Chapter 16 - Primitive Traits
There are none so blind as they who will not see."
John Heywood 1

    A living population is more primitive than another living population if it has more of the same traits that the LCA of the two populations had. If the LCA is extinct (e.g. erectus) and all we have of it are teeth, bones, and a few stone tools (“stones and bones,” the proof of man’s presence), then traits of the two populations (other than their hard-tissue traits) are compared, either to the traits of chimpanzees, who are assumed to have not evolved drastically away from the chimp-human LCA, or to the traits of living populations of humans who are otherwise known to be primitive. Thus, “primitive” traits are “simian” (ape-like) because they are similar to traits possessed by our LCA with living apes. Many simian traits
Figure 16-1
(e.g., long skull, brow ridges, prognathism, small ears, flat nose) are illustrated in Figure 16-1, which shows a computer reconstruction of a bipedal ape (minus the hair) that has some human features. 2 Any human population that has significantly more primitive traits than another population has evolved less away from our ape common ancestor and is therefore more simian and more primitive. 3
    It is not possible to conclude, however, that a less primitive living population evolved from a more primitive living population and is in the same lineage as that more primitive population. Indeed, it is more likely that it is not, but simply that they both had a common ancestor. Of the three major races, Africans are by far the most primitive, but at least some Asian aborigines are more primitive than Africans.
    Ideally, a trait that is primitive will be possessed by all of the large anthropoid apes, will be less pronounced in Homo erectus, and still less so in most humans, so that the prominence of the trait diminishes as genetic distance from apes increases, but evolution is seldom so tidy. Nor will all of the traits of one population necessarily be more primitive than all the traits of another population. There will inevitably be a few primitive traits in otherwise modern populations, and vice-versa; these are traits that were strongly selected for or against in one of the two populations or that were adaptive, then maladaptive, then adaptive again. Hairiness, for example, is a primitive trait because chimpanzees, gorillas, and some Asian aborigines are hairier than most humans. Africans, however, who are primitive in most other ways, are not as hairy as Caucasians. The explanation is that body hair reduces the cooling efficiency of sweating (only humans and horses sweat), so it is selected against in the tropics and, before garments, was selected for in the cold north. 4
    Primitive traits can also be acquired by interbreeding with a more primitive population. For example, many Japanese males, who are otherwise completely modern, have significant brow ridges. This unusual primitive feature is believed to be the result of the invasion of Japan by modern Koreans between about 1500 BC to about 400 BC, who then interbred with the more primitive, and hairy, Jomon people already there, producing the Japanese.
    Primitive traits correlate highly with tropical traits, which is to be expected because our ancestors lived in warmer climates before they evolved traits that enabled them to live in colder climates. Thus, living descendants of those tropical ancestors will tend to retain those tropical primitive traits even when they are no longer as useful for their original purpose, but can now serve another purpose. Long arms, for example, useful to apes for swinging through the trees, may be retained by their tropical descendants, although they no longer swing through the trees, since long arms are also useful in dissipating heat and throwing objects. Not every tropical trait is primitive, however, since some traits, such as resistance to diseases unique to humans in the tropics (e.g., sickle cell anemia), were probably not possessed by long-ago tropical ancestors.
    Although some tropical populations are neotenic, the most primitive traits are not neotenic, which suggests that neoteny occurred early in man’s lineage, but did not reach all primitive populations. The reason may be that neoteny occurred and was retained when man moved into cooler climates (see Chap. 6) where it was advantageous and, when populations of neotenic man later migrated back into the tropics, they did not interbreed with all the tropical populations. Neoteny includes a large number of traits and, if a population becomes more neotenic then, on balance, it is fair to conclude that neotenic traits are advantageous in that population (Chap. 4, Rule 10 second corollary), even if some neotenic traits are neutral or even disadvantageous. The disadvantageous traits will be selected against and gradually lost (or “turned off”) and the population will then be left with a mixture of advantageous and neutral neotenic traits plus advantageous non-neotenic traits. This is especially likely to happen when a neotenic population migrates to a new environment where some of its previously advantageous neotenic traits are now disadvantageous and are therefore selected against. For example, a larger brain is an advantageous neotenic trait in a mentally challenging colder environment, but its high energy cost makes it a disadvantageous trait if the environment is not as mentally challenging. Thus, there are some tropical populations (Bushmen, Negritos) that are noticeably neotenic, but have small brains.
    Sexual dimorphism (greater differences between male and female) has been declining from Australopithecus to humans. 5 Sexual selection can greatly affect sexual dimorphism. Selecting mates for their masculinity and femininity increases sexual dimorphism and selecting mates who will pair bond reduces it; 6 neoteny also reduces sexual dimorphism. Of the three major races, Asians are the least sexually dimorphic. As to particular traits, Africans and Europeans vary as to which race is more sexually dimorphic, but overall it seems to be Europeans, probably due to greater selection by both sexes. Thus, determining the primitiveness of a race based on sexual dimorphism should probably be based on particular traits that are conserved but are not noticeable, which has not yet been done.
    Technological advancement can also reduce some primitive traits. A person who is more “robust” (i.e., heavier bones and stronger muscles) is more primitive than a person who is more “gracile” (i.e., lighter bones and less muscular) because apes are more robust and so was early man. A population that is more technologically advanced (e.g., has spears and other long-distance weapons) relies less on physical strength, giving an advantage to more gracile individuals who invest resources in brains instead of strong muscles and bones. (Lewin, 1998). Eating more meat (caught with better weapons) and cooking food (i.e., controlling fire) to soften it reduced the need for primitive traits such as powerful chewing muscles, large teeth, a supraorbital ridge, a saggital keel, and thick, heavy skull bones.
    Both blacks and whites regard black facial characteristics (i.e., primitive traits) as threatening (Lieberman, M.D., 2005; Eberhardt, 2006). However, some primitive traits (e.g., large jaw, heavy bones and muscles) are also regarded as more masculine (Fink, 2007). The masculinity of primitive traits may, in part, account for why most black-white miscegenation is black man-white woman, and much less is white man-black woman, 7 and why women find Asian men, with their neotenic, baby-like features, less attractive. Conversely, the absence of primitive traits (e.g., gracile body, neotenic face) is regarded as more feminine and may explain, in part, why white men are attracted to Asian women.

                         Hard Tissue Traits (Chapter 9)
    Some of the hard tissue primitive traits found more often in the skulls of Africans include a thicker 8 and narrower skull with less cranial capacity, a more sloping forehead, a more massive protruding jaw, 9 and larger teeth. 10 Figure 16-2 compares the skull of an ape with a European skull to illustrate these differences. (Howells, 1948, p. 130). Now, in Figure 16-3 (also see Figures 9-4 & 9-5, and Figure 9-9), compare a European skull (left) with an African (Sudanese) skull (right). The eye sockets and nasal openings have been aligned. Although it looks like the two skull halves in Figure 16-3 are misaligned, they are not; the smaller brain and larger jaw of the African skull just makes it appear that way.
Figure 16-2 Figure 16-3
    Less prominent external nose bones are a primitive trait as early hominoids had no external nose bones; the African nose is “very flat.” (Hanihara, 2000). A less prominent chin and the percentage of skull bones that join on the side of the head 11 are also primitive traits, but they are of less use in distinguishing living populations. Tables 9-1, 2, and 3 list other primitive hard tissue traits that Africans have.

    Soft Tissue Traits (Chapter 10)
    Primitive soft tissue traits include larger muscles, larger scent glands, and a smaller, and less fissured brain 12 with a smaller front-to-back ratio (a smaller forebrain), and a thinner supragranular layer in the brain. Note that dark skin is not listed as a primitive soft tissue trait because lighter or darker skin is selected according the amount of sunlight and, since there is no fossil skin and chimpanzees are light-skinned when young and dark-skinned when older (De Waal, 1997, p. 21), it is hard to say which color is more primitive. 13 As to hair curliness, again there is no fossil hair. Chimpanzees have straight hair, but the most primitive Asian Negritos have wooly hair, suggesting that tropical erectus (or even Australopithecus) had wooly hair and that straight hair arose later with northern migration. If that is true, then wooly hair would also be a primitive trait. Also, straight hair may be neotenic. 14
    There is some indication in the literature that the African hair type differs in fundamental ways (Figure 10-13) from Eurasian hair in that, among other things, it lacks a central duct. Since Africans and some Asian Negritos have very curly hair, it would be interesting to know if Negrito hair also lacks a central duct. If it did, a reasonable conclusion would be that tropical erectus had hair that lacked a central duct and that such hair is primitive.
    Another primitive soft tissue trait that might be mentioned is a sclera (cornea) that is yellowish rather than completely white, usually in only adult males. (Figure 10-4). The primitiveness of this trait is shown by its presence in the gorilla, some Africans, and some of the aborigines of the Pacific. 15
    In apes, the larynx is higher in the throat and, as a result, the number of different sounds they can make, and the ease with which they can control the sounds they make, is diminished. 16 The ability to make more varied sounds means superior communications between people so that they can transfer information more easily and more accurately. This would, of course, be a great advantage in hunting 17 and in battle, as well as in passing knowledge on to the next generation. Gibbs (1865) says the larynx of Africans differs from that of whites, but does not describe its position.
    An unusually large mouth (Figure 10-9) is a primitive trait, as it is a characteristic of apes (required for fully opening the mouth to expose the teeth and bite), and most Africans do have large mouths. Most also have large everted lips, but some Africans, perhaps with Caucasian or Asian ancestry (Chapter 26), do not. Chimpanzees have a large mouth, but with thin lips, and the lips of primitive Asian aborigines are not as large as some Africans.
    Ear size is another problematic soft tissue trait because, although Africans (Figure 26-7) and gorillas have small ears, Caucasians and chimpanzees (Figure 6-1) have large ears; apes generally have small ears (Figure 16-1). To add to the confusion, large ears may be more vulnerable to frost bite in cold climates, but may help radiate heat in the tropics (e.g., elephants’ ears); on the other hand, sound carries farther in the more-open and colder north than in the tropics, making large ears more advantageous in the north. Identifying the age of the allele responsible for ear size may shed some light on which ear size, if either, is more primitive.
    The flat nose of Africans is primitive, because apes have very flat noses and external nose bones (needed for a more protruding nose) are absent in apes and early man. The nose only gradually became more prominent, most likely when man moved into colder climates where a longer nasal passage was advantageous in warming inhaled air.
    Large buttocks is a primitive African trait as it is found in the most primitive people (Andaman Islanders, Hottentots, and Bushmen, Chapter 26), and prominent buttocks are a feature of some female primates, particularly when in heat (e.g., the baboon).

                         Reproductive Strategy (Chapter 11)
    Reproductive strategy is a very fundamental trait as it determines the solution to the all-important problem of how best to create the next generation, which then influences a large number of other traits. A more “r” orientated reproductive strategy is definitely more primitive as man has a more “K” reproductive strategy than any other primate. There is extensive evidence (Rushton, 2000a) that Africans are more “r” orientated. The faster maturation of blacks also applies to the development of their intelligence, which develops close to whites until about age 2, then begins to stagnate. (Chapter 11, FN 12 & Chapter 14, FN 37).

                          Behavioral Traits (Chapter 12)
    A propensity for violence is a primitive behavioral trait because, as intelligence increased and man became more civilized, intra-populational violence became more disruptive. A propensity for violence correlates with physical traits such as a protruding jaw and large mouth (for biting), strong, dense bones and larger muscles, as well as behavioral traits, such as impulsiveness and the inability to plan for the future, all of which are higher in blacks. Cannibalism was, and still is, a primitive behavioral trait in Africans, despite the best efforts of foolish, but tasty, missionaries to put a stop to it.

                            Genes (Chapter 13)
    The “smoking gun” that proves primitiveness beyond question is genes. If a population has the same alleles that the great apes have, and other populations do not have those alleles, then that population is more primitive. Genetics has just begun to determine the distribution of different alleles among people across the Earth, but the use of chimpanzee and gorilla alleles to identify Africans as the “ancestral” population (i.e., Africans have alleles that chimps and gorillas have, but Eurasians do not have) is widespread. 18
    More recent work is identifying the genes responsible for important traits, such as intelligence and the propensity towards violence. So far, it is known that a few of the alleles thought to be responsible for high intelligence, of the genes microcephalin ("MCPH1") and ASPM, are rare or absent in Africans. Eventually, all of the alleles responsible for the racial differences in traits will be identified, and their distribution is expected to coincide with the racial distribution of those traits.

                           Intelligence (Chapter 14)
    Low average intelligence in a population is the most important primitive trait as intelligence has increased over millions of years and it is the defining trait of humans. It is now well-accepted by psychologists that blacks have a lower intelligence. 19

                       Civilizations and Accomplishments (Chapter 15
    The inability to create and maintain a civilization or to accomplish much of any note are primitive traits, as earlier hominoids were capable of neither; nor are today’s Africans.
    It should be obvious from the preceding that Africans possess a large number of primitive traits, but some South Pacific aborigines possess even more, though they do not necessarily have the same primitive traits that Africans do. Some Asian aborigines are so primitive that they might even be classified as late Homo erectus instead of Homo sapiens. The number of South Pacific aborigines are not great as the number of Africans, however, and they are concentrated in Australia and the South Pacific Islands and do not present all the social problems that the large numbers of blacks in the West do.
    To summarize, Section II provides overwhelming evidence that race is real and that blacks are the most primitive 20 of the major races, though only a small proportion of the known racial differences is presented. Because research on racial differences, except where they are medically important, has been effectively outlawed for at least the last 50 yrs, there are no doubt thousands of other racial differences that have not been discovered or published. In reading comparisons between different types of animals, one is struck by the immense number of small differences in anatomy, physiology, protein structure, and development. Surely, there are also a large number of differences between the races.
    The fact is that virtually all of the racial differences between Africans and Eurasians are in traits that are primitive; there are few, if any, African traits that are more modern than Eurasian traits. The evidence comes from a large variety of very different traits, hard tissue, soft tissue, physiology, behavior, intelligence, accomplishments, and genes. And, most importantly, all of the evidence is consistent. It is not the case that genes are saying blacks are modern and bones are saying they are primitive. All of the evidence is saying the same thing – they are primitive, less evolved, and closer to our ape ancestors.
Figure 16-4 Figure 16-5 Figure 16-6
    That is the source of the title of this book, not that Homo erectus is alive today as the species that lived from nearly 2 mya until as recently as a few tens of thousand ya, but that erectine alleles long lost by Eurasians are still active in Africans and some aborigine populations, expressing themselves in primitive traits of body and behavior. These traits are readily discernable at a glance, though people are indoctrinated and warned not to notice such things and to deny them if they are mentioned. In Fig. 16-4, 16-5, & 16-6, note the erectine features of these black athletes (left to right): the prominent brow ridges and receding forehead of Jerry Stackhouse, the protruding jaw of Shaquille O’Neal, and the slight saggital keel of former NBA player Karl Malone.
Figure 16-7
    Whites have romanticized primitive people as “noble savages” and, in movies and on television, they are usually portrayed as competent, wise, and kind-hearted towards whites. Real life data, however, does not support that portrayal. (Keeley, 1996; Wade, 2006; Lablanc, 2003). European soccer fans, who make ape-like hooting noises and throw bananas to taunt black players may be boorish, but biologically, they have a point. 21 Blacks, biologically, have traits that man had hundreds of thousands of years ago. In Figure 16-7 the horizontal length of the lines is proportional to genetic distance; the short length of the horizontal line going to “African” indicates that Africans have not evolved much, and the long length of the horizontal line labeled “non-African” indicates that non-Africans have evolved a long way away from Africans. 22
    In the next two sections, the OoA and OoE theories of the evolution of modern humans are examined.

Section III

Table of Contents


1. “Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee, That wilfully will nother hear nor see?” (Heywood, Dialogue of Proverbs, 1546). Back

2.  The image is of 6.8 to 7.2 mya Sahelanthropus tchadensis (“Toumaï”), from Mission Paléoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne (M.P.F.T.). Toumai, found in Chad, Africa, was about 4 feet tall and is believed to have been bipedal.; he may have been in the human lineage. Back

3. Primitive traits can be re-acquired by a population when they are selected for. Good examples are the sexually-selected child-like traits of some Eurasian women, such as the large, wide-apart eyes that our nocturnal prosimians ancestors had. Back

4. Body hair went from adaptive in early apes to maladaptive in bipedal apes, to adaptive in northern man, to maladaptive again once northern man had garments. (Chap. 24). Back

5. Nevertheless, the bonobo is the least sexually dimorphic of all primates, including humans. (Tanner, N. M. (1981) On Becoming Human, p. 202). Back

6.  Greater promiscuity and less pair bonding increases sexual dimorphism because males have to compete for females; this is most evident in birds, where the males of the most promiscuous species (e.g., peacocks) are brightly colored and the females drab, but in pair-bonded species (e.g., swans) males and females are difficult to tell apart. Back

7. (Getahun, 2005). Ten times more single white women than single white men reported that their most recent sex partner was black. (Sex in America, 1992). Back

8. Note in Figure 14-8, how skull thickness, which is reflected in the difference between cranial capacity and brain size, has declined over the last 35,000 yrs. Back

9. A 2.4 million year old genetic mutation for a size reduction in chewing muscles may have lead to a smaller, weaker jaw and separated man from his ape-like ancestors by shifting man towards more reliance on brains and less on muscles. (Stedman, 2004). Man compensated for not being able to tear hides with his teeth, or to gnaw the tough parts of an animal, by banging rocks together to knock off sharp-edged cutting chips. In time, the importance of tool-making became such a powerful selective influence for intelligence and creative skills that weak jaw muscles can be said to have led to a bigger, better brain. Back

10. “Indeed, … Adolf Schultz had found a supposed Pithecanthropus-like gap between the upper permanent second incisor and the upper permanent canine in a ‘modern negress,’ and Abbie himself had stumbled upon something similar in a ‘living Aborigine.’” (Schwartz, 1999, p. 157). Africans have more rapid dental development, similar to fossil hominids. (Tompkins, 1996). “Sub-Saharan Africans are characterized by a collection of unique, mass-additive crown and root traits relative to these other world groups. Recent work found that the most ubiquitous of these traits are also present in dentitions of earlier hominids, as well as extinct and extant [living] non-human primates [e.g., chimpanzees and gorillas]; other ancestral dental features are also common in these forms.” (Irish, 1998). The teeth of Australian aborigines are even larger (Hanihara, 2005) and the age of eruption of permanent teeth is earlier and the likely presence of a third molar is greater. Back

11.  The percentage of skulls with a fronto-temporal pterion (juncture) on one or both sides is much higher in Australids, Negrids, gorillas, and some other apes. (Baker, 1974, pp. 191, 298-299). Back

12. In primitive primates, such as lemurs, the cerebral cortex is small and smooth. (Howells, 1948, p. 48). Back

13. (Coon, 1962, p. 112). "... the Old World monkeys and apes, have lightly pigmented skin covered with dark hair, …” (Jablonski, 2006, p. 64). When body hair was lost, dark skin was strongly selected for in the tropics, but not in the temperate zones. Producing melanin (which makes skin dark) is costly but necessary for survival in the tropics, but in the north incurring that cost is unnecessary, a waste of resources (Rogers, 2004), and reduces the body’s production of vitamin D. The fact that the palms and the bottom of the feet of Africans are white also suggests the absence of dark pigmentation when it is not needed. Africans are lighter in color immediately after birth, as dark skin is not needed in the womb, but soon darken. (Cartwright, 1857, p. 45). Back

14. “The hair of the infant negro is neither crisp and curly, nor black; it has a chestnut-brown color and is of a silky fineness. However, as it grows longer it becomes darker and more curly, and by the time the child begins to walk it appears completely woolly.” (Burmeister, 1853). The younger Ainu in Chapter 24, Figure 8 seems to have straighter hair. Back

15.  “…the ‘white’ or sclerotic [of the Negro eye] is often (as in apes) pigmented – a dull reddish yellow.” (Johnston, 1910). Back

16. Part of the larynx is a valve (the epiglottis) that blocks food and liquids from going into the lungs. In most animals, the larynx is high in the throat so that they can breathe and swallow at the same time. Human infants start out that way, but then the larynx moves down to about the Adam’s apple, which enables us to make a greater variety of sounds for speech, at the cost of choking if we swallow while breathing. (Allman, 1994, p. 165). Back

17. The more that hunting is required for survival, the more important it is for males to cooperate, as hunting requires more cooperation than gathering; in the cold north, hunting was needed to survive the winters. (Levin, 1997, p. 165). Back

18. (Deka, 1995). Many other references could also be cited: (Supplementary Notes: Human Population Genetics (2005-03-03208); Weber, 2002; Watkins, 2001; etc.). Africans may also have alleles that neither chimpanzees nor gorillas nor Eurasians have that were acquired after the LCA with chimps, then lost in Eurasians. Back

19.  (“Mainstream Science on Intelligence,” The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 1994). Back

20. “In addition, as Darwin saw it, the Africans were primitive humans and served as a link between his concept of an apelike human ancestor and truly civilized humans.” (Schwartz, 1999, p. 127). This is not just a conclusion of modern Europeans. Throughout the ages, Arabs and Asians who have encountered Africans have also reached similar conclusions. (Davis, 2006, pp. 62-63; Rushton, 2000a, Chap. 5). If one accepts that man evolved from an ape, then it is to be expected that not all men evolved equally far away from that ape. Back

21. The older anthropological literature is replete with comparisons between Negroes and apes (Hunt, 1864; “U.S. citizens implicitly associate Blacks and apes.” (Black psychologist J. Eberhardt; Goff, 2008). Back

22. (Salter, 2003, p. 68; drawn from Cavalli-Sforza, 1994, p. 79). Back