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Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The financial coup and the end of Europe as we know it

Economist Michael Hudson has a new article at Counterpunch (Spanish language version at Sin Permiso) analyzing what he bluntly describes as financial coup.

Some key paragraphs:

A balanced budget in an economic downturn means shrinkage for the private sector. Coming as the Western economies move into a debt deflation, the policy means shrinking markets for goods and services – all to support banking claims on the “real” economy.

(...) The idea is to create an artificial financial crisis, to come in and “save” it by imposing on Europe and North America a “Greek-style” cutbacks in social security and pensions.

(...) It is diametrically opposed to the original liberalism of Adam Smith and his successors. The idea of a free market in the 19th century was one free from predatory rentier financial and property claims. Today, an Ayn-Rand-style “free market” is a market free for predators. The world is being treated to a travesty of liberalism and free markets.

(...) Latvia is the prime example. Despite a plunge of over 20 per cent in its GDP, its central bankers are running a budget surplus, in the hope of lowering wage rates.

(...) Beyond merely shrinking the economy, the neoliberal aim is to change the shape of the trajectory along which Western civilization has been moving for the past two centuries. It is nothing less than to roll back Social Security and pensions for labor, health care, education and other public spending, to dismantle the social welfare state, the Progressive Era and even classical liberalism.

(...) The problem is that there is not enough economic surplus available to pay the financial sector on its bad loans while also paying pensions and social security. Something has to give.


What really is causing the financial and fiscal squeeze, of course, is the fact that that government funding is now needed to compensate the financial sector for what promises to be year after year of losses as loans go bad in economies that are all loaned up and sinking into negative equity.


This is not the familiar old 19th-century class war of industrial employers against labor, although that is part of what is happening. It is above all a war of the financial sector against the “real” economy: industry as well as labor.


Latvia has been held out as the poster child for what the EU is recommending for Greece and the other southern EU countries in trouble: Slashing public spending on education and health has reduced public-sector wages by 30 per cent, and they are still falling. Property prices have fallen by 70 percent – and homeowners and their extended family of co-signers are liable for the negative equity, plunging them into a life of debt peonage if they do not take the hint and emigrate.


The explanation, of course, is that today’s economic planning is not being done by elected representatives. Planning authority has been relinquished to the hands of “independent” central banks, which in turn act as the lobbyists for commercial banks selling their product – debt. From the central bank’s vantage point, the “economic problem” is how to keep commercial banks and other financial institutions solvent in a post-bubble economy. How can they get paid for debts that are beyond the ability of many people to pay, in an environment of rising defaults?


This is why I say that Europe is dying. If its trajectory is not changed, the EU must succumb to a financial coup d’êtat rolling back the past three centuries of Enlightenment social philosophy. The question is whether a break-up is now the only way to recover its social democratic ideals from the banks that have taken over its central planning organs.

I could add many things but would be mere extensions on this analysis. Sadly enough, Hudson is right and, unless the People of Europe reacts very strongly, the continent will be plunged in a matter of years into the most dystopic scenario with the vast majority of citizens dumped into misery conditions, industries fleeing or dying out and mafias running the only remnants of the economy.

The corruption of the parliamentary representation system, with nearly all politicians being nothing but puppets of their financial patrons and with nearly no free media surviving, plus the destruction of effective state sovereignty is leaving Europe (and the World) on the hands of the big bankers, who have only one goal: to keep their profits high for as long as possible, concentrating all the wealth in their hands, without any real plan for the future other than that.

Capitalism has taken off its mask. It still tries to sell workers' austerity as something "good" but in fact they have no project whatsoever anymore. The Cold War illusion of welfare under capitalist conditions is all but dead now: class war has become very real.

But by the moment at least, the bad news is that the oligarchs are winning the war. For how long?

Mitochondrial lineage C1d in South America questions the two migrations hypothesis

An interesting new paper for those interested in the process of colonization of America.

Hugo A. Perego et al. The initial peopling of the Americas: A growing number of founding mitochondrial genomes from Beringia. Genomic Research, 2010. Open access.


Pan-American mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup C1 has been recently subdivided into three branches, two of which (C1b and C1c) are characterized by ages and geographical distributions that are indicative of an early arrival from Beringia with Paleo-Indians. In contrast, the estimated ages of C1d—the third subset of C1—looked too young to fit the above scenario. To define the origin of this enigmatic C1 branch, we completely sequenced 63 C1d mitochondrial genomes from a wide range of geographically diverse, mixed, and indigenous American populations. The revised phylogeny not only brings the age of C1d within the range of that of its two sister clades, but reveals that there were two C1d founder genomes for Paleo-Indians. Thus, the recognized maternal founding lineages of Native Americans are at least 15, indicating that the overall number of Beringian or Asian founder mitochondrial genomes will probably increase extensively when all Native American haplogroups reach the same level of phylogenetic and genomic resolution as obtained here for C1d.

Fig. 2
In parenthesis percentage of sequences at SMGF database,
from which the regional apportions are deduced

Update: Speaking to La Voz de Galicia[es], one of the co-researchers, Antonio Salas, claims that the molecular clock estimates they got imply not only that the Paleolithic colonization of America happened between 15 and 18 thousand years ago but also that the colonists spread extremely rapidly across the double continent: in less than one thousand years (found at Pileta de Prehistoria).

Some Archaeo News

The compilation of
archaeological news by the team of the reference site Stone Pages strikes with a new update, some of whose snippets I found of some significance:

  • Çatalhöyuk team to announce new findings this summer (more at Hürriyet)
  • Guernsey's only gallery grave (passage dolmen) dug by archaeologists (more at BBC)
  • Possible indications of Neolithic at Andrah Pradesh discovered by freelance archaeologist (more at The Hindu - not a very clear story)
  • Neanderthals and Sapiens probably diverged long ago because of teeth morphology (more at Science Daily).
I already mentioned this last story earlier in relation to the latest Neanderthal Genome controversial molecular clock guesstimates, which caused palaeoanthropologist Aida Gómez, of the Atapuerca team, pointing to her older works on the matter saying: no way, it's more like one million years. It seems that the story is still bouncing around, now in English.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strikes in the Basque Country, Greece and Metro Madrid

Yesterday, June 29, there were general strikes in Greece and the Basque Country, as well as a sectorial 'wild' strike at Madrid's subway that blocked the metropolis.

Basque general strike has been considered a great success: about 75% of workers joined it in the Western autonomous region. Particularly strong incidence in the industrial, banking and administration sector, though the arbitrarily high 'minimal services' may have hidden some of the impact, specially in transport. 65,000 people demonstrated in the main protests at the provincial capitals.

In Navarre the following was irregular, with total closure in the North, high following in the Pamplona urban area, specially in the industrial sector, and more occasional impact in the South.

Police presence was overwhelming, so whoever went to the strike did so on their own will. The opposite may not be true in some cases as it is well known that some big corporations like El Corte Inglés coerce their workers systematically.

The regional governments and corporative associations have tried to minimize the impact but their figures (well under 10%) are simply not credible at all.

Demo Donostia (San Sebastian)

Demo Vitoria-Gasteiz

Demo Iruñea (Pamplona)

Above pictures from Gara. More images and some videos can be found at La Haine and the sites of LAB union.

Sources: Gara (link1, link 2) , La Haine, Euskal Herrian Info, Hala Bedi Irratia, Eguzki Irratia.

Greece keeps up the fight

Dramatic fights between protesters and the police broke again at the Republic's Parliament today in yet another episode of the class war that is gradually gaining momentum as the rich and their lackey governments try to put the cost of the crisis they have created on the workers' shoulders.

It happened in the context of another strike called at public service and transport sectors.

Source: Al Jazeera and local TV.

In this context, Al Jazeera blog on Europe has an interesting analysis by Barnaby Philips. It deals with the occasional home-made bombs so typical of Greece, where revolutionary factions are particularly strong, in particular with the latest, unusual, parcel-bomb that killed an aide of the Greek interior minister. What really called my attention was this paragraph:

I was surprised when I asked a conservative Athenian friend what he thought of the bombing. “I’m sorry that someone was killed, but I’m glad they let the bomb off, to show how unhappy people are” was his blunt reply.

Metro Madrid strike paralyzes the metropolis

The second day of the strike at Madrid subway was also the first one of "wild" strike, not respecting the abusive minimum services of 50% imposed by the government, which is also the owner.

The reasoning behind is that, if the regional government is taking illegal measures, breaching the collective agreement, workers are also entitled to break the law.

According to La Haine, it was a total success with not a single train circulating today. This totally disrupted the normal life at the Spanish capital, with people having to walk long distances, take packed buses or almost impossible to find taxis.

Tomorrow the strike continues. It will be the last day, also without minumum services... by the moment. The ball is now at the right-wing regional government's court: workers demand a written compromise that it will respect the collective agreement signed by both parties months ago.

Monday, June 28, 2010

General Strike today

joins the General Strike of today in the Basque Country against the institutional degradation of working conditions, pension and services cuts in order to pay the banks and allow the oligarchs to keep their robbery (erm... profit) margins.

We will have to eat something... even if it's fatty pigs, right?

General Strike tomorrow in the Basque Country

Tomorrow, June 29, there will be a General Strike against the budgetary cuts and legal measures that intend to attack the Working Class, the most severe attack in almost a century.

The Strike is being called by the majority of labor unions, specially Basque Workers' Solidarity (ELA) and Patriotic Workers' Union (LAB), with the support of all the small and sectorial unions. Even pro-Spanish Worker Committees (CC.OO.) has called separately for this General Strike, leaving the Spanish Social-Democrat General Workers' Union (UGT) as the only such organization not calling for the strike.

There are mobilizations scheduled along the whole day, beginning at 8 am in Bilbao, and massive support is expected.

In solidarity with the Strike, I will not update the blog nor reply to comments in the 24 hours (CET) of tomorrow.

This is Bilbao: no kissing

You thought that Talibanism was restricted to countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Saudia and maybe Indonesia... well, it seems not: the (undemocratic) Town Hall of Bilbao has designed a new fascist municipal decree that will forbid many normal recreational activities including, believe it or not, kissing.

For that reason people went out to the streets yesterday to... break the law. Well, would be the case if the decree would have been implemented, not yet but soon.

They did such criminal activities as cooking and eating, flying kites (yes, this was also forbidden in Talibanistan) and the most criminal of all acts: kissing in public!

Ironically, the Town Hall is ruled with the support of the supposedly left-wing party United Left, whose alliance with the Basque Christian-Democrats has severely damaged their prestige and sunk the bloc in a deep internal crisis.

Source: Boltxe Kolektiboa.

Honduras: dark anniversary

Today one year ago, the Honduran oligarchy and military took over the country deporting the elected and popular President Manuel 'Mel' Zelaya and establishing a more than dubious regime of terror.

Honduras 1 year later. In memory of Democracy
(by Allan McDonald)

Manola Romalo interviews President Zelaya at Rebelión (Spanish language, there's also a German version) with some interesting comments by the ousted leader that I translate here:

They have now more problems than before: they made not just the Honduran People but also the peoples of America aware of the threat that represents economical greed for democracies, with this aggression they managed to speed up the process of transformation, generating new opposition forces.

The influence of large multinationals reaches to the foreign policy of the USA, evidence is in the fact that, in the period of President Obama's administration, just as in the past, it fell in the terrible error of supporting state terrorism, with the return to military coups, well known practice of the far right, obstinate in sowing barbarism.


In three years we achieved growth indexes of 6.5 and 6.7, the best ones in Honduran history, and also the reduction of poverty in more than 10% for the first time in thirty years.

Inversely, since the coup to date, the country has entered economic recession, poverty has increased and also the number of poor, same as the meaningful reduction of private and state investment. The damage that the coup has caused to the process of economical development is going to take at least ten years to recover.


My return is linked to the return of the state of law to Honduras. Even [acting] President Lobo declares to feel threatened himself and right away he says he guarantees my safety.

Evidently they are using Honduras as lab rat, as an experimental laboratory of violence, returning the military castes to repress the People and induce wreckage to keep control on society.

(...) they refounded a regime of terror and persecution and the USA lost a great deal of its prestige in Latin America.

Canada's Aboriginal "insurgency"

Something I noticed a few days ago when
reviewing the last year at Leherensuge was that I have proportionally many Canadian readers. With 34 million people, Canada cannot be considered a large country by population (it is by mere geographic size, of course) but still lists 4th among the readers of this blog, with some 1500 visits in the last 12 months.

So I imagine that they may be interested in reading this article by Jon Elmer at Al Jazeera on what seems to be growing conflict between the Aboriginal minority and the state on a long trail of unsolved problems such as poor services, poverty and effective inequality with other Canadians. They may also want to give their opinion, which I am interested in and I welcome.

Very briefly: Elmer points to the latest history where Aboriginal Canadians have resourced to blockades (what reminds me a bit of the actions of Native American communities elsewhere in the continent, particularly in Bolivia but also in other countries) threatening the economical infrastructure of Canada, largely based on extraction of natural resources and transport through nearly empty swathes of land that are mostly populated by Aborigines.

Aboriginal peoples constitute the largest ethnicity in the areas shaded in brown and magenta (this last represents Inuits)
(from Wikipedia)

This has been occasionally considered "insurgency" and suggested to be dealt as such via counter-insurgency methods such as those used in Afghanistan.

He also mentions how the number of Aboriginal Canadians in prison is totally disproportionate and that ethnic gangs are recruiting there. These gangs seem to be increasingly politicized and often resort to "Robin Hood" style of crime: robbing the rich and white to give, at least partly, to the poor and native.

The most recent case of blockade I know of happened just nine days ago, with police arresting the demonstrators including Acting Chief Benjamin Notaway of the Algonquin nation. While I don't know all the details it seems from the news article that the government is using in this case the typical Latin American method of promoting a corrupt minority faction as the official "representation". Well, actually that happens also here in the Basque Country... so not really surprised.

Feel free to discuss because to me it is a rather ill-known development (you won't read about this growing conflict usually in international media) but one which should not be hidden and that can eventually has important repercussions, I imagine.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chalcolithic dugout canoe found in Ireland

Not many boats survive the hardships of time for so long, so this is worth a remark here.

Fishermen from Drogheda found the canoe at the Boyne river in Ireland, not far from the famous site of Newgrange.

The canoe is 3 meters long and 61 cm wide with a hook at one of the extremes, what may mean it was used as vehicle for a single individual or as cargo transporter, the hook serving maybe to tie a rope for it to be towed.

It is believed to date from c. 5000 years ago (Chalcolithic period in pan-European chronology), though research is still ongoing.

Source: Independent (found via Archeology in Europe).

Toronto globalist summit 2010

I am not able to say much about this summit and conflict between the people and the oligarchy, just that the temperature has been rising and it's getting quite hot in spite of the massive police deployment and the hundreds of arrests.

Image from La Haine

For more information:
· G20 Alt Media Centre
· G8/G20 Toronto Community Mobilization

Update (Jun 28):

Global Research reports that the supposed rioters that burnt that car and attacked a Starbucks shop were in fact undercover police agents, eventually identified by their shoes. Police has admitted their guilt.

Copper metallurgy in Serbia 7000 years ago

The archaeological site of Belovode, Serbia, has yielded which are the oldest safely dated remnants of
copper metallurgy at high temperatures, a process intended to separate the red metal from the mineral.

While the oldest signs of copper manufacture date from Anatolian Neolithic, c. 10,000 years ago, these only used low temperature burning and surely worked only with native copper (metal found naturally without admixture). Other findings of early copper metallurgy are also from West Asia, c. 6500 years ago, reason why it was believed that this technology arrived to Europe from Asia. There are still many sites in the Middle East with copper metallurgy signs that are not well studied anyhow, so it is very possible that the East-West cultural transference process was that way anyhow.

Belovode is one of many sites of the Vinca culture, which along with Dimini (Northern Greece) and others may represent a second wave from Anatolia after the original Neolithic that coalesced at Thessaly more than one millenium earlier. The fact that pottery and art style changed quite radically and that Vinca-Dimini individuals have been shown to have a South Anatolian affinity on craniometric analysis, added to related cultural findings in that part of Anatolia (Can Hassan), still allows for copper metallurgy to have a West Asian origin. We will have to wait for more detailed studies in that area in order to clarify this.

Another issue would be if this kind of metallurgy alone allows for the use of the term Chalcolithic (literally "copper and stone" age). Much like Neolithic is not anymore defined by the presence of polished lithic tools but a much more decissive socio-economical fact: agriculture and animal husbandry, Chalcolithic is normally not defined only by the presence or absence of copper (and other soft metals') metallurgy but by socio-economical features such as clear division of labor and the appearance of hierarchies. However this meaning of the word is still not wholly consensual and, in particular, British prehistorians remain reluctant to use the term Chalcolithic for such period (Stonehenge and such) preferring Late Neolithic instead merely because lack of copper, gold and silver metallurgy.

In the mainland, often cultures without metal remains, such as Chassey-La Lagozza (SE France, North Italy and parts of Switzerland, arguably proto-Ligurians) are often said to be Chalcolithic because of the developed socio-economical behavior displayed and the contemporaneity with other equivalent European cultures which are undoubtedly Chalcolithic. Inversely this term is never used to describe West Asian Neolithic with some copper, specially because copper appears since very early in the Neolithic.

This case however can be most controversial. Typically Chalcolithic is considered to begin c. 5500 years ago in Europe, when the first hierarchical societies and complex economies with division of labor appear. But Vinca-Dimini has sometimes been argued to be a incipient hierarchical society since the beginning, which probably was some sort of invasion. This is far from totally clear anyhow.

Source: Science News: Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gaza, Iraq without electricity

For some perverse reason these news are not first page... nor any page in most media.

Gaza's last working generator at the only power plant went down today. The other two were destroyed by the Zionist armed cowards in the "Cast Lead" genocidal massacre last year (also called Shoah, Hebrew for Holocaust, by Olmert).

Right now the only sources of electricity in Gaza are two power lines from Israel (120 MW) and Egypt (12 MW), the generator used to produce 60 W. It's estimated that the electricity supply will go down to 60%.

Ironically, the occupants, are not allowing medical equipment in because it has generators that might be used to purposes other than medical.

Meanwhile, in another land destroyed by the new crusaders, Iraq, people is beginning to risk their lives to protest in the streets (going out is always a life risk in Iraq since the USA invaded and that was seven years ago) demanding something we usually take for granted: normalization of electricity supply. Right now power is rationed to a mere two hours per day but the electricity bills are as fat as always.

Noain 1521

Noain, a day like yesterday 489 years ago. Noain, June 25 1521: eight thousand Basques and Gascons fought an uneven battle against some 30 thousand Castilians. Five thousand defenders were killed. After almost a decade of struggle for the sovereignty of Navarre, since the Castilian invasion of 1512, the Basque patriots were finally defeated at the outskirts of Pamplona.

Popular homage to the defenders of Navarre (from Gara)

There would be still some resistance: the battle of Amaiur, the uprising of Hondarribia but since then Upper Navarre was effectively annexed to Castile.

Of course, resistance continues even today. You cannot really conquer a proud nation, not in five hundred years.

Some references (in Spanish):
· Hala Bedi Irratia: La Batalla de Noain y la Contradicción de San Marcial
· Nabarralde (editorial): ¿Por qué recordar Noain?
· Nabarralde (Usue Sorauren): Por qué recordar Noain
· Nabarralde/Noticias de Navarra (interview with Floren Aoiz): El Gobierno esconde la conquista de 1512 porque deslegitima la situación política actual
· Noticias de Navarra (interview with historian Tomás Urzanqui Mina): La llamada historia oficial de Navarra es una gigantesca impostura

Friday, June 25, 2010

Odd chalcolithic burial in Atapuerca

The archaeological site of
Atapuerca, Burgos province, Spain (Basque territory in the Middle Ages at least) is most famous for its Neanderthal and H. antecessor remains but there is much more to it.

The Cueva del Mirador in particular has provided some data on Late Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age, including about ten burials. But one of them, reported only now, is very unusual because the young woman (c. 15 y.o.) was buried in fetal position, which is something unheard of in Iberia (or elsewhere in Europe out of the Balcano-Danubian Neolithic area) before the arrival of the Bell Beaker subculture (phenomenon). The normal burial position elsewhere was in extended form, often accompanied with ochre, a practice that has its roots in the Paleolithic.

The woman was buried apart from the other tombs, suggesting some sort of special status.

The source of this news item, the blog of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology - Social Ecology (IPHES - Catalan with automatic translator to other languages) hints that the remains are dated c. 4500 years ago, several centuries before the arrival of Bell Beaker or even its inception in Central Europe. Also there's no mention of anything else that reminds of Bell Beaker. The recovered burial goods mentioned are pottery (no type specified), mollusk shells (Dentalium sp.) and remnants of what might be a belt or collar.

The presence of mollusks strongly suggest some sort of connection with the Bay of Biscay coastal areas and they might have had an ornamental or medicinal use (Dentalium was considered an excellent source of alkali in pre-modern medicine).

I am thinking that it is very possible that the young lady belonged to some group of travelers (refugees, traders, pilgrims, diplomats...?) from the Danubian cultural area area, which at this date reached as far south as the Garonne at some moments (reconquered by the bowmen's Artenac culture soon after). This would explain the separate burial and the distinctive characteristics of it. The geographical situation of Atapuerca, the main pass between the Duero and Ebro basins and a key connection between Atlantic Iberia and mainland Europe does suggest it.

See also: Pileta de Prehistoria entry[es] and visual description of El Mirador Cave (PDF)[es].

Antidpressants increase mortality

If depressed, your chances of survival are best without pharma.

Of course, depression as such increases your chances of death but most commonly used drugs do too and none of them reduces the mortality rate.

Oswaldo P. Almeida et al. Depression, Antidepressant Use and Mortality in Later Life: The Health in Men Study. PLoS ONE 2010. Open access.

Fig. 3. The mortality hazard ratio associated with the use tricyclic antidepressants (▴), selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs)(▪), other antidepressants (x) and all antidepressants combined (⧫) is shown in the figure.

Of course, this says nothing about their effectivity in making you happy but the same can be said of heroine, right?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Human existence: ownership versus community

This is something I woke up chewing on. And I think it's an important understanding of the human condition.

Let's go by parts.

Paleolithic primitive communism

As we know, most of the existence of our species and genus, of humankind, of the very evolution that shaped our being, happened in a hunter-gatherer context that has been called primitive communism because all was (is still in a few cases) shared. Working individually was unproductive and accumulation of wealth impossible. Hence individuals could be only understood within communities and communities were highly dependent on their individual components, whose abilities and knowledge (or potential for them in the case of the young ones) were the most precious assets that could be held, not by any individual but by the community as a whole. The other asset was maybe territory but this was a diffuse collective possession anyhow.

The only individually held property was surely stuff like weapons and tools and decorative objects such as necklaces. And as the economy was totally based on sharing (giving and taking freely as a matter of course) even these minor elements of private property were not important.

Even child care was shared to a great extent, so not even children were from this or that mother (or parents) but belonged fundamentally to the community.

Hence we evolved to have individual adaptative traits that were fit for cooperative work in small tightly knit communities. Communicating powers such as language and gestures, emotions such as love and shame, behaviors such as spontaneous altruism, all evolved for that cooperative purpose. We are natural born communists.

Neolithic and Industrial new orders

Things changed however as the Neolithic Revolution allowed for surplus production, accumulation of some wealth and eventually some specialization in diverse roles like warriors, priests (bureaucrats), specialized artisans and traders. The process was not immediate (early Neolithic sites still show no such distinctions) but took place almost everywhere sooner or later. As result some classes (occasionally converted in hereditary castes), specially warriors and priests, took control over the huge masses of farmers and benefited from their collective surplus in a dynamic that oscillated between symbiosis and parasitism but that really tended to the latter.

For several millennia this "neolithic with aristocratic rule" was the main socio-economic system. Again this changed with the Industrial Revolution, which allowed much more effective economy, generating larger surplus and allowing the development of other classes at the expense of the traditional ones. From the masses of farmers and the less numerous but more qualified artisans, arose the working class, now mostly dedicated to secondary (industrial) and tertiary (transport, services) economy. Farming gradually became a minor, residual, industrialized occupation. From the much smaller group of traders, and absorbing a good deal of the classical upper classes, whose previous accumulation of wealth was recycled into the new system, arose the bourgeoisie. Humankind had arrived to Capitalism.


Both processes of "modernization" are different in many aspects but the economical basis and the psycho-social impact on us is largely similar: we are being deprived from our natural economy and social system and for that the natural community must be destroyed and the individual must be created.

This process has been often detected and sometimes denounced as a common activity of missionaries wherever tightly knit (tribal) communities still exist. The preachers, ideological avant-guard of the new "individualist" order, persuade the locals that they are not just members of a tribe and clan but whole individual beings, with individual souls bound to individual destinies even after death.

The process is of course imperfect because it is not so easy to destroy ethnic identities but, overall and in the long run, it tends to succeed, creating amorphous pseudo-communities of individuals with competing individual interests all under the umbrella of a huge apparatus, both political-legal (state and supra-state alliances) and economical (Capitalism).

Unlike in a natural communist society, such as those that can still be found among some surviving hunter-gatherers, individual property becomes central. It can be said, and this was what really got me thinking this morning, that the individual is defined by his/her property (or lack of it). And society largely qualifies you on such grounds.

Thanks to the virtual codification we call money, property does not need anymore to be just real state or material objects such as a ship or a gold hoard, it can be a bank account or deeds of some sort. But in any case it is property what makes the individual and the main measure of his/her value in our twisted reality.

Of course, there's another element that cannot be easily quantified: personal attributes, such as knowledge, skill, creativity, intelligence, sociability, health, beauty, fertility, etc. They can sometimes be monetized but their essence largely escapes the wealth scale. I'd call these traits personality rather than individuality, because they make what we can call the person, as opposed to the individual and his/her supposedly intrinsic egoism. They cannot be accumulated, they cannot be transfered except by altruistic deeds such as biological reproduction (genes) and social reproduction (memes) and while they can sometimes be used to accumulate wealth to some extent they are not really central to this process but pretty much peripheral and pre-Neolithic/pre-Industrial in nature.

While Capital, of course, also tries to grab the personalities and include them in their system somehow, these are nearly impossible to capitalize. I cannot sell you shares of my intelligence, you cannot sell me a fraction of your creativity or your beauty. At most you can rent it as a proletarian (work for a salary, as a physical or intellectual prostitute). However continuous rent of such attributes generally causes them to grow dry because these traits have not evolved for mere selfishness and because the alienation involved in the work process typically corrupts the soul, rending it arid and unproductive.

Luckily for Capital there are many souls to be raped for a few crumbs. Not all are for sale but there's always some, many surely, who are desperate enough to be bribed.

But I'm deviating from the main issue a bit. A necessary deviation maybe anyhow.


The key point I meant to expose in this, somewhat self-evident, essay is how we humans, at least most of us (studies seem to demonstrate that there is a natural born parasitic minority but they are a tiny fraction anyhow), have evolved for sharing, for communism, but that the socio-economical reality we are involved in since birth forces us to become individuals, stimulating our selfishness and deprecating our cooperative skills, which are largely laid waste (or at best recycled in a tainted form within the capitalist production system).

After all, what I'm talking here is of alienation. But surely in a wider sense than Marx did: not just alienation of the worker from his/her product but alienation of the person from his/her community.

Now immersed in what surely is the final crisis of Capitalism, we are forced to search for alternatives and our only valid reference is our own human nature, something that cannot really be altered so easily and something that is, at least to a very large extent, cooperative. Of course I'm talking of Communism. Not the so-called "communism" in the Stalinist systems of Russia and China, which are largely nothing but a state-directed bourgeois revolution, with a more advanced theoretical ideology but with similar practices to right-wing pseudo-socialist systems such as fascism, but something else.

Something else that must be deeply democratic at grassroots level, but democratic not only in the political aspect but also in the economical and communicational ones. There are no models, we have to create it from scratch... and that scratch is our human nature.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Folate and not cancer caused dark skin and the ability to tan

It is well known that depigmentation in humans was caused because of the need of vitamin D generation at the skin, but what was not so clear was why pigmentation, dark skin (conventionally called black, though it's actually brown in most cases) first evolved.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have now concluded that skin cancer, which is a quite weak selective pressure, is not the main reason for dark skin but the protection of folate (folic acid, vitamin B9) from being destroyed by the ultraviolet radiation.

Much like vitamin D deficiency can cause major problems in newborns, folate deficiency also does, causing neural tube defects, anemia, low birth weight and premature births. Additionally, it also affects, although less severely, adults, causing weakness, depression, weight loss, headaches and behavioral disorders.

Nina G. Jablonski and George Chaplin, Human skin pigmentation as an adaptation to UV radiation. PNAS 2010. Freely accessible (it seems).

Also discussed at Science Daily.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Cancer Solstice 2010

It's Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (sure, Winter Solstice for readers from the South but Cancer Solstice for all equally). I estimate that maybe ten minutes before this post goes live.

So happy Solstice to all readers. Even if this year seems quite troubled, I think there's also big hope in it.

As with all solstices it's time to review the last year or half year. Because it was a June 22 when I began using that little but helpful utility called ClustrMaps (it's at the bottom of the blog) that tracks visitors by amount and location, giving a nice overview of the interest that my little blog causes around the World.

The map above (click to expand) shows visits between June 22 2009 and June 1 2010. Almost other 3000 visits have happened since the last date, totaling 28,577 unique visits in the year.

The increase of the last months has been very sharp because I was counting 9000 visits between June 22 and December 22 2009, and that was also the figure for the whole previous year. So 20,000 or so have been since Christmas alone. So Leherensuge is growing exponentially and I'm getting some feeling of vertigo.

As usual, the greatest number of visitors per state is from the USA (9900 visits), followed by the UK (2100), Spain (1900), Canada (1500), France (1200) and Netherlands (760). All figures are rounded.

Out of Europe and North America, the highest figures are from India (590), Taiwan (560), Australia (480), Turkey (350), Brazil (250) and New Zealand (250). The greatest number of African visitors comes from Morocco: 190.

Should I split the blog?

This is a question I have been pondering a lot as of late. It seems clear that nearly all of what I write can be placed under two quite different categories: (1) anthropology, genetics, prehistory and science in general and (2) current affairs and politics, including the Basque situation. And it's not like category two is anecdotal nor I would want it to be that way at all.

While overall the readers of Leherensuge are clearly a growing bunch (so I must be doing something right), I am convinced that some people who may have arrived here because of anthropology and such has eventually left bored of politics and the like. The opposite may have happened too but it's surely less likely.

So I am considering seriously to create two separate blogs for these two categories in order to cater to two at least partially distinct audiences. I am still in doubt and certainly there are some cons to doing that: laziness, inertia, conceiving new names for the new blogs, search issues, difficulty on deciding what goes into each category, etc.

So by the moment I'll be creating a consultative poll to get readers to cast their opinion on the matter easily and, hopefully, help me to make up my mind. You can of course, also post a comment here with more extensive opinions. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

And Spanish-speakers favorite word is... 'Republic'

This has been one of those pathetic self-destructive laughable manipulations of the Spanish "cultural" (political) establishment.

The Cervantes Institute (public foundation to promote the Spanish language and feed some system intellectuals of those that may write books for children or columns in papers praising the system) had the idea of getting an online poll on which is the people's favorite word in Spanish language.

Soon the poll was closed for "technical problems". The technical problem being, as reported by Ciudad Futura and echoed by 20Minutos, that the most voted word was "república" (republic), a spit on the face of the honorary president of the institution King Juan Carlos Bourbon Bourbon (alias Double Bourbon and not just for the endogamous coincidence of his surnames).

In the end, after censorship was exposed, the Institute eventually accepted the results of the poll as it was before they closed it. However, in order to prevent that obvious anti-monarchic feeling from becoming evident, they found a solution: they posted, in alphabetical order and in a not too evident location, the ten most voted words without vote count. However, an image is worth a thousand words and the people at Ciudad Futura got a screenshot before the contest was sabotaged by the organizers:

Who knows... maybe if the poll would have been left to follow its course, some exotic word like gamusino (imaginary animal that only exists in practical jokes) might have won. I doubt it though.

The state and the people

James Petras has
a new article where he deals with the issue of why US people hates the state. After reading it, it becomes obvious why: the state loads the common citizen with taxes and gives it mostly to the rich, the military-industrial complex, unwanted foreign wars, the hated state of Israel and to pay officers that spit on the face of workers and bow to the wealthy.

It's a most clear case of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, as described by Marxist classics. There's almost no trace of the redistribution role of the state in favor of those worse off, as you might find in "welfarist" regimes such as those of Scandinavia.

I would have to say that it is exactly the same case in the state of Spain as well, even if the Basque autonomous regions have become exceptional to some extent in order to quell the otherwise endemic social unrest.

As there is no or little anti-state left in the USA (would be called anarchists or autonomists) this hatred of the state plays in the hand of the right, which have a discourse of "less state", even if their praxis is not substantially different.

What interests me most is that, in both the Anarchist (Libertarian) and the Marxist traditions, Communism is defined as the revolutionary stage in which the state is abolished, along with capitalist institutions, essentially private property. The difference between both currents is that Marxists accept a "transitional" role for the state (Socialism), while Anarchists reject it and demand the simultaneous abolition of Capital and state at once, replacing them by social and economical direct democracy at all levels.

The reason why Marxism has been more successful is that, if you are forced to fight, you need an army and hence a state (no difference between both, Machiavelli dixit).

But maybe the unusual situation of the USA may allow for the development, for the first time in history of a true Communist (by whatever name) revolutionary process in which both state and capitalism are confronted together, as the unity they are.

This is what Petras calls for: an anti-state Left movement in the USA.

Madrid subway workers to strike for three days

In a massive assembly, the workers of Metro Madrid (the subway or underground) decided to go on legal strike on June 28th but, if the scheduled salary cuts are finally approved, to continue the strike for two more days (29th and 30th) without any sort of minimal services.

This unprecedented and technically illegal measure has been justified by the workers on the grounds that the salary cuts and unilateral revocation of the company's collective agreements by the regional government of Madrid are also illegal.

The right-wing government of Madrid autonomous community has unilaterally decided to cut public salaries by 5%, regardless of individual income, following the orders by the IMF and EU in this sense.

The strike is supported by most unions: UGT, CC.OO., Solidaridad Obrera, Sindicato Libre de Metro, Sindicato de Conductores and Sindicato de Estaciones.

Subway service is vital for the normal functioning of the Spanish metropolis.

Source: La Haine.

Lebanese women fleet aid ship for Gaza

I wonder how is the Zionist regime going to face the dramatic growth of nonviolent resistance initiatives against its apartheid system. After the announcement of a German Jewish organization of a new such anti-blockade ship, now it is Lebanese women who are organizing their own.

The reaction of the Zionazi bully has been to make war threats against Lebanon, arbitrarily making its government "responsible" from this "crime" of trying to bring aid to people who need it desperately.

Source: Pulse.

In related developments (there are always related developments but I can't report on all, follow Palestine Blogs Aggregator if you are interested):

  • Women attacked by Zionist snippers at Gaza wheat fields (Palestinian Solidarity).
  • Israel sends ship, within a 11-ship-strong US fleet and Egyptian protection, across the Suez canal. Hostile intent against Iran suspected (Y-Net News).
  • Interview with UN rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, Richard Falk (Window into Palestine).
  • Alan Hart: Israel’s Jews (as well as the Jews of the world and the whole of the Western world) had been lied to and deceived by their leaders (Window into Palestine).

Thousands against the High Speed Train in Bilbao

Thousands of Basque citizens demonstrated yesterday in Bilbao against the hyper-costly and destructive project of the High Speed Train (AHT by its Basque acronym).

While it was announced yesterday that budget constrains mean that another idiotic destructive project, the second Guggenheim Museum planned for the Urdaibai Nature Reserve, is being dropped by the illegitimate Basque autonomous government, the High Speed Train connecting the three Western Basque capitals is still being developed, splitting whole districts.

The figure 4790 (photo above) reflects the debt in euros that each Western Basque is being forced into for an elitist project that has no positive value for most and has a very negative impact instead.

The High Speed Train is like a fast highway, a walled corridor that divides the areas where it goes through in two, splitting the ecosystem and the social and economical tapestry of the country. And all for nothing, because traveling between the Western Basque capitals does not take more than an hour (by car, less than two by the actual conventional train). Additionally there is no current project either in Spain nor France that would link this infrastructure to other areas or cities.

Sources: Gara[es], Berria[eu], AHT Gelditu Elkarlana[eu-es-fr].

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Genetic diversity of SE Asian chickens

An interesting read for those curious about the origins of domestic chicken, its genetic diversity within and across breeds and the interactions between domestic and wild animals within the Gallus gallus species at their likely ancestral homeland.

Iraqi government's death threats force suspension of conference

The State* Campaign against Occupation and for Sovereignty in Iraq (CEOSI for its Spanish acronym) decided yesterday, in the last minute, to suspend the International Conference of the Iraqi Political Resistance at Xixon (Gijón), Asturias, which had the support of the local and regional government. The reason? Death threats.

Death threats that anyone who has read about Iraq under the current collaborationist regime knows are very real.

Previously, economic and political threats by the government of Nouri Al-Maliki, which cooperates with both the USA and Iran, for a fascist fundamentalist agenda, had got its desired results in form of visa denial by the pathetic submissive government of Rodríguez Zapatero.

To this, the organizers responded by continuing with the conference and establishing videoconference links with Baghdad, Amman and Damascus in order for the banned speakers to be able to address the audience.

But the criminal Maliki was not satisfied and began issuing death threats against the organizers if the conference ever took place.

Such threats have been transmitted directly by the government of Nouri Al-Maliki to the Spanish government, demanding the cancellation of the conference and associated activities. It is believed that the execution of such death threats would correspond to paramilitary groups linked directly to Al Maliki's government.

Under such extreme pressure and the collaborationist innaction of the Spanish government, current president of the EU, the CEOSI decided to suspend the conference altogether, preserving only a visit to the Spanish Parliament next monday, where what happened will be explained again.

The conference intended to bring together and into public limelight, representatives of various human rights groups, civil society organizations and opposition parties and movements of Iraq, such as the Union for the People (communist party), the Southern Iraq Tribes' Council, the National and Islamic Patriotic Front of Iraq, the Association of Muslim Ulemas of Iraq, the Political Council of Iraqi Resistance, National Iraqi Founding Congress, as well as European and US solidarity organizations (see schedule for details).

Source: CEOSI (press release PDF) (in Spanish)

*State means State of Spain, a common terminology among anti-imperialists within the multiethnic realm, where the term Spain has a quasi-fascist meaning that many reject.

Friday, June 18, 2010

China: communist or capitalist?

For me there's no doubt: it's capitalism under a "socialist" pretext, much like Mussolini's fascism and such, but anyhow, the following lecture by Fred Weston from In Defense of Marxism is a very interesting dip in the twists of this difficult-to-define type of system.

It's a long video, not sure of the exact time but probably more than an hour, however it's very worth watching (or just listening as you would with an audio) and the lecture as such takes only a little more than half of it, the rest being questions and answers on more or less related matters.

Source: In Defense of Marxism

Notice: I do not necesarily agree with all the details or viewpoints of Weston and, of course, I have no affiliation with the International Marxist Tendency, which is the political organization behind IDM (in fact I hold no affiliation to any single organization at this period of my life, though I do have sympathies and dislikes, of course). In any case I reckon that IDM has good information on class struggle worldwide and also generally good analysis that I share to at least some extent. One thing that I appreciate is that they communicate in a language that is not pretentiously erudite (as happens with some, let's say, "elitist pseudo-Marxists") and that they seem to acknowledge the natural diversity of the real struggles of the working class for dignity and self-rule.

Iceland setting example: 10 bankers on trial

Unlike any other country affected by the hyper-abusive criminal practices of the banking sector (not the USA, not Britain, not Spain, not Germany, not Greece...), the small Nordic republic is doing the right thing: rounding up the corrupt bankers and putting them on trial.

Main stockholders and managers of three large Icelandic banks, Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Giltnir, are being prosecuted in their country for the crime of fraudulent appropriation of funds via ad-hoc loans from their own banks. The state administrators of the banks, now nationalized, are also considering raising charges against the auditor of these banks, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, for collaboration with the fraud.

The accused bankers are however exiled in foreign countries like the USA and the UK, and while their assets are being frozen, extradition is not yet granted.

Source: EstrategumTrading (in Spanish).

Cannabis is a medicine

Interesting review these days at Science News on the status of cannabis as actual medicine, not just to alleviate symptoms, which is in itself a medical use, but also to cure a range of illnesses from post-traumatic disorder to even cancer.

Take a look.

Also interesting some of the comments. For example, Will protests that the interest of pharmaceutical companies are hindering legalizing the plant because they would rather make profit from its components, which they have patented.

Of interest as well is the alternatives mentioned to the usual smoking. Eating pills is probably a poor alternative because one cannot control the unavoidable high, but sprays, essential oils and even relays to heat the plant without burning it, delivering similar amounts of its essences, are mentioned.

Additional resources: Erowid.

Amnesty International denounces Gaza blockade continuity

The chorus of voices against the criminal blockade of Gaza continues growing. Now Amnesty International has denounced that the alleged "easing" of the blockade by Israel is nothing but a whitewash and that the Zionist state does not mean to actually comply with international law and stop punishing the people of Gaza as a whole.

In a press releaste, , Malcom Smart, AI Director for the Middle East and North Africa, declared:

This announcement sets clear that Israel does not intend to put an end to the collective punishment against the people of Gaza but only to mitigate it. This is not enough.

Although we must congratulate about any measure that smoothers the terrible humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel must comply with his obligations as occupying power under international law and immediately end the blockade.

As important as allowing the entrance of merchandises into Gaza is to allow their exit, something not mentioned in the government's announcement. The ban on most exports, on raw materials, on the free movement of people, has destroyed Gaza's economy.

Source: Gara (in Spanish).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Genetically modified corn causes infertility

New research by the Austrian government confirms that a Monsanto-patented genetically modified maize causes infertility in mice (and probably in humans too). The variety, known as NK 603 x MON 810, is by the moment forbidden in the European Union but it is being grown experimentally in 30 municipalities of Spain.

Sources: Greenpeace, G&C and La Haine (all three in Spanish)

Research paper should be found here (in German) but at the moment the PDF link is broken, giving a "500 Internal Server Error" page.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paleolithic rock art discovered in Romania

Stone Pages' Archaeonews reports in this issue, among other interesting archaeological news, that mural art has been found in Coliboaia cave, at Bihor County, northwest Romania, by local speleologists.

The findings have been confirmed by an specialist team, lead by Jean Clottes, dating them provisionally between 23,000 and 35,000 years ago, in the Aurignacian or Gravettian periods.

The art depicts several animals in black paint, including a bison, a horse, a possible feline, two bear heads and two rhinoceroses. There are several engravings as well

Head of rhinoceros (from Bradshaw Foundation)

As far as I know, it is the easternmost case of Paleolithic mural art in Europe.

Sources: Bradshaw Foundation (includes two more images), PHYSORG

Afghanistan's huge mineral riches

A. Montero
at La Otra Economía reports, following a NY Times source, that Afghanistan has been found to have huge, largely undeveloped, mineral wealth, worth more than USD 900 billion.

For what I can see, about half of this value is iron, one of the most aboundant elements on Earth. However others may be less valuable in accountancy terms but more in geostrategical ones, specially now that the BRIC powers are undermining US hegemony.

One of them is niobium, used in steel alloys and high technology applications. Afghan niobium seems to be potentially worth 81 billion. More interestingly, there are only two producers of nionium nowadays: Canada and Brazil... but Brazil produces 90% of it, what makes even more important for the USA and its NATO allies (remember the recent comments of the German ex-President) to control Afghan production of such strategic mineral.

Even maybe more critical may be the various rare earth elements, whose lead producer today (by far) is China. These minerals would be worth 7.4 billion in Afghanistan. These elements are used in a variety of high technology applications.

Evolution of rare earth elements' production (from Wikipedia)

Other major Afghan mineral resources are:
  • Copper (worth 274 billion): relatively common but widely used. It's lead producer is Chile, followed at a distance by Peru, the USA and Indonesia.
  • Cobalt (worth 51 billion): used specially in superalloys suitable for aircraft engines. Currently the main producer is DR Congo, followed at a distance by Zambia, Brazil, Cuba, Canada and Russia.
  • Gold (worth 25 billion): production is quite distributed but lead by South Africa.
  • Molybdenum (worth 24 billion): also used in heat resistent alloys, among other applications. The main producer is the USA, followed by Chile, China and Peru.
Also asbestos, silver, potash, aluminum and lithium are mentioned in the article as highly valuable.

While Afghan authorities seem excited about the huge potential of these resources, the fact that many of them are in unstable guerrilla areas means that they are unlikely to be exploited easily.

However it is clear that these findings provide a further reason for the USA and NATO to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Initially it was mostly a campaign to create a strategical base in Central Asia that would threat other powers such as China, Russia, India and Iran, while also providing potential access to Central Asian oil and gas resources (the infamous "pipelinistan" project via Baluchistan), as well as succulent benefits derived from the highly corrupting opium trade which has boomed since the US-led invasion and that Russia has denounced in strong terms recently.

It looks now like the Imperial armies will remain in Afghanistan for long. That is... unless Afghans throw them out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fundamental cosmological measure errors: dark matter and energy may not be after all

I laughed and sighed when I read this. I have never been really happy about the alleged existence of matter that cannot be detected nor energy that has no known source. However for the last decade or two, cosmologists have been pushed into these enigmatic hypothetical features by what they believed to be the hard facts of cosmological measures, particularly those of the cosmic background radiation.

Now astronomers from the British Royal Astronomical Society, Utane Sangawit and Tom Shanks, have found that these measures were incorrect after all, and very much so. While the data is still insufficient, it is possible that we can in then scrap the mysterious dark side of the Universe off the equations needed to explain it.

According to Sangawit:

If our result is repeated in new surveys of galaxies in the Southern Hemisphere then this could mean real problems for the existence of dark energy.

More information at the RAS (found via SD).

Even the Red Cross calls for the end of the Gaza blockade

It surprised me very much because the policy of the Red Cross is not to make public declarations in order to preserve their neutrality and keep the cooperation with all governments and other combatant forces.

It just underlines how dire and in violation of all humanitarian and even war law is the situation in Gaza, often compared with the Nazi concentration camps and the Warsaw ghetto.

The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law, declared the ICRC.

Source: BBC.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Humans in Philippines before 66,000 years ago

Julien Riel-Salvatore
at A Very Remote Period Indeed echoes the latest major discovery on ancient human (sensu lato) presence in Asia.

A metatarsal bone that has been found at Callao Cave in Northern Luzon island and has a minimal age of 66,700 years ago (± 1 Ka), calculated with an uranium-based methodology.

The foot bone compares well, albeit with some minor differences, with those of modern Negritos, believed to be descendants of the first colonization by Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic. However the bone also compares well with other Homo species, such as Homo habilis and, more interestingly, Homo floresiensis, which is known to have lived in the not too distant island of Flores up to 12,000 years ago maybe.

The question on which species it actually belongs to may be solved in the near future as excavations progress in the Filipino cave but one thing is clear: it adds even further evidence in favor of a very early adoption of boating technology by hominins, with potential to cross sea bodies of small size.

Other such evidence is in the presence of Homo floresiensis in the remote island of Flores, never connected to the mainland and requiring in fact the crossing of several straits, the recent discovery of quartz handaxes in Crete dating apparently to as early as 130,000 years ago and the genetic reconstructions that seem to support a coastal route along southern Arabia into South Asia and beyond for the migration of Homo sapiens out of Africa.

Armand Salvador Mijares et al., New evidence for a 67,000-year-old human presence at Callao Cave, Luzon, Philippines. Journal of Human Evolution 2010. Pay per view.


Documentation of early human migrations through Island Southeast Asia and Wallacea en route to Australia has always been problematic due to a lack of well-dated human skeletal remains. The best known modern humans are from Niah Cave in Borneo (40–42 ka), and from Tabon Cave on the island of Palawan, southwest Philippines (47 ± 11 ka). The discovery of Homo floresiensis on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia has also highlighted the possibilities of identifying new hominin species on islands in the region. Here, we report the discovery of a human third metatarsal from Callao Cave in northern Luzon. Direct dating of the specimen using U-series ablation has provided a minimum age estimate of 66.7 ± 1 ka, making it the oldest known human fossil in the Philippines. Its morphological features, as well as size and shape characteristics, indicate that the Callao metatarsal definitely belongs to the genus Homo. Morphometric analysis of the Callao metatarsal indicates that it has a gracile structure, close to that observed in other small-bodied Homo sapiens. Interestingly, the Callao metatarsal also falls within the morphological and size ranges of Homo habilis and H. floresiensis. Identifying whether the metatarsal represents the earliest record of H. sapiens so far recorded anywhere east of Wallace’s Line requires further archaeological research, but its presence on the isolated island of Luzon over 65,000 years ago further demonstrates the abilities of humans to make open ocean crossings in the Late Pleistocene.