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[Merged] Fossil find rewrites human evolution


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#1    questionmark

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:37 PM

The Guardian said:

The spectacular fossilised skull of an ancient human ancestor that died nearly two million years ago in central Asia has forced scientists to rethink the story of early human evolution.

Anthropologists unearthed the skull at a site in Dmanisi, a small town in southern Georgia, where other remains of human ancestors, simple stone tools and long-extinct animals have been dated to 1.8m years old.

Experts believe the skull is one of the most important fossil finds to date, but it has proved as controversial as it is stunning. Analysis of the skull and other remains at Dmanisi suggests that scientists have been too ready to name separate species of human ancestors in Africa. Many of those species may now have to be wiped from the textbooks.

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Edited by Still Waters, 17 October 2013 - 11:17 PM.
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#2    keninsc

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:47 PM

http://www.nbcnews.c...bate-8C11413284

Did the human family tree just get simpler? Skull stirs up debate

The key to the claim is the assembly of a fossil called Skull 5. The specimen was discovered in separate pieces at a sprawling excavation in Dmanisi, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. Over the past eight years, Skull 5's jaw and the cranium were painstakingly matched up and compared with four other hominid skulls unearthed at the site.

The researchers were struck by the fact that Skull 5's braincase was relatively small, while the face was relatively large. What's more, other skeletal fossils associated with Skull 5 suggested that the individual's body proportions were much like a modern human's.

Edited by Still Waters, 17 October 2013 - 11:05 PM.
Reduced copied text & removed copyrighted images


#3    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:42 AM

This is a great find, though I doubt it will "rewrite textbooks". That the variation exists within examples of H. erectus may simply lead to a simplfying of the known hominids, as most of the later ones H. ergaster, H. rudolfensis, etc, may just be H. ercetus after all, as may have contented for years. This is just science doing what it does best.

This does, however, showcase an important lesson, that whether or not these hominds all turn out to be H. erectus within variation, WE are the ones who make the distinction. There are not labels on fossils, they have no barcodes to scan and see what they are. We use various factors to say that some are more like A than they are B.

Humanity still has a complicated and unknown past and I feel that it is very important to note that this does not, in anyway, as I have seen mentioned on several comment sections, negate or refute anything about evolution or the Homo lineage.

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#4    keninsc

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:40 AM

I have to agree with, however I think it interesting that in the last several paleontologist have had to do the same thing with a number of dinosaur species. Turns out they've discovered that what they thought were a different species were actually juvenile aged creatures of the same species. Variations within the human species then stands to reason.


#5    ealdwita

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:42 AM

Piltdown anyone?

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#6    Frank Merton

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:47 AM

View Postkeninsc, on 18 October 2013 - 06:40 AM, said:

I have to agree with, however I think it interesting that in the last several paleontologist have had to do the same thing with a number of dinosaur species. Turns out they've discovered that what they thought were a different species were actually juvenile aged creatures of the same species. Variations within the human species then stands to reason.
There is a natural human tendency to see the difference in what you have found from what has been found before, and hence a tendency to make it a new species.  Not a big deal.  Over time these things sort themselves out.


#7    keninsc

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

True, that and we never knew what changes happened as they matured. A lion is a great example, we'd never have known via the fossil record that the nature, adult males had a mane. Or that the females had no manes at all. The only reason we know so much about them is because we've had the chance to study live ones. Sort of like watching the Gods play chess and you've never played it before, it's hard to understand all the moves and objective of the game. Same with creatures long departed.


#8    DieChecker

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:20 AM

I read this a couple days ago. What struck me is that even if the skulls of the various homonid species do fit within the current level of physical diversity, in the specific areas and timelines, the traits of specific "species" were consistant. The physical diversity appears, from what I've read, to have been low within these groups.

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#9    Timmeh

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:52 AM

I would be careful with this article, it seems to be a tad bit sensationalized. All I got from it was H. erectus left Africa 200k years before originally thought and that their features varied as you would expect a populations features to.


#10    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:55 AM

View PostTimmeh, on 21 October 2013 - 07:52 AM, said:

I would be careful with this article, it seems to be a tad bit sensationalized. All I got from it was H. erectus left Africa 200k years before originally thought and that their features varied as you would expect a populations features to.
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#11    pallidin

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:23 PM

Yeah, I'm a little skeptical about this as well. Not saying that it might not be true, just that I don't think there is enough evidence for conclusion.


#12    Weedweedweed

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:13 AM

"The skull was found along with the remains of four other individuals and several stone tools"

Stone tools.. We are a miner slaverace created by the "Gods" and left behind to tend to ourselfs...


#13    coolguy

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:09 AM

Very cool find,just think all bones that have not been found


#14    TheGreatBeliever

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:01 PM

His face takes up his face!


#15    Rolci

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:35 AM

As for rewriting textbooks, that should've happened like a hundred times in the past 20 years, only it NEVER happens. One of my colleagues is a history teacher, graduated from Cambridge, but she's never even heard of Gobekli Tepe, even though it's been being excavated for almost 20 years and dates back 10.000 years. Or Puma Punku for that matter. That's world class education. And you want these in textbooks? Gimme a break..

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