Theodore Holden

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An rigorous case can be made for the proposition that modern humans cannot be native to this planet.

Hominid eye sockets and nasal areas were much larger than those of modern humans. The huge eyes of hominids and dinosaurs and even a few leftover creatures like lemurs and tarsiers, were adaptations to a very dark sort of a world. In the case of dinosaurs, the large eyes pertained in carnivores and herbivores alike

Humans by way of contrast have the smallest relative eye size of advanced creatures.

If you want to believe that humans evolved from hominids on this planet, you need to believe that some hominid/human-wannabee:

Lost his fur coat while ice ages were going on.
Lost 99% of his sense of smell while trying to make it as a land prey animal
Lost almost all of his night vision at a time when night was the only time of day to be had.

You say that doesn't sound like a formula for success?

If, on the other hand, you prefer to believe that God created modern man fully formed on this world, then there is a question as to whether God would create a creature on a world for which the creature was spectacularly ill-adapted. There's nothing in the Bible about God being stupid....

There actually is a reasonable thesis to be had for human origins, but it does not involve this planet.

  • Sep 7 2013: In the long history of the debate of where we come from, I tend to take one side of the debate. I am here now and that is more important than where I came from a long time ago.

    Those smarter than I am can debate this issue until they are blue in the face. As for me, I have greater issues to ponder. But yes, on occasion I do wonder if we came from some place other-worldly.
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      Sep 8 2013: Your outlook is understandable. You would need to be certain that we're not headed anywhere though. Millions think we are eternal in some form or another, if they're right then you may have a problem.

      :-)
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        Sep 8 2013: Peter,
        Why do we "need to be certain that we're not headed anywhere"? Based on your many comments, it seems that believing in an eternal life, changes your perception and experience of the life adventure here and now. Why do you say that one who does not believe in some kind of eternal life may "have a problem"?

        In another comment thread Peter, you wrote:
        Peter Law
        21 hours ago: "I agree Scott. Truth is all around us, we get blinded to it by our own perceptions"

        Do you ever think that predicting a "problem" for people who do not believe as you do, may be your own perception?
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          Sep 9 2013: Hi Colleen.
          My comment count is 2400, yours is 8300. So I must assume that you believe it is good to comment. My beliefs have remained fairly constant, as have yours.
          My perception is indeed just my perception, as is yours. Many agree with yours, many agree with mine. Isn't that what TED is all about; an exchange of ideas ?
          So, again, my perception is that there is a storm coming. Sure, I may be wrong, but nevertheless I believe the reasonable thing is to warn people. Then it is up to the individual to decide what, if anything, to do with the information.
          The problem only arises IF My perception is correct. Your perception may be the correct one, if so then there is no problem, there's not much to hope for in the long run either.

          :-)
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        Sep 9 2013: Peter,
        This discussion topic is..."An rigorous case can be made for the proposition that modern humans cannot be native to this planet."

        I agree with you, in that you have indeed been consistent....good point. My point, is that I do not believe those of us who do not share your beliefs have a "problem", as you suggest in your previous comment, and in most of your other consistent comments.
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      Sep 8 2013: I feel the same way Everett....I am here, now, and that is what I focus on. Speculation about where I came from is always fun, and it's also good to consider the evidence we have at this time.....here and now:>)
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    Sep 7 2013: After a second thought.... Does this mean the there is truth in that "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus"?
    It would explain a lot in my life.
  • Sep 5 2013: By your definition of the word "rigorous", I am sure you are correct.

    The more I read hear at TED, the more I become convinced that all of us, even those who are most rational, believe what we want to believe.
  • Sep 11 2013: So.
    Most likely that is true. We destroy wherever we go, or wherever we are.
    Ecologies, life species, each other.
    I guess we are still trying to find our way and continue ignoring the way we do things.

    We don't have civilization on earth, though some or even many continue to refer to our
    existence on this planet as "civilization" when it is anything but civilized.

    We don't fit, mesh or exist here in union with nature, whether that nature is this planet
    and all its life-forms or nature, meaning the universe.
    We are not from here and wherever we may come from it was probably running away from
    the dying we had produced.

    Rather than "all ecologically-minded people should exterminate us," as Bryan Below wrote, we should kill ourselves.
    But hey, that is what we are doing. Case closed, problem solved............eventually.

    A catastrophic event that is.
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    Sep 8 2013: There's a great difference between speculation and "a rigorous case." I see a lot of the former and none of the latter in your argument. It can't be taken seriously by anyone knowledgeable about human origins and the massive and growing evidence of our gradual development from earlier hominids (we are also hominids).

    As Lejan tried to explain to you below, analysis of DNA commonalities have now shown us clear evolutionary relationships among thousands of species of plants and animals, not just humans. Evolutionary distances between any species have been shown to fit well with the fossil evidence for common descent. I'm afraid that the notion of a god or troll or whoever using a kit of parts with similar (or dissimilar) genetic characters to fashion different creatures runs up against modern genetic knowledge, and comes a cropper.
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      Sep 8 2013: Neanderrthal DNA turns out to be roughly halfway between ours and that of a chimpanzee and all other hominids are further removed from us than that. What you'd call a broken chain...
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        Sep 8 2013: Theodore,
        You are describing evolution.....are you not? A little bit of this.....a little bit of that.....half way between this and that? I suggest that what you refer to as "a broken chain" is actually different levels of evolution.

        More technical if you wish..."Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.[1]"

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
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        Sep 9 2013: Humans and chimps are distant cousins, placed in separate genera (Homo and Pan), though chimps are our closest living relatives. We both descend from an anthropoid species that probably lived 5-7 million years ago. Neanderthals, on the other hand, were our very close cousins, our lineages only diverged about a half million years ago. They were so close that there is firm evidence that the "modern" humans that invaded Europe around 40,000 years ago interbred with the Neanderthals, and many persons of European heritage carry Neanderthal genes to this day. Neanderthals are placed in our own genus Homo as H.neanderthalensis, and some anthropologists even consider them near enough to place them as a subspecies of modern humans, as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

        The upshot of this is that the Neanderthals were a good deal like modern humans. We know they buried their dead ritually, suggesting they had notions of a spirit world and an afterlife, which is a uniquely human concept. Don't confuse them with brutes.
      • Sep 9 2013: Actually Neanderthal DNA is so close to human DNA that we can detect hybridization between our two sub-species. When we look at the evidence we see that they're close to us. We also find species stretching back to our common ancestor with Chimps, think of Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis, and Ardipithecus ramidus.
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          Sep 9 2013: The basic Neanderthal/human non-relation:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhFXQHRAzg8

          Humans and hominids don't even come from the same place:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p10PiJPEq4

          Common genes between humans and Neanderthals are best explained as an original designer or designers using a few of the same low-level genetic parts for dissimilar projects. The Neanderthal has been ruled out as a plausible ancestor for humans because the genetic gap is too wide and the idea of interpreting common genes as evidence of interbreeding does not pass any sort of a test for logic.

          For interbreeding to have happened, a male Neanderthal would have to have raped a woman and then, rather than cooking and eating her as usual, kept her alive long enough to bear a cross-species child; raised that child to reproductive age; and had him/her breed back into human populations without anybody catching on. That is ridiculous.

          What Neanderthals actually looked like:
          www.themandus.org
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      Sep 7 2013: "Does it involve Zacharia Sitchin and the Twelfth Planet?"

      No. It doesn't involve anything outside of our own solar system. One of Sitchin's followers, Lloyd Pye, comes to the same conclusion I do as to the human/hominid non relation. What I tell people is to watch the thing to the point at which he starts talking about Sitchin, and then turn it off:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTesnJf2dJo
  • Sep 5 2013: Night vision was removed when our shiny new brain began requiring many more hours of sleep for maintenance, and fire allowed us to see short distances in the dark.
    Jaw musculature was removed because cooked food and butchering knives remove the need for a strong jaw. This allowed our skull to grow to facilitate more brain instead.
    Fur was removed because of a combination of fire and clothing for warmth, both less vulnerable to parasites which fur attracts.
    The foot grew less hardened because of use of shoes, which negate the need to walk barefoot through the wild, and easily exceed the natural design.
    We have no built-in weapons for the reason that even a simple spear or stone axe is easily superior to anything in nature's arsenal.

    Humanity is actually superbly adapted. Its all about the large brain.
    Without it, we're nothing. With it, we just don't need things other animals can't get by without. Though the fossil records indicates quite clearly that the natural solutions and the man made ones all co-existed before the man made ones won out. The fossil record suggests humanity has been using stone tools and discovered how to cultivate fire more than a million years ago, plenty of time for evolution to catch up.

    The evolutionary theory explains the lot of it just fine. There's no need to turn to extra-terrestrial origin stories with no evidence to back them up.
    • Sep 5 2013: Why would monkeys or hominids hunt at night?
      Considering the effect of limited relative mobility, the limiting visual aspects of 'night vision' , necessity to recognize fruits and other plants...

      http://bjo.bmj.com/content/85/12/1405.full
      "The hominids evolved from the Old World monkeys as trichromats, suggesting that trichromacy may have a very important role in primate evolution. "

      What possible benefit or advantage would a 'nocturnal' hominid gain while acknowledging the obvious pitfalls?

      In addition, and again if I'm not mistaken...
      The pineal gland has been there since the beginning for hominids/early man, maintaining adherence to its current wake/sleep cycle with adaptive capabilities in the young to adjust to seasons.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/19/science/why-humans-and-their-fur-parted-ways.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

      "Hominids first started occupying areas with few shade trees some 1.7 million years ago. This is also the time when long limbs and an external nose appeared. Both are assumed to be adaptations to help dissipate heat, said Dr. Richard Klein, an archaeologist at Stanford University. Loss of hair and dark skin could well have emerged at the same time, so Dr. Rogers' argument was ''completely plausible,'' he said."

      The 'parasite vulnerability' theory to support both evolution of clothes along with the loss of fur carries little weight. This logic would imply that monkeys and just about every other furry animal should be like humans. Wearing clothes and fire was not the catalyst, those are intelligent effects result of cognitive evolution.

      "The fossil record suggests humanity has been using stone tools and discovered how to cultivate fire more than a million years ago, plenty of time for evolution to catch up.." Nadav Tropp

      Please elaborate... what are you implying?

      Language and Tool-Making Skills Evolved at the Same Time
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903102003.htm

      Coevolution
      • Sep 6 2013: On the night issue, if anything, its advantageous to be active during the day.
        Lions, leopards, hyenas and other large African predators are all most active at night. Hunting during the day makes it less likely to need to deal with them. Easy identification of eatable plants also helps.
        In fact, humans are known to have practiced endurance hunting, which specifically requires prey items to get heatstroke before you do (another reason to get rid of your fur), and requires daytime heat.

        As for fur, its primary function is to keep you warm. Once you have clothing and fire for that, you don't need fur, especially considering that cloths can be taken off during the heat. Ask any engineer, its keeping things cool that's a problem, not the other way around.
        As fur does attract parasites, its actively bad to keep it around if you don't need it for insulation. As death due to hypothermia (again, not a problem for homo sapiens in Africa) is worse than parasites, a lot of animals still keep theirs.

        As for what I'm implying with co-existance, let me explain via example.
        Once you get your hands on a knife and fire to butcher and cook meat, as well as eat tough roots, you don't need a strong jaw. A strong jaw requires a fair bit of musculature, which is both energetically expensive in terms of upkeep, and due to skull design limits growth of the brain in future generations. Therefore, evolutionary pressure to get rid of the strong jaw due to the use of tools and fire. As evolution takes time to work, you have a period of co-existence of knives, fire, and a strong jaw, despite the jaw now being obsolete. The fossil record supports this.
        The same is true for any number of adaptations. Human evolution was shaped, partially, through fire and early tool use.

        Language is harder to pin down, as the fossil record doesn't display it. There are plenty of theories here as well, but they all have less evidence.
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      Sep 7 2013: "1 day ago: Night vision was removed when our shiny new brain began requiring many more hours of sleep for maintenance, and fire allowed us to see short distances in the dark."

      The huge eye sockets you see in hominid and dinosaur remains correspond to huge eyes, adapted to a world in which the entire middle part of the light spectrum was missing:

      http://saturndeathcult.com/the-sturn-death-cult-part-1/a-timeless-age-in-a-purple-haze/

      Turns out our solar system was originally in two parts, a bright part and a very dark part, and Earth was in the very dark part.

      Schools teach that planets form up from swirling masses of solar material. That being true, you'd expect the spin axes of the planets in our own system to all be roughly perpendicular to the plane of the system. Our sun, Jupiter, and Mercury in fact do look like that, but the others don't.

      http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

      Sun 7.25 (to the Ecliptic)
      Mercury ~0.01
      Venus 177.4
      Earth 23.439281
      Moon 1.5424
      Mars 25.19
      Ceres ~4
      Jupiter 3.13
      Saturn 26.73
      Uranus 97.77
      Neptune 28.32
      Pluto 119.61

      The explanation which the data suggests is as follows:

      Our sun, Jupiter, and Mercury with their near zero axis tilts, amount to an original system.

      Uranus and Venus are special cases with their own separate stories.

      Mars, Earth, Neptune, and Saturn with their roughly 26-degree axis tilts must have comprised a separate small system which was captured by our sun as a group. This would result from flying into the plane of the sun's system in the form of a Herbig/Haro string at a 26-degree angle from the South. Those planets kept the ~26-degree tilt as they began to orbit as they do now.

      Saturn would have been a brown dwarf star and planets (Earth/Mars) orbiting a dwarf star typically do so inside the heliosphere of the dwarf star. Radiant energy would bounce back from that heliosphere to all points of the planet so that you wouldn't freeze, but you'd be living in a deep, dark purple sort of a world.
  • Sep 9 2013: Therefore, since we are not from this planet, we are an invasive species, and all ecologically-minded people should exterminate us.
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    Sep 9 2013: Mr. Holden, please fill-in the blank: Homo Sapiens originated in our Solar System on a mysterious planet called ________________.
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      Sep 9 2013: Ganymede. Nothing terribly mysterious about it.

      Cosmos in Collision is not an anti-evolution tract per-se, but it contains what is likely the biggest argument against evolution which has ever come down the road. The book demonstrates that our solar system was originally in two parts: a part consisting of our sun, Jupiter, Mercury, and possibly whatever the asteroid used to be; and a part consisting of Saturn, Neptune, Mars, Earth, and probably Uranus.

      Both sides of the thing had living systems based on the same DNA/RNA information scheme, and involving complex quadruped creatures based on that scheme. If you want to believe all of that evolved, you need to believe it all evolved almost exactly the same way, twice....
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        Sep 9 2013: Oh, yeah, is that the Ganymede discovered by Galilei which orbits Jupiter? So even though all known Homo Sapiens live on Earth you say they originated there? Since the idea stands in opposition to the entire body of scientific and Biblical evidence how is that you say it is not terribly mysterious? Should I get my tinfoil hat from the shelf?
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          Sep 9 2013: It may really be that the format of TED is not adequate for discussing this one... TED strikes me as interesting for several reasons but it doesn't have forum/BBCODE capabilities and the 2K-byte limit is clunky.

          Again humans have the smallest relative eye size of advanced creatures and are adapted to a bright world. The Earth in past ages was a very dark world, hence the huge eyes of hominids and dinosaurs and other ancient creatures. The combination of lack of fur, lack of a decent sense of smell, and lack of the kinds of eyes needed for Earth in ancient times rule this planet out as an original human home world.
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          Sep 9 2013: Minus the other gas giants, Jupiter would have been in a much closer orbit in ancient times, and Ganymede would have been a very bright, warm, wet, and safe sort of a world.

          I've mentioned this here before... Schools teach that planets form up from swirling masses of solar material. That being true, you'd expect the spin axes of the planets in our own system to all be roughly perpendicular to the plane of the system. Our sun, Jupiter, and Mercury in fact do look like that, but the others don't.

          http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

          Sun 7.25 (to the Ecliptic)
          Mercury ~0.01
          Venus 177.4
          Earth 23.439281
          Moon 1.5424
          Mars 25.19
          Ceres ~4
          Jupiter 3.13
          Saturn 26.73
          Uranus 97.77
          Neptune 28.32
          Pluto 119.61

          The explanation which the data suggests is as follows:

          Our sun, Jupiter, and Mercury with their near zero axis tilts, amount to an original system.

          Uranus and Venus are special cases with their own separate stories.

          Mars, Earth, Neptune, and Saturn with their roughly 26-degree axis tilts must have comprised a separate small system which was captured by our sun as a group. This would result from flying into the plane of the sun's system in the form of a Herbig/Haro string at a 26-degree angle from the South. Those planets kept the ~26-degree tilt as they began to orbit as they do now.
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          Sep 9 2013: Saturn would have been a brown dwarf star and planets (Earth/Mars) orbiting a dwarf star typically do so inside the heliosphere of the dwarf star. Radiant energy would bounce back from that heliosphere to all points of the planet so that you wouldn't freeze, but you'd be living in a deep, dark purple sort of a world, ideal for hominids but not for humans.

          Again a sense of smell is crucial for land animals, particularly prey animals, but not for aquatic mammals. Elaine Morgan's "Aquatic Ape" thesis is the best theory ever yet put forward for human adaptation. Morgan describes a fairly long list of traits which we share with the aquatic mammals, and which are rare or non-existent amongst land animals. It's never gotten any traction in academia for two reasons, there is no fossil evidence of such a development, and there's never been a body of water on this planet which would be safe for humans to live in. Wonderful theory, all it really needs is another planet to happen on...

          A view from Ganymede, some tens of thousands of years ago:
          http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r53/icebear46/image059_zps10faf866.png
  • Sep 9 2013: Ice Ages go back a couple hundred thousand years, human evolution and the loss of our fur coats has been happening over a period of 5 million years.

    There wasn't strong selection pressure to keep a powerful sense of smell, so it slowly began to fall into dysfunction, it isn't mysterious or unusual. The same things happen to other species.

    We never had night vision, unless you were under the impression that our closest relatives according to a Earth-native theory of human origins was cats or snakes.

    The reason we could afford to lose what we did lose was because we made up for it in enhanced vision and intelligence.
  • Sep 6 2013: we can't say for sure when we lost our fur, it is an assumption that it was during the ice age.as for night vision, it has been suggested that there were times when the skies were darker due to ash in the air. there are many potential explanations for most of the human changes. it doesn't seem to be either go or aliens to me.
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    Sep 6 2013: How does your rigorous case explain the shared DNA pool by hominids and humans?

    And what does a predator needs highly developed fur, smell and night vision for in exchange for such brain capacity, creativity and tool making abilities?

    Our todays tools deliver a deadly bullet at pitch-black night from a helicopter only guided by the temperature signature of a living target. And not to smell the cordite and jet fuel fumes that much proved even advantageous to the pilots ...

    So whats your point?
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      Sep 7 2013: "How does your rigorous case explain the shared DNA pool by hominids and humans?'"

      A few of the same low-level genetic parts being used by original designer(s) for separate projects. Likewise you'll find a few of the same low-level C-language math functions used in both banking software and rocket telemetry software; that doesn't mean that NASA's software is hacked from that of JP Morgan.
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        Sep 7 2013: If NASA's software would deviate in its C-language math function by only 1,23% (as humans do in their Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in their DNA base pairs compared to chimpanzees), we wouldn't talk about hacked software at all, as we were talking about the same computer program already.

        Given the instability of the banking sector, I hope the given comparison was chosen randomly and without any real background ... :o)
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    Sep 5 2013: Ted,
    There are a lot of good arguments opposed to your thesis that humans came from somewhere else, but
    way back when there was a theory that aliens came and mated with locals and that union formed our current
    species. The author pointed out rock carvings in Peru as I remember. There was a counter point made by another author that theorized that advanced humans came back in time and where trapped in prehistoric times and mated with the locals and that union formed our current species.... I guess we would have dominate genes.
    So, if we came to be 6000 years ago on the banks of the Tigris River,or some mutation 5 million years ago, a passing Vulcan spaceship or some errant astronauts, you make a point, mankind doesn't seem really well suited for the current events of the day...
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    Sep 5 2013: yeah, and 98% of DNA is identical out of pure chance
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      Sep 7 2013: Not pure chance: similar design as I've noted elsewhere. For many years, numerous parts were interchangeable between VWs and Porsches.
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    Sep 5 2013: If modern man is so spectacularly ill-adapted hasn't he done well to subjugate the whole planet. Maybe God knows a thing or two about designing creatures after all.

    :-)
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      Sep 7 2013: Man has taken this place over despite being ill adapted to it, at least originally. Try watching one or two episodes of the "Naked and Afraid" thing on the cable channels.

      Other than that, you're right about God, and humans were splendidly adapted to their original home; it's just that the original home was not here...
  • Sep 5 2013: Maybe humans evolving intelligence allowed for the sense of smell to be replaced by more easily interpreted, referenced, associative , and relevant stimuli, such as sight. Considering our current addiction to relativity, amounts in relations(numbers), geometry and so forth...

    I'm confused with the following reference:
    "Lost almost all of his night vision at a time when night was the only time of day to be had."

    Maybe our apatite for recognizing patterns and creating associative models of memory, especially with regards to that of visuospatial, outweighed any environmental conditions. Implying, that unlike other animals of the time, depth perception was of most importance... removing the evolutionary change towards stereoscopic vision.

    Maybe we emerged apex predators for many reasons, mainly intelligence resulting in the sense of smell to decrease for we don't need to smell 'predators' from long distances, or to determine edibility for example.

    Maybe we didn't remain in forests or similar environments that constantly restrict our fields of view, creating the necessity to accurately determine depths at greater distances. Again, increased night vision often results in stereoscopic vision.

    Maybe, unlike our chimp ancestors or monkeys in general... we didn't spend all of our time in the trees or heavily shaded environments, resulting in the loss of our fur.
    Maybe we lost the fur as a result of migration and being subject to varying climates resulting from either environmental changes or demand of calorie intake. We require a fare amount of calories, especially relating to cognition, implying that 'hunting' may have increased our frequency of experiencing various climates while following migrations.

    Maybe our ancestors intentionally stayed relatively close to liquid water during the coming and going ice ages, suggesting that much time was spent in shallow waters while foraging for food. Replacing fur with relatively high levels of body fat.
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      Sep 7 2013: "1 day ago: Maybe humans evolving intelligence allowed for the sense of smell to be replaced by more easily interpreted, referenced, associative , and relevant stimuli, such as sight."

      Any land prey species would go extinct within a week with our sense of smell. An aquatic mammal, on the other hand, doesn't really need a sense of smell any better than ours. Elaine Morgan's "Aquatic Ape" thesis is the best theory ever yet put forward for human adaptation. Morgan describes a fairly long list of traits which we share with the aquatic mammals, and which are rare or non-existent amongst land animals. It's never gotten any traction in academia for two reasons, there is no fossil evidence of such a development, and there's never been a body of water on this planet which would be safe for humans to live in. Wonderful theory, all it really needs is another planet to happen on...