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
A recent study earlier this month by the Max PLanck Institute for the Science of Human History reports that Neanderthals received a genetic contribution from Africa by hominins who were closely related to modern humans more than 220 kya. The study obtained mtDNA (inherited from our mothers) from the femur bone of a prehistoric European hominin in an effort to resolve what appears to be our complicated relationship with Neanderthals. The genetic data has now given us a timeline for a possible migration out of Africa that took place after Neanderthal ancestors arrived in Europe and suggests Neanderthals were more closely related to modern humans than any other hominin species. What this means is that there may have been a migration out of Africa of hominins 220 kya.
What the study suggest is that after the Neanderthals arrived in Europe there was another migration out of Africa and those people interbred with the Neanderthals in Europe leaving their genetic marker in the Neanderthals mtDNA and these hominins appear to be closely related to modern humans. In addition, although likely this took place 220 kya it could have taken place as far back as 470 kya and may NOT have been a one time event either! 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
Hypertrichosis seen in a young man
I got an email a while back and this post is in answer to that email but first here is the email with the name changed to protect the reader:
Dear Dr. Peron:
I realize you are an anthropologist and not a medical doctor but do you know anything about excessive body hair growth at birth? If so, can you put up a post about it? Here’s why I am asking you this question.
When I was born I had a reddish “fur” all over my newborn body. Probably it was hair but my grandparents described it as “fur” like that seen in a little monkey or puppy. I also had a projecting jaw that was corrected by orthodontics when I was about 13 years old, thankfully. I also had a somewhat flat nose and pointed ears. In fact, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. said I looked more like a ” baby ape” than a “human baby.” I lost the “fur” during the first few years of my life but retained a colorless hair type all over my body which kind of shines like a blond color when I am in the sun. I know this might all sound freaky but my family is reluctant to talk about this and my mother gets very angry and absolutely refuses to discuss it whenever I bring it up. Additionally, when my father arrived at the hospital (he was off somewhere and had to travel) he took one look at me and angrily said, “That’s not my son!” and stormed out of the hospital never to return. Needless to say he and I did not have a very good relationship when he was alive, unfortunately. I just want to know if you’ve ever heard of anything like this and if you can post a bit about it if you have.
Miguel I’m not claiming to be an expert in this subject but here are some things that might aid in your understanding of this phenomena. Also, note that things like this DO happen so you are NOT alone.
Before I begin let me define a few terms. First is the term “atavism.” An “atavism” is a term used in biology to describe an “evolutionary throwback.” Traits appear in a species or individual that have generally disappeared generations before. Atavisms can occur in several ways. One way, and the most common, is when genes for previously existing phenotypical features are preserved in DNA and they become expressed through a mutation that knocks out the overriding genes for the new traits OR makes the old traits override the new one(s). A number of traits can vary as a result of shortening of fetal development of a trait (neoteny) OR by prolonging of it (neoteny). In such a case a shift in the time a trait is allowed to develop before it is fixed can bring about an ancestral phenotype. I do not wish to insult you so please do not take what I’m writing that way. What you are describing comes closest to the ancient human ancestor species known as Homo habilis (aka: Tool Man, Handyman, et al) minus the heavy brow ridge. This species existed roughly between 2.1–1.5 mya. That in my mind is significant and if you have any pictures of you as a newborn with this condition I would be HIGHLY interested in taking a look at them. Continue Reading