Old folk at lunch

Monday, May 14, 2012

A visit from a caveman

Because of complications I was readmitted to the Wesley for a few days. While I was there Paul and Susan paid me a visit -- on the night of 13th. They brought their little caveman with them: Matthew.

Civilization goes back only about 5,000 years so it is too recent to have had much effect on our genetics. So little boys grow up as trainee cavemen. It is the caveman life that their genetics prepare them for. And cavemen of course largely feed themselves by chasing and killing animals. So they have to be very lively for that. So little boys are programmed to run and jump and climb and generally rush around like mad things.

People who want them to sit quietly are asking something unnatural

All that is particularly true of people of Northern European origin. People who have been civilized for a long time -- such as the Chinese -- are more passive. But our ancestors were living by hunting as little as 2,000 years ago. And hunting is still a popular sport.

So Matthew was the perfect little caveman. He could not sit still and was crawling and climbing wherever he could. Such behaviour can annoy some people but it is just his innate programming and if you realize that it is a little caveman you are seeing, that should make you indulgent.

Understanding cavemen as I do, it was a delight to see such a lively child as Matthew.


Scientists test their theories by making predictions from their theories and then seeing if the predictions are confirmed by events. So I decided to test my theory that little boys are apprentice cavemen -- i.e. that their characteristics trace back to a hunter/gather lifestyle from which we have emerged only recently -- recently in an evolutionary sense.

So I asked Anne about Aborigines. Anne knows Aborigines very well from her many years of working among them and they have emerged VERY recently from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. So from my theory one would predict that Aborigine children would be very active and would tend from an early age towards hunter/gatherer activities.

And Anne tells me that that is exactly what happens. The children are very active doing things like stalking birds and go fishing from a very early age. So my theory is confirmed.

And a story about a great little Aboriginal kid might help make the point. This happened in November 2007:

A four-year-old boy has been found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

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