The Mosaic Pre-Man | The Scientist

The Mosaic Pre-Man | The Scientist.


Once upon a time, we’d have thought of this as the “missing link,” but we don’t think that way any longer. In fact, it’s not entirely clear how we ought to think, as the narrative continuum given by fossil evidence–a layering, articulated by time’s measured deposit of dirt and other crud over the bones of interest–is inadequate. It does not give us a sense of the horizontality of genetic movement. Each layer, rather, is a black box from which we can induce a cause producing the effect, but it’s never adequate.

So we learn, instead, that humans were always promiscuous and that they were not, it seems, particularly selective. How could they be, in an age when there really were not that many? So that what counts now as H. sap. is snap, shot into the present, of the past episodically expressed, with no clear memory of how it got here, let alone there.