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
The “Neo” specimen skull (Homo naledi)
Rising Star Cave is the site in South Africa excavated by Dr Lee Berger and his team. It was here that they found a new species of ancient human called Homo naledi. Now another chamber in the cave has been unearthed and yielded even more fossil bone evidence and this newest discovery has yielded a skull “wonderfully complete.”
It is believed H. naledi shared the landscape with early modern humans and probably other hominin species as well between 226-335 thousand years ago. Dr John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the research leaders and he says this newest discovery adds more evidence that the cave system was being used by H. naledi to cache their dead. The new chamber has been named the Lesedi Chamber. So far 130 bone pieces have been found in the new chamber. One skeleton is said to be remarkably complete and is being named “Neo.” Continue Reading
The Basque in Northern Spain and Southern France have puzzled researchers for decades now. They do not speak Spanish nor French but have their own language and culture. One theory proposed is that these people were an unmixed isolated pocket of indigenous hunter-gatherers but that theory has been an ongoing debate.
Recently, research has revealed that suggests that the Basque came from early farmers who interbred with local hunters in the Pyrenees before becoming isolated. One of the mysteries surrounding the Basque is their language which is known as “Euskera” and it is unrelated to any other language spoken in Europe or the entire world for that matter! Their customs are also unique. But there is also the mystery of their DNA. The DNA of the Basque people show distinct genetic patterns when compared to people in France or Spain! Continue Reading
Today the average height for a male is around 5 ft 10 in (177 cm) and 5 ft 5 in for women (163-164 cm). Race can also affect height with the average for some races being taller and for others a bit shorter. Food intake and disease can also affect height as well as environment.
Humans have not always been these average heights. In paleoanthropology we use fossils to calculate the heights of some of our ancient human ancestors. The femur (thighbone) is the most useful bone for making such determinations as it typically composes about 1/4 of human height and is the longest bone in the human body.
Using femur bones and other bones we have been able to estimate height in some of our ancient ancestors. For instance, Homo heidelbergensis lived around 700-200 kya and we estmate males stood an average of 5 ft 9 in tall with females being slightly shorter standing on average 5 ft 2 in tall.
The “Hobbit” (aka: Homo Floresiensis) lived between 95-17 kya and were much shorter. A female skeleton from this species of ancient human ancestor reveals she stood slightly over 3 ft.
Neanderthals who lived between 200-28 kya had an average height of 5 ft 5 in for males and 5 ft 1 in for females. Most paleoanthropologists believe their short, stocky body type helped them stay warm and survive the harsh ice ages they lived through. Continue Reading