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
“A team of scientists can verify that their 5 year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.”
So if we take the Ketchum report as factual then what we call “Bigfoot” came into existence 15 kya and it is a hybrid between Homo sapiens (modern humans) and an unknown hominid species. Fifteen thousand years ago the last ice age was drawing to an end as was the end of the Pleistocene Epoch and the present era known as the Holocene was just beginning. Mastodons were still roaming the North American continent at that time and they wouldn’t go extinct until around 10.5 kya. Smilodons were still around and they would not go extinct until about 10 kya. These were large cats found throughout the Americas and you likely know them as the infamous saber toothed cats or saber toothed tigers! Giant ground sloths were still around as well and didn’t go extinct until around 11 kya.
In terms of humans 13 kya sheep were being domesticated and the Sahara in North Africa was wet and fertile ground instead of the desert we see today! Humans were transitioning from hunter-gatherer cultures to farming cultures. Humans were Homo sapiens and they were AMH (anatomically modern humans) in form. Humans were already in the Americas including North America. The landbridge between Siberia and Alaska was still existent and some theorize that it was around this time that a large asteriod may have exploded over the North American continent wiping out some human civilizations and many of the large animals living there. 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
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
Likely this post will open up a hornet’s nest but so be it as the topic here is prehistoric man and the Bible. Let me begin by saying I read nowhere in the Bible where it says anything even remotely similar to, “and on the sixth day God created man a Homo sapien.” And, frankly I have never believed God created humans as Homo sapiens sapiens! In fact, I find plenty of biblical evidence of possible archaic humans! Consider Noah for instance. It’s said that Noah was born covered in a white down “like the angels” and his father questioned if Noah was even his son at the time. Consider Esau whom I’ve posted about before on this blog. Esau was a “man of the forest.” His body was covered in a reddish hair. He was a hunter and lived as a primitive man. Also, consider John the Baptist who wore skins and dwelt in the wilderness during the day of Jesus. He was somewhat unkept and primitive according to what we read in the New Testament. All of these examples could pass for being archaic humans and I can’t help but wonder if some of them didn’t have distinctive brow ridges and protruding jaws. Were they hybrids? Were they surviving examples of H. erectus, Neanderthals, or some other ancient human ancestor? 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