The Most Annoying Ways in Which Prehistory is Misrepresented

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DarthMetaKnight
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26 Apr 2018, 7:43 am

Hi all. This thread is for the paleontology enthusiasts here on WP. In this thread, we talk about the most annoying ways in which prehistory is misrepresented in the media.

"Birds are descendants of theropod dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus rex."

See? This is why so many people still reject evolutionary science. Was T. Rex a theropod? Yes, but the theropods that gave rise to birds were much smaller than T. rex.

I also hate it when every prehistoric creature is treated as an ancestor of a modern animal. In reality, the vast majority of prehistoric creatures have no living descendants. For example, modern cats are not descendants of sabre-toothed cats. Turtles are not descendants of pareiasaurs. Hyaenodon is not an ancestor of hyenas.

I also hate it when shows about the Mesozoic Era over-emphasize the role of dinosaurs while downplaying the role of pseudosuchia in the Mesozoic ecosystem.


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AstroPi
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28 Apr 2018, 1:55 pm

Claims that people evolved as meat eaters.

We don't have big fangs as other meat eaters, and they grew smaller with time. We presented some serious muscle and strength atrophy when comparing to other monkeys (especially jaw), even before we've started to control fire. We can't smell meat from a distance longer than a few centimeters, and if we can, then it's a nasty smell. It's contrary to how the evolution works, where only features not used can disappear.

There's a much better explanation how we evolved. Our ancestors started to eat freshly evolved grains, probably by accident and because there was nothing else to eat, but it turned out a great "food for thought", and our brains could start to grow. Grains could be preprocessed using simple stones, so the big jaw muscles weren't needed anymore, and big fangs became troublesome, so they also started to disappear. For picking grains the opposite thumbs are needed. The best survival strategy was to place grinding stones somewhere safe, and move crops to them. For that we needed to free our hands, and move only on two feet. Monkeys with a lot of fur spreaded too much seeds of other unwanted plants, so naked monkeys had more food around them. From time to time monkeys used stones that cracked very quickly and were thrown away until someone used it to steal food from others ;) We had to cough quite often to avoid choking, and this gave the needed base for speech development. Sometimes storm started a fire, and when it catched the grinding stones, the leftovers were baked into primitive bread. It was more digestible, less flour wasted and it was less risky to eat, so because of that we've felt the need to conquer a fire. And eating too much protein is not good for intelligence, that's why our meat-eating cousins called trolls or (more recently) neandertals are no longer with us ;)

Ok, I think it's enough to show the point, sorry for my bad grammar :oops:


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naturalplastic
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28 Apr 2018, 4:44 pm

My only bone to pick is the misuse of the word "prehistoric" itself.

Folks constantly use the word as if it meant "Contemporary with the dinosaurs". As in "those crocodiles in the zoo sure look prehistoric".

ALL wild animals and plants are "prehistoric" because everything in nature evolved prior to the age of human written records, and thus pretty much of all of nature is pre...historic.

The first tiny centers of human civilization (like Egypt, and Sumer) did not invent writing until around 3000 BC at the earliest. So everything that happened on the planet prior to 3000 BC is "prehistoric". ( ie predated written history).

So all of the 63 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs down to only five thousand years ago (including most of human evolution) is also prehistoric.

IF you mean "contemporary with the dinosaurs" (roughly 200 My ago to 63 MY ago) then a better word would be "Mesozoic". Not the less exact "prehistoric".



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28 Apr 2018, 7:25 pm

I mentioned this in another post, but it's worth repeating: How come the tremendous diversity of pterosaurs is rarely represented in the media?

The Only Pterosaur That You See in Movies
VVV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pteranodon

Reality
VVV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithocheirus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctosaurus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterodaustro
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anurognathus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sordes
... and so on.

Also, a lot of people don't know just how huge the largest pterosaurs were.
Image

Yes, some pterosaurs were taller than a T. Rex.

Pterosaurs are criminally underrated.


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30 Apr 2018, 10:06 am

I also hate it when people claim that amniotes are descendants of frogs.

In reality, amniotes are descendants of reptiliomorphs, not frogs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiliomorpha

Discussing evolution can be complex because the prehistoric creatures which gave rise to us are now extinct. No living animal is exactly the same as the prehistoric beasts which gave rise to us.


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01 May 2018, 5:46 am

AstroPi wrote:
Claims that people evolved as meat eaters.

We don't have big fangs as other meat eaters, and they grew smaller with time. We presented some serious muscle and strength atrophy when comparing to other monkeys (especially jaw), even before we've started to control fire. We can't smell meat from a distance longer than a few centimeters, and if we can, then it's a nasty smell. It's contrary to how the evolution works, where only features not used can disappear.

There's a much better explanation how we evolved. Our ancestors started to eat freshly evolved grains, probably by accident and because there was nothing else to eat, but it turned out a great "food for thought", and our brains could start to grow. Grains could be preprocessed using simple stones, so the big jaw muscles weren't needed anymore, and big fangs became troublesome, so they also started to disappear. For picking grains the opposite thumbs are needed. The best survival strategy was to place grinding stones somewhere safe, and move crops to them. For that we needed to free our hands, and move only on two feet. Monkeys with a lot of fur spreaded too much seeds of other unwanted plants, so naked monkeys had more food around them. From time to time monkeys used stones that cracked very quickly and were thrown away until someone used it to steal food from others ;) We had to cough quite often to avoid choking, and this gave the needed base for speech development. Sometimes storm started a fire, and when it catched the grinding stones, the leftovers were baked into primitive bread. It was more digestible, less flour wasted and it was less risky to eat, so because of that we've felt the need to conquer a fire. And eating too much protein is not good for intelligence, that's why our meat-eating cousins called trolls or (more recently) neandertals are no longer with us ;)

Ok, I think it's enough to show the point, sorry for my bad grammar :oops:


I assume that you are a vegetarian trying to justify your vegetarianism. If we were natural vegetarians, then where do you think we get our B12? Did they go down to the corner market and buy pills?

The reality is that we evolved as omnivores, not as vegetarians.



kokopelli
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01 May 2018, 5:47 am

naturalplastic wrote:
My only bone to pick is the misuse of the word "prehistoric" itself.

Folks constantly use the word as if it meant "Contemporary with the dinosaurs". As in "those crocodiles in the zoo sure look prehistoric".

ALL wild animals and plants are "prehistoric" because everything in nature evolved prior to the age of human written records, and thus pretty much of all of nature is pre...historic.

The first tiny centers of human civilization (like Egypt, and Sumer) did not invent writing until around 3000 BC at the earliest. So everything that happened on the planet prior to 3000 BC is "prehistoric". ( ie predated written history).

So all of the 63 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs down to only five thousand years ago (including most of human evolution) is also prehistoric.

IF you mean "contemporary with the dinosaurs" (roughly 200 My ago to 63 MY ago) then a better word would be "Mesozoic". Not the less exact "prehistoric".


You make excellent points, as usual.



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01 May 2018, 6:10 am

AstroPi wrote:
Claims that people evolved as meat eaters.

We don't have big fangs as other meat eaters, and they grew smaller with time. We presented some serious muscle and strength atrophy when comparing to other monkeys (especially jaw), even before we've started to control fire. We can't smell meat from a distance longer than a few centimeters, and if we can, then it's a nasty smell. It's contrary to how the evolution works, where only features not used can disappear.

There's a much better explanation how we evolved. Our ancestors started to eat freshly evolved grains, probably by accident and because there was nothing else to eat, but it turned out a great "food for thought", and our brains could start to grow. Grains could be preprocessed using simple stones, so the big jaw muscles weren't needed anymore, and big fangs became troublesome, so they also started to disappear. For picking grains the opposite thumbs are needed. The best survival strategy was to place grinding stones somewhere safe, and move crops to them. For that we needed to free our hands, and move only on two feet. Monkeys with a lot of fur spreaded too much seeds of other unwanted plants, so naked monkeys had more food around them. From time to time monkeys used stones that cracked very quickly and were thrown away until someone used it to steal food from others ;) We had to cough quite often to avoid choking, and this gave the needed base for speech development. Sometimes storm started a fire, and when it catched the grinding stones, the leftovers were baked into primitive bread. It was more digestible, less flour wasted and it was less risky to eat, so because of that we've felt the need to conquer a fire. And eating too much protein is not good for intelligence, that's why our meat-eating cousins called trolls or (more recently) neandertals are no longer with us ;)

Ok, I think it's enough to show the point, sorry for my bad grammar :oops:


I agree that our molars are good for crushing grains, but we evolved as omnivores and animal protein is a natural part of our diet, and meat consumption provides a necessary source of protein among some populations. I don't agree that opposable thumbs evolved as a grain picking driven natural selection as other primates that do not often consume grains also have opposable thumbs and if they did eat grain would likely eat the whole shoot.

I think how we became bipedal is complex but for millenia humans have done something that other primates don't do. Stalk big game. Our ancestors had a fixation with big game, as apparent by cave paintings. Contrary to popular perception, hunts weren't over when the arrow or spear hit the animal. The blow was typically not imnediately fatal and the animal would often walk many miles before collapsing.



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01 May 2018, 10:11 am

AstroPi wrote:
Claims that people evolved as meat eaters.

We don't have big fangs as other meat eaters, and they grew smaller with time. We presented some serious muscle and strength atrophy when comparing to other monkeys (especially jaw), even before we've started to control fire. We can't smell meat from a distance longer than a few centimeters, and if we can, then it's a nasty smell. It's contrary to how the evolution works, where only features not used can disappear.


We get fat if we eat carbs, and we need a much higher amount of proteins to gain muscle than a chimpanzee needs. We also have eyes that are more like those of a predator and less like those of a prey. Features used can also dissappear if they are in the way of more useful features. That's why animals in small islands are often smaller than their mainland counterparts, for example. That's also why canine teeth got smaller, as the ability to use tools proved to be superior for hunting. An ape has a much bigger large intestine, while humans have a large intestine similar to that of a predator. We cannot digest anything a wolf cannot digest (except chocolate and caffeine).

The human jaw system is 40-50% more efficient than that of any ape, despite smaller jaw muscles than a gorilla. This gives even a runty human more biting force than any equally sized ape. This is also why a wolf has a biting force similar to that of a mastiff, despite having less muscle mass. Human jaws are also tuned for quick and hard biting, not long chewing, which would be the case if we were meant to be vegetarians. To put it simply, a less muscular, but more efficient jaw leaves room for a bigger brain, which is more efficient for hunting.

As far as muscle goes, modern studies have shown that most chimpanzees are just 30% stronger than an average, sedentary man; a lot of it has to do with more androgen receptors in the muscle and better protein synthesis. The far stronger gorillas eat a lot of insects, and have even more androgen receptors in their muscle (which make them about four times stronger than a man despite only having 60% of the testosterone levels).

Quote:
There's a much better explanation how we evolved. Our ancestors started to eat freshly evolved grains, probably by accident and because there was nothing else to eat, but it turned out a great "food for thought", and our brains could start to grow.


We still cannot properly digest grains, and our brains grew due to iodine and protein. Even 60 grams of fiber per day can wreck havock on your testosterone levels, for example.

Quote:
that's why our meat-eating cousins called trolls or (more recently) neandertals are no longer with us ;)


To gain muscle, you need about 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. A neanderthal without access to lots of proteins was only about 20% stronger than a modern man. With a high access to proteins, they were twice as strong, at 8% bodyfat.


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01 May 2018, 12:36 pm

I also hate it when some of my favorite dinosaurs are left out of dinosaur shows just because they aren't very popular.

For example, therizinosaurs and heterodontosaurs get hardly any attention.


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AstroPi
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02 May 2018, 4:43 am

kokopelli wrote:
I assume that you are a vegetarian trying to justify your vegetarianism.

I assume you're meat eater trying to justify your carnivorism? That's not a valid argument.

Quote:
If we were natural vegetarians, then where do you think we get our B12? Did they go down to the corner market and buy pills?

Of course not, but you're assuming that everything else was exactly the same as is now, it's not true. The way we handle B12 proves we WEREN'T meat eaters. Meat contains from 50 to 99 micrograms of B12 per 100g. We need 2.4 micrograms daily. That's 876 micrograms per year. To get this amount we would need less than 1752 grams of meat in a YEAR. For this reason, meat eaters don't store B12, but we DO. In fact, we can deal without B12 source for over a year! Why? The only logical explanation is because our access to it was seasonal, in other words it was a plant/fungi source. We produce B12 ourselves, but we need a loop to use it, and plants/mushrooms provide that loop, especially while they grow and take B12 from the ground fertilized by us/other animals. Also ground itself, especially near the roots, contains a lot of B12. Now we have problem with B12 because we use artificial fertilizers, and we wash everything before eating (I'm not saying it's a bad thing), but that was not the case back then, and B12 problem was non existent.


Quote:
The reality is that we evolved as omnivores, not as vegetarians.

Reality can't be illogical, but assumptions we must make to explain meat-eating are completely illogical and lead us to contradictions, that's why they're false and we're not evolving as meat-eaters


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AstroPi
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02 May 2018, 4:44 am

Chronos wrote:
but we evolved as omnivores and animal protein is a natural part of our diet, and meat consumption provides a necessary source of protein among some populations.

You should provide arguments to prove it, in this form it sounds just like propaganda, something is like that, because it's like that.

Quote:
I don't agree that opposable thumbs evolved as a grain picking driven natural selection as other primates that do not often consume grains also have opposable thumbs and if they did eat grain would likely eat the whole shoot.

They have, but it's incomplete opposition.

Quote:
I think how we became bipedal is complex but for millenia humans have done something that other primates don't do. Stalk big game. Our ancestors had a fixation with big game, as apparent by cave paintings. Contrary to popular perception, hunts weren't over when the arrow or spear hit the animal. The blow was typically not imnediately fatal and the animal would often walk many miles before collapsing.

I'm not saying we didn't hunt, but the reason for hunting was different. Do these paintings present eat-meating? The problem is with predators, how to get to the corpse before them? We can't smell blood like predators. And how we avoided being hunted afterwards? We would smell like "come and get me, I'm here". Or maybe you're claiming that dying animal for our convenience always died near running water, so that we could wash away the blood? And if we would bring meat to our homes, we would also attract predators, it would be the surest way to extinction. Yes, we killed other animals, but because we were rivals for the same food, and big herds were able to destroy our whole food supplies. That's the reason for killing entire herds at once like we did, meat eaters don't do such things, otherwise they would face starvation very quickly. And this is the reason why we've tamed wolves. At some point we've learned that nearby wolves scare off other plant eaters, but because they could be also dangerous for us, we've created dogs. If we were meat-eaters we would just avoid and/or kill wolves, because their presence meant less food for us.


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AstroPi
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02 May 2018, 4:44 am

Kurgan wrote:
We get fat if we eat carbs

We get fat if we eat too much, not because we eat carbs.

Quote:
and we need a much higher amount of proteins to gain muscle than a chimpanzee needs.

...and because plants don't contain any proteins, we must eat meat, right?

Quote:
We also have eyes that are more like those of a predator and less like those of a prey.

Not true, for example dogs don't see red, red is needed for fruit eaters to know which fruits are ripe enough to eat.

Quote:
Features used can also dissappear if they are in the way of more useful features.

So what was this more useful feature? Ability to eat grains perhaps?

Quote:
That's why animals in small islands are often smaller than their mainland counterparts, for example. That's also why canine teeth got smaller, as the ability to use tools proved to be superior for hunting.

Teeth are also needed for eating, and this is the reason why they wouldn't shrink if we had to eat more meat, because evolution doesn't work this way.

Quote:
An ape has a much bigger large intestine, while humans have a large intestine similar to that of a predator. We cannot digest anything a wolf cannot digest (except chocolate and caffeine).

Humans have 1.5m, dogs 0.6m, so our is 2.5 larger. Our large intestine has taeniae coli, carnivores don't have it. We cannot? Have you tried few days old raw chicken for example? Or pig's bone?

Quote:
The human jaw system is 40-50% more efficient than that of any ape, despite smaller jaw muscles than a gorilla. This gives even a runty human more biting force than any equally sized ape.

It became more efficient because we had to eat hard grains.

Quote:
This is also why a wolf has a biting force similar to that of a mastiff, despite having less muscle mass. Human jaws are also tuned for quick and hard biting, not long chewing

Have you ever tried to bite off a piece of raw meat? We're not good at it, and it requires long chewing, otherwise we could suffocate. We need fire to soften meat, but it's available only for the last few hundred thousand years. Quick and hard biting is useful for eating fruits and nuts.

Quote:
To put it simply, a less muscular, but more efficient jaw leaves room for a bigger brain, which is more efficient for hunting.

So why predators are not like us in terms of intelligence? They are carnivores for longer than we, they should be more intelligent, and have bigger brains, not? More efficient for hunting? We kill by head-banging? 8O Maybe we should organize this: man with a stone spear vs. lion on hunting zebras, who will win?

Quote:
As far as muscle goes, modern studies have shown that most chimpanzees are just 30% stronger than an average, sedentary man; a lot of it has to do with more androgen receptors in the muscle and better protein synthesis. The far stronger gorillas eat a lot of insects, and have even more androgen receptors in their muscle (which make them about four times stronger than a man despite only having 60% of the testosterone levels).

And abut half the size. Strength is crucial for hunting, even when you use tools, then why it disappeared?

Quote:
We still cannot properly digest grains,
We still cannot? Source? Our current grains are different so even if we have troubles with some of them, it proves nothing, and we have more troubles digesting meat than grains.

Quote:
and our brains grew due to iodine and protein. Even 60 grams of fiber per day can wreck havock on your testosterone levels, for example.
And plants don't contain any proteins, that's why we need meat. Meat doesn't contain fibre, but who needs it? The same as glucose, which is produced from carbohydrates, it's obvious that larger brain doesn't need more fuel. (I'm not sure if it's called sarcasm?)

Quote:
To gain muscle, you need about 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. A neanderthal without access to lots of proteins was only about 20% stronger than a modern man. With a high access to proteins, they were twice as strong, at 8% bodyfat.

This is another proof that meat eating is influencing strength, and through evolution we got weaker than our ancestors, so it's an indication that we've started to eat less meat, not more.


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02 May 2018, 1:54 pm

AstroPi wrote:
kokopelli wrote:
I assume that you are a vegetarian trying to justify your vegetarianism.

I assume you're meat eater trying to justify your carnivorism? That's not a valid argument.


It was an opinion, not an argument.

AstroPi wrote:
Quote:
If we were natural vegetarians, then where do you think we get our B12? Did they go down to the corner market and buy pills?

Of course not, but you're assuming that everything else was exactly the same as is now, it's not true. The way we handle B12 proves we WEREN'T meat eaters. Meat contains from 50 to 99 micrograms of B12 per 100g. We need 2.4 micrograms daily. That's 876 micrograms per year. To get this amount we would need less than 1752 grams of meat in a YEAR. For this reason, meat eaters don't store B12, but we DO. In fact, we can deal without B12 source for over a year! Why? The only logical explanation is because our access to it was seasonal, in other words it was a plant/fungi source. We produce B12 ourselves, but we need a loop to use it, and plants/mushrooms provide that loop, especially while they grow and take B12 from the ground fertilized by us/other animals. Also ground itself, especially near the roots, contains a lot of B12. Now we have problem with B12 because we use artificial fertilizers, and we wash everything before eating (I'm not saying it's a bad thing), but that was not the case back then, and B12 problem was non existent.[/b]

In other words, we are herbivores because we don't need to eat meat every day?

Yeah, sure.


AstroPi wrote:
Quote:
The reality is that we evolved as omnivores, not as vegetarians.

Reality can't be illogical, but assumptions we must make to explain meat-eating are completely illogical and lead us to contradictions, that's why they're false and we're not evolving as meat-eaters


The illogical assumptions are yours. They go contrary to what we know of mankind.



Last edited by kokopelli on 02 May 2018, 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kokopelli
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02 May 2018, 2:13 pm

AstroPi wrote:
Quote:
The human jaw system is 40-50% more efficient than that of any ape, despite smaller jaw muscles than a gorilla. This gives even a runty human more biting force than any equally sized ape.

It became more efficient because we had to eat hard grains.


Funny.

First of all, there is no evidence that man started farming and raising grains until something like 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Prior to that, any grains they ate would have been what they found growing naturally. Most likely, they would have browsed, not stored the grains for later.

Second, the grains we eat today have become what they are through selective breeding over the last 10,000 or so years.
The old varieties were pretty small. For example, an ear of what has evolved into the corn today was tiny and contained a very small number of seeds. What has become wheat today was basically a grass.

By the way, did you know that man first appeared during the current ice age? Except during the interglacial warm periods such as the one we are in now, the productivity of the Earth was quite poor. There would be no reliable supply of grains and it would become far less reliable the further from the equator one got. Today we have hexaploid wheat which can be grown as far north as the southern portions of Canada. We didn't have that before about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago -- we only had diploid and tetraploid wheats which have a much reduced range.