Wednesday, April 1, 2020

839: The Taung Child......

Today I'll tell you about a child, which was used as evidence that Hobbes had been right and that prehistoric humanoids fought wars among each other.
It was 1924 and near the village Taung in the northwest of South-Africa. A skull was found by quarrymen working for the Northern Lime Company.

The skull was named The Taung Child, for it was the fossilized skull of a young Australopithecus africanus.
Through some detours the skull ended up on the desk of Raymond Dart. He described it as a new species in the journal Nature of 1925.
Raymond Arthur Dart (1893 – 1988) was an Australian anatomist and anthropologist.
He discovered damages on the skull, which made him conclude that the early humanoids had used stones and sticks to kill not only prey but also each other.
This led in 1950 to Dart's "Killer ape theory" or "Killer ape hypothesis". It is the theory that war and interpersonal aggression was the driving force behind human evolution. 
While  it was originated by Raymond Dart in the 1950, it was developed further in "African Genesis" by Robert Ardrey, his student, in 1961.
According to the theory, the ancestors of humans were distinguished from other primate species by their greater aggressiveness,
and this aggression remains within humanity, which retains many murderous instincts.

The theory gained notoriety for suggesting that the urge to do violence was a fundamental part of human psychology. 
The hunting hypothesis is often associated with the theory, because of similarities and because Robert Ardrey developed both.
As we have seen several times, the willingness to describe humans as intrinsically evil and malicious is deeply rooted in our mind.
But today there are strong doubts about Dart's interpretation. He might have been biased with respect to the interpretation of his evidence.
The fact that the Taung Child was the only australopithecine that had ever been found at Taung, despite intensive search, puzzled scientists for years. 
Then, in 1995 a pair of South African paleoanthropologists, Lee Berger and Ron Clarke, noted that much of the fossil material from other creatures at the site had been carried there by large birds of prey. 
Eleven years later, Berger (2006) published another paper showing that the eye sockets of the Taung Child, originally discovered by Raymond Dart in 1924, 
had damage "that is nearly identical to that seen in the crania of monkeys preyed upon by crowned hawk eagles" (Stephanoaetus coronatus). 
This finding, together with the fact that the non-hominid bone deposit at Taung is characteristic of ones left by birds of prey, 
strongly suggests the child was flown to its final resting place in the clutches of an eagle.
Is the Killer Ape theory bogus and has Rousseau won after all? Are most of us OK after all? We'll see.....
Thank you for your attention again....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:17] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks i read about that a while back
[13:18] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): must have been big birds
[13:18] herman Bergson: It was a single others were found there
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:18] herman Bergson: a condor can pick up a sheep easily
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:19] CB Axel: Yeah. You didn't say how old the child had been.
[13:19] herman Bergson: In fact we have a sad story here of a child killed by a big bird
[13:19] CB Axel: Was it an infant?
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): children were smaller those days
[13:19] herman Bergson: yes it was an infant
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so it was not people but the bird
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah ok
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:19] herman Bergson: indeed Bejiita
[13:20] herman Bergson: But believe me...they loved the Killer Ape theory of Dart...
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks early people only fought to protect tribes and goods
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and so darts ideas were indeed incorrect
[13:20] Netty (netty.keng) is offline.
[13:20] herman Bergson: I have some more horror stories for you to come :-)
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but indeed we are the only ones fighting wrs
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh oh
[13:21] herman Bergson: There will be proof that the Killer Ape theory is very improbable
[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have you talked to Stephen King lately?
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am sue
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sure
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): read that they are taking a break from war here and there because of corona but as soon thats over they will start blowing people up again
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I mean come on!
[13:22] herman Bergson: Why so Beertje?
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you have horror stories
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): [13:20] herman Bergson: I have some more horror stories for you to come :-)
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): he had some great ones
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): was on tv the other day
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): talking bout his book that foretold the corona virus
[13:23] herman Bergson: That's another kind of horror story :-)
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): for got the name
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Simpsons have been good foretelling us things
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they foretold Trump
[13:23] herman Bergson: He didn't foretell it Gemma
[13:23] herman Bergson: Everyone could
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sort of
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not really
[13:24] herman Bergson: There are dozens of movies on this theme....the escape of a virus from a lab and so on
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): contagion
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also I saw at work today one showing me a picture on how Chinese people eat things like bats and rats and frogs alive, biting their heads off
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): 12 monkeys
[13:24] herman Bergson: Ahh yes...good on Gemma
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no wonder we get diseases like this spreading from there!
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thta is what lead them to the bat to human
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then one person get it and then it spread all over the world from person to person!
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): now that is forbidden i think
[13:25] herman Bergson: Geez saw that?!
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when they eat all sort of stuff without even preparing it, its a recipe for disaster!
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we do too
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): plus very cruel
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oysters
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): clams
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YUCK!
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): delicious!!!!!
[13:26] herman Bergson: indeed...we do too :-)
[13:26] herman Bergson: I like oysters :-)
[13:26] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I tasted oyster some time and was just some yucky slime
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): love oysters
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fresh from the sea:)
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also I have only eaten too once so
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): my nephew is an oyster farmer on Cape cod
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I might ie it maybe now
[13:26] herman Bergson: It is delicious Bejiita ^_^
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but then I did  not
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i did to like it first time either
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): grows on oe fast
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:27] herman Bergson: Especially when they are still alive and you feel them swim around in your mouth ^_^
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ow
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): dont give them time
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still the facts remain, Chinese eat bat, bat have corona , the virus spread all over the world because of the international trade and we have a pandemic!
[13:28] herman Bergson: then you feel them swim in your stomach :-))
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we are cannibal
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it was bound to happen anyway
[13:28] CB Axel: We eat pork and pigs carry diseases that spread easily to humans.
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): dont blame the Chinese
[13:28] CB Axel: Chicken, too.
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bugs
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): many east insects
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): eat]]
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well...that was literally said by Draft....that the humanoids were cannibals....
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but we prepare our food which kills the virus and we care about hygiene while ive seen in china they are right in the mud and stuff with the food, no hygiene at all
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i do Gemma when I bike in the wind:)
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hygiene is VERY important when handling food
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): poor people
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I just wish it all would go back to normal
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yuck beertje I know
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): damn virus
[13:30] herman Bergson: Pretty annoying indeed Bejiita
[13:30] Nasty Calamity is online.
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): everything closing down, the entire world crashing,
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): much less pollution tho
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): people dying
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but.....human act like a virus too...we spread allover the world and damage the earth
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well thats true
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well thats also true
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least for many of us
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exploiting for money all we can
[13:31] CB Axel: We've had pandemics before. We'll be fine eventually.
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good think kids know about interne and how to use it ... learning that way here
[13:32] herman Bergson: Guess we are off topic now :-)
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): teachers teaching
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): o chrome books
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing stuff
[13:32] CB Axel: In the past when plague hit the poor died and the rich had to learn to live without as many servants and unskilled workers for a while.
[13:32] CB Axel: It's good for them.
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some good things are happening during the mess
[13:33] herman Bergson: The point of today is that it is improbable that the early  humanoids were fighting each other constantly
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): got that
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sadly the wars will not end it seems they are just taking a break, will continue to bomb on when its over
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I wish they could for one realize war is just meaningless killing
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): maybe bej
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): better get together
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): dont know that yet
[13:33] CB Axel: Well, just because a bird killed that kid doesn't mean early humans weren't killing one another.
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are they sure a bird took the child?
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in Sudan they said they will just hold up for a month, not end
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am sure they were
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): could it falling of a cliff or something?
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but not just to kill for killing
[13:34] herman Bergson: They did, CB.....but not on a scale Draft suggested
[13:34] CB Axel: Humans are just better at covering up their crimes than birds are. ;)
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'll see how prone to crime homo sapiens really is....
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:35] herman Bergson: New lectures to come :-)
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): shall look forward to horror stories
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): some Sherlock Holmes stories maybe
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): those I like
[13:36] herman Bergson: So , let me thank you again for your participation...:-)
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): no i think real life stories
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): use them for my steampunk game stories, inspiration
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:36] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu next time all
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): see you Thursday
[13:36] herman Bergson: Ok Gemma
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): keep well
[13:36] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman. I'm looking forward to hearing of more crimes of man and/or birds.
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): take care everyone
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now, be well and don't eat strange stuff
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:36] herman Bergson: OK CB :-)
[13:36] CB Axel: Bye, everyone. See you Thursday.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we do

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