Sunday, December 6, 2009

Things I Learned From “Becoming Human,” part 3

This is my take on the last episode of Becoming Human, the PBS Nova series about human evolution and it says about Bigfoot. All three episodes are well worth watching. You can watch them and more here. This episode is called, “Last Human Standing.”

3) Being flexible omnivores made us human. Our closest cousins on the evolutionary tree are the Neanderthals. Besides slightly bigger brains and the occasional brow ridge, Neanderthals had another significant difference from us. They were nearly exclusively carnivores. The hunted and killed large herbivores like the wooly mammoth and other Ice Age mega-fauna, but unfortunately did not eat Brontosaurus Burgers. Curse you, Fred Flintstone! But as for wily Home Sapiens, we pretty much ate anything we could get our hands on. During one of the major African droughts, when most of Africa was uninhabitable, Homo Sapiens picked up and moved to the coasts of Africa and started eating shellfish for the first time. That was their survival method for dealing with the long-term drought. This is also the time when we started making specialized tools.

Over the millennia, we added fruits, vegetables, and grains to the diet in addition to animals, birds, and fish. However, when the climate changed enough and enough species went extinct, Neanderthals weren’t able to adapt and find something else to eat. They started out eating meat and finished up eating meat, and then they went extinct when there was nothing left to hunt. In a related note, Scientists can track the migration paths of early Homo Sapiens by the patterns of the animal extinctions we left in our trails. The evidence indicates that Homo Sapiens have always been hard on the environment and was a contributing cause to the Neanderthal’s extinction in Europe and Homo Erectus’s extinction in Asia. What is clear is that when we use up the resources in one place, we either switch our food sources or we move to a different place. And it is this adaptability that has made us so successful.

So what does all this have to do with Bigfoot? Well, Becoming Human has shown us the essential aspects for being human, for what separates us from the other apes. 1) Highly adaptive to terrain, climate, and food. 2) Carnivorous, while leaning toward Omnivorous. 3) Big brains. 4) Little or no body hair with full body sweating. Notice that bipedalism didn’t make the cut. It’s an important characteristic, but not essential to being human. There were lots of other bipedal apes around before us. It’s our brains that really separate us from other apes.

Today, while different kinds of unknown bipedal primates are reported around the world in different climates and geographies, the reports indicate these are different species that have adapted to specific environments, not one species that roams around the world and is able to live anywhere. This indicates a low level of adaptability for Bigfoot and his assorted cousins. Given the question of body hair and sweating, it could be assumed that Bigfoot isn’t as efficient in body cooling as we are, which leads to the matter of brain size. The body to brain size ratio for Bigfoot would not nearly be as great as it is for Homo Sapiens—a furry, hairy body wouldn’t support a bigger brain like ours. Most reports of Bigfoot’s diet indicates a mostly vegetarian diet with rare instances of opportunistic meat scavenging, similar to chimpanzees. This would also be an indicator for a smaller brain.

What this all adds up to is that, in all likelihood, Bigfoot is an ape, not a human variant. If we accept the theories given in Becoming Human, then one of the three major questions concerning Bigfoot from Loren Coleman—Is Bigfoot human or ape?—has been answered. At least according to our latest understandings of what it means to be human.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's keep the language clean, keep in mind we have younger fans and we want to make this the best bigfoot website for bigfoot news and bigfoot research.

Please read our terms of use policy.