Anthropology news

Human Origins Again

At http://phys.org/print387794468.html ... fossil finds in China challenge the Out of Africa theory of the evolution of modern humans.    The Chinese have wondered if Peking Man (dated 780,000 years ago( and Homo erectus in general, evolved into more modern humans and contributed to the gene pool of people in East Asia. This is a bit like Europeans and Neanderthals - how much of the latter is inside the former (diluted over time).

Hobbits and Fire

At http://phys.org/print386437614.html ... we return once again to the Hobbits. Anthropologists can't leave them alone. They were just three feet in height. Scientists have now discovered evidence of fire in the heart of the Liang Bua Cave on Flores Island in Indonesia after taking samples of sediments from between the Hobbit remains and the modern era. The suggestion is that modern humans, with camp fires, turned up around 41,000 years ago - but the date is elastic to a certain extent.

Footprints in the sand

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/earliest-footprint... ... footprints in the dry region of Eritrea have been dated to 800,000 years ago. Humans living at that time, assumed to be Homo erectus, left behind footprints in what had been sand or silt on the side of a lake - or possibly on the dried up bed of a lake. The footprints are very similar to those of modern people which says a lot about Homo erectus - how different were they really?

migration into Africa

Mainstream is very fond of emphasizing migration Out of Africa but it seems there was also a bit of migration Into Africa - see http://phys.org/print383472524.html

More on Neanderthals ...

 

At https://anthropology.net/2016/05/27/neanderthal-the-interior-cave-decora... ... the broken stalagmite pieces (see yesterday) were assembled into two oval rings 176,000 years ago, we are told. Together with them were pieces of burnt bone and evidence of fire - some kind of ritual activity perhaps.

Neanderthal disappearance

At www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/did-neanderthals-die-out-because-p... .... Neanderthals had bigger brains than we have and a similar tool repertoire to early modern humans so why did they die out? This obviously intrigues a lot of people and some odd theories have been touted to account for their sudden disappearance and the equally sudden appearance of modern humans in their place. The latest and also odd explanation being put forward is that they died out as a result of their diet - assumed to be high in meat (but lacking enough fat).

Neanderthal inheritance

At http://phys.org/print381383366.html ... Palaeolithic humans and genetics. At the end of the piece we are told there was admixture with Neanderthals around 45,000 years ago. The prehistoric human population had around 3 to 6 per cent of Neanderthal DNA. Today, this has declined as Neanderthal DNA is slightly toxic to modern humans (or some of us it seems). Natural selection is removing Neanderthal ancestry - which makes you wonder why it has taken so long to diminish to 2 per cent. Is it possible Neanderthal or Homo erectus DNA was once much more plentiful in prehistoric humans.

Beringia Refugia

The idea that Beringia was a human refugia during the Late Glacial Maximum has been gaining momentum over the last few years. It is getting more and more popular but it is really only a hypothesis that has yet to be proven by actual physical proof. It's a reasonable idea but to present as unassailable fact what it essentially speculation is all about propaganda - or a shortage of thinking outside the box. See for instance http://phys.org/print380270151.html

Hobbits

At www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institute/hobbits-disappeared-much-ea... ... after all the fuss over the Hobbit fossils has died down we now have a revised age for them - but courtesy of the journal Nature (March 2016). However, inclined to be a bit sceptical of turn arounds one cannot but help think the new dates suit the mainstream agenda - but is it contrived?

Aborigine genes

At http://phys.org/print375620395.html ... a gene sequence of Aboriginal men show they are all descendants of distant ancestors that reached Australia in the remote past. The figure being bandied about is 50,000 years ago, a number whisked out of the hat as it complies, it would seem, with maintream thinking. The research is published in Current Biology Feb 2016 and is confined to Y chromosomes only - and to be fully acceptable the genetic evidence will have to be extended to other genetic avenues, such as mitochondrial DNA.