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Study finds twist in human evolution


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#1    glorybebe

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 08:36 PM

WASHINGTON - Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.

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The new research by famed paleontologist Meave Leakey in Kenya shows our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, calling into question the evolution of our ancestors.

The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday's journal Nature.

In 2000 Leakey found an old Homo erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the Homo habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that one evolved from the other, researchers said.

It's the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.

The two species lived near each other, but probably didn't interact with each other, each having their own "ecological niche," Spoor said. Homo habilis was likely more vegetarian and Homo erectus ate some meat, he said. Like chimps and apes, "they'd just avoid each other, they don't feel comfortable in each other's company," he said.

They have some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.
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#2    questionmark

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 08:45 PM

Nice find, but it is verosimil that two, or more, species of humanoids co-existed occupying different ecological niches. Evolution is not about advancing, about better or about upper and lower. It is about survival. Whatever it takes will be done by the species that want to survive.

Sometimes the evolution even goes backwards, like the Flores Man has proven.



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#3    Shaftsbury

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 10:53 PM

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Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution


I think it's rather simplistic to think of any evolutionary path as a straight line.

The fossil evidence has been telling us a more complicated story all along, but we seem to have been stuck with this simple model for human evolution. Nice to see that the science is moving forward in this area. original.gif


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#4    The Puzzler

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 01:48 PM

I read the whole article and used it in another post to demonstate how a single fossil find at any time can change the whole evolutionary ladder. I am sick of hearing "well, they would have found fossils by now.." "we know by the fossil record..."
The fossil record is incomplete and the whole human evolutionary chain is up for grabs. I think it's only a matter of time before something BIG is found that really challenges what we think we know.

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#5    Essan

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 02:37 PM

The idea that this find 'proves' erectus didn't evolve from habilis is a good example of the way so many people totally misunderstand evolution.

In this case, what may have happened is that a group of habilis found themselves living in an area where environmental changes of some kind prompted evolutionary changes.  This resulted in this group of habilis evolving into erectus.

However, elsewhere, another group of habilis did not encounter such environmental changes and had no need to evolve to deal with them.  So they stayed as habilis.

Thus, erectus evolved from habilis and later co-existed with habilis as well.

Simple original.gif

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#6    Nocturnal

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:02 PM

Quote

The idea that this find 'proves' erectus didn't evolve from habilis is a good example of the way so many people totally misunderstand evolution.

In this case, what may have happened is that a group of habilis found themselves living in an area where environmental changes of some kind prompted evolutionary changes.  This resulted in this group of habilis evolving into erectus.

However, elsewhere, another group of habilis did not encounter such environmental changes and had no need to evolve to deal with them.  So they stayed as habilis.

Thus, erectus evolved from habilis and later co-existed with habilis as well.

Simple original.gif


Well I would imagine the professional scientists would be aware of this. I read this from another article which was larger, and mentioned that the question of habilis evolving to erectus has been under question for some years. So this isn't first evidence. Also they mention the skulls were found within walking distance of each other, probably adding evidence that they didn't undergo significantly different evolutionary pressures.

In case you want to see the other article . The core of it's the same.

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#7    The Puzzler

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:02 PM

Quote

The idea that this find 'proves' erectus didn't evolve from habilis is a good example of the way so many people totally misunderstand evolution.

In this case, what may have happened is that a group of habilis found themselves living in an area where environmental changes of some kind prompted evolutionary changes.  This resulted in this group of habilis evolving into erectus.

However, elsewhere, another group of habilis did not encounter such environmental changes and had no need to evolve to deal with them.  So they stayed as habilis.

Thus, erectus evolved from habilis and later co-existed with habilis as well.

Simple original.gif

OK sure, but I think I'd believe Meave Leakey on this one....
"Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis," explains Meave Leakey, one of the lead authors of the paper. Instead, both species must have had their origins between 2 and 3 million years ago, a time from which few human fossils are known. "The fact that they stayed separate as individual species for a long time suggests that they had their own ecological niche, thus avoiding direct competition." http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/Research...n_Evolution.asp

....considering if I can't believe a Leakey on fossil knowledge I can't believe anyone.

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:09 PM

Quote

OK sure, but I think I'd believe Meave Leakey on this one....
"Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis," explains Meave Leakey, one of the lead authors of the paper. Instead, both species must have had their origins between 2 and 3 million years ago, a time from which few human fossils are known. "The fact that they stayed separate as individual species for a long time suggests that they had their own ecological niche, thus avoiding direct competition." http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/Research...n_Evolution.asp

....considering if I can't believe a Leakey on fossil knowledge I can't believe anyone.


And we have to agree there. The aim of evolution was not to create Homo Sapiens but to create surviving species. We are a by-product of survival. And we are at the top of the food chain (now) because we adapted best to changes.





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#9    swtp

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Posted 10 August 2007 - 06:39 AM

We only have a hand full of pieces to a puzzle with billions of pieces! I think it,s going to be a very long time if ever that we can prove without any doubt what the whole picture and the truth really is! But i do enjoy wondering about it all! yes.gif


#10    Jiatao

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:11 PM

Quote

And we have to agree there. The aim of evolution was not to create Homo Sapiens but to create surviving species. We are a by-product of survival. And we are at the top of the food chain (now) because we adapted best to changes.


Exactly what I was thinking!


#11    Piney

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:45 PM

Quote

The idea that this find 'proves' erectus didn't evolve from habilis is a good example of the way so many people totally misunderstand evolution.

In this case, what may have happened is that a group of habilis found themselves living in an area where environmental changes of some kind prompted evolutionary changes.  This resulted in this group of habilis evolving into erectus.

However, elsewhere, another group of habilis did not encounter such environmental changes and had no need to evolve to deal with them.  So they stayed as habilis.

Thus, erectus evolved from habilis and later co-existed with habilis as well.

Simple original.gif


One theory states that some Halibis left Africa and evolved into Erectus in Asia. Then returned to Africa. That could of been the very enviromental change you mentioned. There were less edible plants in Asia and meat eating brought about the evolutionary change. Just a thought.


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#12    dest_titor1

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 10:29 PM

Evolution of the humans their must have been several variations to adapt to many differing areas then the died and the most adaptable survived.

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#13    camlax

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 10:57 PM

Quote

Well I would imagine the professional scientists would be aware of this. I read this from another article which was larger, and mentioned that the question of habilis evolving to erectus has been under question for some years. So this isn't first evidence. Also they mention the skulls were found within walking distance of each other, probably adding evidence that they didn't undergo significantly different evolutionary pressures.

In case you want to see the other article . The core of it's the same.



I don't think scientists aren't aware of this, Every anthropologist or biologist I have ever talked to certainly is. It has been known for a long time that human evolution was not linear. The media latched onto to the idea of "from ape right to man", the classical

linked-image.

The media is an institution of their own rules, they do not abide by current scientific opinion, they spread what gets them the most attention. They are a bad forum to get your science from. I wish I had a quick fix for the system, but I do not. I do know though, that the media needs to be more responsible when relaying information between science and public.

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#14    camlax

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 11:03 PM

This kind of idea has been around for years.

linked-image

I guess it does not seem as interesting to people as the picture I posted above.

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#15    IamsSon

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 11:35 PM

Quote

Nice find, but it is verosimil that two, or more, species of humanoids co-existed occupying different ecological niches. Evolution is not about advancing, about better or about upper and lower. It is about survival. Whatever it takes will be done by the species that want to survive.

Sometimes the evolution even goes backwards, like the Flores Man has proven.

It's interesting how when you start out with a conclusion firmly grasped, no matter what data you find, no matter how obtuse your logic has to be, the data will fit the conclusion.

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