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Pay homage to our slack-jawed friends, for we have them to thank...

By Andrew Pollack on 03/24/2004 at 09:58 PM EDT

An article in the Washington Post today essentially attributes a minor mutation in a single gene for the ultimate evolution of Humans as a species.

That specific mutation weakened the jaw's "Bite" muscles, which apparently wrap the entire skull. The weakening of these muscles allowed the skull to expand and the brain to enlarge.

So the answer to how we humans got here appears to be that we are defective, slack-jawed, apes.

There are  - loading -  comments....

By Ben Langhinrichs on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Hard to argue with that conclusion.
Hey, hey, hey...By Rob McDonagh on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Best be careful with that evolution theory of yours! The patriotic (by which I mean Christian, 'cause they're synonyms now, ya know) way to word that is: "The Lord God *created us* to be defective, slack-jawed apes." *snickering*
good point, Rob...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I'm sure that works well for all those people out there who seem to require an entire mythology for a reason to do good things. Personally, I prefer to do good things because they are....well, good.
ok...By Jerry Carter on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
*takes the bait* ... what makes them good, then, Andrew?
well...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Why of course, I say so. The sense of right and wrong has been shown to be inherent actually in humans and many other social animals. Some primates, for example, display clear agitation behavior if they see a keeper move from two even piles into a larger and smaller pile even when the piles belong to an unknown other pair of primates. Humans have an innate sense of what is good for the social group, and our job as parents (and our parents job before us) is to temper that with experience and societal norms. Many sociologists believe actually that this flexibility in the sense of right and wrong -- the ability to temper the innate nature of it -- has a great deal to do with our success because it allows experimentation. (I am now ducking for cover)
kewlBy jonvon on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
methinks you could get several advanced degrees trying to figure out what "good" is. or you could go with your gut. i'm not that smart, i'll just keep experimenting. ;-) slack jawed apes. god you have to love that. so are people who are prone to TMJ apt to be smarter i wonder? my wife suffers a bit from that, and she is really freakin smart. for some reason i now have a strange urge to go buy a gun and a bible and vote for george bush. oh, wait, no i don't... whew, that was a close one!
InnateBy Jerry Carter on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
From where do you suppose this innate sense of right and wrong comes from?
its a circular arguement, JerryBy Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I mean no offense, but suggesting that because something is innate is an indication it must have been put there by an unknowable, unproveable force is fallacious. How it got there, is that there were a bunch of variations of slack jawed apes (or their predecessors or whatever) and some were better able to live in groups and work together and some were not. Those that were, ultimately, had this trait. Science is about telling us what the rules of the universe are and what we can do within them. Religion is about explaining who made the rules and why. They don't have to conflict -- but using one for the other isn't going to work.
The third chimpanzeeBy Jim Wilson on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
You'll definately enjoy this read then . . .
By jonvon on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
don't forget this one (via alex hernandez)

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