"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 15 December 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Dissent of Man



When Dr. Jerome E. Dobson, a

geographer at the Oak Ridge

National Laboratory, announced

this month that he had a theory

to explain the disappearance of

Neanderthal man, Tennessee

experienced its biggest

evolutionary controversy since

the Scopes monkey trial. As

reported in The New York Times,

Dobson posits that the jutting

foreheads, thick bones, and

hulking physiques of Neanderthal

fossils are not part of the

natural story of evolution, but

the result of the Neanderthals'

iodine-deficient diets. Like the

5.7 million people living in the

world today, the people we think

of as Neanderthals were in fact

"cretins" - people whose bodies

have been deformed by lack of



Dobson's most revolutionary

argument may be that the various

Venus figurines made by

Cro-Magnons - including

Austria's famous Venus of

Willendorf, which depicts a

woman with huge breasts and

belly and exposed genitalia - is

not, as long believed, a

fertility icon, but rather a

realistic representation of

people the Cro-Magnons had



Mainstream scientists lost no

time attacking Dobson's

findings. Some have dismissed

his evidence as too

circumstantial and point to the

discovery of Neanderthal remains

throughout broad regions of

Europe as evidence that the

existence of the species was too

widespread to be explained by

dietary deficiencies. Others

simply note the discovery of Ben

Stiller in the early 1990s as

evidence that sloping foreheads

and chimp-like jaws have never

wholly vanished from Homo

sapiens and don't necessarily

imply cretinism or any other

form of congenital stupidity.

Even so, we're inclined to agree

with Dobson's judgment, if only

for the remarkable number of

similar cases in evolutionary



Consider the legendary Lascaux

cave paintings, whose

stick-figure hunters were long

held to be an expression of the

artist's crude skills. We now

know, however, that the spindly

arms and legs in these paintings

were the result of the artist's

using models whose diet

consisted entirely of light

salad, vodka tonics, and




By the same token, Egyptologists

traditionally believed that the

familiar "double-jointed"

hieroglyphic figures were highly

stylized religious icons. New

anatomic studies reveal that the

wily builders of the Great

Pyramids were in fact

double-jointed themselves - a

condition resulting from a solid

diet of peroxide and pure grain



Many of us have been both

charmed and surprised by the

virility tikis found throughout

the South Pacific and at better

novelty stores everywhere. Many

assume these figurines - which

depict men whose genitalia often

dwarf the rest of their bodies -

were idols designed to bestow

potency. But fossilized humans

recently discovered at the

Morningwood archeological dig

suggest the statues were made by

a super-endowed race subsisting

entirely on oysters and the

Colonel's Original Recipe.

Similarly, most baseball fans

are familiar with the

unnaturally-grinning symbol of

the Cleveland Indian, but while

the Cleveland Indian has been

condemned as a derogatory image

of Native Americans, we now know

his tragic condition (Rictus

sardonicus) was caused by a diet

consisting entirely of Ogden

Foods hot dogs and Coors Lite.



The new field of anatomically

correct research presents

infinite possibilities. A decade

ago, an anthropologist would

have been laughed at for

suggesting Easter Island's

original inhabitants possessed

massive, flat heads as a result

of their unique diet of vanilla

Yoo-Hoo and peanut-butter-and-

fluff sandwiches. Now, of

course, this thesis is

universally accepted as the only

plausible explanation for the

island's remarkable sculptures.


But the implications go far

beyond anatomy. The giant

pre-Columbian drawings that dot

South America and can only be

seen from the air, have

presented one of civilization's

enduring mysteries. Were these

designs intended to be seen only

by the gods in heaven? Were they

symbols drawn by

extraterrestrial pilots? Hannah

and Barbera, who pioneered the

study of ancient mechanics in

the 1960s, present a third

possibility - that the earliest

aviators may have been members

of those prehistoric




And we needn't confine our

study to prehistoric cultures.

Imagine the implications of

studies with a modern-day focus.

For example, consider recent

theories that Charles Schultz

developed the distinctive style

of Peanuts by closely observing

dwarfs with round heads, or that

Popeye creator Elzie Segar was a

man with monstrously developed

forearms and a protuberant chin.

Or the thesis that superbly

proportioned comic-book women,

such as Betty and Veronica or

the Silver Surfer's Shalla Bal,

are not the wishful figments of

some male illustrator's

imagination, but pictures of

actual women. Whether such women

actually exist and, if so, what

they would be doing hanging

around comic-book illustrators,

may be the most tantalizing

mystery of all.

courtesy of Bartel D'Arcy

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