The classical theory in paleoanthropology is that about 100,000 years ago Homo sapiens (modern humans) migrated out of Africa and spread across Eurasia, Europe, and eventually crossed the Bering Land Bridge, thus, also settling into the Americas. Thus began the conquest of planet Earth by man which leads up up to our own times in this 21st century. But, is this classical theory true?
Not so long ago it was thought that as modern humans emerged out of Africa they replaced other ancient human ancestors living in the areas they migrated to. It was also once thought that as one new species of human emerged the old virtually and abruptly ended. But, today we know that that old theory is not true at all. Today we know that several ancient human species coexisted in some places and sometimes for a long time. For instance, we know that Homo erectus existed far beyond what we once thought and even into the era of Homo sapiens. And the same can be said about Neanderthals. Thus, the lines between these hominid species were not as well defined as we once believed as their was a coexistence of several species for a time.
In fact, the coexistence of various species of our ancestors is considered the norm today. Yet, we like to think of modern humans, H. sapiens, as being the only surviving hominid species on the planet today. IF that is true then what we have today goes against the NORM! Something in me does not believe that. I think that there MAY be pockets of surviving ancient hominids even today although they are rare.
Back in 2007 there was some research conducted by Anthropology Professor Erik Trinkausa of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, USA. His research was aided by his colleague Hong Shang also an anthropologist at Washington University and a scholar at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Their research showed that newly discovered fossil remains of early H. sapiens excavated near Beijing, China indicate that the early dispersal of modern humans could, in fact, be much more complex than we believe.
Trinkausa and Shang discovered human fossil remains that were dated between 38,000 and 42,000 years old, thus, making them the oldest H. sapien fossils ever found in eastern Eurasia at the time and making them the oldest human fossil remains in China. What is interesting is that the modern human fossils they found appeared to be those of H. sapiens BUT they had some distinct archaic features in the teeth and hand bone. In other words, they appeared to be the fossil remains of modern humans but they appeared not to be fully modern human!
Trinkausa and Shang’s discovery cast more doubt on the classical “Out of Africa” theory that ancient human ancestors migrated out of Africa and across the planet replacing other archaic humans who had migrated out of Africa earlier. Prior to their discovery there had been a growing body of evidence that, at least, in Eurasia modern humans had interbred with archaic humans in certain areas. In other words, there was mounting evidence coming out of China and the region that H. sapiens were interbreeding with “Ape Men” (ancient human ancestors such as H. erectus, possibly H. habilis, and maybe even some surviving australopithecines).
Fossil remains of anything are difficult to find in eastern Eurasia and southeast Asia due to the environmental conditions there which are NOT conducive to good fossil formation. Likely, this interbreeding was also going on in other areas such as Europe and western Eurasia as well. Modern human DNA reveals to us that modern humans were interbreeding with Neanderthals at one time and I believe that rather than being killed off or dying off the Neanderthals were simply assimilated into modern human populations. I can look at some people today and see CLEARLY the Neanderthal features and traits in them including some modern humans that even have the characteristic “bun” on the base of their skulls which was indicative of Neanderthals! I can look at other modern humans today and see some very CLEAR features of H. erectus/ergaster, H. habilis, not to mention what we are to make of those modern human infants born with hair on their bodies and looking like throwbacks to the real ape men, the Australopithecines! The lines of human evolution are NOT clear cut! The distinctions between species of of humans is NOT clear cut either in my opinion!
So what do we have here based on the finds of Tirkusa and Shang? Simply, modern humans interbred with archaic “ape men,” at least, in China and in my mind that is astounding BUT not unexpected!!
Tirkusa and Shang found the human fossil remains in question in the Tianyuan Cave located in Zhoukoudain near Beijing in 2003. This find is significant still today as they provide crucial clues about the replacement of archaic H. erectus by H. sapiens in Eurasia. Further, these remains serve to continue to expand our knowledge about what actually transpired in ancient times and how modern humans emerged in eastern Asia.
So, in essence, the hominid fossil remains discovered by Tirkusa and Shang at Tianyuan Cave in China prove that there was a species of modern human, H. sapien, living in China 38KYA–42KYA that was not exactly fully modern human, H. sapien but that was a hominid species with mixed traits somewhere between modern humans and archaic humans (aka: ape men). Like I said the lines of distinction are NOT clear cut between ancient human ancestors and Tirkusa’s and Shang’s find just validate my long held suspicions! And, once again, we discover that what we thought was, was not, and what we thought was not, in fact, IS!!
Finally, for those of you who know me, you know I have a high interest in Bigfoot and in looking at the discoveries of Tirkusa and Shang I can’t help but wonder if their finds relate to ancient Bigfoot ancestors! I say this in light of the Bigfoot DNA study conducted by Dr Melba Ketchum which concluded Bigfoot comes from a “human mother and unknown hominid father.” So I ask the question: Could Bigfoot’s “unknown hominid father” be something along the lines discovered by Tirkusa and Shang? Meaning, could that “unknown hominid father” have been one of the proto-human “ape men”? Hey, in this world ANYTHING is possible as far as I’m concerned!
Adios for now!