Is Trump the Chimp at the Top of our Pre-evolution Hierarchy?

❝ Donald Trump’s political stylings…evoke(d) memories of our people’s original civic leader — the large, angry ape.

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” the anthropologist Jane Goodall infamously opined in the summer of 2016. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

❝ Goodall was far from alone in this assessment. In his paper “The Appeal of the Primal Leader: Human Evolution and Donald J Trump,” Northwestern University social psychologist Dan McAdams argued that the mogul embodied “the social dominance form of human leadership” — and likened Trump’s Twitter tantrums to the violent rituals performed by ruling chimps.

❝ Trump intended his shutdown to be a spectacular display of his tribe’s supremacy in America’s dominance hierarchy. It became the opposite. Now, there’s a good chance that, over the next two years, this presidency is “going to go weaker, weaker, and just disintegrate.”…

One can only hope. Though I have no confidence in Trump’s echo of Reagan’s failed supply-side economics producing anything of benefit to working families, the mass of rural and urban Americans, the danger of stupidity overruling anything near unto common sense retains a risk of economic and social disaster. Often the fate of petty pimps and their claque…and innocent bystanders.

Human Beings? We’re the newest kids on the block!


Click to enlargeTimescale for the evolution of life on Earth

❝ A new study led by scientists from the University of Bristol has used a combination of genomic and fossil data to explain the history of life on Earth, from its origin to the present day.

❝ Palaeontologists have long sought to understand ancient life and the shared evolutionary history of life as a whole.

However, the fossil record of early life is extremely fragmented, and its quality significantly deteriorates further back in time towards the Archaean period, more than 2.5 billion years ago, when the Earth’s crust had cooled enough to allow the formation of continents and the only life forms were microbes.

❝ Dr. Tom Williams, from Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Combining fossil and genomic information, we can use an approach called the ‘molecular clock’ which is loosely based on the idea that the number of differences in the genomes of two living species (say a human and a bacterium) are proportional to the time since they shared a common ancestor.”

By making use of this method the team at Bristol and Mark Puttick from the University of Bath were able to derive a timescale for the history of life on Earth that did not rely on the ever-changing age of the oldest accepted fossil evidence of life.

Bravo! I note the frequency of solid science making it into the Web’s version of the popular press from the University of Bristol. Advances, research, divining both the past and future of life and its context regularly appear.

America’s oldest dog discovery

❝ Some 10,000 years ago, in what is now Koster, Illinois, a dog died. Its adopted group of hunter gatherers carefully laid the pup to rest in its own grave among their buried human dead, curled on its side as if it were asleep.

Today, this may not seem surprising — after all, modern dogs are often more “fur baby” than pet. But this ancient Illinois dog, and a duo of other canines buried right nearby, are remarkable: They’re the oldest known individually buried canines found anywhere in the world, according to new research on the pre-print server Biorxiv. What’s more, they provide the earliest physical evidence for dogs in the Americas.

❝ The remains of these creatures has also proved key to solving an important canine conundrum: What happened to the dogs of ancient North America? Did they intermix with dogs brought by European settlers? And what breeds today can call them ancestors? A second new study, published in the journal Science, uses a battery of DNA analyses of both modern and ancient canines to search for clues.

Dogs are an important part of my extended family’s life. Lots of reasons. Lots of personal family tales. Many of you probably have similar tales, experiences in your own life.

I can tell you names of dogs living with folks I follow on Twitter – when I can’t recall names of their partners or children. 🙂 Right, Cooper? Right, J.K.Growling?

Bird gets lost — spawns a new species on a remote island

❝ If you get lost at sea and find yourself on an island you’d probably try to build a fire, pile some sticks and stones into a makeshift home and maybe even try to signal for help. When one misguided bird found himself in the same situation, he didn’t wallow in his own self pity; he created his own entirely new species.

RTFA. I’ve been hanging on to this one for a spell – and it’s fascinating.

Sugar industry hid evidence of negative health effects nearly 50 years ago

❝ A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago…

Researchers Cristin Kearns, Dorie Apollonio and Stanton Glantz from the University of California at San Francisco reviewed internal sugar industry documents and discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation funded animal research to evaluate sucrose’s effects on cardiovascular health. When the evidence seemed to indicate that sucrose might be associated with heart disease and bladder cancer…they found the foundation terminated the project without publishing the results…

❝ The results suggest that the current debate on the relative effects of sugar vs. starch may be rooted in more than 60 years of industry manipulation of science. Last year, the Sugar Association criticized a mouse study suggesting a link between sugar and increased tumor growth and metastasis, saying that “no credible link between ingested sugars and cancer has been established.”

Sugar can be part of a natural diet, one reflective of the gradual evolution of Homo sapiens. Want to get back to that situation? You’ll have to battle against the brainwashing you’ve been subjected to by decades of adverts on radio and TV, in movies – and, now, on the interwebitubes [thanks, Dave].

Nothing new about profiting from induced addiction.