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Dawn of humanity
There's an amazing new discovery in paleontology as described in a NOVA film that I saw on netflix recently. (Likely available elsewhere).

Essentially, a cave in South Africa was explored, and a chamber was discovered that yielded the richest cache of hominid fossils in all of history.

The fossils were determined to belong to the genus 'homo' .
Furthermore, they were determined to be a new find.
A bi-pedal animal; small brain; with very humanesque feet and hands.

The stunning aspect of this discovery; absolutely unique, was that all the fossils found in this deep cave were of that new hominid. There weren't any other fossils in there. No antelope fossils..nothing but these proto-humans.

And the cave itself involved very tight squeezes; big effort.
The implication is that it was a burial site.

anyway, check it out if you can. It's great stuff.

The thrill of the geeks involved is contagious.
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I wonder why people mostly suck at having fun?- stanky
One of moviedom's greater scenes Grayman, well found.

I'd try and look that up Stanky but there's day's worth of stuff about that subject so ... nup.

It is interesting how far back the burial rituals go, but ... is that confined to hominids? Don't elephants treat dead relatives with an extraordinary degree of ritual? They don't bury them, but they revisit the skeletons, sometimes annually on their wanderings. I've seen docos of them tenderly playing with the bones, and spending time 'reminiscing' (to anthropomorphize) with the remains of a 'loved' one.

Other animals too have been documented to keep vigils over their dead.

The early hominids may only have taken a natural trait to higher levels of ritual, due to the tried and tested old reason of "because they could".
They could carry corpses, elephants couldn't.
Perhaps they simply hid or buried them to piss off the hyenas?

Burial practices themselves may have little to do with early development of overall IQ at all. It's only those with some idea that IQ developed religion who want to go that road.

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