Denisova Cave, Altai Mtns, Siberia
An interesting idea was presented to me today which I had not considered until now. It is the idea that the Denisovan who lived in the Altai Mountains at Denisova Cave could have been exiles. That’s an interesting idea to say the least because the modern humans living in the region have no Denisova DNA and you’d think they would since it appears at least some Denisovans lived in the region long ago.
Denisova Cave is located in the Bashelaksky Range of the Altai Mountains, Siberia, Russia. Denisova Cave is a major archaeological site when it comes to the Denisovans because it’s the first place where remains were found that we had no idea existed. The cave also contains evidence of habitation by H. sapiens and Neanderthals. These habitations were concurrent, meaning, at the SAME time!
Map showing location of Altai Mountains
As recent as 2016 a needle made of bone was discovered here dating back 50 kya and it turned out to be the oldest known needle ever found. Sediments inside the cave are rich in animal remains including animals that are now extinct. They include remains from cave lions, cave hyenas, and numerous small mammals. Remains of reptiles have also been found in the cave sediment along with 50 bird species. Continue Reading
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
An article appearing in the BBC is claiming researchers assessing results from 185 studies conducted between 1973-2011 are claiming significant sperm count drops in men could lead to EXTINCTION of the human race! Researchers told the BBC that if this trend continues that humans may face a mass extinction event. This research was conducted at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and what they found was a 52.4% decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3% decline in total sperm count in men…..FROM……
and New Zealand.
The study also indicated that the rate of decline in men living in these countries is continuing and maybe even increasing. Other researchers are not so sure about this including myself! Continue Reading
Horses in Pleistocene Park, Siberia
In northeastern Siberia near the Kolyma River south of Chersky in the Sakha Republic of Russia scientists are attempting to recreate a subarctic steppe grassland ecosystem that existed during the last ice age. Led by Dr Sergey Zimov the project aims to give support to the hypothesis that overhunting and not climate change was the main cause of wildlife extinction and the disappearance of grasslands at the end of the Pleistocene. An additional aim of the project is to research climate effects on the ecosystem with the hypothesis being that the change from tundra to grasslands will result in higher energy emissions and energy absorption in the area leading to less thawing of the permafrost and, thereby, less emission of greenhouse gases. Continue Reading
The field of genetic research continues to be fascinating and more and more it’s becoming possible to bring back extinct species such as the woolly mammoth but my question is, “is it wise?”.
I’d love to see a real living woolly mammoth or a big breathing sabre tooth cat and genetic science is now on the verge of being able to bring such creatures back into existence but for what purpose? Marketing? Zoo exhibits? Personal pets or oddities?
The ecosystems that these extinct animals existed in are no longer present on our planet for the most part. Climate change helped spur their extinction. To bring them back just to satisfy our own curiosity might not be such a good idea. Would they survive in today’s environment? What about the disease factor? Continue Reading
According to an article appearing on Science Daily (10 May 2017) African lions are now under the same threats of extinction that wiped out sabre-toothed tigers at the end of the last ice age. Primarily, this extinction was to loss of prey that the sabre-tooths depended on for food so as the prey began to die and go extinct so did these large cats. Scientist now say that the African lion now faces extinction for the same reason and so do the world’s other big cats such as the Sunda clouded leopard.
The study was conducted by the University of Sussex and other institutions. They concluded that ice age trends can now be applied to our own modern day big cats. In studying the extinction of several ice age big cats they discovered that if these animals were alive today only an average of 25% of their preferred prey would still remain across their natural regions. The research team postulated that the devastating loss of prey species was a major contributing factor in the extinction of these ice age big cats. 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
Archaeologists don’t know why the Clovis Culture and beasts such as the saber-toothed tiger, the Mammoth, and Mastodon suddenly disappeared. The Clovis people lived around 12.8 kya and a recent discovery might shed some light on their disappearance along with their furry friends. A study conducted by the University of South Carolina has found an abundance of platinum at 11 Clovis sites across the US. Platinum is an element associated with asteroids and comets and other space objects.
This study adds to a previous study by Harvard University researchers who found platinum in ice core samples from Greenland back in 2013. The SC researchers found an abundance of the element in sediment layers that coincide with the Younger Dryas period which was a period of extreme cooling beginning about 12.8 kya and lasting for 1400 years. This period saw the return of ice age conditions for that period and the cause of this is uncertain. What we do know is that it brought about the demise of the Clovis Culture and that there appears to have been a MASS EXTINCTION event in North America at the time. Continue Reading