Artistic bust of Peking Man
Dragon Bone Hill overlooks the sprawling Chinese capital of Beijing (formerly Peking). It is a small limestone mountain visited by over 150,000 visitors each year. It was here in 1929 that the first specimen of Asian Homo Erectus was found known as “Peking Man.” The find consisted of a nearly complete skull dated between 680-780 kyr. The specimen was also one of the earliest ancient human ancestor fossil remains ever found but since that time the fame and importance of Peking Man has dwindled, sadly. Older fossils have been discovered in Africa where environmental conditions for fossil formation are more conducive. China and Southeast Asia tend not to be very good places for finding fossils due to the tropical climate and wet conditions in much of the region. Today Chinese paleoanthropologists wonder if H. erectus died out or contributed genes to modern Chinese people.
In the past decade China has stepped up efforts to uncover evidence of early human ancestors in the country and surrounding region. Old fossils are being reanalysed and old theories are being revised as new evidence comes to light. And the Chinese government has built a million dollar lab to extract and sequence ancient DNA!
More and more paleoanthropologists are beginning to finally pay attention to what is being found and what has been found in China and Asia in general. Discoveries in China and Asia clearly indicate that there was a variety of prehistoric human ancestors in the region and these finds are beginning to challenge some conventional ideas about just what our evolutionary history might really be!
Sadly, Western researchers tend to view fossils and artifacts in terms of those found in Africa and Europe due to the age of the fossils found there and because they are closer to major research facilities. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that Asian fossils do NOT fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution
Aye where do I begin? ……………… So I have a friend who had her DNA tested by one of the many labs now testing ancestry DNA and yesterday she got her results which she found very disappointing. She paid almost $200 for the analysis. Why so expensive? Because the lab she chose said for an extra charge they could sequence her DNA from “prehistoric humans.” I assumed they meant Neanderthal DNA but she assumed they meant……well come to find out…..she thought they could sequence her “handyman” DNA (Homo habilis)!!
Before she even paid the charge I told her that it is impossible for any lab to sequence H. habilis DNA (whom she refers to as the “monkey people) because we don’t have any viable DNA from that species with which to compare to. But she wouldn’t listen. She was sure they could do it. I told her that the only possible analysis they could do was related to the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in her genes and that would not be more than 4%. But she wouldn’t listen and went right ahead and paid the extra charge to have her “monkey people” DNA analyzed along with her ancestry. Hate to say it but “I told you so.”
As I mentioned, yesterday she got her DNA results and they were NOT what she expected at all. She has thought herself to be primarily “American and Mexican Indian.” I have questioned her about this as she doesn’t even remotely look like either. Her results showed that in fact she is mainly South American likely from the areas of Ecuador and Peru. That’s exactly what I told her the results would reveal as she looks very much like the native people in the highlands of those areas. Her results also showed that she had a percentage of Sephardi Jew in her which she found “very shocking” as she had no idea. Then came the results of the “monkey people” DNA. Continue Reading
Evolution has worked to improve the genetic foundations of our health for millions of years now but new research suggests that things may be reversing and that might spell bad news for modern humans in the modern world. The study was conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology recently.
Human evolution has worked to weed out genetic variants that are associated with diseases and it’s worked to promote variants that protect us against certain diseases according to this new study which was a comparative genetics study. However, for some odd reason over the past 500 to 1000 years it appears things have reversed. For example, the study has concluded that cardiovascular problems were much more common in our ancient human ancestors than they are today. What this means is that some diseases may be on the rise in modern humans and especially in terms of mental health.
Large populations are better able to purge disease causing gene variants and today with the human population near 7 billion people that is happening but still for some reason it appears this trend has been reversing over the past 500-1000 years. The study also found that Neanderthals and Denisovans had a lot more alleles (genetic variants) that promoted disease than we do today including heart disease. Over the course of time things got better and the variants for such widespread diseases were apparently weeded out as protective alleles rose. Continue Reading
H/T to JR Bentley for sending us this research article………..
It would be an understatement to say that there are problems with the Out-of-Africa (OOA) theory and finally new research and reanalysis of prior research is attempting to correct some of those problems but what is being found is that the OOA may be absolutely WRONG to begin with. This becomes especially obvious when genetic evidence is looked at. In fact, WORLD science is now leaving the OOA theory behind and a Chinese research team is advancing an out-of-ASIA theory for modern human origins based on Y-DNA & mtDNA evidence and, thus, they are reviving the Multiregional Theory for human evolution based on autosomal evidence. The field of genetic research is becoming more precise and I think that is fantastic because it is now beginning to give us a new picture of human evolution and migration patterns!! Finally, we are getting some real concrete proof of what was and what was NOT.
The latest research by Chinese geneticists suggests that about 2 mya the first split occurred in modern human autosomes. Further, they’ve uncovered genetic evidence of Y and mtDNA having originated in East Asia and dispersing outward from East Asia via HYBRIDIZATION by archaic human ancestors!! This research strongly suggests a EURASIAN origin rather than an African origin for ancient human ancestors!! The primary research team is being led by Shi Huang who is a US educated and trained geneticist.
Huang’s research confirms genetic diversity is highest in Africans and lowest in Amerindians. His team also confirms Africans & Amerindians are genetically most divergent from each other. Africans are found to be closer to each other than they are to other groups and that New world sub-populations are more distinct from each other than other continental groups. Further, they’ve also found that Amerindians have the world’s highest values of intergroup diversity.
The findings of this research are currently under peer review and the team argues that African genetic diversity is NOT a function of greater age of African hominins but is a product of selection! This is supported by data showing increased African diversity in the study. Yuan uses autosomal molecular divergence dates as evidence for multiregional evolution. That date is derived from estimated molecular divergence between autosomes of major human groups to have taken place 1.96–1.91 mya which is consistent with paleobiological evidence for a Homo (human) migration out of Africa 2 myr. Continue Reading
The link below is to an excellent article well worth the read about the growing “mystery” concerning archaic humans with modern human features. It calls for the revamping of the Out of Africa theory and I wholeheartedly agree!
The norm has always been that more than one human species have coexisted at the same time and sometimes in the same place. Our nice little concept of an archaic human species giving way to a more modern human species now lies in tatters thanks to recent discoveries. That little Utopian idea no longer flies as the evidence says that there was MUCH interbreeding between human species and that HYBRIDS were produced and survived. In fact, they dominated and they (we) still dominate today!
In South Africa we have Homo naledi showing a mix of archaic and modern morphology. We have the same in Morocco. These finds are changing what we think in terms of human evolution because these specimens are NOT from archaic times but from MODERN TIMES! When I say modern times mean around 300 kya NOT millions of years ago. The “mystery” is really no mystery at all if we think in terms of hybrid offspring. What is being found in Morocco and South Africa and elsewhere is CLEAR EVIDENCE of hybridization! And not only that but we now know that there were many migrations out of Africa AND many migrations INTO Africa! So much for the OOA theory!! Continue Reading
A new look at archaic human DNA by the University of Utah has come to some interesting and “revolutionary” findings but sadly what they have found doesn’t fit at all with the status quo so it’s being ignored. However, I STRONGLY suspect that what the U of U has found is closer to the TRUTH in terms of the human evolution story than what we have now!
Using a new method for analyzing DNA sequence data researchers at the University of Utah have reconstructed the early history of archaic humans and it contradicts what we believe to be so for modern humans (H. sapiens), Neanderthals, and Denisovans. One thing they discovered quickly was that Neanderthal and Denisovan populations almost went extinct but 300 generations later the Neanderthal population grew to TENS OF THOUSANDS of individuals living in segregated populations, that is, they mainly lived apart from Denisovans and modern humans.
“This hypothesis is against conventional wisdom, but IT MAKES MORE SENSE that the conventional wisdom,” said Alan Rogers who is a professor of Anthropology and lead author of the study. And indeed it does!! The conventional wisdom holds the view that Neanderthal numbers were small when modern humans came upon the scene…somewhere around 1000 individuals. But this study shows that that number grossly underestimates the Neanderthal population at the time. The team calculated that Neanderthals and Denisovans separated around 744 kya which is much earlier than conventional wisdom holds. The study also questions the conventional wisdom that Neanderthal populations only amounted to about 1000 individuals and that the REAL Neanderthal population may have numbered in the tens of thousands!! Continue Reading
H/T to JR Bentley for alerting us to this HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT discovery in Australia:
Archaeologists in Australia have discovered the oldest stone axes with a ground edge on the planet! This discovery is very important because it sets back Australia’s human history to 65,000 years! That’s about 18,000 years earlier than thought. Further this date directly challenges the OOA (Out of Africa/Replacement Theory) along with theorized migration timelines and human evolution!
The archaeological team was excavating artifacts at the rock shelter known as “Madjedbebe” near the Kakadu National Park which is located about 300 km east of Darwin. The Madjedbebe is a rock shelter that sits atop the base of the Amhem land escarpment on a sandy plain. A number of artifacts were discovered by the team including the world’s oldest ground-edge axe head made by grinding rather than flaking. Chris Clarkson of the University of Queensland heads the team and research. He told reporters, “The site contains the oldest ground -edge stone axe technology in the world, the oldest known seed grinding tools in Australia and evidence of finely made stone points which may have served as spear tips.”
(left) Axes & Grinding stones found at site; (right) edge ground hand axe found at site
There are in fact many scientists who believe Madjedbebe is home of the earliest evidence of humans in Australia. This discovery has “universal importance” for the human evolution and for Australia’s native people as well as for Continue Reading