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Showing posts from December, 2011

Did out feet and hands evolve together?

In The Descent of Man, Darwin suggested that bipedalism evolved first in humans, which in turn freed the hands for other purposes, such as building tools. That seems feasible, but less than a year ago, Canadian scientists created a computer model which suggested that feet and hands might have evolved together at the same time, as there is a correlation between the proportions of finger length to toe length. The researchers used measurements from chimpanzees to work this out.
It's a fairly typical causation question: did our ancestors walk upright because they were using their hands all the time, or did they start using their hands all the time because they were walking upright? Or, as in any other correlation, did they evolve both abilities simultaneously? Over the thousands and thousands of years, it is so much easier to assume they did evolve "pretty much" together, but if we were to rewind to that period in our evolution, would one or the other ability be obvious to h…

The path our humble feet have walked...

Aren't feet the natural progression from toes (read post here)? Human feet are interesting things, not just because:

a) they are made up of 25% of all bones in the body
b) many people have a fetish for them,

but because they are the small things which have evolved to hold our entire bodies.

In a previous post about how our bodies evolved so far, there is a little paragraph about our feet compared to those of Neanderthals. It emphasizes especially how our feet's evolution was closely linked with competition with the Neanderthals, in the sense that the structure of our feet enabled our ancestors to endure more prolonged walking over increasingly long distances, as well as running for long periods of time, chasing prey until it got exhausted, rather than being the fastest.

To many it seems, myself included, that human feet are so tiny - how can they support our entire body, as well as when put under pressure, for example when running? There are certain properties that our feet ha…

Why people say "LOL" when they're not laughing

Recently I saw a picture on Facebook which was funny. Actually, it wasn't funny as much as witty. Either way, I commented on it and wrote "lol =)". Clearly I was not actually laughing, nor was the picture funny in the actual sense of the word. So why LOL?

Understanding the real meaning behind LOL requires understanding of the real meaning behind laughter.


Laughter is an expression of positiveness and approval. More powerful than any word, laughing at something or someone is a strong opinion of an underlying aspect of the situation. It doesn't have to be funny; it can be ridiculous, witty, subtle or even cruel and mocking. In essence, the word LOL has replaced actual laughter in situations where actual laughter simply isn't provoked. Yes, some pictures on Facebook are funny, but they're not REALLY that funny, and some jokes are witty but don't make us laugh.

Sometimes, LOL is used to approve of disapproving something.

"She bought a real fur coat, then…