Discoveries and theories in human evolution and prehistory

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by ringo, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Not convinced this is the definitive proof they claim, but does look the most likely scenario now. We've seen similar in more recent history, I wouldn't be surprised if future research strengthened the argument.

    Humans responsible for demise of gigantic ancient mammals
    Early humans were the dominant cause of the extinction of a variety of species of giant beasts, new research has revealed.

    Scientists at the universities of Exeter and Cambridge claim their research settles a prolonged debate over whether mankind or climate change was the dominant cause of the demise of massive creatures in the time of the sabretooth tiger, the woolly mammoth, the woolly rhino and the giant armadillo.

    Known collectively as megafauna, most of the largest mammals ever to roam the earth were wiped out over the last 80,000 years, and were all extinct by 10,000 years ago.

    Lewis Bartlett, of the University of Exeter, led the research, which also involved the universities of Reading and Bristol and is published in the journal Ecography. He said cutting-edge statistical analysis had helped solve the mystery almost beyond dispute, concluding that man was the dominant force in wiping out the creatures, although climate change could also have played a lesser role.

    The researchers ran thousands of scenarios which mapped the windows of time in which each species is known to have become extinct, and humans are known to have arrived on different continents or islands. This was compared against climate reconstructions for the last 90,000 years.

    Examining different regions of the world across these scenarios, they found coincidences of human spread and species extinction which illustrate that man was the main agent causing the demise, with climate change exacerbating the number of extinctions. However, in certain regions of the world – mainly in Asia – they found patterns which patterns were broadly unaccounted for by either of these two drivers, and called for renewed focus on these neglected areas for further study.

    Lewis Bartlett, a researcher from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, said: “As far as we are concerned, this research is the nail in the coffin of this 50-year debate - humans were the dominant cause of the extinction of megafauna. What we don’t know is what it was about these early settlers that caused this demise. Were they killing them for food, was it early use of fire or were they driven out of their habitats? Our analysis doesn’t differentiate, but we can say that it was caused by human activity more than by climate change. It debunks the myth of early humans living in harmony with nature.”

    Dr Andrea Manica, of Cambridge University, was lead supervisor on the paper. He said: “Whilst our models explain very well the timing and extent of extinctions for most of the world, mainland Asia remains a mystery. According to the fossil record, that region suffered very low rates of extinctions. Understanding why megafauna in mainland Asia is so resilient is the next big question."

    Date: 13 August 2015
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  2. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Earliest evidence of butchery pushed back by 80,000 years to 3.4 million years ago:


    Marks on two 3.4 million-year-old animal bones found at the site of Dikika, Ethiopia, were not caused by trampling, an extensive statistical analysis confirms. The Journal of Human Evolution published the results of the study, which developed new methods of fieldwork and analysis for researchers exploring the origins of tool making and meat eating in our ancestors.

    “Our analysis clearly shows that the marks on these bones are not characteristic of trampling,” says Jessica Thompson, an assistant professor of anthropology at Emory University and lead author of the study. “The best match we have for the marks, using currently available data, would still be butchery with stone tools.”

    The 12 marks on the two specimens – a long bone from a creature the size of a medium antelope and a rib bone from an animal closer in size to a buffalo – most closely resemble a combination of purposeful cutting and percussion marks, Thompson says. “When these bones were hit, they were hit with enormous force and multiple times.”

    The paper supports the original interpretation that the damage to the two bones is characteristic of stone tool butchery, published in Nature in 2010. That finding was sensational, since it potentially pushed back evidence for the use of stone tools, as well as the butchering of large animals, by about 800,000 years.

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  3. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    This is huge - thousands of fossils from numerous early hominids from what appears to be a species new to us from between 2 to 3 million years old which adds a whole new step in the story of our evolution and it looks like they were disposing of their dead in this inaccessible cave intentionally :cool:

    New Species Of Human Discovered In South Africa
    Brace yourself: this discovery is huge. So huge that its profound implications will shake up our very own family tree. The University of Witwatersrand, in collaboration with National Geographic, is proud to announce a remarkable story of human heritage. The discovery of an early human ancestor that sits beautifully within our own genus of Homo. I ecstatically present to you, Homo naledi.

    This incredible fossil find comes from the richest single hominin assemblage so far discovered in Africa. A gift that keeps on giving, the species not only enlightens us on the origins and diversity of man, but also seems to display a behavior long believed to be unique to humans, even perhaps a defining feature of our species: deliberately disposing of its dead in an isolated chamber. The discovery has been published in two papers in the open access journal eLife.

    A textbook-worthy accident, H. naledi was first stumbled upon two years ago by amateur cavers during an exploration of a cave system known as Rising Star, located within South Africa’s famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. From this, the Rising Star Expedition was born, starting in November 2013 with a 21 day exploration involving a team of 60 scientists and volunteer cavers. Expecting to recover a single skeleton, just three days in they realized they had much more than that, “something different and extraordinary,” research leader Lee Berger said at a press event IFLScience attended.

    That something different turned out to be not several, but 15 individuals from a single hominin species, represented by more than 1,500 fossil elements found within a single chamber in total darkness some 90 meters (295 feet) from the entrance. Named in tribute to the chamber, naledi means “star” in the South African language Sesotho. And sure, 1,500 sounds like a lot, is a lot, but the team believes that there are thousands and thousands of remains still untouched. “The floor is practically made of bones of these individuals,” Berger added.


    More: New Species Of Human Discovered In South Africa
  4. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

    Yes, amazing - some quibbling going on about the team's apparent reluctance to date these remains, though? Might just be green-eyed carping but I have read remarks from some other researchers sniffing that (re)discovering a hominin species can't tell you that much unless you know how old it is? (this could be sour grapes, of course.)

    to me maybe the most interesting thing of all about it is that the layout of the crevasse/cave meaning these were deliberate burials/disposals, not just an old midden or debris of a tragic prehistoric campfire accident...
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  5. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Agreed. it's usually very wise not to claim a precise date when it's not yet proven, that can make it very easy for other paleontologists to rubbish a new discovery. Still, the rivalry between academics hoping to be the next Leakey/Stringer is intense and gets in the way, but it also has the advantage that new findings come under close peer/academic scrutiny. Hopefully the geology will allow stratigraphic dating soon, but even until then its incredible stuff.

    The deliberate use of the cave is amazing. It was pretty big news that burial goods were found with Neanderthal burials some years ago, but this is going way back. I love the idea that even before we were capable of the kind of intelligence we previously expected of early hominids with their small brain size they were already questioning their existence and trying to place themselves in the world. Assuming that is, that the implication here is that burying/protecting human remains suggests an early form of ideas such as ancestral worship/respect, an afterlife, the existence of the spirit and therefore an attempt to explain how we got here and even why we're here.
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  6. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn fiend

    Good idea for a thread, and a very interesting discovery. But playing devils advocate, the seeming deliberate burying of their dead in this cave may have been for hygiene reasons too - like ants create a midden as far away as possible from living quarters.
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  7. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

    true, but the scientist lot are saying there are hundreds and hundreds of bones down there - maybe dozens or hundreds of skeletons. If that's true, it could go a bit further than hygiene or stopping predation - all of which make perfect sense and which moderately-intelligent early humans might understand. (Big cats, after all, will eat their dead cubs to avoid attracting attention). IF - a big if - it's true that these bones cover a long span of time, that indicates these early hominids having some sense, even a really vague one, of it being somehow desirable to put the dead all together, in the same site - or repeatedly disposing of them at the same site - and that's more than just a practical anti-scavenger measure.
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  8. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    ellies have a their grave sites as well, perhaps if it doesn't indicate what a grave goods/ritual burial site might it at least shows coming towards it. Report I read recons there could be upwards of a thousand skellingtons/fossils in there
  9. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Exactly with the graveyards, tool making is another. We know that elephants, apes, dolphins etc are very intelligent but we've had no evidence before of what we did whilst evolving from the intelligence we recognise in them to our modern conscious state.

    We're now seeing behaviour which blurs the lines between animals and humans. It could change the way we think about our superiority to all other animals and tell us more about how other species are still evolving.

    I love the fact that there are so many fossils, the possibilities are endless. It might be the most important discovery in paleontology in our lifetimes.
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  10. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I'm in the graveyard camp from what I've seen so far.
  11. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    it'd feed into the earliest of known religious (you know what I mean) thinking. Ancestor worship, then animism. The reports mention cpacity for a tiny fist sized brain. Pretty sure thats enough for rough song etc. After all these years mother earth still has more to say of who we were.
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  12. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone post tenebras lux

    We've barely scratched the surface of who we were. Our knowledge gets pretty sketchy pre 5000 years ago, let alone 100,000 years ago.
  13. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank We kill the flame

    Would be interesting to know what basis there is for classifying these lads as a distinct species from H. africanus, H. habilis etc, and where the new species sits in the family tree.

    e2a: H. Naledi apparently has similarities with both the earliest known species of the genus Homo and the extinct genus Australopithecus. So this might turn out to be a direct ancestor of modern humans.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
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  14. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    New discovery puts our first migration from Africa at least 20,000 years earlier than the the previous date of 60,000 years ago. Bloody migrants ;)


    Fossil finds from China have shaken up the traditional narrative of humankind's dispersal from Africa. Scientists working in Daoxian, south China, have discovered teeth belonging to modern humans that date to at least 80,000 years ago. This is 20,000 years earlier than the widely accepted "Out of Africa" migration that led to the successful peopling of the globe by our species.

    We need to re-think our models. Maybe there was more than one Out of Africa migration.Several lines of evidence - including genetics and archaeology - support a dispersal of our species from Africa 60,000 years ago.Early modern humans living in the horn of Africa are thought to have crossed the Red Sea via the Bab el Mandeb straits, taking advantage of low water levels. All non-African people alive today are thought to derive from this diaspora. Now, excavations at Fuyan Cave in Daoxian have unearthed a trove of 47 human teeth.

    "It was very clear to us that these teeth belonged to modern humans [from their morphology]. What was a surprise was the date," Dr María Martinón-Torres, from University College London (UCL), told BBC News. "All the fossils have been sealed in a calcitic floor, which is like a gravestone, sealing them off. So the teeth have to be older than that layer. Above that are stalagmites that have been dated using uranium series to 80,000 years. This means that everything below those stalagmites must be older than 80,000 years old; the human teeth could be as old as 125,000 years, according to the researchers.

    In addition, the animal fossils found with the human teeth are typical of the Late Pleistocene - the same period indicated by the radioactive dating evidence. Some fossils of modern humans that predate the Out of Africa migration are already known, from the Skhul and Qafzeh caves in Israel. But these have been regarded as part of a failed early dispersal of modern humans who probably went extinct. However, the discovery of unequivocally modern fossils in China clouds the picture. "Some researchers have proposed earlier dispersals in the past," said Dr Martinón-Torres. "We really have to understand the fate of this migration. We need to find out whether it failed and they went extinct or they really did contribute to later people. "Maybe we really are descendents of the dispersal 60,000 years ago - but we need to re-think our models. Maybe there was more than one Out of Africa migration."

    Prof Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum said the new study was "a game-changer" in the debate about the spread of modern humans. "Many workers (often including me) have argued that the early dispersal of modern humans from Africa into the Levant recorded by the fossils from Skhul and Qafzeh at about 120,000 years ago was essentially a failed dispersal which went little or no further than Israel."

    "However, the large sample of teeth from Daoxian seem unquestionably modern in their size and morphology, and they look to be well-dated by uranium-thorium methods to at least 80,000 years. At first sight this seems to be consistent with an early dispersal across southern Asia by a population resembling those known from Skhul and Qafzeh.

    "But the Daoxian fossils resemble recent human teeth much more than they look like those from Skhul and Qafzeh, which retain more primitive traits. So either there must have been rapid evolution of the dentitions of a Skhul-Qafzeh type population in Asia by about 80,000 years, or the Daoxian teeth represent a hitherto-unsuspected early and separate dispersal of more modern-looking humans."

    Dr Martinón-Torres said the study could also shed light on why it took Homo sapiens another 40,000 years to settle Europe. Perhaps the presence of the Neanderthals kept our species out of westernmost Eurasia until our evolutionary cousins started to dwindle in number. However, it's also possible that modern humans - who started out as a tropical species - were not as well-conditioned as the Neanderthals for the icy climate in Europe. She noted that while modern humans occupied the warmer south of China 80,000 years ago, the colder regions of central and northern China appear to be settled by more primitive human groups who may have been Asian relatives of the Neanderthals.

    Fossil teeth place humans in Asia '20,000 years early' - BBC News

  15. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Heard about this on World Service last night. Interesting stuff.
  16. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

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  17. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Hominid evolutionary timeline

  18. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

  19. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

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  20. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Homo floresiensis, or 'Hobbits' redated from 12000 years ago to 50,000 years ago after stratigraphic anomaly discovered to have misled initial dating. So we probably did wipe them out, poor little hobbitses.

    The diminutive human species nicknamed "the Hobbit" is older than previously recognised, scientists now say. The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003 caused a sensation because it seemed the creature could have been alive in the quite recent past. But a new analysis indicates the little hominin probably went extinct at least 50,000 years ago - not the 12,000 years ago initially thought to be the case.


    Prof Bert Roberts, from the University of Wollongong, Australia, says the new dating actually resolves what had always been a head-scratcher: how it was possible for floresiensis to survive for 30,000 to 40,000 years after modern humans are believed to have passed through Indonesia.

    "Well, it now seems we weren't living alongside this little species for very long, if at all. And once again it smells of modern humans having a role in the downfall of yet another species," he told BBC News. "Every time modern humans arrived somewhere new, it tended to be bad news for the endemic fauna. Things would go pear-shaped pretty quickly."

    This does not mean we necessarily killed the Hobbits; it may just have been that we made life miserable for them. Modern humans could have outcompeted the little people for the best food resources and land, for example.

    The Liang Bua cave on the island of Flores where the Hobbit fossils were unearthed continues to be investigated. The intervening years have seen researchers dig down through new areas, to get a better picture of how the sediments are structured. It now transpires that the first floresiensis specimens were lodged just below an unconformity - a missing, eroded layer of material. The absence of this sediment made the context of the 2003 finds appear younger than they actually were.

    Various dating technologies have subsequently been applied to the contents of the cave - charcoal, sediments, flowstones, volcanic ash and even the H. floresiensis bones themselves - to help build a new timeline. This points to the skeletal remains of floresiensis being between about 100,000 and 60,000 years old.

    "But then we have some stone tools that were 50,000 years old and these were very likely made by Hobbits," explained Prof Roberts. "We say 'very likely', not because they were small stone tools able to fit in their hands, but because they were made from a volcanic rock called silicified tuff, which they seemed to prefer. "When modern humans came through that region, we used stone tools made of chert, for example. "So, 50,000 years ago is when the Hobbits disappear, as far as we can determine. But then we haven't excavated the whole cave yet."

    One of the key implications of the new dating is that it fells one of the early counter-theories about the origin of the Hobbits - that they might not have been a separate species but merely a diseased form of modern human.

    But if the Hobbits were living on Flores 100,000 years ago, this view is no longer tenable: no modern humans have been recorded in south-east Asia so far back in time.

    Prof Chris Stringer, from the Natural History Museum in London, UK, is an expert on ancient humans.

    He agrees that the new research helps straighten out the story of the Hobbits, and makes it much more likely that we were involved in their extinction somehow.

    "The other fascinating and tricky thing to think about is the possibility of interbreeding. We know modern humans interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans (other archaic human species), so could they have got together with floresiensis? Are there people on Earth today who have a little bit of Hobbit DNA in them? You couldn't rule it out."


    Age of 'Hobbit' species revised - BBC News
  21. hot air baboon

    hot air baboon Well-Known Member

    The ‘darker link’ between ancient human sacrifice and our modern world

    By Sarah Kaplan April 5 at 4:28 AM

    The ‘darker link’ between ancient human sacrifice and our modern world

    In Japan, it was said that sacrificing a woman at a rushing river would placate the spirit who lived there, allowing for the construction of bridges and the safe passage of boats. In Greek myth, the warrior king Agamemnon decides to kill his own daughter in exchange for a favorable wind on the way to Troy. The Egyptians buried some of their pharaohs with dozens of servants when they died, ensuring that their needs would still be met in the afterlife. Bodies found entombed in bogs across Europe may have been slain as gifts for higher powers. The great civilizations of Mesoamerica killed people, smashed food and sank treasure to pay their debts to their gods.

    The ancients could kill you in a million different ways, and give you a million different reasons why it needed to be done. In much of the pre-modern world, ritual sacrifice was framed as necessary for the good of the society at large — the only way to guarantee, say, a plentiful harvest or success in war.

    But the priests and rulers who sanctioned such killings may have had another motive, a new study suggests. An analysis of more than seven dozen Austronesian cultures revealed that the practice of human sacrifices tended to make societies increasingly less egalitarian and eventually gave rise to strict, inherited class systems. In other words, ritual killings helped keep the powerful in power and everyone else in check.

    That finding might seem intuitive — societies in which some members are habitually killed probably value certain lives over others — but it has broader implications, the researchers said in the journal Nature.

    It suggests a “darker link between religion and the evolution of modern hierarchical societies,” they write, in which “ritual killings helped humans transition from the small egalitarian groups of our ancestors and the large, stratified societies were live in today.”

    Lots of sociologists have theorized about this connection, the researchers say, but there haven’t been many rigorous scientific studies of how it came about until this one.

    The scientists behind the Nature study used phylogenetic analysis — a tool that was originally used to plot evolutionary family trees but can also be applied by sociologists to study the development of languages — to map the relationships between the 93 cultures they were examining. This allowed them to see whether the traits they were looking for were inherited or adopted from other cultures, and helped determine the causal relationship between human sacrifice and stratification. (The same scientists used the technique last year for a study arguing that belief in supernatural punishment gave rise to political complexity.)

    The cultures studied all descended from an ocean voyaging society that originated in Taiwan, but they ranged across the Pacific as far south as New Zealand and as far east as Easter Island. The group was also hugely diverse, including both the small, egalitarian family-based communities of the Isneg in the Philippines and the huge societies of the Hawaiian Islands, which were home to complex states with royal families, slaves, and more than 100,000 people who often came into conflict.

    Relying on historical and ethnographic accounts, the researchers rated the cultures according to their level of stratification and identified which ones practiced ritual sacrifice.

    The motivation and method of the killings differed across cultures, the researchers explain in a piece for the Conversation: Sacrifices could be demanded for the death of a chief, the construction of a home, the start of a war, the outbreak of disease or the violation of a social taboo. The victims might be strangled, drowned, bludgeoned, burned, buried, crushed with a newly-built canoe or rolled off a roof and then decapitated.

    But the link between the sacrifices and social hierarchies seemed to transcend those differences. The victims were almost always of low social status, and the more stratified the culture was, the more prevalent ritual killings were likely to be.

    Of the 20 “egalitarian” societies they studied — so termed because they didn’t allow inheritance of wealth and status between generations — just 25 percent practiced human sacrifice. By contrast, 37 percent of the 46 moderately stratified societies — where wealth and status could be inherited, but it wasn’t necessarily linked to wildly different living standards or pronounced social classes —had the practice. And among the 27 highly stratified cultures, where inherited class differences were strictly enforced with little opportunity for social mobility, a whopping 65 percent committed ritual killings.

    The phylogenetic trees illustrated that ritual killings tended to precede social hierarchies, and once stratification occurred, they served to reinforce it. It was very difficult for a culture to return to egalitarianism after class differences had set in.

    This finding supports the “social control hypothesis” of human sacrifice, the researchers said. This idea suggests that ritual killings are a way to terrorize people into submission, allowing the religious and political leaders (and in many cultures, those were one and the same) who ordered the killings to consolidate power unopposed.

    Speaking to Smithsonian Magazine, lead researcher Joseph Watts noted that ritual killings often occurred in elaborate ceremonies that exploited gore as effectively as an HBO show: “It’s not just a matter of killing efficiently. There’s more to it than that,” he said. “The terror and spectacle [of the act] was maximized.”

    The fear that sacrifices inspired allowed the practice to function “as a stepping-stone to help build and maintain power in early hierarchical societies,” Watts, a psychologist at the University of Auckland, wrote on his website. Once their authority was absolute, elites could use more traditional methods — policing, taxation, war — to keep the class system in place.

    “People often claim that religion underpins morality,” Watts told Science. But he says his study illustrates how religious rituals like human sacrifice are often designed to serve someone other than the gods: “It shows how religion can be exploited by social elites to their own benefit.”

    This is a pretty grim notion, to be sure. But it may also have been necessary. The division of people into groups of unequal wealth and status was a vital to the development of modern civilization, Watts writes. Hierarchies helped give rise to great cities and vast empires capable of undertaking massive public works projects and creating priceless works of art. Certainly, countless people were oppressed (and, according to this study, killed) in the process. But still, class was critical to getting us to where we are today.

    “I think it’s absolutely an important project,” University of British Columbia psychologist Joseph Henrich told the New Scientist. “Sacrifice does seem to have been performed in societies all around the world.”

    But he urged some skepticism about the study’s broad conclusions. Though human sacrifice may have been correlated with stratification in the Austronesian societies, Henrich was dubious of the phylogenetic analysis the researchers used to prove that the relationship was causal. That tool assumes that social strata and religious rituals are passed down and evolve through generations in the same manner as languages.

    “There’s no real reason to think that’s true – and in fact there’s reason to think it’s not true,” Henrich told the New Scientist.

    For proof, he pointed back at the Austronesian societies Watts and his colleagues studied. Human sacrifice has all but vanished from that region in the past few hundred years, but languages are still being passed down from parent to child — demonstrating that those two aspects of culture don’t necessarily evolve in the same way.

    There’s also danger in overgeneralizing the study’s conclusions. What is true of ritual killings in Austronesian cultures may not necessarily apply to the Aztecs or ancient Egyptians. And whatever role human sacrifice may have played in those societies, it’s still only one aspect of culture — it cannot entirely be blamed for the complex hierarchies and rigid class systems that have long dominated much of the modern world.

    Nevertheless, religion researchers said they were glad to see rigorous data analysis like the kind used in the Nature study injected into their field.

    “The study of religion has been plagued in many ways by an abundance of ideas and a shortage of strong quantitative tests of these ideas,” Richard Sosis, a human behavior ecologist at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, told Science.

    “These methods have power, and they are certainly an advance in the way we can evaluate ideas. Are they the last piece to the puzzle? No.” But, he added, “at least the conversation can begin here and begin in a systematic way that hasn’t happened before.”
  22. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

    ^ Interesting stuff but I too would quibble at the idea of human sacrifice *causing* greater stratification; also with the claim that victims were "almost always of lower social status" (not universally true - in Maya and Aztec cultures members of the royal family were certainly expected to self-mutilate and shed their blue blood for the good of the whole community and such sacrifices were more prestigious than any number of dead peasants. Also there are other things at work - for instance there have been situations where apparently similar cultures in apparently similar surroundings have completely different approaches to the subject (i.e. Ancient Rome ostensibly rejected human sacrifice (though gladiator fighting and public executions were remnant of it) and argued that it being practised by the Carthaginians just over the water was a compelling reason why Carthage had to be destroyed (they burned infants as offerings to Baal iirc) ; the ancient Hebrews scorned the Canaanites, Moabites etc for practicing human sacrifice, even if they weren't all that different from them in other ways).

    I think that - like infanticide and abuse of women - human sacrifice certainly CORRELATES with highly-stratified cultures, but correlation alone proves nothing.
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  23. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Good article. I don't think we have enough data to draw too many firm conclusions but work like this is a step towards a better understanding.
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  24. This is well worth watching. Very interesting and Joe Rogan doesn't talk about MMA once.
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  25. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

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  26. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    Something from the prehistory side, rather than just the evolution side, for a change:

    Old World metals were traded on Alaska coast several hundred years before contact with Europeans - Purdue University
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  27. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

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  28. Artaxerxes

    Artaxerxes Well-Known Member

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  29. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

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  30. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    First farmers had diverse origins, DNA shows
    In the new study, researchers show that the DNA of early farmers who lived in the Zagros mountains of Iran was very different from that of the people who spread farming west from Turkey into Europe.

    Despite the fact that both these groups inhabited the Fertile Crescent - a sickle-shaped zone stretching from the Nile Valley in the west to western Iran - they appear to have separated genetically between 46,000 and 77,000 years ago.

    "Probably the biggest surprise news about this study is just how genetically different the eastern and western Fertile Crescent early farmers were," said co-author Mark Thomas, from University College London (UCL).

    Mark Thomas believes the findings dovetail with an idea put forward by the Cambridge University researcher Marta Mirazón Lahr known as the Holocene Filter. This is the process by which hunting groups which were highly distinct from each other (often over relatively short geographic distances) were reshaped by extinction and migration in the last 10,000 years.

    As a consequence human diversity was lost due to the differential expansion of a few populations.

    More: First farmers had diverse origins, DNA shows - BBC News
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