They say that history is written by the winners, but if that’s true, then natural history is written by those who can write. Our ancestors split from the ancestors of chimpanzees some 6 or 7 million years ago, and since then they’ve given rise to perhaps twenty known species of hominids (and potentially many more waiting to be discovered). Today only our own species survives, and only ours has acquired the intelligence to learn things about the distant past–such as the fact that we are the product of evolution. Our survival and our intelligence sometimes blur together, with the result that a lot of the research on human evolution (and most of the popular accounts of it) revolve around what makes our own lineage unique and successful. All the other branches of hominid dynasty become our foil–the losers who, through their extinctions, reveal what is most glorious about ourselves. As a way of thinking, this is both unfair and foolish. We become satisfied with our own false assumptions about other hominids, and may miss some lessons they have for us. Exhibit A: our ancient thick-headed cousin Paranthropus.
Posteriormente retrata al Paranthropus y se pregunta por qué esa especie se extinguió mientras el Homo siguió adelante.
[Estoy escuchando: «Roisin Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend: Shenandoah / Will You Go Lassy» de Thin Lizzy en el disco Black Rose: A Rock Legend]