Fossilized Compassion

This made me happy.  Excerpted from A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, ©2003:

Also found at Lake Turkana by (Kamoya) Kimeu was KNM-ER 1808, a female 1.7 million years old, which gave scientists their first clue that Homo erectus was more interesting and complex than previously thought.  The woman’s bones were deformed and covered in coarse growths, the result of an agonizing condition called hypervitaminosis A, which can come only from eating the liver of a carnivore.  This told us first of all that Homo erectus was eating meat.  Even more surprising was that the amount of growth showed that she had lived weeks or even months with the disease.  Someone had looked after her.  It was the first sign of tenderness in hominid evolution.


1 Comment

  1. markonit

    …this is a good story… to find out that kindness and concern for others is a trait found in hominids and is as old as any other characterization of mankind…


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