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
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
Cerutti Mastodon Site in San Diego, California discoveries indicate that early humans were in North America at least 130 kya.
Calico Hills Early Man Site in California indicate humans were in North America 100-200 kya.
Bluefish Cave Site, Canada indicates humans were in North America 24 kya.
Puebla, Mexico Site indicates humans were in Mexico 200-250 kya
Pedra Furada Site in Brazil indicate humans were in South America 48-60 kya.
And there are more…………….
When we take a look at these sites and the dates they have yielded we find that it appears humans have been in the Americas since 250-200 kya. But this is far from being the generally accepted timeframe for when humans migrated into the Americas! That timeline says we migrated across the Bering Landbridge around 15 kya! However, the more archaeologists discover, the more it appears that “someone” was in the Americas before 15 kya and that “mystery population” is affectionately known as “POPULATION Y.” Additionally, the more we learn about Paleoindians the more apparent it becomes that they did NOT look like modern Native Americans and, in fact, were quite different. At the tip of South America we have a people known as the Fuegians who ironically have many features sen in Homo erectus and we find the same features in a people known as the Pericues who lived at the tip of Baja California. But, according to mainstream thinking H. erectus was long extinct before these timeframes. I suggest that hypothesis is WRONG and note that some researchers believe H. erectus could have existed up until 20-30 kya!! Continue Reading
Artistic depiction of the 5 Dmanisi skulls
The majority consensus is that our ancient human ancestors came out of Africa and populated the world. And the consensus is also that human evolution took place in Africa as these newly evolved humans migrated out of Africa they replaced more archaic species along the way. This is the OOA/Replacement Theory. More recently there has been evidence found that, in fact, there were not only migrations out of Africa but also back into Africa. However, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting all of this is NOT the case at all and part of that growing evidence are the finds at the Dmanisi site in Georgia (Russia).
The finds at the Dmanisi site clearly challenge the conventional opinion and the more we find the more it is beginning to appear that Africa was NOT the sole “cradle of humankind.” For, what is being found at the Dmanisi site suggests STRONGLY that there was a “Eurasian chapter in the long evolutionary story of man.”
Location of Dmanisi site in Georgia Republic
The Dmanisi discoveries upset the conventional view that ancient human ancestors migrated out of Africa not so long ago in evolutionary terms. In fact, these discoveries strongly point to ancient human ancestors migrating out of Africa FAR earlier than the conventional view holds. Of course, some of this is being demeaned by the suggestion (speculation) that there was simply a long evolutionary interlude in Eurasia before moving back into Africa to complete our evolution. Frankly, I think that is an absolute CROCK! I think what was going on at Dmanisi was far MORE than simply an “evolutionary interlude.”
The Dmanisi fossilized bones have been dated at around 1.8 myr and they are the oldest remains discovered outside of Africa to date. The Dmanisi remains are far more primitive appearing than Homo erectus which is believed to have been the first hominid species to migrate out of Africa about 1 mya. How is this possible that we have a hominid species outside of Africa long before H. erectus migrated out of Africa and began their conquest of the world?
When we compare the Dmanisi remains to H. erectus remains we come up with some very interesting comparisons. The Dmanisi had brains about 40% SMALLER than the average H. erectus brain! We also find that the Dmanisi were significantly shorter than the average H. erectus. Further, the conventional view has been that when H. erectus came out of Africa they had sophisticated stone tools (Acheulean) and that their physical anatomy was “advanced” in terms of brain size and limb proportions. BUT what is found at Dmanisi is very DIFFERENT from this! Continue Reading
Artistic conception of Homo antecessor in Spain
1.2 mya an ancient human ancestor entered into what is today Europe with a unique mix of modern and primitive traits. This AHA is believed to be among the earliest human ancestors in Europe. We call this species “Homo antecessor” meaning “human pioneer.”
First discovered back in 1997 H. antecessor is much debated when it comes to just how this species is related to modern humans. Some anthropologists believe it to be a transitional species between H. erectus/ergaster and H. heidelbergensis. Others hold the view that this “human pioneer” was the last common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals. This species displays both modern and archaic morphology yet it displays traits not seen in either H. sapiens or the Neanderthals. Still, other anthropologists believe H. antecessor to be a separate species that evolved from H. erectus/ergaster. As if these various theories were not enough yet another one postulates H. antecessor is the same species as H. heidelbergensis which was in Europe about 600 kya to around 250 kya.
What we have in terms of fossil remains for this species are some lower jaw bones and about 14 bone fragments. In 1994 about 80 remains were found from 6 individuals who MAY have belonged to this species. These remains were found in the Atapuerca Mountains in northern Spain near Castile Leon. No complete skull has been found. I must also be noted that MOST of these remains are from CHILDREN! As you well know the bodies of children change as they grow into adults and enter into puberty and it may be that H. antecessor adults did not look like modern humans at all. The best fossil remain we have of this species is a lower jaw bone belonging to a 10 year old juvenile from Spain. This fossil has been dated between 857-780 kya.
H. antecessor may have been a CANNIBAL! Actually, cannibalism is NOT unusual for early human ancestors as much as we’d like to think otherwise. Numerous bits of evidence found at the Atapuerca site show cuts where flesh have been stripped from the bones which is a typical indicator of cannibalism. Further, on the coast near Norfolk in England 800 kya footprints believed to be from this species have also been found.
Some researchers believe H. antecessor may have indeed evolved from H. erectus in Africa around 1.5 mya and migrated into Europe. They also believe that once in Europe this species evolved into H. heidelbergenesis who, in turned, evolved into the Neanderthals. Very complicated! And if this is so then evolution was clearly not only going on in Africa but in EUROPE too! Was it evolution or were these simply different “breeds” of ancient humans who interbred with each other? Continue Reading
Patagonia is a region at the southern end of Argentina and Chile in South America. It contains the southern end of the Andes and the desert steppes and grasslands east of this mountain range. It is bounded by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Lake Pehoe, Patagonia
The name “Patagonia” has a rather interesting meaning. This region was named by the famous navigator and explorer Magellan in 1520. “Patagonia” is derived from the word “patagon.” Magellan used this name to describe the people that he and his men thought were “giants”! Most historians believe that the people he was referring to were the Tehuelches who just happened to be a a bit taller than your average European at the time. The name of these people, Tehuelches, actually means “the fierce people” in their native tongue.
When the Spanish explorers first set foot in this area they came across some rather large footprints on the beaches and they thought them to have been made by giants. But, actually, the footprints were made by the Tehuelches leather boots (called “guanaco”) which they wore on their feet. But the rumors persisted and this land of Patagonia gained the reputation of being a “land of giants.”
Tehuelche Chieftains in Patagonia, Argentina
The Tehuelches have lived in the Patagonia area for over 14,500 years. This claim has been verified by archaeological discoveries and research. These people have a nomadic lifestyle so archaeological evidence has been rather scant. They are also hunter-gatherers and they are rather well known for their cave paintings. One thing I find interesting about these people is that they are similar in appearance to the Hopi of northeastern Arizona and other Pueblo people of the American Southwest although taller.
It seems that throughout Patagonia’s history there have been stories or legends of hairy giants and ogres (man-eating giants). Some people have speculated that Patagonia might have been the home of some surviving Homo erectus hominids. This is used by some to explain the many sightings of an alleged Patagonian Bigfoot which has been reported since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors in the region. This explanation is rather interesting because mainstream anthropology says H. erectus was never in the Americas. But, as researcher Austin Whittall of Argentina says there is some controversial evidence that has been found in the area that is ignored by mainstream archaeology yet this evidence suggests humans were in the Americas long before we suspect. In fact, roughly 1/4 of a million years ago! Continue Reading