Ruta de navegación

Tit_El hombre antes del hombre

The man before the man

Aplicaciones anidadas

recursos_evolucion_video_ el hombre antes del hombre

recursos_evolucion_presentacion_el hombre antes del hombre

Txt_El hombre antes del hombre

The man before the man

seminar from group Science, Reason and Faith.
Daniel Turbón. Pamplona, May 29, 2013.


Daniel Turbón is Full Professor of the Anthropology Unit of the University of Barcelona. Some of his lines of research are: Bipedalism, encephalization, dental evolution and Neanderthals (Paleoanthropology); Mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome, RFLPs, STRs and Paleogenetics (Molecular Anthropology).


Man is a cultural being; as a species he lives by the accumulation of knowledge and passes it on to his offspring mainly through education.

To present a worldview strictly from the scientific method is a reduction. For some the term "culture" expresses everything that is not genetically determined. Any behaviour acquired by training, by chance or by imitation, would be "culture". This point of view does not capture what is specific to man: his capacity to generate culture, i.e. to realise a previously conceived project and to attribute a symbolic value to the products of his intelligence. The human psyche is characterised by abstract intelligence, the capacity for abstraction and freedom of decision.

When can it be said that there is a man in the fullness of Schools? Of course a sub-adult is a man, but not a full man. The same is true for the biological process of training of man, which goes back two million years. When can it be said that there is a full human being in terms of his origin in time?

Scientific discoveries show that the first humans (Homo habilis) emerged from bipedal ancestors 4 million years ago and are identifiable in the fossil record from 2 million years ago. They are notable for their Degree encephalisation (ratio of brain to body weight), and for the reduction of the foetal head at birth. With the data currently available, the Cephalisation Coefficient (R. Holloway's EQ) of Homo habilis is 63.8; that is, 64% of the CC of present-day man.

It is paradoxical that Homo habilis was formed at a time of climate change, in the midst of African savannahs, an environment of enormous danger from predators, which forces us to accept that human groups must have been very cohesive behaviourally and involved in the viability of their offspring, the latter increasingly defenseless due to a process of lengthening growth periods and development (hypermorphosis). At a point of no return, there was no extinction due to certain physiological changes in the female and the success of the division of work in obtaining resources for intense parental care.

This exhibition discusses the main evidence for the above in the light of the latest scientific findings.