Heidelberg Man (Homo heidelbergensis) recreation at Atapuerca
Homo heidelbergensis (aka: Heidelberg Man) was just an archaic Neanderthal and was NOT a common ancient ancestor for H. sapiens and Neanderthals even though some people still seem to think so.
The OOA (Out of Africa) theory holds the view that Heidelberg Man is an ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, however. That theory claims this hominin species was present in Africa, Europe, and Asia 600-200 kya. Their skulls have features of both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens and their brain size is almost as large as H. sapiens. Yet, keep in mind that Neanderthals had slightly larger brains than modern humans do. This species was first discovered in 1907 near Heidelberg, Germany.
Further, mainstream theory (OOA) says that Neanderthals, Denisovans, and H. sapiens all descended from Heidelberg Man who appeared in Africa around 700 kya where it is known as Homo rhodesiensis. Fossils have been found in Ethiopia, Namibia, and South Africa and the theory holds that somewhere between 400-300 kya a group of this species migrated into Europe and western Asia by unknown routes and that they evolved into the Neanderthals in Europe. Another group migrated out of Africa and into Asia and they evolved into the mysterious Denisovans. Those who remained in Africa (H. rhodesiensis) evolved into anatomically modern humans sometime between 300-200 kya according to conventional OOA theory. They then migrated in a second wave into Europe and Asia between 125-60 kya. And so that is basically what the OOA says but is it so?
Artistic depiction of Homo erectus
Some paleoanthropologists and others believe H. heidelbergensis is nothing more than a variant of H. erectus! Others hold the view that it was an archaic Neanderthal but not a common ancestor of Neanderthals and archaic modern humans, H. sapiens. So, again, the waters are muddied and everything is uncertain and foggy!! That is, unless you consider the following FACTS! Continue Reading
The pyramids of Mesoamerica are the most prominent part of Mesoamerican architecture and the most fascinating! Many are similar both in shape and form and are of the step pyramid form with temples on top of them. They’ve been compared to the Egyptian pyramids but, in fact, they most resemble the ziggurats of Mesopotamia more than the pyramids of Egypt. The largest pyramid in the world in terms of volume if the Pyramid of Cholula in Puebla, Mexico, incidentally.
The two most famous people of this region are the Aztecs and Maya and both of them built pyramids. Others in the region who also built pyramids were the lesser known Purepechan people and the mysterious builders of Teotihuacan not far from Mexico City. The Toltec also built pyramids and we used to think they built the magnificent pyramids at Teotihuacan but today that is a question mark because we really do not know who built them. The Zapotec people were also pyramid builders as well as several others. Not only did these people build pyramids but they also build magnificent ball courts, fortresses, and palaces.
The Maya built their pyramids out of adobe bricks and then covered them with limestone. They actually built two types of pyramids. One was built and intended to be climbed and others were not. Some of them had very steep staircases with temples at the top used for sacrificial rituals we think. It’s believed that the Maya started building pyramids about 3 kya. Then for no apparent reason around 900 AD the Maya and others began to abandon their cities and pyramids. There are many theories as to why but nothing is known for certain. Also, I must mention that the Maya and other pyramid builders often claim they did NOT build the pyramids or the cities but they simply found them abandoned so they moved in. Some scholars believe many of these sites may have been built by an earlier people known as the Olmec (aka: the “rubber people”). The Olmec are believed to have been the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica.
Pyramid structures can also be found in such odd places as Florida and Georgia in the US. Some people think that they were built by the Maya. There are rumors of a great red Maya style pyramid somewhere in Arizona near Flagstaff in Arizona that is yet to be discovered and I’ve posted about this before. Pyramids are also found in China and other parts of the world so, in fact, pyramids and pyramid building was something common not rare.
The Pyramid of the Sun at the Teotihuacan site is massive! People climbing up its steps look like ants from down below on the ground. This pyramid is the largest structure at the site. Although we don’t know who built this site for certain we do know that the pyramid was likely NOT called the Pyramid of the Sun as we call it today. That is a modern name for it. It is 738 feet across and 246 feet high. That makes it the third largest pyramid on the planet that we know of. It was covered with a lime plaster when it was built and painted with colorful murals that have long disappeared mostly. The temple that once stood atop this pyramid has long been destroyed by natural elements and people in the area.
As I mentioned before the pyramids of Mesoamerica more closely resemble the ziggurats of Mesopatamia than they do the pyramids of Egypt. Both are step-style structures where those in Egypt are smooth with no staircases. In fact, the pyramids of China are more like those in Egypt than those of Mesoamerica.
All sorts of theories have been put forth about what pyramids were actually used for from claiming they were mainly burial chambers to power plants. We don’t really know what they were used for. What we do know is that they are found all over the world and they all have similar features. And btw satellite images indicated that there are many more sites with pyramid structures not yet excavated in Mesoamerica and China still covered with dirt and vegetation.
A paper that came out in September 2017 by Professor Ulfur Arnason calls for a new paradigm and it’s making some waves. Professor Arnason is a neuroscientist at the University of Lund in Sweden and in the paper he places the LAST COMMON ANCESTOR of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) and the Neanderthals somewhere in EURASIA, not Africa. Professor Arnason argues that the ancesotrs of the African KhoeSan and Mbuti people formed the first exodus of modern humans INTO AFRICA out of ASIA AND EUROPE. If he’s right then his research calls the Out of Africa theory (OOA) into question, once again, as so much research is now doing but it’s all being ignored, summarily!
A simplified view of Hss migrations. The shaded area signifies an undefined Asian(Eurasian) area from which Hss dispersed. The red track shows the potential routes of KhoeSan, Mbuti and Yoruba outside the Hsnn range. KhoeSan and Mbuti may have diverged before their migration into Africa. The arrow-headed lines between Mbuti and Yoruba mark potential genetic exchange. The green track represents the common Asian origin of indigenous Australians, Papuans-New Guineans and the Andamanese (Mallick et al., 2016). Altai shows the location of the genetic contribution of Hss into Hsn (Kuhlwilm et al., 2016) and Daoxian Cave the location of the palaeontological Hss finds described by Liu et al. (2015). Image credit: Úlfur Árnason
Common belief is that the ancient human ancestors of modern humans lived somewhere in Africa and Homo sapiens evolved there first and migrated out of Africa to Europe and Asia. Most scientists hold the belief that the exact dating of this emergence out of Africa of our ancient ancestors remains to be resolved but they are ever so sure they will discover a date soon. However, the research of Professor Arnason suggests that the origination of Homo sapiens sapiens was in EURASIA NOT IN AFRICA!
Neanderthals and modern humans seem to have parted ways, at least genetically, sometime before 500 kya (thousand years ago). Arnason argues that this date places the first of our species somewhere in Eurasia and he adds this to what we know about the geographical range of Neanderthals.
Professor Arnason said, “The EXCLUSIVE occurrence of Neanderthals in EUROPE and ASIA and their ABSENCE from Africa restricts their origins to EURASIA,” and indeed it DOES! He went on to also say, “As a consequence, the origin of their sister-group (Homo sapiens sapiens; modern humans) should be placed in the SAME CONTINENT (ie: EURASIA).” He goes on saying that this hypothesis would then be in “compliance with the LCA (last common ancestor) understanding that the LCS of any two sister groups CANNOT be separated, neither in time nor space.” Amen to that!! 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
Most fossil remains of ancient human ancestors have been found in East Africa in the Rift Valley and that area was once dotted by volcanoes. Volcanic ash killed these ancestors, buried them, and preserved them but that is not the case when it comes to Eurasia and that is ONE reason why we don’t find the amount of ancient human remains like that found in East Africa. That said, however, there have been some ancient remains found and I want to focus on those found in China in this post.
Artistic bust of Peking Man
Peking Man (aka: Beijing Man) was actually pieced together from fossil remains of several different individuals found at the Dragon Bone Hill site in Zhoukoudian near Beijing, China. It is an Eurasian H. erectus. It has prominent brow ridges, a saggital keel, an occipital bun, and a protruding upper jaw (prognathism) but no chin. These are all primitive features but its cranial capacity is about 1075 cc. The teeth and arm bones are almost indistinguishable from those of modern man! Also there is evidence of tool use was found nearby. Peking Man is estimated to be 500-300 kyr (thousand years old) which is older than Kabwe Man of Africa also known as “Broken Hill Man” and “Rhodesian Man.” The original skull of Peking Man was lost in WW2. There is also evidence of fire use at site as well as evidence of tool use and manufacturing. These were flaked stone tools and they also show he was right-handed. (according to Howells 1948, pg 49 et al). Continue Reading
As you know one of my favorite human species (or hybrids) are the Red Deer Cave People whose remains are found in two cave sites in China. These prehistoric human ancestors have been described as “highly unusual” due to some of their peculiar features and one of those odd features was their flaring cheek bones (zygomatic arches).
In Caucasian people these arches are extended outward the least while in Asians they are extended outward the most. In Africans the zygomatic arches are somewhere in between Africans and Caucasians. Returning to Asians, their cheek bones are extended outward the most and this is what we see in the Red Deer Cave People fossil remains. However, the extent to which these arches extend outward in the Red Deer Cave People are extended much farther outward than those we see in modern Asians. Also, extended zygomatic arches were also a feature of Homo erectus.
So what was the purpose for the great extension of the cheek bones? Some theorists have speculated that the highly extended cheek bones combined with heavy brow ridges were designed by nature to protect the eyes of the human ancestor especially during combat! The heavy brow ridges also helped shade the eyes from the sun so they may be on to something here. The Red Deer Cave People also had somewhat heavy brow ridges. Continue Reading
This post was formerly entitled: “The Pericues: Proof of Homo erectus in Baja”—–
The Pericues also known as the Pericu, Cora, and Edues were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Cape Region which is the southernmost end of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Sine the late 18th century, sadly, they have been culturally and linguistically extinct.
Baja California Native American Tribes
Of special interest here is that these people had very distinctive hyperdolichocephic skulls. That is, they were known for their distinctive long headed skulls. Some researchers believe that the Pericu were either were trans-Pacific migrants or remnants of some of the oldest colonizers of the New World. Their burials feature remains painted with red ochre (Las Palmas burial complex) which sometimes were deposited in caves or under rock shelters. These people used the atlatl and darts along with the bow and arrow up through the 17th century. When the Spanish came to the Americas they enslaved the Pericu until they revolted in 1734. The revolt lasted for two years until the Spanish reasserted authority over them. Many of the Pericu died of diseases brought by the Spanish as well. Continue Reading
A bit over 100 years ago anthropologists were searching for early man in SE Asia and specifically they were searching for the “missing link.” That common ancestor between ape and man! But what they were discovering is that the jungles of SE Asia were not conducive to fossil formation, so fossil finds were few and still are today. Then in 1891 Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Eugene Dubois stumbled on to something. On the island of Java he found the remains of what was first called Pithecanthropus erectus which would later be renamed Homo erectus and would commonly come to be known as Java Man. What Dubois found was a tooth, skullcap, and a thigh bone at a place called Trinil on the banks of the Solo River in East Java. Dubois was certain he’d found the “missing link”!! Dubois himself called the species Anthropopithecus erectus. Java Man was dated at between 1 mya and 700 kya.
Aboriginal rock art, Western Australia
But Dubois was not the only one looking for the “missing link.” Researchers in Europe and Africa were also looking for this elusive “missing link” between ape and man. Not long after Dubois unearthed Java Man startling news came from Europe. The “missing link” had been found in England!! Continue Reading