The Artificial Ape: Man

We were never fully biological entities. We are, and always have been, the cybernetic ape.

timtailor.jpg

Darwin is one of my heroes, but I believe he was wrong in seeing human evolution as a result of the same processes that account for other evolution in the biological world – especially when it comes to the size of our cranium.

Darwin had to put large cranial size down to sexual selection, arguing that women found brainy men sexy. But biomechanical factors make this untenable. I call this the smart biped paradox: once you are an upright ape, all natural selection pressures should be in favour of retaining a small cranium. That’s because walking upright means having a narrower pelvis, capping babies’ head size, and a shorter digestive tract, making it harder to support big, energy-hungry brains. Clearly our big brains did evolve, but I think Darwin had the wrong mechanism. I believe it was technology. We were never fully biological entities. We are and always have been artificial apes.

They shaped their tools and thereafter their tools shaped us, quite literally says Tim Taylor. Some ancestor like australopithecines started the stone toolmaking so as to fashion power extensions of themselves from sinew, leather, woven grass and wood; add in a pressing need to relieve mama’s aching back, and the rest is a tumbling cascade into history…

Advertisements

About mrG

I am a musician but I am a different sort of musician
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Artificial Ape: Man

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ll amend that: not the cyborg-ape, we are the PLASTIC ape; our tools often evoke unintended evolutions, our form simply spontaneously adjusts itself to assimilate the whole ecology of the change and we become inescapably something new. That doesn’t work with the other primates, they can play with whatever fire they like and wake up the next morning still very much themselves. Whereas us, we get all moody and broody and indelibly stamped/

Discuss

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s