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Rewriting Human History

27 December 2019

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-story-rewriting-human-history-dna.html … rewriting human history using DNA. Joshua Akey of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics is trying to better understand our links with Neanderthals, Denisovans, even Homo erectus. Later, we learn this is a carry on of the research made by Paul Reich. Akey has been able to uncover genetic inter connectors on a scale previously impossible but the message, basically, is that there is an enormous amount of information yet to be discovered – rather than anything significantly new.

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-fresh-demise-ancient-human-species.html … which concerns the disappearance of Homo erectus. A site in Java in Indonesia has fossil bones of Homo erectus that have now being dated to 117,000/108,000 years ago (at the end of the last Inter Glacial). They seem to have met a watery end, tossed around and mixed up with various animals. At one time the deposit was dated as recently as 40,000 years  ago – leading to all kinds of strange theories that Australian Aborigines were descendants of Homo erectus. Nowadays, an Australian connection with the Denisovans is the more likely – but we don't know what the connection between Denisovans and Homo erectus might have been (although some kind of link is presumably quite likely). Now, the demise of Homo erectus, it is alleged, occurred much earlier than 40,000 years ago – but keep your eyes peeled for updates on this. Some 12 skulls and 2 leg bones were discovered at Ngungdong, , buried in a deposit of sediment close to the Solo River. Interestingly, the sediments are part of the river deposits (laid down in terrace formation). This is basic geology so dating was based on the calculated dates of the terraces – using the fossil animal  remains as a guide.

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