Filed under Origins of our species

Mothers and Fathers as Parents

There tends to be a general assumption that mothers are better at parenting; it makes sense, as they have carried the child, given birth to it, and generally breastfeed, so it seems reasonable that their bond, their commitment to the child, should be stronger than the father. But new research sheds some doubt on this. … Continue reading

Music on the Wind

We tend to get told a lot that music began by people banging rocks or sticks together, as the origin of African music, hence of modern popular music in all of its forms. But I have never read anything about the origins of wind instruments, which I think are at least as old. In my … Continue reading

Footsteps From The Past

This is from an article in the i newspaper by David Keys: About 50 footprints have been found near the village of Happisburgh, 17 miles from Norwich in Norfolk. They were left by a group of prehistoric humans about a million years ago, making them the oldest human footprints to be found outside Africa. The … Continue reading

Our Oldest Companion

Tuberculosis, or TB,  has been around for centuries, is widely viewed as a disease of overcrowding and malnutrition today about 1.4 million people still die of TB. Tuberculosis is still the biggest single infectious killer, beaten only by HIV/AIDS, with 95% of cases in low income countries. Some victims of TB contract it as a result … Continue reading

British Deforestation

We tend to think that cutting down trees and destroying forests is a recent part of human history, so it is surprising how long it has been going on in these islands. The largest phase of clearing woodlands in the British Isles was in the late Bronze Age, some 3,000 years ago, and continued through … Continue reading

Spheres, Souls and Reality

Spheres, Souls and Reality

I have recently discovered the author Jorge Louis Borges; his Book of Imaginary Beasts, from which the following is drawn,  is a history of how people have explained the world through the ages, and makes fascinating reading, and shows us how un-modern science fiction really is. No matter how strange, it has probably been described … Continue reading

Preserved By Fire

Preserved By Fire

throughout human history there have been many attempts with varying success to devise writing systems. The earliest were not speech related, but recorded trade and legal transactions. But all the systems in use today are derived from the alphabet in the middle East,  or the Tibeto-Chinese pictograms. Both were invented aroudn 1700 BC, which is … Continue reading

Reading Cave Art

Reading Cave Art

This is a drawing from David Lewis-Williams’ wonderful book ‘The Mind in the Cave’ which he interprets as being rather confusing depiction of an eland headed man somehow underwater, probably from a shamanistic vision. Later in the book, he notes how when a shaman came out of a trance or dream, he would concentrate hard … Continue reading