Not Out of Africa

26 May 2017

Another theory dropped on its head and given a shaking before being turned upside down. At https://phys.org/print414742180.html ... Charles Darwin said humans evolved in Africa - and the politically correct meme has repeated this ad nauseum for many years. It fits the multi-cultural scenario and is embedded in what can only be described as politicised science. The Leakey excavations along the Rift Valley in northern Kenya have tended to support the scenario and one might say if the Earth was a stationary globe in space it is a reasonable theory. It is thoroughly uniformitarian in nature and the reason Darwin deduced our origins in Africa is simple - Africa is the home of our living nearest relatives amongst the apes. The theory has proceeded with a few blips over the years. The discovery of bones in India, for example, got people excited for a while, until somebody showed the bones belonged to an ape very similar to the orang utan (now surviving only in Indonesia). The big problem is that trying to discover human origins, the missing link between apes and humans if you like, is fraught simply because all that has been found are scraps of bones and the odd skull (often not complete). In spite of that numerous theories have seen the light of day and it is amazing how scientists can actually wiggle evidence out of just a single tooth let alone a skull. One modern aid is genetics. It has been estimated that humans diverged from chimpanzees between 10 and 5 million years ago, and this has tended to become the target area in search of remains. What they are looking for is a transition fossil, one with human attributes as well as ape characteristics. The search is on.politicised science. The Leakey excavations along the Rift Valley in northern Kenya have tended to support the scenario and one might say if the Earth was a stationary globe in space it is a reasonable theory. It is thoroughly uniformitarian in nature and the reason Darwin deduced our origins in Africa is simple - Africa is the home of our living nearest relatives amongst the apes. The theory has proceeded with a few blips over the years. The discovery of bones in India, for example, got people excited for a while, until somebody showed the bones belonged to an ape very similar to the orang utan (now surviving only in Indonesia). The big problem is that trying to discover human origins, the missing link between apes and humans if you like, is fraught simply because all that has been found are scraps of bones and the odd skull (often not complete). In spite of that numerous theories have seen the light of day and it is amazing how scientists can actually wiggle evidence out of just a single tooth let alone a skull. One modern aid is genetics. It has been estimated that humans diverged from chimpanzees between 10 and 5 million years ago, and this has tended to become the target area in search of remains. What they are looking for is a transition fossil, one with human attributes as well as ape characteristics. The search is on.

In the above link, The Conversation discussion provides a little history, a sort of foreword on new research out this week in PLoS One online journal (May 2017). The researchers say they have found the missing link, and it dates from 7 million years ago. The big problem is that it was found in the Balkans - not in Africa. The evidence consists of a single jaw - and one tooth.

The same story is at http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2017/article/scientists-find... ...and the missing link has been dubbed, Graecopithecus freybergi - a bit of a mouth full but providing a distinct geographical context. This news is bound to get tongues wagging amongst anthropologists - so the claim will be resisted. It is contrary to mainstream Out of Africa theory.

                                     The researchers have been a bit clever though as they have had a look at what the climate was doing 7 million years ago and they reckon the northern Mediterranean zone was similar to the Sahel today - a savannah environment. This, you may note, is the optimum climate for human origins, open grassland with lots of game. We may wonder where the Balkans were 7 million years ago - as far as the then equator was situated (plate movement for example and pole drift).