Scientific American e Galileu pisaram na bola: a preguiça não foi fator de extinção do Homo erectus

quarta-feira, agosto 22, 2018

Reports of Homo erectus' laziness are 'moronic'

What bad headlines call lazy is what early humans called survival.
By Anna Brooks August 20, 2018
Homo erectus was known for craftsmanship, creating sophisticated tools like handaxes and sharp blades out of stone.
If you’re into ancient anthropology, you’ve probably seen a headline or two (or twelve) touting a new discovery about our long extinct human relative, Homo erectus. According to a recent study, some outlets claimed, laziness may have contributed to the extinction of our predecessors.
But the study, published in the journal PLOS One, reads quite differently than those sensationalized summaries. In fact, it says pretty much the opposite, concluding the hominins “weren’t eking out their existence on the margins, but were an ecologically dominant species.” The study authors declined requests for comments, but others in the field were eager to weigh in.
“The inference that laziness typifies Homo erectus and that such a failing might have hastened their extinction is moronic,” says Neil Roach, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University. “This is a solid study with interesting results that do contribute significantly to our field, and unfortunately, the press release does exactly the opposite.”
Roach makes his point emphatically, and with good reason—there’s a lot of evidence pointing to H. erectus as anything but lazy. The species survived for more than 1.5 million years. That’s pretty impressive compared to our measly 300,000 or so years on Earth. They may have been one of the first species to migrate out of Africa, says Roach, and are thought to be the first to hunt for food. There’s also evidence that H. erectus was one of the earliest hominins to use fire.
So if the general consensus among experts in the field is that H. erectus was an industrious sort, why are so many headlines claiming the species lazed itself into oblivion? It’s likely to do with one sentence in the paper, which describes the early hominins as a “technologically conservative” species that used “least-effort strategies” to survive. But accomplishing tasks like hunting and foraging using the least amount of energy doesn’t quite equate to going hungry because you don’t feel like peeling yourself off the couch.
Read more here: Popular Science
Pesquisa original publicada na PLoS One:  
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