The skull indicates that the child who lived about 530,000 years ago would have been severely handicapped — and yet survived at least five years and possibly several years longer. That suggests the parents or community provided the child with care, despite his or her obvious deformities.
“Her/his pathological condition was not an impediment to receiv[ing] the same attention as any other Middle Pleistocene Homo child,” the the team of Spanish researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The way that humans take care of the sick and infirm within their communities is considered a unique trait. Researchers call it conspecific care, but most laypeople would probably call it compassion. Other primates don’t display similar behavior, so we know humans evolved the ability at some point, even if scientists can’t quite pinpoint when. The work could mean that humans as far back as half a million years ago had differentiated from our primate ancestors.
So this makes Peter Singer et al. what? Regressive? You can’t get any more regressive than good ole Mr. and Mrs. Og of Cave No. 76.
No, progressive is just about right …