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
This is perhaps one of the greatest Mesoamerican discoveries of all time! Using LIDAR technology archaeologists have been able to peel back the thick forest canopy of the jungles of Guatemala and have discovered thousands of pyramid, palace, causeway, and housing ruins previously unknown. They discovered, also, that the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tikal are only a fraction of a LARGE Mayan city!
Some of the ruins are in swamp areas believed to have been uninhabitable and the ruins are all connected by causeways (elevated highways) suggesting they were frequently used for travel and trade. These finds are going to change the way we think of the Maya and it now appears certain that the Maya had a civilization that rivals anything found in Rome, Greece, and Egypt!
Upper jawbone found in the cave on Mt Carmel in Israel J
Earlier this month it was announced that a large international research team discovered the earliest known modern human fossil outside of Africa and they interpret the find to mean that modern humans left Africa at least 50k years earlier than previously thought which, frankly, may or may not be so.
The fossil is part of a left hemi-maxilla with teeth (upper jaw bone, simply). Researchers say that the find also indicates that modern humans may have been interacting over a longer period of time with other archaic humans such as Neanderthals et al. The jawbone was discovered at a site known as Misliya Cave in Israel which is one of several sites on Mt Carmel. Dating suggests the jawbone is 175-200 kya. It has been thought that modern humans first migrated out of Africa and into the Levant around 50 kya but this jawbone proves otherwise.
The jawbone itself has many features of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) BUT it also has features of Neanderthals and “other human groups.” And what might those “other human groups” be I ask? Homo erectus most likely and combinations (hybrids) of all of the above!! Continue Reading
Another Death Blow to the Out of Africa Theory!!
As I’ve said many times before, “What we thought was…was NOT. And what we thought was not….. WAS.” And when it comes to the story of human evolution this appears to be even more so than we have thought. I say this because a MAJOR DISCOVERY has now been revealed in Germany. Fossil teeth were found in Western Germany about a year ago and the reason that the discovery wasn’t announced before now is that researchers wanted to be certain about the dating. This discovery is nothing short of SENSATIONAL! In fact, you might even call it SPECTACULAR!! The teeth have been dated at 9.7 myr (million years old).
9.7 mya fossil teeth found in Germany 2017
To put this into perspective let me remind you of the fossil footprints found on the island of Crete a month ago Those footprints have been dated back to 5.7 mya. That puts these footprints in the realm of existence of Ardipithecus and Australopithecus. But they were not supposed to be in Crete but Africa according to the dying Out of Africa theory which is OBVIOUSLY WRONG! Yet, there they were on the island of Crete for the whole world to see! Many researchers just couldn’t believe the find because what it proved was that our earliest ancient human ancestors were wondering around Europe at the same time or maybe even EARLIER than they were in Africa! These footprints and other finds over the last few years have put the OOA into jeopardy and with the newest find in Germany the OOA now is most certainly WRONG! Continue Reading
Reconstructed face from Paleoindian skull named “Naiia” who lived about 13-20 kya in the Americas. This face shows some very obvious Oriental features!!
Back in April I posted about the fossil remains of Luzia Woman found in Brazil. Most anthropologists, including myself, believe she was a Paleo-Indian who may well have been part of the first wave of migrants into South America. The fossil remains have been dated at about 11.5 kya and in terms of all things anthropological that’s not that long ago. In fact, it was towards the end of the last glaciation. You can find my original post at the link below. Continue Reading
Artistic bust of Peking Man
Dragon Bone Hill overlooks the sprawling Chinese capital of Beijing (formerly Peking). It is a small limestone mountain visited by over 150,000 visitors each year. It was here in 1929 that the first specimen of Asian Homo Erectus was found known as “Peking Man.” The find consisted of a nearly complete skull dated between 680-780 kyr. The specimen was also one of the earliest ancient human ancestor fossil remains ever found but since that time the fame and importance of Peking Man has dwindled, sadly. Older fossils have been discovered in Africa where environmental conditions for fossil formation are more conducive. China and Southeast Asia tend not to be very good places for finding fossils due to the tropical climate and wet conditions in much of the region. Today Chinese paleoanthropologists wonder if H. erectus died out or contributed genes to modern Chinese people.
In the past decade China has stepped up efforts to uncover evidence of early human ancestors in the country and surrounding region. Old fossils are being reanalysed and old theories are being revised as new evidence comes to light. And the Chinese government has built a million dollar lab to extract and sequence ancient DNA!
More and more paleoanthropologists are beginning to finally pay attention to what is being found and what has been found in China and Asia in general. Discoveries in China and Asia clearly indicate that there was a variety of prehistoric human ancestors in the region and these finds are beginning to challenge some conventional ideas about just what our evolutionary history might really be!
Sadly, Western researchers tend to view fossils and artifacts in terms of those found in Africa and Europe due to the age of the fossils found there and because they are closer to major research facilities. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that Asian fossils do NOT fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution
H/T to JR Bentley for sending us this research article………..
It would be an understatement to say that there are problems with the Out-of-Africa (OOA) theory and finally new research and reanalysis of prior research is attempting to correct some of those problems but what is being found is that the OOA may be absolutely WRONG to begin with. This becomes especially obvious when genetic evidence is looked at. In fact, WORLD science is now leaving the OOA theory behind and a Chinese research team is advancing an out-of-ASIA theory for modern human origins based on Y-DNA & mtDNA evidence and, thus, they are reviving the Multiregional Theory for human evolution based on autosomal evidence. The field of genetic research is becoming more precise and I think that is fantastic because it is now beginning to give us a new picture of human evolution and migration patterns!! Finally, we are getting some real concrete proof of what was and what was NOT.
The latest research by Chinese geneticists suggests that about 2 mya the first split occurred in modern human autosomes. Further, they’ve uncovered genetic evidence of Y and mtDNA having originated in East Asia and dispersing outward from East Asia via HYBRIDIZATION by archaic human ancestors!! This research strongly suggests a EURASIAN origin rather than an African origin for ancient human ancestors!! The primary research team is being led by Shi Huang who is a US educated and trained geneticist.
Huang’s research confirms genetic diversity is highest in Africans and lowest in Amerindians. His team also confirms Africans & Amerindians are genetically most divergent from each other. Africans are found to be closer to each other than they are to other groups and that New world sub-populations are more distinct from each other than other continental groups. Further, they’ve also found that Amerindians have the world’s highest values of intergroup diversity.
The findings of this research are currently under peer review and the team argues that African genetic diversity is NOT a function of greater age of African hominins but is a product of selection! This is supported by data showing increased African diversity in the study. Yuan uses autosomal molecular divergence dates as evidence for multiregional evolution. That date is derived from estimated molecular divergence between autosomes of major human groups to have taken place 1.96–1.91 mya which is consistent with paleobiological evidence for a Homo (human) migration out of Africa 2 myr. Continue Reading