Discoveries and theories in human evolution and prehistory

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

  1. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    I found this paragraph interesting:

    Does this mean that the ability to digest starch didn't exist in humans until the advent of agriculture?
     
  2. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    Pretty much. It wasn't at all efficient. This is a good read
     
    NoXion and littlebabyjesus like this.
  3. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

  4. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Baroudeur...

    I remember in my first Reader's Digest Atlas of the World, back in the sixties stating that the Celts spread through Europe from North Africa.
     
  5. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I'd never considered that skin becoming paler might be so recent, that's incredible. Would love to see this analysis used more broadly across the archaeological record around the world to map the changes from dark to pale and compare it with changing ecological factors. It would make sense if it happened after the last ice age when it became viable to migrate north into more temperate climates.
     
    krtek a houby likes this.
  6. ElizabethofYork

    ElizabethofYork Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    Very funny to see all the outrage and "PC gorn mad" comments on the Daily Mail online!
     
  7. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I want to look, but you know, Mail innit.
     
  8. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

  9. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Programme was on last night, very interesting and as to be expected, very similar to what was in the article.

    The science is not complete in that the geneteic code retrieved from the bones was incomplete, so there had to be a couple of assumptions, but considering it's age they were surprised at just how much of the code survived.

    Similar genetic codes from known and more complete sequences which matched up in key genetic areas were used to fill in the gaps. I don't think that invalidates the results, seems like a fairly solid solution.

    The bright blue eyes and very dark skin was quite a surprise to all of the academics from all fields, but did suggest a general correlation with the evidence of other hunter gatherers found across Europe from that period, suggesting a single population. Makes sense that as the last ice age receded that population expanded into Britain.

    It also makes sense that it was only when humans moved into the far north that skin needed to adapt to absorb more vitamin D by getting paler.

    Also of interest was the use of genetic testing of the modern Cheddar population for comparison. The early man shared about 10% of his genetic code with the modern locals, suggesting that he and his people were some of the ancestors of people who still live there today.

    They used genetic testing kits from ancestry.com. I've always wanted to get that done, but have been put off by reports in the papers that it's mainly guesswork and wildly inaccurate. That a programme featuring some of our best scientists from the Natural History Museum, including Chris Stringer, would endorse and use that method makes me wonder if it's got better. At least I got the impression that was part of the investigation carried out by the museum, and not just something the programme makers did and added on, would be interesting to know.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  10. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    I was interested in the findings, but found the programme unnecessarily sensational and portentous. It got in the way of what could have been more interesting had I not been so irritated by the voice over and the cliffhangery structure. Perhaps some of that was exacerbated by the fact we already knew everything that was in the programme from the various articles that preceded it.

    I was puzzled by the way they tagged on the bit about Cheddar Man not being related (in a broad population sense) to the inhabitants of the cave from 5000 years previously. They wouldn't have been expected to be related, as the ice sheets had intervened and Cheddar Man's people were (relatively) newly colonising what became the British Isles. But that lack of expectation was skated over, despite the many times they repeated other matters. I got the distinct impression this test was only included because of the cannibalism angle.

    However, it is indeed interesting that dark skin is so recent in the population. And the collection of features was intriguing. And the reconstruction was remarkable.

    I just felt I was being dumbed down at.
     
  11. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Sounds like almost every documentary on tv nowadays. Even on subjects you're interested in, they can be unwatchable. They treat the viewers like idiots to whom everything is new. There's a way to not assume knowledge that doesn't patronise - Attenborough manages it - but most don't manage it.
     
  12. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Yeah, there was a lot of being very pleased we're not related to cannibals. Or at least not those particular cannibals.

    I'd have been much more interested in what the current thinking was about the origins and later movements of the earlier inhabitants than just whether both populations were related.
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  13. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

  14. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood

    dr nina ramirez gets it right imo
     
    danny la rouge likes this.
  15. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    Ooooh. Liking this, makes sense.

    No single birthplace of mankind, say scientists
    Researchers say it is time to drop the idea that modern humans originated from a single population in a single location

    The origins of our species have long been traced to east Africa, where the world’s oldest undisputed Homo sapiens fossils were discovered. About 300,000 years ago, the story went, a group of primitive humans there underwent a series of genetic and cultural shifts that set them on a unique evolutionary path that resulted in everyone alive today.

    However, a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

    skulls.jpg

    No single birthplace of mankind, say scientists
     
    Chilli.s, DotCommunist and yield like this.
  16. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    These dates keep getting pushed back, amazing stuff.
    Especially interesting because Robin Dennell lectured my degree course on this in the 90's. He was absolutely convinced of it but didn't have a great deal of evidence so we thought he was full of crap. Turned out he was right :D


    Oldest Tools Outside Africa Found, Rewriting Human Story

    New evidence suggests that our ancient cousins left the continent much earlier than thought.

    Modern humans' distant relatives left Africa earlier than previously thought—rewriting a key chapter in humankind's epic prequel, according to a discovery unveiled on Wednesday in Nature.

    Nearly a hundred stone tools found at the Shangchen site in central China may push back the spread of our ancient cousins—hominins—out of Africa by more than a quarter million years.

    The toolmakers lived at Shangchen on and off for 800,000 years between 2.1 and 1.3 million years ago, leaving behind tools that are unprecedented outside of Africa. The site's oldest tools are roughly 300,000 years older than Dmanisi, a 1.8-million-year-old site in the Republic of Georgia with the oldest known fossils of our extinct cousin Homo erectus.

    shangchen.jpg

    Oldest Tools Outside Africa Found, Rewriting Human Story
     
    danny la rouge and Crispy like this.

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