting the genes for a bigger skull if the brain doesn’t develop to the same size. It’s also not good getting a bigger brain if the skull is structurally compromised. It’s also no good getting more cerebral matter if the blood supply is inadequate etc. If only some of the changes appear for a bigger brain, then the creature dies or is several disabled and no one will want to mate with it.
This, I think, is why the authors of the paper in Cell, described above, kept saying ‘remarkable’. They had to put in some sort of exclamation because their excellent research shows that the likelihood of homo sapiens getting all the required genetic changes to have their larger, functioning brains, and not die in the process, and do it in one or two million years through random mutation, is basically zero. There’s no way that we can be walking around with our big brains, two million years after our ancestor Homo Habilis walked around with less than half our brain capacity, just through random mutation. Such a development is as likely as a person inventing the plane because he or she crashed their car and the wreck was able to fly.
This genetic miracle of Homo Habilis to Homo sapiens is not the only odd feature of us as a species. We have bigger brains, and they confer a huge advantage to us, but they are extremely dangerous attributes when it comes to childbirth.
Normally, childbirth for nearly all mammals is a straightforward event, with low mortality rates. By comparison, mortality rates for humans is astonishingly high. Our babies are born with only a third of their adult brain size, and then rapidly expand them after birth, but they are still dangerously large objects to push through the mother’s cervix and vagina. Internal bleeding, ruptures, death by blood loss, blood poisoning and septicaemia have been historically rife when women give birth. This problem gives us a clue, that our species isn't natural. Species that have evolved naturally, over a long period of time, evolve in such a way that they can reproduce successfully with little trauma. Our species doesn't. It is as if all the genes required for a larger head had been dumped into our species' genome, but little effort had been made to make the births of such heads a safe process.
We also have some weird attributes. For example, we are a semi-hairless species. Many men go bald. There is no logical benefit to possessing these traits, as bare skin is prone to burning and other damage. Our ancestors were all hairy, such as chimpanzees. This hair-anomaly has been used to support the theory that we are ‘aquatic apes’, in other words that we have evolved in a watery environment, but there is little evidence to support such an idea. Fish can be caught by wading and deep water would have been a dangerous place for any primate. In addition, chimpanzees are petrified of streams and rivers, and only wade in them as a show of bravery. It is logical to look somewhere else for why we're nearly hairless.
If we add up all the above issues, the only logical conclusion to come to, with regard to the origins of Home Sapiens, is that we did not come about through natural means, through ‘evolution by natural selection, brought about by random mutation’. Instead, Homo sapiens was fashioned. It is unlikely that we were fashioned from scratch, as we do share a lot of genetic material with early hominids, but it is likely that we are a hybrid of a hominid and another creature. The hybrid solution is the only scientific way to explain how we gained all the genetic changes needed for our large brains in such a short space of time. It also explains our birthing problems and our other anomalous attributes.
For starters, members of Species X are likely to be taller than us. We are half-as-tall again as Homo Habilis. It’s therefore reasonable to assume that Species X were half-as-tall again than us, around nine foot tall. We are in the middle-ground, height-wise, between our two parent species; Species X and Homo Habilis.
Secondly, our strange genetic attributes of hairlessness and baldness indicate that Species X were entirely hairless. We are in the middle-ground, hairyness-wise, between our two parent species; Species X and Homo Habilis.
Thirdly, Species X would, most likely, have had even larger craniums than ourselves. Homo Habilis skulls have little rear projection and no ‘swollen dome’ shape (as shown in the above picture). By comparison, our skulls project out at the back. Species X skulls are therefore likely to expand much more at the back, or upwards, or both. They will also have a larger cranial capacity. Homo Habilis had a brain capacity of 600 cm³. We have a capacity of 1400 cm³. Species X are therefore likely to have a cranial capacity of 2000 cm³, or more. Once again, we are in the middle-ground, brain-size-wise, between our two parent species; Species X and Homo Habilis.
Unfortunately for human mothers, when Homo sapiens was hybridised, it would seem the Homo Habilis body was combined with the Species X skull size, creating us, but at the same time, the relatively small size of Species X's new-borns was lost as an attribute. We don't have tiny, big-headed babies. Instead, we have big, big-headed babies. As a result, human mothers have a very dangerous birthing process. This mistake may indicate that the first generation of humans were born artificially and only later were they born naturally to human mothers.
Adding these four features together gives us a good physical description of Species X. We can also assume a few more things. Firstly, Species X were technologically advanced when they created us as a hybrid species and possessed a technology beyond the technology we have today. Secondly, they were present on Earth a long time ago. Recent discoveries of Homo sapiens in a mine in Morocco have dated Homo sapiens to around 300,000 years ago, and so it is likely that Species X was on our planet before that time and made us at least 300,000 years ago.
It is therefore very interesting to note that Sumerian records explain that the gods did make us as a hybrid species between themselves and 'primitive creatures' a very long time ago. The author Zechariah Sitchin independently learned cuneiform and translated the Sumerian texts, which explain in great detail why the Sumerians created a hybrid species. For more on that, check on my review of his book as then read the book. Sitchin reports that a sexless human worker species was first created artificially, as a hybrid worker-slave, and then male and females were created who could produce their own young, our ancestors, the first Homo sapiens.
It is also very interesting to note that historical pictures do exist that show a species possessing all the attributes described above for 'Species X'. They also had advanced technology (for more info, check out my Great Pyramid and 2787 BC article). They were hairless, had very large crania and their young were very small in comparison to the adult size, while still retaining the same head/body ratio. For most of their recorded history, they depicted themselves symbolically, or with idealised, abstract forms, and so there's no sign during that period of their actual physical form, but fortunately, one of their kings became a maverick progressive. He decided to depict himself and his family naturally, realistically, and show their loving, everyday lives. Here they are:
Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt and his family
Some observers have concluded that the family of Akhenaten bound their heads to create such elongated craniums, but this theory is impossible as their cranial capacity is much larger than a human's. Head-binding only alters a skull's shape, it doesn't increase its size.
Others contend that the depictions of Akhenaten and his family have been hyper-stylised but it's clear that Akhenaten wanted to be honest about his family. He was also the king and so would not have changed his entire family's appearance to look strange, when he continually stated that he wanted to be honest and transparent.
Other sceptical observers have concluded that Akhenaten's strange appearance was down to a disease, such as Frolich's Syndrome, but that disease would have made him infertile and the records are clear that he was very fertile. Also, his wife and offspring all looked the same, making the Frolich's Syndrome theory effectively impossible.
The most logical answer is the simplest one; Akhenaten's family were as they depicted themselves and they were healthy. They look strange because they were not Homo sapiens but a distinctly different species. What's more, they were genetically much better suited than us to possessing larger brains, as shown by their tiny offspring.
It may be that a different species again, living on Earth in our ancient past, were actually the ones who created us as a hybrid species, but the species that Akhenaten and his family belonged to fit the profile exactly.
I can understand that a lot of people will be upset about the theory developed in this article. Most people don't want to think that their entire species is a lab experiment, but that doesn't stop it being true. It also doesn't stop us being a valid and important race. Science can be a harsh educator but I think if we are to progress in our understanding of ourselves and the universe, we'll definitely need to swallow some uncomfortable facts along the way; that's okay. What's important is that we will know more and we'll benefit from that knowledge. As Sir France Bacon once said, knowledge is power; let's start getting more powerful.