Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Britain, no country for old men today, was one for the first ones 30,000 years ago
Professor Rachel Caspari of Central Michigan University has a theory. It says that :
* most of our prehistoric ancestors died before the age of 30 as a result of disease, famine, injury or childbirth.
* then, 30,000 years ago the number of adults seeing their 30th birthday soared and around the same time our hunter-gatherer ancestors went through a major change in behaviour.
* artwork became more sophisticated, tools became more complex and food production shot up.
She is unsure why people started living for longer but some experts have claimed that food-gathering skills improved around the same time.
What she is sure about is that for first time old men and women survived and their arrival would have given our ancestors a massive boost as they babysat, made tools, taught skills and most importantly passed on vital wisdom on human relationships.
She told the magazine 'Scientific American' :
‘Living to an older age has profound effects on the population sizes, social interactions and genetics of early modern human groups and may explain why they were more successful than other archaic humans such as the Neanderthals.’
Here in Britain, Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in London and author of 'The Origin of Our Species', has said that old men and women :
* passed on knowledge of poisonous food, the location of water supplies and important
skills such as toolmaking.
* importantly, knew the distant relationships with other tribes so it is
easier to negotiate rules around access to water holes or to land rich in game.
Professor Caspari's article in 'Scientific American' provoked this response from 'Raghuvanshi1' in India who wasn't having any of it :
'Elders are nuisance to young generation. As world changing so fast knowledge of older generation is useless for young people. Older people are helpless and no one care about them. Extreme old age is curse to old man. He is victim of many disease, some time old people unable to move, want help of another for everything. No one prefer this kind of hopeless life'.
'I ask you simple question why are more old people are suffering from demented, paralysis and other incurable diseases in Europe and America compare to India and China? We Indians take care more of our old parent then you. I wrote generation gap and that is anyone can see all over the world'.
So maybe, Britain 30,000 years ago was and India today isn't a place for old men.