Is it possible that Neanderthals were actually in the Americas? According to mainstream theory (OOA) the Neanderthals made it just about everywhere except into the Americas. However, genetic studies are challenging that assumption! My own personal view is that they were and so was H. erectus. I think there is evidence of both having been in the Americas at one time or another as evidenced by Oldowan stone tools found by myself and many others in the Americas. And, also, the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey left his work in Africa and came to the Americas (Calico Hills, CA) fully expecting to find hominin fossil remains here like he found in Africa. Why was Leakey so convinced that he would find them?
Last week I posted about H. heidelbergensis and my conclusion is that he was an archaic Neanderthal. My conclusion also is that Heidelberg Man is likely not a common ancestor for the Neanderthals and H. sapiens (modern humans). That common ancestor may well be some hominim species we have not discovered yet and possibly might even be the Denisovans. That said, mainstream theory (OOA) holds the assumption that Neanderthals and modern humans share Heidelberg Man as a common ancestor and according to that theory the Neanderthals split from us about 300 kya. Neanderthals came to occupy most of Southern Europe, the Levant, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus region. We know this is so because we find their fossil remains in these places. They did not live in Sub-Sahara Africa and eventually they were replaced by modern humans. However, I hold the view that more than replacement the Neanderthals interbred with modern humans and I think frequently.
Map showing distribution of the B006 haplotype based on global samples of the 6092X chromosomes.
Back in 2011 genetic research conducted by a team led by Vania Yotova published research showing an X-linked haplotype of Neanderthal origins that is present in all non-African populations today. This study specifically focused on a very small part in the X chromosome known as the B006 haplotype and came up with some interesting conclusions.
What they found is that modern humans outside Africa share the B006 with Neanderthals and, in fact, this haplotype is very common outside Africa but it is nonexistent in Sub-Sahara Africa! What this suggests is that the B006 haplotype comes from a gene pool other than H. sapiens that lived outside of Africa and at some point interbred with H. sapiens and passed that haplotype on to H. sapiens. The contributor of this haplotype was the Neanderthals and was done via interbreeding with our species. Continue Reading
Back in 1914 workers at a stone quarry in Bonn-Oberkassel, Germany discovered two human skeletons and bones from a dog. Along with these find they also found two art works made of bones and antlers. The two human skeletons and the dog were in a common grave at the site. The dog bones represent one of the oldest known remains of a domesticated dog on record and that dog was unique to Central Europe around 14 kya.
The couple and the dog were part of the people of Upper Kassel in the Rhine Valley who were ice age hunter-gatherers. The skeletal remains of the couple have been dated to about 11.5–12.1 kya +/- 100 years. Researchers have used the skulls of both the male and female to reconstruct their faces both of whom look very European. The male has a strong jutting lower jaw and chin which is a bit unusual in my opinion.
The people of Kassel lived in round tents made of leather that were similar to a yurt. Remains of these structures have also been found at Gonnersdorf and other places. What this may indicate is that these hunter-gatherers may have lived in a single area for part of the year and then they’d move on to another area most likely because they were following animal herds which was their primary source of food. These structures were not easy to erect or take down so this is why researchers think they put them up and stayed in a certain area for part of the year.
Oberdassel skeletal remains. Woman is at the top, man in the middle, and dog bones at the bottom.
It’s believed that these people used a bow of the Holmegaard type. An arrowhead found at the site has signs of being used and then retouched a few times. It also had traces of birch pitch which was used to affix the flint stone arrowhead to an arrow, spear, or knife made of bone, wood, or other material.
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
Upper jawbone found in the cave on Mt Carmel in Israel J
Earlier this month it was announced that a large international research team discovered the earliest known modern human fossil outside of Africa and they interpret the find to mean that modern humans left Africa at least 50k years earlier than previously thought which, frankly, may or may not be so.
The fossil is part of a left hemi-maxilla with teeth (upper jaw bone, simply). Researchers say that the find also indicates that modern humans may have been interacting over a longer period of time with other archaic humans such as Neanderthals et al. The jawbone was discovered at a site known as Misliya Cave in Israel which is one of several sites on Mt Carmel. Dating suggests the jawbone is 175-200 kya. It has been thought that modern humans first migrated out of Africa and into the Levant around 50 kya but this jawbone proves otherwise.
The jawbone itself has many features of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) BUT it also has features of Neanderthals and “other human groups.” And what might those “other human groups” be I ask? Homo erectus most likely and combinations (hybrids) of all of the above!! Continue Reading
A new study by the Uppsala University et. al. has pushed the emergence of modern humans back to at least 300 kya and possibly even to 350 kya. Funny how not so long ago we used to think our species emerged 100 kya, then 200 kya, and now 300-350 kya isn’t it? Frankly, I think even newer research will soon push our emergence back even further! You can read the whole story at the link below.
Artistic bust of Peking Man
So consider this in perspective………. Homo erectus is believed to have went extinct around 143 kya so if modern humans emerged 300-350 kya then that means that these two species COEXISTED for at least 100-150 thousand years! And there was a time when H. erectus, modern humans, Heidelbergensis, and Neanderthals coexisted! And you don’t think all of these human species interbred? Think again LOL!!
Regarding Neanderthals two new studies have emerged. One suggests Neanderthal-Denisovans almost disappeared after separating from modern humans and that find challenges the conventional theory about all three species! Another study has revealed diet may be the blame for the Neanderthals demise in contrast to the diet of modern humans which enabled us to survive. Perhaps. I’m sure diet was important just as it is today but, again, I assert that the Neanderthals didn’t go extinct at all. They interbred with modern humans and produced viable offspring hybrids! In my mind what appears to have happened is (borrowing a line from Star Trek) modern humans came along and for all other species resistance was futile! These other species didn’t go extinct. We had sex with them and produced hybrid offspring capable of breeding and producing more hybrids! And that’s how we mods became the Mutt People we are today!!! Sorry…no pure races left and no pure human species left (if there was ever) and there hasn’t been for a long time. Want personal proof? Research your own ancestry and it will become as clear as day to you. 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
Is it possible that modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) or our forerunners archaic modern humans (Homo sapiens, Cro-magnons, et al) were living close to 1 mya? Generally, we’ve believed that modern humans came onto the scene about 100 kya then with new discoveries that was extended back to 200 kya and recently with new finds in Morocco the timeline for modern humans has been extended back to 300 kya.
Back in December of 1997 Discover Magazine ran an article about a controversial discovery. That discovery was made in Spain in 1995 in a cave called Gran Dolina in the Atapuerca region of Spain. This fossil suggested that modern humans were much older than believed, by far, in fact. The fossil was from an 11 year old boy who looked like a modern human yet it was dated at 800 kyr (hundred thousand years old). How is this possible if modern humankind is only 200-300 kyr?
This discovery, however, is not alone because in 1932 the famous Dr Louis Leakey made an astonishing find of his own! This discovery was made around Lake Victoria in Kenya, Africa. Leakey found numerous fossils belonging to the Middle Pleistocene that were really no different from modern man. Problem was that the Mid Pleistocene was about one million years ago!! (actually from about 781 to 126 thousand years ago). His discoveries were dismissed (as expected) but Leakey always maintained that the dating was CORRECT!
Returning to the 1995 discovery made in Spain, the find was so shocking that even the discoverers were shocked by it! Never in a million years did they expect to find any ancient human ancestor remains that looked like modern humans! The team was led by Dr Juan Luis Arsuaga Ferraras who said that he and his team expected something big and primitive but never modern looking. “What we found was a totally modern face,” he told the Discover magazine writers. “The most spectacular thing is finding something you thought belonged to the present, in the past….we were very surprised when we saw it.” Continue Reading
Neanderthal-Modern Human comparison
New research conducted by Australian National University and the University of Sidney is providing a new window into the transition between Neanderthals to H. sapiens. Excavating in a cave in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic researchers have developed a timeline of evidence from 10 sediment layers spanning 28-50 kya. This is the period when it is generally believed that modern human ancestors first arrived in Europe.
20,000 animal bones have been recovered at the site along with stone tools, weapons, and an engraved bone bead believed to be the oldest of its kind every found in Central Europe. Dr. Duncan Wright (ANU) believes this project is highly important because it is providing some evidence for modern human activity in the area. During this time modern human ancestors were moving into the area and, I think, interbreeding with Neanderthals at least to some extent. Continue Reading