The link below is to an excellent article well worth the read about the growing “mystery” concerning archaic humans with modern human features. It calls for the revamping of the Out of Africa theory and I wholeheartedly agree!
The norm has always been that more than one human species have coexisted at the same time and sometimes in the same place. Our nice little concept of an archaic human species giving way to a more modern human species now lies in tatters thanks to recent discoveries. That little Utopian idea no longer flies as the evidence says that there was MUCH interbreeding between human species and that HYBRIDS were produced and survived. In fact, they dominated and they (we) still dominate today!
In South Africa we have Homo naledi showing a mix of archaic and modern morphology. We have the same in Morocco. These finds are changing what we think in terms of human evolution because these specimens are NOT from archaic times but from MODERN TIMES! When I say modern times mean around 300 kya NOT millions of years ago. The “mystery” is really no mystery at all if we think in terms of hybrid offspring. What is being found in Morocco and South Africa and elsewhere is CLEAR EVIDENCE of hybridization! And not only that but we now know that there were many migrations out of Africa AND many migrations INTO Africa! So much for the OOA theory!! 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
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
Artistic reconstruction of Neanderthal-Modern Human Hybrid
It is pretty much a well known fact now that non-African people outside of Africa have anywhere from 1% to 3% or more Neanderthal DNA in them. It’s also known that between 35-45 kya as modern humans were spreading through Europe the Neanderthals began to disappear. What is less known is the some researchers believe that 40 kya some modern human genomes may have had much more Neanderthal DNA perhaps to the tune of at least twice as much.
I myself contend that some people have much more Neanderthal DNA in them and that their ancestors had even more Neanderthal DNA in their genes and that is why today we can see some people who have clearly Neanderthal features. Continue Reading
Here is an interesting email I recently received:
Dear Dr. Peron:
I have read almost every post on your blog including those about “bigfoot.” Your writing skills are beyond approach and your knowledge is phenomenal. However, I fail to understand why someone of your expertise would actually believe in something like “bigfoot.” I consider this “creature” nothing more than urban myth and misidentified animals such as bears. You and Dr. Jeff Meldrum at the University of Idaho and Dr. Susan Martinez at Columbia University are the only anthropologists I know of who actually seem to believe that this creature is real. I find that shocking! How can three obviously intelligent academics like yourselves believe in in such a thing or even consider it possible?
There have been thousands of sightings of this alleged creature but not one shred of evidence. Unless you want to include the complete farce of Dr.Melba Ketchum and her absolutely preposterous “DNA evidence.” Dr. Ketchum is not a reputable source as far as I’m concerned as she has some questionable associations and ideas and, besides, is a veterinarian and not an anthropologist at all. Surely with all of the sightings of this “bigfoot” creature there would be plenty of evidence and, in fact, the evidence would abound but that is not the case. Continue Reading
Narmada Man skull cap
When it comes to South Asia the emergence of modern Homo sapiens is hotly contested due to gaps in the fossil record. One controversial fossil find from this region is a partial cranium from Hathnora in India. This solitary cranium has been dated at about 250 kyr and the debate centers around just exactly what are we looking at here. Some researchers believe this skull is from an evolved H. erectus while other believe it is from an archaic H. sapien or H. heidelbergensis.
Some researchers believe that this cranium along with other fossil remains known as the “Narmada fossils” support the presence of three hominins in the region long ago specifically one early modern and two archaic. In one find a femur and calvarium (skullcap) was found and these are believed to be from a large bodied species possibly similar to H. heidelbergensis or even a South Asian variation (hybrid) of H. heidelbergensis. Acheulian tools were also found with this specimen. 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