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Climate Change May Have Spurred Human Evolution


Science & Tech  (tags: climate change, evolution, science, study, research, environment, climate, ancient, habitat )

Carrie
- 623 days ago - scientificamerican.com
An ancient lake whose shores vacillated between lush forests and dry savannahs shows how the changing climate may have shaped humanity's dawn in eastern Africa, according to new research.



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Comments

Dave C. (214)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 4:08 pm
fascinating.
 

Terry V. (30)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 5:10 pm
Amazing+ Thanks for the fantastic article!
 

Carol H. (229)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 6:37 pm
noted, thanks Carrie. interesting!!
 

Laurie H. (714)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 7:00 pm
This was very interesting to read about--Thanks Carrie and so glad you're feeling better!!!~~
 

Nimue P. (243)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 7:16 pm
Noted.
 

John B. (215)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 8:03 pm
Thanks Carrie for the link to the ClimateWire article by Umair Irfan. What a very interesting supposition and the facts seem to back it up. Read and noted with interest.
 

Jason S. (57)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 9:12 pm
Good posting, thanks
 

Suzanne L. (152)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 9:31 pm
It makes a lot of sense. I read somewhere many years ago that the 4 blood groups developed as human ancestors moved out of Africa and encountered new parasites in different ecosystems. Thanks for this very interesting article Carrie.
 

D D. (102)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 9:46 pm
This was a really cool article - thanks!
 

Giana Peranio-Paz (384)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 10:52 pm
Noted Carrie! Thanks for the interesting article. It's all evolution and survival - back to Darwin we go!
 

Susanne R. (249)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 11:44 pm
The article states: "Though not as dramatic as a towering black monolith, these changes may have spurred human evolution by forcing early hominids to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, driving them to develop new strategies to hunt, gather and survive with changes in food and fresh water."

That substantiates what I learned last night while watching a documentary about a series of shark attacks that took place off the southern coast of South Africa. Scientific studies were performed to explain the behavior of the sharks, and the scientists came up with a couple of theories that might be of interest to some Care2 members. The first cause they noted was that the supply of fish that made up the shark's diet is rapidly dwindling due to overfishing. The second was that the rising temperature of the ocean water, due to climate change, was causing the metabolism of the sharks to increase. This results in a more rapid burning of calories and increased hunger. With an inadequate food supply in the waters where they typically swim, the sharks were forced to venture closer to shore. They offered some proof of this theory when they performed an autopsy on a dead Mako shark that had drifted to shore. It revealed that the shark's liver had shrunk significantly and that it had died of malnutrition.

Climate change may have helped hominids "to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, driving them to develop new strategies to hunt, gather and survive with changes in food and fresh water." Unfortunately, it's having the same effect on animals that wouldn't mind dining on a hominid.
 

Pat A. (117)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 1:40 am
Am I wrong - I thought we had known this for many years - but then there is a difference between knowing something and proving it beyond all question of doubt to one's scientific peers.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 3:27 am
Thank you.
 

Gene Jacobson (252)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 10:10 am
"Does this have any implications for modern climate changes? It may to an extent. "The speed at which modern climate is changing is fairly unique," Magill said. "We're not really quite sure what's going to happen."

This article will do more harm than good though I do not doubt its accuracy. Why? Because the deniers will point to it and say what is happening is what has always happened and therefore we need do nothing but wait it out. But that is not true. Five hundred million years ago carbon dioxide was 20 times more prevalent than today, decreasing to 45 times during the Jurassic period and then slowly declining with a particularly swift reduction occurring 49 million years ago, since than it has fluctuated naturally with volcano's being the primary culprits for emissions. "In the depths of the last ice age, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had been as much as 50% lower than in our own warmer times."

Since 1960 the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere has risen from 310 ppm to over 400ppm. That is higher than during the Snowball Earth Ice Age of 640,000 years ago when the entire planet was encased in ice. Some scientists now predict that at our present rate of growth in could reach 2100 ppm by 2100. That would mean the end of life as we know on this planet. This is the real danger of this "may have" story, it will be used by the 1% to justify business as usual and in so doing end our presence on this planet in something between 200 and 400 years - those will not be pretty years. The planet can't be damaged, it will heal itself though that could take 50,000 years or more. In any event, when it does, no homo sapiens will be here to see it. We are so smart that we are incredibly stupid. Insanely stupid. And for that, well staggering budget deficits will not be the only tragedy our grandchildren will inherit. For all their evidence, climatologists are now, because of 1% junk science and lobbying, just a group of children crying wolf. Like I said, we are incredibly stupid for being so smart...
 

Natalie V. (27)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 2:29 pm
noted
 

Elizabeth M. (67)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 3:01 pm
Noted with thanks Carrie. A very good read - fascinating!
 

june t. (65)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 6:58 pm
thanks for the article
 

Colleen L. (2)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 11:21 pm
Good information. Thanks Carrie
 

Tanya W. (51)
Monday January 7, 2013, 3:40 am
Noted. There is really no hidding anything from archaeology or geology!!! Lets hope some future generations won't be on a dig revealing where we went wrong as a civilization and offering evidence to how we ruined our/their planet!!!
 
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