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
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
It is believed that Neanderthals in the Altai Mountains (Denisova Cave) interbreed with Denisovans and a mystery species or as some call it a “ghost species” of hominin. There is also the enigma of Population Y which I’ve blogged about before. Now comes a new “ghost species.” In saliva samples researchers have found hints of a ghost species of archaic humans that may have passed on genetic material to ancestors of people living today in sub-Saharan Africa! And, this latest research adds evidence to a growing body of evidence that suggests interbreeding between different archaic human species was far more common than previously thought
It’s long been known that Neanderthals in the Altai Mountains interbred with the Denisovans and some “ghost species” of hominin but now this new evidence also suggests that humans in sub-Saharan Africa also interbred with archaic human species! It’s beginning to look like it was “sex with anything even remotely human!” was the call of the time!! We thought such interbreeding between human species was the exception but growing evidence is now suggesting just the opposite is true. In fact, it may have been the NORM rather than the exception! Continue Reading
And it is beginning to appear that it was FREQUENT and not rare!!
Archaic admixture with modern humans is believed to have take place via interbreeding between modern humans
Dali Man Skull, China
and archaic humans such as Neanderthals, Denisovans, and possibly others. And I would certainly add Homo erectus.
Neanderthal DNA accounts for between 1-4% of the Eurasian genome in modern humans. However, this admixture is uncommon or nonexistent in the genomes of Sub-Saharan Africans. In Oceanians, Southeast Asians we find Denisovan DNA admixture. In Melanesian people we find 4-6% Denisovan DNA in their genomes.
African populations have a genetic contribution from a now extinct archaic African hominin in their genomes. Fossils, especially ancient human ancestor fossils, are rare because certain conditions must be present for fossils to form. Most species that die simply rot but every now and then the conditions are right and fossils form. In African environments there is a rapid decay of fossils and this makes it very difficult to compare modern human admixture to archaic African hominins such as H. ergaster and H. habilis et al. Further, about 2% genetic material found in some Sub-Saharan African populations entered the human genome about 35-40 kya. This was added by interbreeding with archaic human species (ancient human ancestors). Evidence for this suggests that this interbreeding mostly took place in CENTRAL Africa and NOT Eastern Africa as we would expect! In terms of geologic time 35-40 kya is NOT a long time. Continue Reading
Altai Mountains, SW Siberia, Russia
The First Fossil Evidence of the Denisovans
Several posts have been made on this blog regarding the Denisovans and what I want to do in this post is to begin to make some possible connections between the Denisovans and other hominids along with considering some possibilities. Denisova Cave is located in the Altai Mountains in Southwestern Siberia, Russia and this was the site where the first evidence of the Denisovans was discovered in 2010. This cave was originally investigated in the 1970’s by a Russian anthropologist by the name of Nikolai Ovodov looking for fossil remains of canids (dogs, wolves, jackals, dingoes, etc.). In 2008 the cave was once again investigated by the Russian Academy of Sciences. That exploration was led by Michael Shunkov and also involved other Russian scientists. It was this 2008 investigative team that found the first evidence of the Denisovans which consisted of a finger bone believed to be from a juvenile hominin that came to be known as the “X woman.” Associated artifacts found in the cave included a bracelet found at the same level as the finger bone which was dated at around 40 kyr (thousand years old) using radiocarbon dating and oxygen isotope dating. Since 2008 other investigations in the cave have established that hominins occupied the cave at various times as far back as 125 kya (thousand years ago) and possibly longer. Continue Reading
Nestled in a cave near Sidi Moktar which is about 62 miles west of Marrakesh in Morocco seven significant hominid fossils have been found since 1991 which have been dated at about 160 kya. The cave is known as the Jebel Irhoud site. These fossil remains consist of two adult skulls designated as Irhoud 1 and 2. A child’s mandible has also been found at this site (Irhoud 3) along with a child’s humerus (Irhoud 4). The significance of these fossil remains was not realized fully until 2007. Originally, they were classified as belonging to North African Neanderthals but they have now been reclassified as early AMH (anatomically modern humans).
These skulls are similar to those found in Israel, namely, the fossil remains of Qafzeh-Skhul early modern humans which were found in Lower Galilee (Qahzeh) and on the slopes of Mt Carmel (Skhul). The Skhul remains are believed to be those of a descendant of H. heidelbergensis known as “Paleoanthropus palestinensis.” These skulls are dated at 80-120 kyr. The skull known as Skhul 5 was assumed to be an “advanced Neanderthal” but today is classed as modern human. In other words, this skull likely is from the offspring of a modern human, Neanderthal hybrid. Continue Reading
Note: The below research results were actually released last year in March 2016 but I have not written about the results until today 🙂
Likely the most ardent supporter o the OOA Theory (Out of Africa) Professor Chris Stringer of the London Museum of Natural History appears to have thrown in the towel. This happened at the 5th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution. Basically, what he’s now admitting is what many of us have known for a long while now and that is that the OOA is BADLY in need of revision.
This comes on the heels of a recent discovery of an Neanderthal ancestor that existed 300-400 kya (thousand years ago) in Spain. What this means is that the theorized divisions that took place between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans, the Red Deer Cave People et al had to have taken place 400-500 kya and NOT 200 kya! What this means is that the ancestors of modern humans were already walking a path of their own apart from other archaic human species 100-400 kya!!
This throws the entire OOA theory into question (again). This discovery of a Neanderthal ancestor in Spain pushes back the origins of H. sapiens (modern humans). It also means as Stringer stated, that “…not only is the dating of the genesis of Homo sapiens is out by hundreds of thousands of years, but so too is the location this occurred is no longer secure.” In other words, not only is our dating of modern humans out of whack BUT so is the idea that everything began in Africa and migrated outward to conquer the world via “replacement.”
I’m sure this will cause great debate now over where and when various ancient human species arose. Finally! A breath of fresh air in the old dusty halls of academia!! Good God I was starting to suffocate, frankly!! Continue Reading