Until this prehistoric hominid changed its diet to meat-centered,
expanding its brain to enable complex tool and weapon-making,
it was easy prey for the saber-toothed tiger.
How Homo sapiens Became the Ultimate Invasive Species
Many human species have inhabited Earth. But ours is the only one that colonized the entire planet. A new hypothesis explains why
By Curtis W. Marean | Jul 14, 2015, Scientific American
Sometime after 70,000 years ago our species, Homo sapiens, left Africa to begin its inexorable spread across the globe. Other human species had established themselves in Europe and Asia, but only our H. sapiens ancestors ultimately managed to push out into all the major continents and many island chains. Theirs was no ordinary dispersal. Everywhere H. sapiens went, massive ecological changes followed. The archaic humans they encountered went extinct, as did vast numbers of animal species. It was, without a doubt, the most consequential migration event in the history of our planet.
Paleoanthropologists have long debated how and why modern humans alone accomplished this astonishing feat of dissemination and dominion. Some experts argue that the evolution of a larger, more sophisticated brain allowed our ancestors to push into new lands and cope with the unfamiliar challenges they faced there.
Others contend that novel technology drove the expansion of our species out of Africa by allowing early modern humans to hunt prey —and dispatch enemies—with unprecedented efficiency. A third scenario holds that climate change weakened the populations of Neandertals and other archaic human species that were occupying the territories outside Africa, allowing modern humans to get the upper hand and take over their turf. Yet none of these hypotheses provides a comprehensive theory that can explain the full extent of H. sapiens‘ reach. Indeed, these theories have mostly been proffered as explanations for records of H. sapiens activity in particular regions, such as western Europe. This piecemeal approach to studying H. sapiens‘ colonization of the earth has misled scientists. The great human diaspora was one event with several phases and therefore needs to be investigated as a single research question.
photos and writing by ria
*to receive a copy of the field guide with macrophotos, email ecofeminist (@) riseup (.) net
self-published in Cascadia
To support efforts undoing what’s been done, and creating what will be.
This is a living document by and for the people who care for western Cascadia lowland forests. This is not an inclusive listing, and plants vary with factors, such as age. Hint: Look for evidence of remnant leaves, etc. on the plant and on the ground. And consider environmental conditions, and the plant community.
Margaret Robinson on Merging Mi’kmaq and Vegan Values
Margaret Robinson, author of Indigenous veganism: Feminist Natives do eat tofu, joins Animal Voices to speak about how Mi’kmaq values, as expressed in legends and her own family stories, dovetail with veganism.
Along the way, Robinson will tackle questions like: Does authenticity require that a culture be frozen in time? Is awareness of dietary control of diseases and food justice issues reversing the notion that vegetarian food is just for the wealthy and white? Robinson asserts that “we can be visible as modern native people, and we get to decide what that looks like”. With meat, cheese, and other animal products featuring so prominently in traditional foods around the world, Robinson’s words will resonate with anyone who has felt a tension between their vegan values and their culture.
Listen here: http://animalvoices.ca/2013/04/23/all-my-relations-margaret-robinson-on-merging-mikmaq-and-vegan-values/
Dr. Margaret Robinson spoke at the AR Academy on Feb 20 2014 about how she resolves her ethical veganism with her First Nations cultural heritage. She offers an insight into Mi’kmaq legends which sees other animals as our kin to be respected rather than merely objects or instruments for our consumption. She also describes some personal stories that led her to become vegan in the first place.
“At stake in the creation of a Native veganism is the authority of Native people, especially Native women, to determine cultural authenticity for ourselves. Dominant white discourse portrays Native culture as focused on preserving the pre-colonial past. This must be replaced with the recognition that Native culture is a living tradition, responsive to changing social and environmental circumstances.”
This paper proposes a postcolonial ecofeminist reading of Mi’kmaq legends as the basis for a vegan diet rooted in indigenous culture.1 Such a project faces two significant barriers. The first is the association of veganism with whiteness.
Drew Hayden Taylor has portrayed abstaining from meat as a white practice (Taylor 2000a, 2000b). In a joke at the beginning of his documentary, Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew he asks, “What do you call a Native vegetarian? A very bad hunter.” Ecologist Robert Hunter (1999) depicts vegans as “eco-Jesuits” and “veggie fundamentalists,” who “force Natives to do things the white man’s way” (p. 100-113). By projecting white imperialism onto vegans Hunter enables white omnivores to bond with Natives over meat-eating. In Stuff White People Like, satirical author Christian Lander (2008) portrays veganism as a tactic for maintaining white supremacy. He writes, “As with many white-people activities, being vegan/vegetarian enables them to feel as though they are helping the environment and it gives them a sweet way to feel superior to others” (p. 38).
When veganism is constructed as white, First Nations people who choose a meatless diet are portrayed as sacrificing cultural authenticity. This presents a challenge for those of us who see our vegan diets as ethically, spiritually and culturally compatible with our indigenous traditions.