Friday, September 8, 2017

The Case Of Mitochondrial Agnes

The other half has been listening to a series of lectures by  Professor Yuval Noah Harari. This Doctor Of Cleverness contemplates the theory that all human beings are miserable, consumed with negative thoughts and irrational drives, and that we should universally be taking endorphin (probably in the form of an anti-depressant) just to make it- life- all a bit more bearable. And in some ways he is right, given that high levels of adrenalin lead to an increased endorphin demand so some very stressed  people live a life chronically short of endorphin.

For those patients who believe that going on anti-depressants are a sign of weakness, I explain it’s a bit like saying to a diabetic ‘why don’t you produce your own insulin?’. There are those of us whose pancreas can fail within a couple of years of birth and they will be insulin dependent all their lives just as there are those whose brain produces very little natural endorphin, and they will suffer from chronic depression unless they are medicated with endorphin.

There are those of us whose pancreas and hypothalmus and pituitary are incredibly responsive to changes in the blood stream. The homeostatic mechanisms work really well to pull everything back into the mid line. The pancreas will respond to huge amounts of chocolate by producing insulin and the brain will respond to stress by producing endorphin so keeping ‘mood ‘on an even keel.


In between is a group whose pancreas is getting a little bit tired so it does its best, but when the blood sugar level goes too high, the pancreas goes into semi retirement and the sugar is left in the blood stream ( not good). That sort of person can be managed by diet and exercise and then small amounts of oral medication. Equally, the stressed human being who tries to combat their stress with yoga, exercise, taking the dog out or just having a good laugh, can easily learn to stimulate their own endorphin and stop them tipping into depression.


Until the stress gets too much and then we all might need a little help.

And I think I may have found the reason for this. It’s all the fault of Michael and Stanley.
They have led us all to believe that the first hominids split from the ape genetic line around 7 million years ago in Central Africa and then they hung about for 5 million years before venturing anywhere else. Indeed, why should they as it was probably nice and warm in Africa. 

But now it seems, as I think has been mentioned before on MIE, that fossils of an ape like hominid, importantly with human teeth, have been found in Greece and Bulgaria and they predate the ones from Central Africa by 2 million years… or 200 000 years or…. Well a wee while anyway.

In the terms of DNA, we have always called the common ancestor from Central Africa 'mitochondrial Eve'. The new creature has been called Graecopithecus Freybergi but for sake of simplicity I’m going to call her 'Mitochondrial  Agnes'. So Agnes was on the go, up and running around the olive groves long before Mitochondrial Eve wandered further than her back garden.

Which means we have two missing links. 

Professor Nikolai Spassof from the Bulgarian academy of sciences and extreme  intelligence says that the climate in that area of Eastern Europe ( in this case, Greece and Bulgaria) meant forest gave way to open savanna and pushed on the evolutionary idea that getting up on your hind legs to have a look might have some benefits. He then makes rather a bad pun about being it being the first steps of human kind. 

Yes, somebody make that pun before Jeff and for that we must all be thankful.

 Mitochondrial Agnes is a member of the hominin tribe and is a direct mother of homo sapiens. She displays the start of human teeth - flat molars at the back, which are found in animals where their main diet is grain or plant base – grinders rather than rippers.

 I know Grinder has now a new meaning but refer back to last week’s blog!

If you think of the depths of that mitochondrial DNA and it’s blueprinting of everything, it’s interesting. As you probably know the mitochondria are the little Duracell batteries in every cell, they produce energy for that cell to function. And in the case of mitochondrial Agnes and indeed Eve, they started a long walk North taking that genetic blueprint with them.
And that’s where the trouble started.

If we can quote Billy Connolly – I think I’ve said it before in this blog, ‘what kind of idiot stood on the North East Coast of Ireland and said, look at that country over there the weather’s even worse than here. Let’s go and live there’. And so the descendants of mitochondrial Agnes with her little cells designed for the Greek savanna landed in Glasgow and was probably the first hominid to invent the hat, warm socks and to develop depression from deprivation of sunlight.

                                                              XX homanis Glasgea. In the pub!

It has been raining here now for 40 days and nights and while we owe mitochondrial Agnes a huge debt of gratitude for our being, she should also be made responsible for everything that now stresses the human brain – pension schemes, BREXIT, Donald Trump, Scottish Nationalism, Nationalism of any form, the trickle down economic theory, athlete’s foot, reality TV and Piers Morgan.

So, I’m sure if I think about this long enough I can blame our weather on our blog mates from Africa as they SHKB. ( should have known better.)

And I am of course a huge fan of Douglas Adams – he said, human beings made a terrible mistake to come down from the trees and walk on the land and that further research was now suggesting we should have never bothered leaving the sea.

There are 3 things I know about dolphins; they are bright, they live in a family group and the male dolphin is the only mammal on the face of the planet with a permanent erection. They are also one of the few animals that look as though they are always smiling. Dolphins are persecuted, caught in tuna nets, used by the Navy to test sonar and deploy bombs, and made to jump through hoops to satisfy  evil little humains bratti who think it’s funny. But just imagine how good a dolphin’s life would be if Agnes and Eve had just stayed where they were.

How is the weather in Toronto? Anybody know?

Caro Ramsay  Homo Scottus  08 09 2017


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Delightfil! Simply delightful!! Endorphin producers for me: music, dancing, chocolate, this blog post!

  3. Funnel cloud warning for Toronto but otherwise 17C and improving over the next few days.

  4. Wow, now we must add hominin diet tribe to the source of all life. As for the dolphin's unique condition (you just knew I couldn't resist commenting on that) there is rival to that claim over here in Greece in the form of Pan, whose instrumental inspiration leads some to call him the first coming of Peter Pan.

    Sorry, it was just all this talk about organs, it made me Bach at a more thoughtful response.

  5. All I can say is that I STAYED in Africa (mostly) so I can't be to blame for the weather up north.

  6. There is hope yet. The modern human is not a specie built to last. We are sure to destroy ourselves, (hopefully long before we've destroyed everything else), then the planet will heal and return to its beautiful balance. A cartoon said it all. Two sad planets looking at a planet Earth. One gloomy planet to the other: 'She's got an infestation of humans.'