According to the New York Times, scientists have gone public with their findings regarding fossil evidence that compassion is an evolutionary trait.
The toothless skull of an early human ancestor, discovered in the Republic of Georgia, may attest to evolution’s oldest known example of some kind of compassion for the elderly and handicapped in society, scientists are reporting today.
In interviews and the current issue of National Geographic, the paleoanthropologists said caring companions might have helped the toothless man in finding soft plant food and hammering raw meat with stone tools so he could “gum” his dinner. If so, they said, this was evidence of a kind of compassion that had been absent in the ancestral fossil record before the Neanderthals 60,000 years ago.
In the survival of the old man, Dr. David Lordkinidze said in National Geographic, “We’re looking at perhaps the first sign of truly human behavior in one of our ancestors.”
Having just argued that compassionate politics do not have to be reliant on notions of God, that we do not have to cede ground to the Right on this, reading this article presents proof that caring for other human beings is a human impulse, a late impulse that contributed to our evolution, the thing that, gasp! makes us human.
So, long, long ago, our ancestors kept a toothless old man alive. For what reasons and at what cost to themselves? At some point, humans developed the notion of a common bond, of an empathy for their fellow travelers.
Do we have any doubt which movement can claim that as our lineage?