From: Thomas Buckner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Mar 24 2004 - 04:44:43 MST
--- Keith Henson <email@example.com> wrote:
> At 09:45 PM 23/03/04 -0500, you wrote:
> >>There is no question that currently the
> epi-genetic information transfer
> >>from generation to generation is much larger than
> the genetic information
> >>and that prior to chipped rock it was much smaller
> >>Keith Henson
> >Just out of curiosity, how/where was that
> Both are information. Information is quantified in
> bits or bytes.
> The human or chimpanzee genome is on the order of a
> G byte.
> A thick novel is on the order of a M byte. So by
> this crude measure,
> the crossover was when culture took 1000 books.
> Keith Henson
If by human culture we mean what a human brain could
have stored without writing, the crossover may have
happened among early Moderns about 100k years ago, who
were structurally no different from us. However, the
'creative explosion' (I'm taking this phrase from a
good book on prehistoric art) dates between about 35k
and 15k years ago (the great cave art and portable
carvings in Europe tend toward the latter date). This
art is so sophisticated that it shows a strong oral
tradition (of which almost no trace remains). The
human race between 15k and 10k years back is like a
coiled spring, still living like before but on the
brink of cities and writing (and already in possession
of needles, rope, boats, and no doubt a good bit of
folk medicine and botany). Scattered tribes from the
Americas to the Old World probably had a thousand
books' worth of local knowledge (local plants, local
geography, local languages) but it was neither
recorded nor centralized.
Writing is less than 10k years old and the equivalent
of 1000 written (extrasomatic) books probably happened
about 5k years ago between Egypt and China.
I'm not sure the crossover can be pinned down much
better than to say it was 'probably about as soon as
somebody started writing things down.'
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