Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, was unearthed more than a century ago in Gough’s Cave in Somerset. Today many press outlets discussed how this 10,000 year old man’s facial characteristics have been updated in the light of the latest DNA techniques worthy of the most modern forensic laboratories.
We should not be surprised about the issue of skin colour.Human Biology and the study of human evolution has clearly marked out the migration of early Hominids from Southern Africa and more prominently from the Rift Valley in East Africa . Migrations have been shown to ‘fan out’ across the Middle East , Central Europe and eventually sea borne migrations. Much of Britain was under ice until about 11,700 years ago, so no one lived here then unless they walked across a frozen expanse or paddled here in a dug out canoe after the ice melted.
‘Britain’ then was connected to the land mass of Europe. So we are all ‘Jock Tamson’s Bairns’ after all.
We are categorically one race- that is the human race.
That fact is a very welcome one, empirical evidence of our connectedness as one human race when for centuries there have been people organising to divide us into distinct racial groups either by skin colour or by reason of faith , beliefs or sexuality.
My first thoughts this morning when I learned of this ‘revelation’ about the ‘First Briton’ was to say ‘so what’, that was my internal view of human evolution anyway.
However we have been bombarded by so much recently about ‘Make USA Great Again’ or other groups closer to home like Britain First that my second thought was, ‘how are some people going to cope with this information’?
If your world view is of a mono-culture of ‘we are British,white and proud’ and we do not want any other ‘near white’ Europeans being in our country picking our fruit and vegetables for not much more than the minimum wage-where do you go with this information?
What happens is that you will probably deny it and blame the scientists for issuing wrong information.It will not matter that it correlates with hundreds of other studies tracing the migration of early humans from Africa over millions of years. From ‘First Briton’ to ‘Britain First’ it’s always going to be a white picture, init?
The evolution of modern man and woman has taken many turns including a view that there were distinctive streams of evolution. So called ‘branching’ in the typical view was of a ‘tree of life’ representation of evolution as a dominant view. Studies have shown that there was more of a braided stream rather than a branch and there was inter-breeding between groups of early humans as they struggled to survive.
As modern humans we look back at depictions of early humans with a mixture of fun and ridicule.Incidentally most of these depictions got it wrong and had early man fighting dinosaurs when they had been extinct for centuries.
It’s a kind of racism against ourselves if you think about it.
In the process many people have categorised whole populations not based on human evolution but on more recent acts of drawing arbitrary lines on maps to designate nations or colonial territories.
Just before the first world war, ‘the war to end all wars’, groups of Europeans divided up the African continent. It was a prelude to the full-scale international rape of natural resources of a whole continent that has lasted for nearly one hundred years.
Meanwhile in the Americas the same was happening in both North and South America with the colonisation and the persecution of indigenous native people (Australia and New Zealand’s time would come)
When your childhood heroes are no longer heroes.
The big step up for human evolution seems to be our eventual downfall.The growth in agriculture and the switch from hunter gatherer to more complex organisations led to enough resources to wage wars and campaigns of invasion and eventually to aspire to world domination.
We have had many scrapes with total annihilation including total destruction in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.Who knows how many more times this has happened and we have not been told.
Now in 2018 , in this ‘neck of the woods’, the biggest change is about to happen in terms our relationship with our European neighbours. Funnily enough this relationship stared just before and continued after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The United Kingdom made its first application to join in 1961. It was quickly apparent that there was a danger of political isolation within Western Europe, Commonwealth states were rushing to do deals with the new bloc, and it had American support. This application was vetoed by the French Government in 1963 with a second application vetoed by the French again in 1967. It was only in 1969 that the green light was given to negotiations for British membership. The United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (as it then was) on 1 January 1973 with Denmark and Ireland. This proved controversial at the time. The Labour party initially sought renegotiation of membership. This was toned down to requiring a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain part of the Community. This referendum was duly held in 1975 with a 67% vote in favour of continued membership.
A lot of wine lakes and butter mountains have come and gone since then and gradually a growing, some would say festering thought of past colonial glory has crept in to the equation. Some articles have articulated this very well as being the root cause of the irrational and ideological drive towards Brexit.Above all else it seems we must achieve Brexit when all damage analysis leaked or otherwise says it will harm the economy for years to come. It’s a very strange thing indeed that when scientists reveal our pre-historic past our politicians continue to plot a future for us that will take us back in time not forward together as one human race, just a belligerent small island nation with an inflated sense of its own importance based on past colonial abuse of other defenceless countries.Cave dwelling and hunter-gathering might make a come back.
Dream Angus 7/02/18