Discoveries and theories in human evolution and prehistory

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

  1. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

  2. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

  3. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    shit the past really is a foriegn country
  4. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Naughty elite Europeans.

    - Oooh, come here and look at this. It's a dead body from thousands of years ago!

    - Hmmm. Fascinating. I wonder what it tastes like...
  5. DaveCinzano


    Apparently tastes very much like chicken
  6. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    just think, when vat grown meat becomes a real thing you could grow a burger out of your own flesh and in the ultimate act of narcissism really enjoy eating yourself
    Yuwipi Woman likes this.
  7. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    I think Charlie Stross mentioned this in Rule 34.
  8. trabuquera

    trabuquera Modesty Bag

    if you ate your own regenerated tissue burger, would it be likely to give you New New Variant CJD? Mad Narcissist Disease?

    (and btw, whatever did happen to all the tens of thousands of people who were going to be incapacitated by mad cow disease? has the science rowed back at all?)
    Jay Park likes this.
  9. DaveCinzano


    They're still out there, but the global tracking programme was hampered when all the hard drives at CDC were wiped by the Millennium Bug on 1/1/00 :eek: :hmm:
  10. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

  11. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I had a lecturer at Uni who proposed a similar model but using early fossils found in Asia. He wasn't widely believed either, but as the article says, its looking more and more likely that there was quite a lot of movement over huge spans of time that we don't fully understand yet, both in and out of Africa.

    We know that when species migrate into areas and then get cut off by environmental changes they evolve differently to others of the same origin, I think we're going to understand how that has affected human evolution more and more as these examples are found.
  12. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    The Mitochondrial Eve thing does show a distinct lineage going all the way back to Africa, though? Other movements could be integrated into that model, without the model being overturned, maybe?
  13. Beats & Pieces

    Beats & Pieces 24601 / 9430 Banned

    I do wonder at just how much of a simplification this might be, although it does hold together well in providing a single point of origin, it likely is not the entire picture (as the Neanderthal DNA discoveries revealed). Fascinating stuff.
  14. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I would think so. The point about Mitochondrial Eve is that she was in all essentials a modern human. This discovery, even if it does indicate a split with Pan in Europe rather than Africa, points to a split that did not involve anything close to modern humans. If we met G. fraebergi, we wouldn't recognise a fellow human. If we met Mitochondrial Eve, we would - she marks a definitional reference point for H. sapiens sapiens.
  15. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I reckon, but I like the fact that we don't really know. It's what has always kept me interested in archaeology. We want to know the whole truth, but our knowledge is based on interpretation, the available scientific method, current theories and the portion of the fossil record we have discovered.

    I think we're still in the early days of making the study of fossils fit with DNA research.

    A big change in our whole understanding could always be just around the corner :thumbs:
    Beats & Pieces likes this.
  16. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Oldest Homo sapiens bones ever found shake foundations of the human story
    Fossils recovered from an old mine on a desolate mountain in Morocco have rocked one of the most enduring foundations of the human story: that Homo sapiens arose in a cradle of humankind in East Africa 200,000 years ago.

    Archaeologists unearthed the bones of at least five people at Jebel Irhoud, a former barite mine 100km west of Marrakesh, in excavations that lasted years. They knew the remains were old, but were stunned when dating tests revealed that a tooth and stone tools found with the bones were about 300,000 years old.

    Oldest Homo sapiens bones ever found shake foundations of the human story
    danny la rouge likes this.
  17. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    From 2016: did Denisovan genes provide the Inuit with cold tolerance?

    Cold Tolerance Among Inuit May Come From Extinct Human Relatives

    Not sure about this one. My understanding is that Inuit adaptations to cold climates are cultural not biological (and there were two separate attempts to settle the high arctic, before the ancestors of today's Inuit did it).
  18. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

  19. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I think there must be some sort of biological/evolutionary adaptation to environment over time. I think that probably explains the morphological and skin pigment variation in humans we refer to as 'race'.

    Vaguely remember reading something about which shape nose makes life easier in Africa, and in colder climates. This theory:

    "The results showed that nostril width is linked to temperature and absolute humidity, with participants whose ancestors lived in warm-humid climates on average having wider nostrils than those whose ancestors lived in cool-dry climates.

    That, says Zaidi, could be because narrower nasal passages help to increase the moisture content of air and warm it – a bonus for those in higher latitudes. “Cold and dry air is not good for our internal airways,” said Zaidi. But, he adds, “There is no universally ‘good’ or ‘better’ shape – your ancestors were adapted to the environments in which they lived.”"

    Climate shaped the human nose, researchers say
  20. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I think we're going to have to move away from the very clean and tidy idea of a fairly definable movement out of Africa. The more we find out the more it seems to have been a very fluid and drawn out affair, dependant on small groups and the effects of the environment and resources, with starvation, war and all sorts of other influences playing a part.

    The relationship between homo sapiens and neanderthals seems to grow with every find :cool:
    Pickman's model likes this.
  21. Beats & Pieces

    Beats & Pieces 24601 / 9430 Banned

    A simple question might be where the Neanderthals originated from?

    And how / why they developed in comparison to alternative models.
  22. Cid

    Cid 慢慢走

    Surely settlement of the arctic is also a very recent thing... Though I suppose Siberia goes back a lot further.
  23. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Australian dig pushes back first known aboriginal habitation by several thousand year:

    A groundbreaking archaeological discovery in Australia’s north has extended the known length of time Aboriginal people have inhabited the continent to at least 65,000 years.

    The findings on about 11,000 artefacts from Kakadu national park, published on Thursday in the journal Nature, prove Indigenous people have been in Australia for far longer than the much-contested estimates of between 47,000 and 60,000 years, the researchers said. Some of the artefacts were potentially as old as 80,000 years.


    The new research upends decades-old estimates about the human colonisation of the continent, their interaction with megafauna, and the dispersal of modern humans from Africa and across south Asia.

    “People got here much earlier than we thought, which means of course they must also have left Africa much earlier to have traveled on their long journey through Asia and south-east Asia to Australia,” said the lead author, Associate Prof Chris Clarkson, from the University of Queensland.

    “It also means the time of overlap with the megafauna, for instance, is much longer than originally thought – maybe as much as 20,000 or 25,000 years. It puts to rest the idea that Aboriginal people wiped out the megafauna very quickly.”

    Clarkson said the Madjedbebe rock shelter where the artefacts were found – which has been excavated four times since the 1970s – had been controversial in the past, but the processes used to date the artefacts meant the team could say “precisely” that the area was occupied 65,000 years ago and “hopefully put the controversy to rest”.

    The findings also suggested people crossed over from south Asia at a time that was cooler and wetter, with lower sea levels allowing easier sea crossings.

    Australian dig finds evidence of Aboriginal habitation up to 80,000 years ago
    hipipol and Artaxerxes like this.
  24. hipipol

    hipipol Peckham Wry

    We, as a distinct species, are much older than was ever previously envisaged.
    This lack of understanding has opened the doors for idiots to postulate the notion that as complex social, technical and agricultural competence must have been delivered to us by some Alien visitors
    Utter crap
    10,000 years ago, as the ice age swapped over to a warmer climate, huge areas of coastal land disappeared, a short glance at modern human populations will show that the majority of us - dependent on which source you choose between 60-84% live within 10 miles of coastal/tidal affected waters - so when the water arrived - often very suddenly - Outburst flood - Wikipedia - tho sudden to the victims, very predictable for us - Black Sea deluge hypothesis - Wikipedia
    Personally I should like to see a greater scrutiny, by underwater archies, - of these lost, just off shore territories, wherever THEIR New York or London, it is currently likely to be submerged.
    We can make no real informed judgement on our antecedents until such time as we can see what they actually achieved

    PS Big respect for starting this thread - something I am deeply concerned/interested/obsessed with.....:D;):cool:

    ETA to clarify ref to proximity to ocean effects - congrats to Sirena for making sense of a garbled message....
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
    Artaxerxes and Sirena like this.
  25. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

  26. Cid

    Cid 慢慢走

    Sue likes this.
  27. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    That's probably a familiar, even iconic, image. It's part of Zallinger's March of Progress from 1965. Wikipedia says it "is a scientific illustration that presents 25 million years of human evolution. It depicts ... human evolutionary forebears, lined up as if they were marching in a parade from left to right."

    It was not Zallinger's intention, but his famous graphic has been taken to depict us as having evolved from knuckle walkers like chimps or gorillas. And this remains the popular conception to this day.

    Alice Roberts suggests that this traditional view of human evolution is wrong; that we never had a chimpanzee-like, knuckle-walking ancestor. Instead, chimps and gorillas evolved from our common ancestor of 6mya or more, and then evolved their knuckle-walking for locomotion on the ground. We were not like chimps when we came down from the trees. Rather, our ancestors were bipedal apes, all the way back to the Miocene (23 mya to 5.3 mya) when dense forests covered Africa and savannah was hardly to be seen.

    The Miocene apes were the ancestors of orangs, chimps, and gorillas, as well as us. She suggests these ancestral apes mostly lived in trees, walking on one branch while gripping a higher one, using horizontal branches where possible. The modern Orang-utang does this, and is the most bipedal of the modern great apes (excepting ourselves, of course).

    Instead of us coming down from the trees, learning to walk upright (why?), and then learning to run down our prey, we came down from the trees, walked around a bit on two legs as usual perfecting our terrestrial bipedism, and then took to running down prey animals as we evolved into a endurance hunter and knowledge based forager.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  28. Idris2002

    Idris2002 chief propagandist (official)

    ringo likes this.
  29. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Love a bit of experimental archaeology.

    Have you been to any of the long term British studies? Butser Farm is a great day out to see an Iron Age settlement. Sadly the original director who ran it for decades has passed away but it's still worth checking out.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  30. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    People may have lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago
    That's from Science News recently.

    The outline of how the Americas were peopled is slowly emerging. It seems the first Americans initially settled the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska from the Siberian side, when sea levels were much lower due to the ice age maybe 30,000 years ago. The populations there were isolated for many thousands of years, each developing their own genetic identity.

    As sea levels rose at the end of the ice age, families migrated from the flooding land bridge, some of them heading east then south along the coast. But entry to the North American interior was still blocked by massive ice sheets, or where the ice sheets had parted, by many miles of desolate and boggy tundra impassable by humans. The migrants probably used boats to move from one ice-free shore or headland to the next.

    This gave rise to a succession of waves of human settlement by a sequence of related but distinct populations.

    Scientific American gives a fuller account.
    seventh bullet, ringo and SpookyFrank like this.

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