Sometimes I read new research and I REALLY wonder just what in the hell has happened to COMMON SENSE and LOGIC in the human species today. The latest case in point comes from the University of Cambridge. Researchers at Cambridge have reveal a NEW REVELATION! Or maybe it’s an EPIPHANY!! Seems that scientists there have determined that early human ancestors had a diverse range of body types just as humans today have a diverse range of body types with some being skinny and gaunt while others are robust and large.
In the study of human evolution body size is considered to be one of the most important characteristics of early human ancestors. Before 1.7 mya (million years ago) early human ancestors like the Australopithecines were seldom over 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall or had heavy body mass. Australopithecus ramidus, simply known as “Ardi,” lived about 4.4 mya and stood an average of 4 feet (1.2 m) weighing about 110 lbs (50 kg). One of the earliest known hominids is Sahelanthropus tchadensis who lived about 6 or 7 mya and was about the weight and height of a modern chimpanzee. Now if you known anything about chimps or apes in general and especially if you’ve ever worked with them or observed them closely in a zoo then you know that no two are exactly like. Some are large, others are small. Some are gaunt while others are overweight. Some are a bit taller than others and what this all adds up to is that their body types are JUST LIKE HUMANS when it comes to diversity.
It is only logical, therefore, that early human ancestor would have had a range of body types just as we do today. One thing about nature is that it loves DIVERSITY and we see this diversity all around us. No two flowers or snowflakes are exactly the same. No two of anything in nature are identical and that makes DIVERSITY the general rule of nature so why would our early ancestors not have a range of body types?
For specifics on this new revelation see the reference link below. One thing I do want to point out from the article is that it states that Homo erectus was “small bodied…averaging less than five foot (152 cm) and under 50 kg…”. That’s NOT necessarily correct. Some members of H. erectus ranges anywhere between 4 ft 9 in tall (145 cm) to 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) tall with some even being taller. The weight range for this species is believed to have been between 88–150 lbs (30–68 kg). In FACT, there was a LARGE amount of variation in the size of H. erectus with the largest being found in fossil remains from Africa. Remains found in China, Georgia, and Indonesia tend to be a bit smaller.
Homo erectus is believed to be the first early human ancestor to migrate out of Africa and into Eurasia and SE Asia. In fact, H. erectus accomplished many “firsts” it is believed including the first use of fire. It is now believed that DIVERSITY played a big role in this species and that that diversity was as great as is seen in modern humans today.
I also find it interesting that Dr Jay Stock who was part of this research stated that one can interpret this diversity as indicative of showing that there were multiple species of early humans such as H. habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. ergaster, etc, OR one highly DIVERSE species. Here we would be talking about variation within the SAME species and not new species at all if the later is true. In FACT, recent evidence from cranial studies indicates tremendous diversity among early human ancestors in the genus Homo! And that’s what some of us have been saying for a long while now!! That is, maybe we are seeing diversity within the same species or early hominins and NOT a bunch of different species at all. If so, then that warrants some BIG changes in our picture of human evolution.
I don’t mean to be sarcastic but sometimes these studies come out and they’re like some sort of revelation or epiphany or at least I guess they are suppose to be. Yet, much of the time they just prove what some of us have been saying all along and to us studies like this are NO SURPRISE! Logically and using a bit of COMMON SENSE combined with looking at NATURE and the way it works suggests that DIVERSITY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME just as it is with the human species today. So why wouldn’t it be the SAME with our early ancestors?
Finally, I can’t help but ponder the fact that many paleontologists and evolutionists seem to wear blinders as if they can only see down a tunnel with no peripheral ability at all. That tunnel is seldom questioned and logic with common sense seem far to often to be thrown out the door! Honestly in looking at the present status quo in terms of human evolution I think we’ve got some ancient ancestors of APES mixed in with our own human ancestors and I’ve stated this several times in the past. It’s nice to think that we have this nice orderly progression (evolution) when it comes to human evolution but, frankly, I don’t thinks such a thing exists. Even today the FACTUAL record of human evolution is littered with unknowns and holes! In fact, not only do we see progression (evolution) in the human fossil record BUT we also see REGRESSION (de-evolution) in some cases with fossil remains found in older sediment layers that are more modern than ones found in newer sediment layers that are more archaic! How does one explain this? How can we have a more modern (Anatomically Modern Human form) in an older layer of sediment and a more archaic form in newer sediment layers? Personally, I think there is only one way that can happen and that is HYBRIDIZATION! We aren’t seeing new species of ancient human ancestors but VARIATIONS (diversity) in early human forms due to various factors including hybridization, environment, diet, etc. Rather than trying to cram every fossil in the same mold we need to broaden our sight in terms of evolution and try to see a BIGGER picture! We need to take some clues from NATURE itself and consider those clues when we analyze human fossils. In this case, DIVERSITY shouts LOUDLY at us yet we’ve been ignoring it for a long, long time due to us wearing blinders and seeing only down the dark tunnel. Time to REMOVE those blinders and time to see what’s around that tunnel instead of continuing to look down a black hole!! We haven’t got human evolution all figured out, yet, and we won’t get it figured out as long as we are staring down that tunnel with our blinders on! It’s time for the principles of LOGIC and some good old COMMON SENSE to be applied to human paleontology.