Notices
Results 1 to 19 of 19
Like Tree3Likes
  • 1 Post By adelady
  • 1 Post By John Galt
  • 1 Post By jrmonroe

Thread: Apes to Humans - clues in starch

  1. #1 Apes to Humans - clues in starch 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    In a recent doc. on human evolution, it was noted that, unlike apes', human saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that enables the digestion of starch by breaking it down to blood sugar, glucose. It follows that humans can digest starchy foods (yams, grains, etc.) whilst apes cannot. A fact overlooked was that humans cannot digest raw starch: It must first be cooked! This is because starch is granular, and each grain has a coating that is impervious to digestive juices, but is ruptured by heat, ie by cooking. It follows that the species of ape that evolved to humans must have adopted the use of fire before they became humans. The use of fire was an apish invention! This is further suggested by the puny jaws and teeth of humans - those apes must have been chomping on mushy cooked food for a long time for such deterioration of teeth and jaws to occur! But the evolutionary drive turned this apparent deterioration into the opportunity to develop lips, tongue, larynz, nerves and brain into an instrument for language, which is what makes us human! And our civilisations are based on our ability to digest starch, ie, on rice, wheat, and maize.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    In a recent doc. on human evolution, it was noted that, unlike apes', human saliva contains amylase
    Would you provide a reference for this interesting paper please.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,092
    You are making an assumption that fire-treated food is the only thing that could have brought about the series of mutations that allowed later generations to digest starch, and that human teeth are in some way "grossly different" from a chimpanzees'. Also ignoring the fact that apes are omnivores and were munching on foliage/ fruits/ nuts as much as if not more than meat, which could also explain why their teeth became both flat and sharp.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4 further to my post 'apes to humans - clues in starch' 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    With respect to references in scientific literature, etc, the observation that , unlike humans, the saliva of apes lacks an enzyme which promotes the digestion of starch .was made in a TV program on human evolution, in which no significances were discussed, nor were references given . A TV program is not the equivalent of a scientific paper, but the program was informative and seemed well researched. Being a (retired) industrial chemist, I was aware that raw starch is highly resistant to digestion, unless it is first heated to near boiling point to rupture the coating that protects the grains. I acknowledge that the very first humanoids may not have eaten starchy foods, and that the development of the digestive enzyme amylase may have occurred at any stage between the first hominoid and modern man. But I do maintain that the ability to eat starchy foods was vital to the establishment of civilisations. I do maintain that our jaws and teeth are hugely inferior to those of apes, and this suggests that the use of fire for cooking led to the loss of the need for powerful jaws. Of perhaps equal importance was the protection from predators afforded by campfires - apes' fangs are formidable weapons! Of perhaps even greater import was the evening gathering of tribes around campfires, when events of the day would be recollected and re-enacted, leading to an ever-increasing ability to communicate, culminating in language; culminating in man! My contention is that the evolutionary thread from ape to man was kick-started by a species of ape discovering that fearful fire could be both warmth and protection.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    With respect to references in scientific literature, etc, the observation that , unlike humans, the saliva of apes lacks an enzyme which promotes the digestion of starch .was made in a TV program on human evolution,.
    Thank you. I had taken your reference to a doc. to mean document rather than documetary.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,225
    I found this one on cooked tubers. Oh great, it's behind a paywall. Did Cooked Tubers Spur the Evolution of Big Brains?
    But at least it shows the idea's been around for a decade or more.

    This other one concentrates more on the meat-eating angle, but I thought the illustrations on gut size as well as teeth/brain/etc are worth a bit of thought. http://ieb.uni-muenster.de/data/bioi...rains-S-07.pdf
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    My contention is that the evolutionary thread from ape to man was kick-started by a species of ape discovering that fearful fire could be both warmth and protection.
    It is certainly an interesting thought. Have you considered any tests that might help validate the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    I do maintain that our jaws and teeth are hugely inferior to those of apes, and this suggests that the use of fire for cooking led to the loss of the need for powerful jaws.
    This might seem like a point of pedantic semantics, but I think it is important - not to your hypothesis, but discussions of evolution in general. You mean that our jaws are weaker than those of apes, not inferiror to them. I could reasonably argue that our jaws are in fact superior, since they do the required job, but require less investment in bone and muscalature than those of the apes, placing less of a demand on their construction and maintenenance.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8 apes to humans- clues in starch 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    An idea I am persuing is that an evolutionary episode such as ape to human may occur not as the result of some extraordinary pressure to survive, but rather because of a situation developing where there was respite from the daily struggle to exist, this providing an opportunity for evolutionary change to occur. I think we need to draw a line between adaption to various environments, food resources, etc., as in primeval cat to lion, tiger, lynx, moggie,etc., and evolutionary change to a higher level of organic organisation. It seems to me that the tail of a bird of paradise serves no survival purpose for the species, and could occur only because there were no cats or hawks in the New Guinea jungle, nor was there need to fly well. Then somehow an evolutionary urge or itch was expressed in creating a gorgeous display from dowdy feathers. At the risk of bring declared a heretic to the 'survival of the fittest' cause, I am suggesting that there may be a degree of creativiy expressed in evolution.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,225
    It seems to me that the tail of a bird of paradise serves no survival purpose for the species, and could occur only because there were no cats or hawks in the New Guinea jungle, nor was there need to fly well.
    On the contrary. For a male bird to have the energy to grow and sustain such extravagant plumage he's got to be a reasonable prospect as a mate. Somehow birds have to be able to show their fitness to prospective mates, this way is as good as any other. Add to that his ability to maintain, groom and preen an immaculate display like this in an environment positively festering with parasites and diseases is another indication that he's not weakened by disease and physically fit enough to both feed himself well and keep clean and clear of dirt, moulds, fleas, lice and other disease carrying nasties. If I were a lady peahen, I'd be interested.

    We may see it as creativity. Peahens see a strong dad for chicks.

    The same sort of thing goes for all those mad dances and displays by birds of paradise in New Guinea. We may think they're amusing or beautiful or downright peculiar. The important thing is that many of those 'dances' are physically exhausting. They are really displays of strength or stamina or both.
    jimell likes this.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    adelady has expressed my own views on peacock tails.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    At the risk of bring declared a heretic to the 'survival of the fittest' cause, I am suggesting that there may be a degree of creativiy expressed in evolution.
    Terminology is very important here. What do you mean by a degree of creativity? Are you suggesting a teleogical aspect to evolution? Or some form of intelligent design? Or something else?

    Also, I'd still like to know if you have you considered any tests that might help validate the role of starch digestion in evolution?
    jimell likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11 survival of fittest, teleology, creativity 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    I maintain that an absence of predators was an essential precondition to the evolution of near-flightless birds. Our Aussie lyre birds are on the verge of extinction because of feral and straying cats. Likewise the use of fire was an essential precondition for the evolution/devolution (take your pick) of ape jaws to human jaws. As for a 'scientific' test of the theory, perhaps readers could undertake to eat their next meal of steak, or porridge, uncooked! I cannot figure how selection by rigours of the environment was supplanted by a bird-brained preference for a gaudy tail! Humans who select a mate on the criteria of the prettiest dresser or the best dancer often regret the outcome. Sparrows breed better than peacocks!
    Seriously, I am a staunch believer in an evolutionary development of living things, but do not believe that a process of random variation plus natural selection is a complete explanation for the extraordinary variety of living things, and for the development of gorgeous, or grotesque, unnecessary features such as the peacock's tail, or the monkey's psychodelic bum etc., etc. And I question that lower orders of organisation can of themselves generate higher orders. Snowflakes, based on a simple hexagonal pattern, display a near-infinite variety, but will never evolve to be a snow maiden. Teleology I cannot abide because it implies predestination: I believe that I make choices and have a limited ability to change outcomes. More importantly, I can imagine how the world might be different, and choose to act to make a difference, in some small way. And this process I call creativity. Religiously, I would class myself as an idealist , one who believes that "mind is that of which there is nothing else but!" (from Bertrand Russel's History of Western Philosophy but he didn't acknowledge his source.) The Creator is exhausted into what it creates, and henceforth needs must express creativity in and through the World. We on Earth have the awful responsibility of being creativity's cutting edge, and have embraced dominion of the Earth but denied responsibility for the Earth. Am I debarred from the forum for pontification?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    Am I debarred from the forum for pontification?
    Of course not. I asked a question - you attempted to answer it. It's just that you have mixed so many notions, clear to you, I amsure, probably embedded in your psyche, but not necessarily clear to others. Your response is ambiguous, since imparting the abstract creativity of the Creator to organic beings seems virtually to ensure the validity of teleology. I'll read your post for th eight time and see if I can extract some specific questions that will bring clarity.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    I see creativity as an escape from predestination. If the world is subject to immutable laws of physics, chemistry, or of whatever, then its progress is, at least theoretically, entirely predictable. We are in fact predestined! Creativity, as I see it, is unpredictable as to when it might occur, and as to what it might come up with. Of course, I gladly attribute my un-intelligibility to my creativity!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,444
    KALSTER likes this.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    Thankyou jrmonroe for the references to amylase in human evolution. A suggestion that amylase in saliva might make starch attractive as a food because of the generation of sugar (glucose) in small quantities in the mouth is interesting. However, the human digestive system seems to require starch to be cooked to become digestible, so the suggestion that the use of fire was a precursor to the development of man's digestive system seems reasonable. A parallel development is the human trait of gathering food to be taken to a communal fire, as opposed to apes foraging , food being eaten as it is found. The gathering around a fire for warmth, protection, and food preparation must have provided the opportunity and stimulus for a richer level of social intercourse, culminating in speech, the development that defines man!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    11
    Comments by John Galt and Adelady assume that evolution is completely and finally explained by 'natural variation and survival of the fittest'. This is like saying that Dalton's atomic theory finally and completely explained all atomic interactions! On the belief that the development of language could by attributed to 'natural selection', the noted U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky commented "It is perfectly safe to attribute this development to 'natural selection', so long as we realise that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena." Bertrand Russell, a staunch atheist, commented "This part (natural selection) of Darwin's theory has been much disputed and is regarded by most biologists as being subject to many important qualifications." Russell held that 'survival of the fittest' appealed primarily to the political and financial developments of the time.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,242
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    Comments by John Galt and Adelady assume that evolution is completely and finally explained by 'natural variation and survival of the fittest'. This is like saying that Dalton's atomic theory finally and completely explained all atomic interactions! On the belief that the development of language could by attributed to 'natural selection', the noted U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky commented "It is perfectly safe to attribute this development to 'natural selection', so long as we realise that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena." Bertrand Russell, a staunch atheist, commented "This part (natural selection) of Darwin's theory has been much disputed and is regarded by most biologists as being subject to many important qualifications." Russell held that 'survival of the fittest' appealed primarily to the political and financial developments of the time.
    I believe that the most current explanation for the emergent intelligence was the fusion of two chromosomes in our ancestor. This accidental fusion resulted in new instructions for brain growth and development. This probably occurred in a female, who then had several offspring with the same genetic mutation and a seperate branch of hominid species was established.

    I also agree that the use of fire was a major contributor to the decline of teeth, powerful jaws and perhaps most importantly, jaw muscles. This very "weakness" allowed more cranial space for a larger brain with greater processing power and memory in the sensory neural network.

    Researchers found fire remains and thousands of shells from shellfish in some of the caves in the coastline of South Africa from as far as 165,000 years ago. It was clear that shellfish was a major staple of these early humans and there was compelling evidence of "cooking".

    As an aquatic hunter/gatherer, whole new tools were needed, such as prying tools and perhaps spears. This would also allow for migration to the north. If you can harvest clams and perhaps spear fish you have an abundant source of food and a relatively safe lifestyle from the tip of Africa to Alaska.

    Seems entirely plausible that fire and its many benefits was indeed part of the evolutionary spark in a rapid learning curve along with the physical evolution toward modern man.

    First humans 'lived at southern tip of Africa' - Science - News - The Independent
    Last edited by Write4U; September 9th, 2012 at 07:05 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Psi
    Psi is offline
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    4
    check out the "where's humanity headed" forum
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    SHF
    SHF is offline
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by jimell View Post
    I cannot figure how selection by rigours of the environment was supplanted by a bird-brained preference for a gaudy tail!
    Handicap principle?
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Apes and Men
    By Heliopolis in forum Biology
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: October 10th, 2012, 01:33 AM
  2. working with genetics, has God given some clues
    By pipi in forum Pseudoscience
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: May 8th, 2010, 11:05 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: December 13th, 2009, 03:37 PM
  4. Planet of the Apes, by Pierre Boulle
    By Omphalos in forum Science-Fiction and Non-Fiction
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: November 6th, 2009, 11:57 AM
  5. morality in apes
    By captaincaveman in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 18th, 2007, 10:16 AM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •