off topic we hunted the mammoth

They Hunted the Cave People

Hey ladies!
Welcome to the club, homo naledi!

So I was reading a fascinating story on the BBC website on the discovery of a WHOLE NEW HUMANOID SPECIES that lived in South Africa up to three million years ago. The new species, named homo naledi, may have even been the first in the genus homo. The first of us!

Reading about the discovery of the homo naledi skeletons themselves, I came across this unexpected detail. The scientists who literally went into the caves where the bones were found all had something in common:

Small women were chosen because the tunnel was so narrow. They crawled through darkness lit only by their head torches on a precarious 20 minute-long journey to find a chamber containing hundreds of bones.

Here they are:


I mention this because so many of the doofuses I write about on this blog simply assume that male bodies are physically superior to those of women — larger, able to lift heavier objects, and so forth — and so, in their minds, men must have done all the important work in human history (and prehistory), from hunting the proverbial mammoth to building the pyramids to mowing the lawn.

But not all jobs — even the very physical ones — require the brute strength of a big burly man. Especially if the burly men in question literally can’t fit in the tunnel.


85 replies on “They Hunted the Cave People”

Could you grow tobacco plants on Mars, like Mark Watney grew potatoes?

You could probably produce nicotine in genetically modified potatoes and administer it by some non-smoking method, like eating said potatoes, and still have a lower cancer risk than staying at home smoking.

I’m so tall I can barely fit in most spaces that are actually designed for human bodies. Being tall is a real pro in practical greenhouse research work, where you need to reach a lot. OTOH, my fellow group members (mostly women) seem to be more skilled in the thinking part of our research.

Well we already know most MRAs lack imagination so of course they would assume bigger is always better. 🙂


A REAL APLHA would have just torn that tunnel open wider with his bare hands! Then he would have stood on the bones, grabbed his junk, and let loose a YALP that shook the earth!

To be a GREAT spelunker, you need to be able to pass through the clothes hanger starting with one hand and one foot and ending with the other hand and foot.

I tried to find a coat hanger, but all they’re selling these days are defective, overpriced railroad spikes.

Seriously, though, this is an amazing find and a fantastic achievement. The Dragon’s Back sounds like it was pretty perilous – apparently it’s a knife-edge ridge with steep drops on either side that they had to crawl along, then a 12-meter drop into the chamber where the bones are. My hat is off to the female scientists and the support team.

I just hope the manosphere doesn’t use this as another excuse for fat-shaming women. I can just hear them now – “See, this proves that only skinny chicks have any value!”

@Arctic Ape:
Like the Ghostbusters remake, I think it’s something that will always rankle amongst a certain sector of the populace.

Also, tall people solidarity! *fistbump*

In all fairness to Murdoch, unlike many media moguls, he’s never been afraid to put women in the top jobs.

He’s really stuck up for Rebekha Wade

As a small woman I tend to live in small-people-friendly spaces. I prefer attics to basements.
One time the cops showed up and they sent two big burly men. They should not do that in areas where the houses are hundreds of years old. That’s because the first man-cop got wedged in my staircase and his partner had to call the fire department to pull him out 😛

When I worked in AV installation while in college, I always ended up on soldering duty (often precariously perched someplace because someone installed something wrong and we were doing an “in place correction” rather than a complete redo).

Little hands and fingers (and a lower center of gravity in the case of the more acrobatic work) FTW!

re: Tall People: I’m 5’9″ – tallish for a woman, but within the parameters for most design – but my husband’s 6’3″…that poor man and cars.
And shower heads.
And mirrors.
Some sinks.
You get the idea.

I tried to find a coat hanger, but all they’re selling these days are defective, overpriced railroad spikes.

Teehee XD

OT: Admirable bravery! I’ve done spelunking once and I had a lot of fun. I also happen to be very skinny so I wasn’t too nervous about it until we had to go through a little opening the size of a small computer screen O_o.

Unrelated aside to Nintendo-people:


I’ve already loaded it up, gotten all of the updates out of the way, and loaded our Amiibo for mystery mushrooms (also bought a Classic Colors Mario 😀 ) so the older two don’t have to wait through anything.

My 3-year-old’s observations while in GameStop:
* This looks like Minecraft! (About Super Mario Maker)
* They have MORE STAR WARS STUFF! (She’s been noticing the uptick in merchandise.)
* LOOK! A DOCTOR FROM DOCTOR WHO! (About a Harry Potter Funko Pop…I explained that while he does look quite a bit like one of the Doctors, he is not).

Speaking of women working in fields that are male dominated when I was in the military I served under 3 successive female officers (there was a rumor in our company that our unit was used as a training point for female officers moving up).

The first left shortly after I joined the unit, but I got along really well with the 2nd one who came in. She liked and trusted me so much that she assigned me to help her with numerous tasks which led to incessant teasing back in my bunk where the guys kept saying I had a crush on her or vice-versa.

What I saw was a person who worked harder than the officers around her, who was politically savvy and great at building relationships with others and was dedicated wholly to her job. She was also an attractive woman and in this instance unfortunately it worked against her – it was much harder for men to take her seriously and many questioned why she was even in the military. I spent quite a bit of effort to open the eyes of my fellow mates and though many scoffed off my attempts I am glad to report that at least 3 of my mates got what I was saying and in turn respected her more.

On an end note to the story, once she left and the 3rd officer came in she actually passed my contact information to the newcomer with strong recommendations! I had to endure even more teasing which I was fine with. Maybe they were jealous that I was popular with women 8p?!

My experiences with these 2 women officers were very positive and also demonstrated to me clearly their worth, their value and their dedication. I can say that I was proud to have served under them.

@ReallyFriendly – I can say I’ve met some real piece of shite women in the military, but I’ve also met some real piece of shite men there (you know, people who can’t even manage to not be Blue Falcons).

What I can definitely say: The women who make a career out of it (or do any considerable stint) do tend to be really exceptional, probably because it has to be something that they both want and are good at to stick with it despite all of the BS that can come with being a female soldier (or Marine, etc).

Okay, now that I’m done nerding over this with other palaeontologists, I can nerd about it here instead.


Aaagh this is so cool and they are so lucky. @_@ I’ve tried spelunking in subfossil caves before, both on and off the clock, but I’m just too damn tall for it. Despite what height-obsessed MRAs might think, being 6’1 doesn’t help every career path.

@mockingbird I didn’t meet any terrible women in the army when I was there (I also worked with a female warrant officer who fought very hard for people serving under her) but have no doubt that they exist.

To me the military mindset was one that didn’t mesh that well with me and there were certain elements of brainwashing instilled into the entire system that I was not comfortable with. It was still, overall, a positive time for me when I look back.

In regards to that particular Gamergate panel it was immediately obvious to me (but not to the Gators) what it meant once they announced it. I find it just adorable that they keep accusing Anita for not being a real ‘gamer’ but then decided to send a panel of non-gamers to speak for gamergate… wtf? Also, the only journalist they did send (you know, because ‘ethics’) was one already famous for being horribly biased and having a history of poor journalist integrity.

It was the type of panel an Anti-GG group would approve of since it was too bizarre (but not unexpected). You should also listen to the content when you get the chance and be as confused as the moderators who tried their best to keep the panel on point – they were trying to be political in a discussion about ‘ethics in journalism’.

The bomb threats to the event also made all the Gators have a minor meltdown (nothing conclusive about who made the threat) and made their conspiracy detectors explode out of their skulls.

All in all, the whole event left me utterly bemused.

… (nothing conclusive about who made the threat) …

I can’t remember where I read it (here, probably), but wasn’t it proven that it was another #GamerGater?

@SFHC It was an internet claim so it was inconclusive – I think on 8chan?

However, I did read that a Gator claimed to have done it because the panel was going down in flames – which of course only broadened my smile.

Does anyone else wonder if Roosh or one of his followers had something to do with the U of T threats?

I mean didn’t he post an article recently, right after his Canadian tour about it only being a matter of time before someone kills a feminist?

How important is it for him to be right and proove


I hit post by mistake.

…and proove that feminism is dangerous for society, or something like that

Well, okay. This is certainly an interesting find, and hooray for these women anthropologists who worked so hard to bring this discovery to the public eye.

However, though, one thing: I’m afraid I can’t help but be *majorly* skeptical about the mainstream scientific community’s early conclusions about this being a likely early human *ancestor*-the features of the reconstructed model are a little too distinct for that theory to be quite 100% plausible(that, and there’s been several other finds that’ve been touted as such, too, only for none of them to have panned out); it seems much more believable, to me, at least, that this was more of a close evolutionary cousin instead.


Rupert Murdoch has just purchased National Geographic.

It’s a sad day.

@Alan Robertshaw

In all fairness to Murdoch, unlike many media moguls, he’s never been afraid to put women in the top jobs.

He’s really stuck up for Rebekha Wade

The interests of Rupert Murdoch and his former right-hand woman, Rebekah Wade Brooks, are one and the same, so of course he’s stuck up for her.

Rupert Murdoch owned News of the World when it hacked into phones. Once the scandal broke, he shut down the paper, putting almost 300 people out of work.

He owns Fox News, and they lie all the time. Just one example:

He owns the Sun, which is virulently right wing. Liverpool residents boycott the paper because of its lies about Liverpool football fans. The Sun claimed that when fans at a football match in 1989 were crushed in an accident, Liverpool fans urinated on them and stole their wallets–a pack of lies.

And now Mr. Murdoch, noted climate change denier, owns National Geographic, which funds scientists.

I don’t see that Mr. Murdoch is a friend to anyone. He’s trying to get all of us–and possibly the planet we live on–killed.

Oh, not cool. I mean about the Rupert Murdoch buying National Geographic. I heard about it on a comedy radio show I was half-listening to (“we’ll keep it the same, just with more sexy pictures and less accuracy” or something) and I thought the news itself was fake. Sure, NG seems to have a colonialist mentality sometimes, but I enjoy the photos and science news when I run across it.

@ Kat

Yeah, but he gave Rebekah the job in the first place. This was at a time when most women in Fleet Street got stuck writing the ‘women’s section’, if they were lucky.

He pretty much had to shut the NOTW down in view of public pressure. That’s how boycotts work.

The irony of the Sun is that most of the people who worked there (Littlejohn excluded) were pretty standard London metropolitan liberals (people in journalism shift between papers all the time, so they don’t necessarily share the view of the paper); the Sun’s editorial policy was dictated by the market; hence its popularity. As the public moved to be more tolerant on things like equal marriage, the paper moved with them.

I used to do the Sun and NOTW’s legal work and I really liked Rebekah.

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