Monday, 3 September 2007

Bearing fruit (i)

Many thanks for your interest and for your comments. They are thought-provoking and really welcome. Neanderthals live in our minds as more than bones and artefacts. I am reminded that they were more than organic brains and buckets of neurotransmitters, too. Certainly more, but not less, either.
Inuit women, I read, stop menstruating in deepest winter in response to declining melatonin levels, prompted by short day lengths. What if... Neanderthals conceived in the Spring/early summer, to give birth in late fall/winter. How important (and risky) was winter feeding, tracking the herds?
And if the FOXP2 gene was different in Neanderthals, then my presuppositions about their linguistic limitations have some plausibility.
So many competing ideas. I think I want to pay tribute in coming posts to four great thinkers who have given me more food for thought than I can ever properly express: Steven Mithen, Susan Blackmore, Stan Gooch, Carl Jung. Completely different - and doubtless each would be uncomfortable with some of the other names in the list. They are not the same - indeed they could not be more different in their work. Think of them as four points on the compass that guide me through the landscape.