23 August 2007
Human fingernails are intimately linked to rhythm and pattern recognition neural systems . It is also the third most important element in human sexual selection .
Hominid bipedalism evolved quite early .
Moropithecus (16 to 25 MY ago) showed adaptations to upright posture .
They walked on branches and clutched other breast-high branches for stability .
Science DOI : 10.112 / science.1140779
New Scientist of 9 June 2007 p18 “Four legs new ,two legs much older”
http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “The Squat and the Wobble” )
This adaptation was lost in some streams of homonids , but retained in the homonin (ie our) ancestors . This means that for significant evolutionary time our ancestors clung to thin branches with their fingers curled around the branch and their fingertips pressed against the wood ..
The branch is not only a mechanical support , but also transmits information . The branches are elastically resilient , so waves caused by any large organism walking and stalking about can be picked up by suitably sensitive sensors and the type of organism identified by a neural-network .
The canopy-network is an information-rich network because of it’s resilience . Similar type of signals can be carried by the ground (cf elephant feet ) , but the damping and bandwidth is totally different .
Small wonder that homonins have recreated the canopy in the Internet .
An Internet created by elephants or whales would look completely different .
The finger :
The sensor-network is the pressure-receptors below the nail . The finger part in touch with branch is liable to tissue destruction , abrasion and calluses . Any sensors here are degraded by wear-and-tear .
But , hydraulic pressure transmits around the finger bone to compress the pressure receptors in the nail-bed against the unyielding nail , giving quite fine detail to a neural-network .
1. IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)
This evolved literally at the start of the dinosaur/mammal split , derived from reptiles and has been refined ever since .
Any predator has a particular rhythm caused by putting it’s feet down in particular sequence (gait) .
If the predator is on a branch (or any resilient surface) , the rhythm is transmitted .
Soil can also be a medium , but less efficient (cf elephants)
This neural-network for IFF evolved under the fingernails .
In other words , a lot of rhythm recognition (ie pattern-recognition) takes place in the nerve-plexus under the fingernail .
The survival advantages are obvious .
The primary advantage is in recognizing non-hostiles . False alarms are extremely wasteful , especially in hard times . A trinary classification at neural level of hostile , neutral and friendly would evolve as an optimal solution .
There are circuits directly stimulating flight-or-fight mechanisms . There is a direct tie to the hippocampus and amygdala through stress proteins . There is a direct neural tie to muscles in the arm (from fingernails) and the legs (from toenails) .
This enabled the prey to identify a predator creeping or galloping up to it and take immediate reflex action .
Hyper-length neurons is the latest fashionable term to denote really long nervous connections without synapses .
The rich nexus of nerves under the fingernails have long been a target of human torture . But notice the aversion to nail-less humans or nail-biting . Notice how your attention is drawn to a nail-malformation (like a blue-nail)
Unarguably a defining social element in homonins .
But every human is complex of pressure waves .
Heartbeat , breathing , peritalsis are only a few of the passive pressure-waves that can be sensed by fingertips . More active palpations enables joint-crackling , lung and abdominal spaces to be felt by fingertips . Ask any doctor .
By definition , some females would be better at fingertip sensitivity than others . Since most infant mortality involves the gastro-intestinal system , which can be felt , sick babies allowed to be handled by the more sensitive woman are much more likely to survive . No language for this is needed initially .
Nursing and handling babies need sensitive touch .
Those females better at it ( ie well-shaped fingernails) evolve into midwives , since they reduce infant mortality for the group .
The midwife is the first professional .
Indeed , the medical round has not changed much in about 70 000 years .
The dominant female shaman , surrounded by a cloud of students , stalks from infant to infant , subjecting them to tactile examination . Easily remedified complaints (like blockages) or tried and true herbal plants are used to reduce infant mortality . This information is transmitted to the students .
Note self-medication by chimps and gorillas .
3. What drives this language development ?
The problem with previous language-development models was that there is no really , really compelling evolutionary reason why language should evolve .
Hunters do not need it . Noise is contra-indicated . Modern warriors like the SEALs use sign language in combat .
Small-woman groups might have the tendencies , but how does being top-woman of a small , isolated group translate into a planetwide meme-and-gene dominance ?
We have to have a mechanism whereby local dominance is transmitted .
The Answer :
Old-Fashioned Darwin .
The reduction in infant-mortality is the driver .
The transmission of information (ie language) then has an extremely direct relevance not only for a small tribe , but larger groups .
A tactile sensitive female with some language skill creates a positive feedback environment for higher infant survival rates . The language element enables her to teach students that scatter and repeat the process . The tribes that accept or send students to the college outbreed those that that don’t .
There is a crux point here relevant today :
Matriarchs (ie doctors) who tried to keep this advance in-tribe got overwhelmed by those that made it freely available .
Females , following an ancient imperative , would bring sick infants to the friendly neighborhood clinic .
The Matriarchal-Medical societal group outbred all others . And language was essential to the information transmission .
A bunch of doctors huddling together and exchanging jargon is the origin of language. The jargon was expanded to include terms for social competition for resources and status . Language was born in all its glory .
Note that the invention of Peace
(See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “The origins of war and Peace”)
is a logical consequence of the above scenario during a stress episode like Toba .
Not to mention the College / University idea . Which morphed into Organised Religion .
The Dark Side .
The Rite of Passage (ie to qualify to be seen as human and worthy of procreation ) was an invention simultaneous with the invention of Peace . Youths who could not subordinate their impulses (to fairness , pain , boredom ) to the society , were expelled from the procreational pool , or even killed .
This mechanism (meme-structure) is still active today . (Flunked Varsity ? You’re drafted.) Can’t stand the fraternity initiation ? You are not human . Go flip burgers .
This works fine as long as the governing society is in charge . But by expelling it’s mutants , the society builds up a pool resentful beings of various degrees of humanity.
A sudden change (climate , plague , technology , etc) reduces the defenses of the original system sufficiently to bring about a revolution
Ie the climatic stabilization about 12 900 years ago that made profitable agriculture possible .
4. Snakes .
The alert reader would have noticed that a reliable , sensitive temperature sensor is lacking in the human sensorium . The most sensitive ones are in the elbows and the back of the knees , and these hardly lend themselves to easy usage .
So they bred snakes . Remember , these are the people that domesticated through selective breeding all our present domesticated species .
Snakes then would have been the very first domesticated species .
A living thermometer .
The infra-red sensors of snakes are more sensitive than present thermometers used in hospitals .
The specially bred snakes would have been bred not only for thermo-sensitivity , but for chemo-sensitivity as well .
The forked-tongue could detect not only breakdown products of illnesses exuded through the skin or breath , but location as well . (That’s why it’s forked.)
A basket of specialized snakes would enable a medical practitioner of the era
70 000 – 12 900 BC to give first level medical care equivalent to that of country clinic in our era . Diagnostics would have been superior , since specialized snakes would be doing this . Think programmed bio-chips .
Problem cases would be referred to the local College center .
Poisonous snakes was bred for medicinal aspects of their poisons (still being done today) .
So where are these snakes today ?
Traces of their genetic material should be found in garden snakes in Western Europe .
Obviously , nobody has looked for genetic bottlenecks from this viewpoint .
So this is a verifiable test .
Evidence of deliberate breeding (especially in mitochondrial snake DNA ) should be found . It is doubtful that really highly specialized snakes could survive in the wild (think feral Jersey cow or Merino) , but some would have gotten lucky . Their genetic traces should be traceable .
Cultural remnants :
The Aesclapius is a cultural remnant . (Intertwined snakes is still the Western symbol of medicine .) Not bad for a symbol about 30 000 years old .
Legends , statues and inscriptions of dragons .
Bible : Eden . The snake got the starring role as the baddie , since the victors wrote the history books .
Also note Isis , purging of Ireland of snakes , Feng Shui , etc
Spirals : in rock engravings , etc . Which way does a snake coil up ?
The memes for this civilization is coiled up inside the one set of humans that had to survive : the midwives .
Remember , they thought biologically . The concepts of seeds inside reproducing systems came naturally to them .
The Matriarchs had thousands of years to see their demise coming and to plant seeds
The New World Order is guaranteed to be completely different from the Bilderbirger vision .
So , there were some good ones matriarchs and some bad ones .
The good ones tried to ensure the survival of what was good in their civilization .
The bad ones tried to ensure their dominance .
The ensuing civil wars destroyed almost everything .
Most of the good got thrown out with the bad .
The planet is littered with the ruins of their buildings , bioforms and still-active
bio- weapon systems .
Some meme markers that have survived the wars :
Bio-warfare vs numbers . Fear the disease-ridden stranger . If you are not for us , you are against us . Any writing or symbol is dangerous , since it can contaminated with mind-altering vectors by touching it .
Some remnants of these have survived in central-europe : psychotic and schizophrenic inducing chemicals in basic foodstuffs like rye (ergot fungi) . Some very localized near the original labs .
(One particular variant of psychosis inducing behavioural change organisms was localized within about 50 km radius in central Europe : symptoms : fear of persecution : paranoia with very definite cut-off points . A weapon .)
Your attention is drawn to plasmodium induced behaviour changes where the carriers are cats (and dogs as well) .
This would be a civilizing influence in a mild form ( taking risks by trusting ) , but a mind-control form in a strong form (trust unconditionally) . (Oxytocin stimulation)
A horrible thought is that the sites of the Nazi extermination camps (and the very idea) came from people picking up extermination bio-weapon contamination from old weapon sites . Note that the Nazi camps are on a line that would be a natural defensive line about 9 000 years ago .
Old weapons that kill and kill again .
Why the sudden sanity in the late twentieth century ?
Acid rain .
The vectors of madness were in the fungi (forest rhizomes) in the ground .
The weaponized mind-altering fungi , bacteria and viruses were obviously spread as widely as possible over the defensive lines . The ones that could survive thousands of years would be in the old fungi structures underground . These (because they were carrying a non-survival payload) were the first to die in acid-rain .
Remember , they thought like biologists .
They would not pick up a rock and bash you on the head . They would breed some organism that makes you vulnerable to their memes . You then would pick up a rock and bash their enemies ‘ heads in .
Can these organisms recover ?
Of course . They doing so now . See the latest history .
Why did this civilization nearly vanish ?
(See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “The origins of war and Peace” , “Costs” , “Nazca” , etc)
Your attention is drawn to the putative small comet impact on North America about 12 900 years ago . See New Scientist 26 May 2007 “Firestorm from space wiped out prehistoric Americans.”
This resulted in a short-term planetary climatic stability
(alas , now coming to an end ).
The resulting climatic stability led to usable , profitable , large-scale agriculture .
This led to an explosion in human numbers .
The Matriarchy tried to keep the lid on . Things got ugly on both sides .
The sub-human mutants (partially our ancestors ) won and extirpated their enemies . The late bronze-age cataclysm was but the end stages of a 7 000 year old clash of memes , and was correspondingly bitter.
Think Paris Hilton vs Bill Gates .
5 .Rhythm .
Rhythm is then a very ancient IFF mechanism .
Music is used as a cultural defining mechanism . Era’s and societies are defined by ephemeral harmonies .
If you like my rhythms , we are pals .
6. Musical instruments:
Nearly all human instruments are characterized by causing compression waves around fingertips in sequences and cadences .
Guitar , piano , flute , etc .The reason why they popular is that they are easy to play . The reason why they are easy to play is that pattern-recognition takes place in the fingertips .
A hardwired threat is a cat stalking along slender bough . The cadence of a four-footed stalk is known . The damping of vibrations along a bough of decreasing diameter is known . The speed of the approach of the predator can then be calculated .
In music this translates as impending threat or doom . Can you see how it goes ?
Now you too can design threatening music that operates at instinctive level .
Finger tapping .
This is a variant of “Counting to ten” .
The pressure impacts on the nail-beds causes interrupts in the amygdale , hippocampus and lower stem . Hence the success of some stress therapies using fingerclicking .
You got rhythm if you fingertap and foot/toe tap with the music .
Fingertip to forearm tapping .
You will not find this little item anywhere else .
Endorphin release is proportional to fingertip-to-forearm cadences .
Instead of tapping your fingers on the table , tap them on and around your forearms instead in time to the music . Notice you will automatically start waving your forearms about .
Endorphin release is increased by orders of magnitude .
Your forearm is like a branch . You are tapping your fingertips and moving your hands and forearms in a way that signals “ Only friendlies and non-hostiles” about .
Monkey’s joy .
Listen to some music that has a beat . Put your right hand on your left forearm and vice versa . Tap your fingers on the forearms as if you are conducting like mad . Go mad .
Try it .
Notice the flatness if you stop . This is endorphin production being stopped . (Especially with semi9-classical music)
Notice that you move your fingers about 3 times as frequently as your thumbs . To be more exact , e=2.718… more frequently . The reason is obvious .
Notice that all musicians move their instruments if they can . The pianist moves his head and torso as he moves through the virtual canopy . Notice the contortions of a violinist . What does the virtual monkey-mind cluster of a violinist see as she contorts and gyrates ?
7. Counting .
The relationship between mathematics and music is well known .
But why ten fingers? Many different variations have been tried .
The answer is simple : 4 fingers + 1 thumb on each hand .
The thumb gives a better grasp on the branch . The 4 fingers at roughly equal distances split the harmonics of the wave on the branch . This is a physical optimization , inherent in the nature of vibrations . A physical and mathematical law of vibrations .
4=2^2 , 8 = 2^4 . Can you see it ?
A little prediction : the spread of thickness of 4 fingers in homonids will optimize natural harmonies in branches of varying taper .
This means that the thumb is not strictly necessary for rhythm recognition . Notice that most instruments do not require the thumb except for grasping . (Eg the guitar : the right thumb is usually replaced by a plectrum.)
This also means that the thumb could be used for something else , and that is what evolutionary systems did . Thumb systems specialized in acting as reference point for the other fingers . A weight-lifter , javelin-thrower , tennis-player , golf-player , violin-player , etc all do the same thing : their hands analyze the vibration-characteristics of their instrument to find the sweet-spot relative to the other fingers .
The monkey swings through the air and grips a branch .
The 4x2 fingers hook over to top . Immediately , IFF is done in the fingertips . If no enemy is detected , the thumbs hook underneath . By this time , the branch has deformed under the weight and vibrations set up . Using the positions of the thumbs as reference points , the vibrational characteristics of the branch is analyzed . If the monkey wants to stay and have a firm grip , it must move to a vibrational node of the branch (ie where the standing wave caused by it’s weight cancels out . Usually called the Sweet Spot .) . notice that one hand must get there first , usually overshooting . The overshooting hand is adjusted closer to the sweet spot , then the other hand . This approximation process is repeated until the monkey is satisfied (inside the parameter.)
It moves its hands , the fingers frequently and the thumbs less frequently (ratio of about 3 to 1) until it feels happy .
Now do the same to the golf club .
If right-handed , cradle the club lightly at balance point in the left hand with the fingers underneath and the thumb over the top , the handle to the right . The right hand has a light overhand grip .
Hold the club horizontal (like a branch ) , waggle it gently up and down . With the fingertips on the club , shift your hand alternately to the right until it feels correct . Jiggle the right hand back to correct for overshoot .
Then lock the right thumb in . (Note , locking the thumb is characteristic of all golf-grips . Now you know why .)
This is the interesting bit . While locking the right thumb in place , wriggle the left fingers and thumb until they feel ok . The right fingers can be wriggled as well , but not the right thumb . Do not wriggle the fingers more than 3 times the thumbs at this stage .
An interesting corollary is that you will learn the piano better and faster if you tape the thumbs out of the way .
10 .Birds .
So why doesn’t birds have ten toes ? They have 8 = 3x2 + 2.
Birds can fly , so they don’t have to stick around and develop enhanced harmonic analysis .
11. Stochastic resonance .
The Stochastic resonance mechanisms which evolved in the brain and hands to deal with random branch movements due to weather was essential to the development of language .
Lying and an honest error cannot be distinguished from each other . And it does not matter in the long term .
12 .Sexual Selection.
Men look at women and see at a subconscious level :
1. Her middle/hip ratio is about 0.75 . Enough room for babies head
2.High , conical breasts . They will not smother baby while suckling and running .
3. Well-kept nails . Tactile sensitivity for baby care and nursing .
Women look at men and see at a subconscious level :
1. A taut bum . Good runner . Essential for good hunter .
2.Muscled arms . Good hunter and protector .
3. Symmetric face . Behaviour not too weird .
That’s it . The systems can only count to three .
If you want to overcome any negative impression on any one of these factors , you will have to work hard at it .
I was surprised to see nails pop out as an important sexual selection criterion . Females are always buffing , colouring , shaping , hardening , etc nails .
Shaped nails .
Refer to magnetrons . Shaped guides to various wave-forms can magnify the effect million-fold . Women with wave-guide shaped nails are remnants of the old order . Good or bad ? Unfortunately , nobody can tell . But if you run into one , run like hell .
The groove is only quantum deep , but it is coupled across all time .
So much for this space-time .