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  • Writer's picturePiotr

Science Talk

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Meet Ronnie. He is a stunt man and Parkour practitioner. While being able to jump and climb on things (and trees!) like a macaque, Ronnie is also very witty, quite intelligent and seems well educated.


I bet you have come across the following sentence in numerous scientific publications concerning anthropology, biology or human evolution.

It goes something like this:

"We, modern humans, traded our strength and physical abilities of the monkeys for more intelligence and more brain size".

or in other words: "Modern humans are weak, feeble and slow but darn smart!"

This language creates a false equivalency reflecting flawed thinking (perhaps from the brain still lacking in size). While it is true that most humans gave up their strength and abilities to move or became impaired through a medical condition, they did not lose or trade them away because "such is the nature of adaptation!". Despite an ongoing stereotype, more strength or speed doesn't cancel out the brain power - quite the contrary. Sedentary lifestyle is a relatively recent human endeavor and our potential for dexterity, speed and strength can still match that of an ape, that is of course if that inherent ability is being cultivated.

And on the flip side? Let's face it: we ain't that smart. Some of us are, but most of us ain't. (I just like saying 'ain't')

Recent scientific revelation about Lucy - our upright humanoid ancestor who was believed to have descended from the trees of ignorance to roam the plains, sip lattes and recite poetry - baffled the scientists. Forensic studies revealed that our evolved Lucy died falling from a stupid tree after all thus somehow cancelling out the theory of "smarter Lucy". Gasp!

Hey! I climbed a tree just the other day and yet I can read, write and walk upright if I really need to!

But don't despair, fellow primates. The collapse of the theory about humans evolving into wimps is a good thing. It was never true in the first place.

Yet another excuse to not exercise.

Grażyna Smalej "The Monkeys", acrylic and oil on canvas

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