Friday, July 13, 2007

My @*#&$^# Aching Back !!

This is a story about anthropology, anatomy and evolution.  If any of those subjects make you cringe, you may exit now.  But I'll know you were here and might have hurt feelings!  Hey you're in this far, why not stay?

Once upon a long, long time ago, there existed an ape-like creature called Australopithecus.  We're not interested in him, let's skip a few hundred thousand years to the time of homo-creatures, or all things man.  By that I mean of course, all things hu-man.  Calm down, ladies lol.

Here's this apish-looking man, definitely in the human branch of our evolutionary tree - his name is Homo Habilis or "handy man" and like his forebears he's a good hunter, his mate is a very good gatherer, yet they still walk mostly on their knuckles since it feels right and fits their anatomyHabilis was the "tool-maker" the inventor, the curious one.  His ancestors had already discovered the benefit of living in groups so he was very socialized, not unlike many other higher animals.  When he'd hunt for food for the commune (his family got first pickings) he'd drag the carcass back to the cave with his buddies.  So here and there, he would stand up.  He'd lift up his immense, heavy upper-body and peak out over the tall African savannah grasses, but drop himself back down because it didn't fit his skeletal structure to remain in that position.  But homo-habilis was, if anything, extremely curious, and you need only watch our ancestor ape the chimpanzee to get an idea of how curious.  (A quick aside:  all monkeys have tails, if there's no tail it's an ape, thank you for your patience.)

Most anthropologists believe that habilis continually tried to stand so he could eventually carry food better, and more of it, and in fact it was the female of this species who did the most standing.  She learned that if she carried food in her arms it wouldn't keep dropping, plus she could carry alot more, including the baby.  But as yet, evolving mankind at this stage in our evolution wasn't comfortable in an erect posture.  Predictably though, they kept trying anyway.  Here's another theory about that, one to which I ascribe completely:

Look at  Homo-sapiens sapien, that's us today.  The "wisest man".  Look at us, so darn curious, constantly building, digging, always seeking something more or better or just something elseWhat's over that horizon, we ask.  We gazed at the moon for eons before we insisted on creating the tools to put ourselves there.  Why did we have to stand on the moon anyway?  We can't help it, man has to keep searching, keep seeking answers, keep this over-huge brain stimulated, it's in our genes, our DNA, it's imprinted into our species.  Now we're busy mapping the universe!  So:  many believe habilis continually tried to stand, going against his very basic physical structure, just to see what was out there.  What new thing was lurking beyond the savannah?  He had to know.  Nothing could stop his impulse to find answers.      

After many tens of thousand of years, the skeletal frame of habilis started changing, dramatically but not quickly enough to coincide with his body shape.  By his repeated efforts to stand, he eventually did stand, getting off his knuckles to walk, and lo and behold became the great Homo-erectus.  This guy did everything standing.  He hunted, walked, ran, fought, thought, and prospered in a way his ancestors could not, because his arms and hands were now free to do more things.  Although habilis could work things out till he created something, erectus was more interested in utilizing his body to find an easier way to exist.  Hence the name, which leads to a very interesting fact:  

Any anatomist will tell you that the shape of our present-day spine goes entirely against the weight and placement of the rest of our body.  The muscles wrapped on our bones are too heavy.  Our heads are much too large.  Our upper body is too broad.  Our weight doesn't coincide with our skeleton.  Basically, mankind has evolved mentally and not enough physically.  We stood up too soon

The correct position, the most comfortable for us according to the placement of bone and muscle, is in a "C" shape, a quasi-bend.  All our lives we've been told to "stand up straight" and not to "ruin our posture".  This is baloney.  It hurts to stand up straight, as well it should since our skeleton can't hold all that weight properly.  Our spine is far too weak, hence the out-of proportion back pain we suffer with.  Don't you feel a little more comfortable when hunched over?  When your back hurts, as it invariably will, don't you "collapse" your body a bit to ease the pain?  That's entirely in keeping with how our spine should be shaped at this point in our evolving body.  Are you bored silly yet?  Amazing.

Since this over-large, mostly unused brain requires alot of protection, we possess a very heavy skull which enwraps it's fragility.  I have a theory about this "extra" brain tissue but because I know you have things to do, I'll leave it for another post.  It occurs that we're the only animal which brings forth its young in great pain, due entirely to this big head of ours.  Fascinating.

Now you know why your back hurts.  I wonder how we'll look in, say, 50,000 years?  And therein lies the reason for it all:  Man wonders ..... he has to know.       

                  

11 comments:

frankandmary said...

Judging by the number of ape-ish looking men I've met in NJ, I'd say you were on to something. ~ Mary

lanurseprn said...

I liked this entry a LOT! And I do want to hear your theory on the extra brain tissue.  I find this stuff interesting. Heck, every entry of yours is interesting.
Pam

mutualaide said...

Oh my gosh -- I've been wondering about that back ache!  Great entry Cath.  :)

motoxmom72 said...

Hey...I ditto Frankandmary's comment!!  We've got some real winners here in PA!!!
Hugs,
Gina
http://journals.aol.com/motoxmom72/GinasWeigtLossJourney  

sassydee50 said...

Cathy~You are so dang creative you don't even know what to do wityh yourself next!? LOL ;-)))) Yup I got the lower back pain almost everyday. I heard that comment, Gina, here in apeland
P-A! hee-hee Bless you Cathy and thanks from Dutch and I for your sweet cards!

http://journals@aol.com/sassydee50/sassysprivatewords

firestormkids04 said...

Oh Cathy!  I knew we were all out of shape, LOL.  I just love to read your posts~been off-line for most of 2 weeks so I will have a little catching up to do. Thanks for the words of wisdom.  Blessings, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere
http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/TimeforaLittlePoetry

treesrgreen78 said...

I have been away for a few days but right away I read your entries.  They never cease to amaze me.  I remember growing up.  These really big bullies constantly harassed me, as I was very small and they always called me a monkey and ugly, now I know they were totally wrong, I was an ape,  I did not have a tail, lmao.  I certainly have the back ache and every other ache to make me a bona fide Habilis person.  Your entries are always informative and wonderful to read my der friend.

princesssaurora said...

Very cool... and great info!  Thanks for sharing...

< i am hunched right now>

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

jmorancoyle said...

    Frankly I am interested in your theories about the brain. I love delving into thse subjects. It amazes me how animals evolved and how social structure, religion, myth, and civilization developed.
    As far as the back is concerned, you're right about standing up straight. I never had back problems until my weight forced me to stand straighter, and that is not at all comfortable.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

rockoned7 said...

Hey you I am the one that is out of shape! More like a droopy r than a curled up c.

You are perfectly correct in what you say but I have every sympathy with those stooped over with spondalitis and the walking stick. We are always told stand staight up when they should be saying just slouch about. What are these parents thinking about?

I am now a creature of comfort and get it wherever and whenever I can. A true member of the homo habitualis tribe of sedentry thinkers.
Olympic Champions eat your hearts out!

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