Re: Reducted Olfaction in Humans - For a scavenging species in woodland/savannah?

On Dec 29, 5:13 am, Algis Kuliukas <al...@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Dec 29, 4:13 pm, RichTravsky <traRvE...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Algis Kuliukas wrote:

Gilad, Y., Man, O., Glusman, G. A comparison of the human and
chimpanzee olfactory receptor gene repertoires. Genome Research 15 (2):
224-230, (2005).


They carried material for stone tools for several kilometers, why
not meat?

Meat is one thing, but brains? bone marrow?

We know from ethnographic accounts what is eaten first when
Homo (or any cornivorous animal) gets to a whole carcass. We also
know which parts of the larger animals could not be processed by
animals with their sharp canines. Homo used rocks, so rocks are
to large canines for some tasks, thus reducing selection for great
teeth over time.

Homo must not have been using their teeth to smile threats at each
other either.
Since we stand a lot, the third finger or since we talk a lot, F___
you probably
worked just as well (just kidding of course).

Secondly, this proposed move towards greater carnivory is directly
contradicted by the simultaneous phenomenon of dental reduction,
especially canines. That our species would be the first ever to evolve
greater carnivory whilst at the same time undergoing dental reduction
feels like special pleading to me. Appeals that it is likely to have
been explained by increased technology - such as cooking or cutting
implements - are possible solutions but there is a far more
parsimoniois one (see below.)

Another use for stone tools!

So they ground the meat into a pulp with their sophisticated stone
tools and then sucked up the gunk.

No, they bashed skulls to get at the tongue and brains with rocks.
The cut marks on the femurs etc. pretty much match what butchers
are doing today to remove meat from the bones. If the bones are then
fractured (with bash marks), it means the meat was not on them at the
We don't really know what was done with the meat. But there is only
one reason for smashing bones and skulls.

Thirdly, for a species that is supposed to have undergone a period of
evolution where scavenging for food was an essential part of their
behaviour, a REDUCTION in olfactory capability is exactly the opposite

Oh? Just follow the vultures...

But why LOSE the capability?

You can see farther than you can smell, particulary if you are up
What in the hell does this animal need a nose for at all?
Well, cats still pee on grass to mark territories, Homo does not.
I can't see any reason for a species that sits on high ground like
to need a nose at all. It is very easy to calculate just how far Homo
could tell a
herd or a carcass was below vultures,
I'll just guess 10 miles or more. Unless the wind is right, I doubt if
a hyena could
detect the smell of blood at that distance. This explains why
sometimes cut marks
prove Homo was first at the scene and sometimes later, simply chance.
Why run twenty miles to get to a carcuss? If you travel as fast as a
there will be little left by the time you get there. Speed counts.
First choice is best,
but if you are late, then marrow stays eatable for many days before
turning really rancid.
But we can handle that too, chimps do not.

of what one would predict. Again, it would represent another unique
example of evolution - more special pleading. That a scavenging
species effectively lost its olfactory capability - not only compared
to species that are adapted to scavenging (e.g. Canids - which have
olfactory capability thousands of times better than us), but even
compared to our nearest relatives, the chimps and gorillas, just does
not make sense. We, remember, are the ones that came down from the
trees - and yet, compared to them, we have lost our sense of smell.

No, we haven't.
 Study shows humans have ability to track odors, much like bloodhounds

 29 August 2005

 BERKELEY – Though humans may never match the tracking ability of dogs, we
 apparently have the ability to sniff out and locate odors, according to a
 new study by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley.
 Porter, Sobel and their colleagues reported the results in the August 18 issue
 of the journal Neuron.

 In a review appearing in the same issue of the journal, Jay A. Gottfried of
 the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of
 Medicine noted that the UC Berkeley findings open numerous avenues for further
 research. "Finally, what are the implications for the Provençal truffle hunt?"
 he wrote, only partly tongue-in-cheek. "In the traditional world of the truffle
 forests, the dog (or pig) is king. The evidence presented here suggests that
 humans are every bit as well equipped to carry out the search."

But the whole point of the article I posted was to show that human
have LOST olfactory receptors (better evidence than any subjective
study) compared to CHIMPANZEES. It amazes me how you find it so easy
to miss simple points like this.

Why? Orangs carefully smell food they are not familiar with, we can
10-day old rotten monkey meat with no problem. Chimps avoid this and
so do big cats.
Why do WE need a nose at all?

And scavenging does not have to depend on smell. As I said, follow the
vultures. Competition?
 J Hum Evol. 2008 Dec;55(6):1031-52. Epub 2008 Oct 8.Click here to read Links
 Taphonomic perspectives on hominid site use and foraging strategies during
 Bed II times at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
 Carcass processing by hominids in such habitats would certainly have enticed local
 groups of carnivores. The ability to butcher and control carcasses under these
 circumstances speaks to the superior competitive abilities of H. erectus
 during upper Bed II times.

But why LOSE olfactory capability compared to chimps?

Because chimps lived mostly in treed areas where they can't see for
twenty miles, we on the
otherhand lived in more open areas and could sit on termite mounds to
see great distances.
This is from memory 30 years ago (so I may be a little off), but one
of Custer's scouts correctly predicted the
size of the horse herd at the Little Big Horn from the Crow's Nest
without binoculars. From the Crow's Nest
to the river is somewhere between 10 and 20 miles IIRC.

Custer's men could not make out the horse herd with binoculars, they
should have listened to the scout with good eyes.
Chimps can remember where their good fruit trees are, they don't need
to see them,
but they probably look and smell to see if it the fruit is ripe, just
as orangs do. We don't need a nose to tell if meat is
rancid because we can eat it anyway, rancid or not.