Anthropology news

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.

genetic holes

It seems that even genetics can get frenetic over when genetic changes might have taken place. This new discipline, presented as almost infallible, has been holed on the under side. At http://anthropology.net/2016/02/17/neanderthal-human-sex-happened-100000... ... where sex is included as an attractor as a light is to a moth. The subject is genetics and inheritance of traits. Some four per cent of Neanderthal genes are said to be preserved in Europeans, for example, but the big question is, how much more genetic material was once part of European genes.

neanderthal DNA

People of Eurasian origin have inherited dna from Neanderthals - see http://phys.org/print374420448.html

Out of Taiwan

You've heard of Out of Africa - it seems there is also an Out of Taiwan theory that is proving to be difficult to uphold - see http://phys.org/print373206379.html

Chauvet Painting

At http://www.anthropology.net/2016/01/11/abstract-chauvet-painting-represe... ... three French researchers have published an article on the online journal PLoS One saying they think one the paintings in the famous Chaauvet cave in SE France is of an erupting volcano, daubed in red and white pigments over other paintings. The big point is this reliably dated. Prehistoric cave art is notoriously difficult to date - and the parameters are controversial.

Homo erectus

At http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-11/20/c_134838032.htm ... the Chinese have unearthed a well preserved skull of Homo erectus which will be invaluable to anthropologists and people specialising in human evolution. It was excavated in Dongzhi County in Anhai Province and it has already been named Dongzhi Man. It was buried amongst a number of stone implements, the teeth of other humans together with bone fragments, and some 6000 bones of animals that it is claimed, had been slaughtered and prepared by humans.

human origins

An alternative theory to Out of Africa can be found at www.rafonda.com ... Ronald Fonda places the origins of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) in northern Eurasia rather than Africa but his arguments are too lengthy to outline here so you will have to read what he says for yourself and make up your own mind.

getting earlier

Out of Africa has more problems - see http://phys.org/print364047660.html ... and the acrobats necessary to keep the politically correct meme alive and kicking is quite amusing. The latest torpedo is that modern humans have been found in China between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago - which will cause some alteration in the mapping of human migration. The Out of Africa theory is that all humans are descended from a pristine version of the human tree that first came to fruition in Africa. Subsequently, these modern humans left Africa 50,000 years ago.

Denisova dated

The Denisova cave in the NW Altai caused a bit of a stir a couple of years ago when the tooth of an individual was DNA tested and found to be a new species of human, a sort of cross between Homo erectus and Neanderthals. Dates were provisional. These have now been more thoroughly ascertained  and the finger bone and molar go back 50,000 years ago and a few other bones go back 110,000 years ago (just after the last Interglacial period came to an end).

update on Naledi

It seems a more sober assessment of Homo naledi is now emerging after the media went over hype. At http://phys.org/print361434216.html ... more details have emerged and scientists, it seems, are not agreed if the bones come from apes or from hominids. See the cave diagram below - well out of the way for a drop in from above