Fossil Cousins didn't make it
- Page 2 - Last update 5/14/2013
Fossil Cousins is for information about other primates living at the time but are not thought to be in the Homo line of descent.
|-- 2.7-2.5 myr||Australopithecus aethiopicus 2.5 - 2.7 Myr|
|-- 2.5-1 myr||Paranthropus robustus 2.5-1|
|-- 2 myr:||New pre-human species offers evolutionary clues|
|-- 2.3-1.2 myr||Australopithecus boisei or Paranthropus Boisei 1.2 - 2.3 Myr|
|-- 1.9 myr:||Australopithecus sediba 1.98 - 2.6 myr|
The human skull that challenges the Out of
Africa theory - 1/29/14
Greeks are hiding these findings, disallowing international access to the cave, now the skull is gone - snakes.
Reminds one of the Spanish priest that burnt the Maya books. What could that knowledge have taught us?
Why are humans so dimwitted in this so-called age of enlightenment..
The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory
This is the account of the discovery of a skull that has the potential to change what we know about human evolution, and a suppression and cover-up which followed.
In 1959, in an area called Chalkidiki in Petralona, Northern Greece, a shepherd came across a small opening to a cave, which became visible when a thick covering of snow finally melted. He gathered a group of villagers to help him clear the entrance so they could go inside and explore. They found a cave rich in stalactites and stalagmites. But they also found something surprising – a human skull embedded in the wall (later research also uncovered a huge number of fossils including pre-human species, animal hair, fossilized wood, and stone and bone tools).
The skull was given to the University of Thessaloniki in Greece by the President of the Petralona Community. The agreement was that once the research was done, a museum would be opened featuring the findings from the Petralona cave, and the skull would be returned to be displayed in the museum – something that never happened.
Dr Aris Poulianos, member of the UNESCO's IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences), later founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece, and an expert anthropologist who was working at the University of Moscow at the time, was invited by the Prime Minister of Greece to return to Greece to take a position of a University Chair in Athens. This was due to the publication of his book, ‘The Origins of the Greeks’, which provides excellent research showing that Greek people didn’t originate from the Slavic nations but were indigenous to Greece. Upon his return to Greece, Dr Poulianos was made aware of the discovery of the skull at Petralona, and immediately started studying the Petralona cave and skull.
The ‘Petralona man’, or Archanthropus of Petralona, as it has since been called, was found to be 700,000 years old, making it the oldest human europeoid (presenting European traits) of that age ever discovered in Europe. Dr Poulianos’ research showed that the Petralona man evolved separately in Europe and was not an ancestor of a species that came out of Africa.
In 1964, independent German researchers, Breitinger and Sickenberg, tried to dismiss Dr Poulianos’ findings, arguing that the skull was only 50,000 years old and was indeed an ancestor that came from Africa. However, research published in the US in 1971 in the prestigious Archaeology magazine, backed up the findings that the skull was indeed 700,000 years old. This was based on an analysis of the cave’s stratigraphy and the sediment in which the skull was embedded. Further research in the cave discovered isolated teeth and two pre-human skeletons dating back 800,000 years, as well as other fossils of various species.
Today, most academics who have analyzed the Petralona remains say that the cranium of the Archanthropus of Petralona belongs to an archaic hominid distinguished from Homo erectus, and both the classic Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, but showing characterists of all those species and presenting strong European traits. A skull dating back 700,000 which is either Homo sapien or part Homo sapien is in direct conflict with the Out of Africa theory of human evolution.
Further excavations continued in the cave of Petralona with the participation of international researchers (46 specialists from 12 separate countries), which provided further proof of Dr Poulianos’ claims, including remarkable findings like fossilized pieces of wood, an oak leaf, animal hair and coprolites, which enabled accurate dating, as well as the almost continuous presence of stone and bone tools of the Archanthropus evolutionary stage, from the lower (750,000 years) to the upper (550,000 years) layers of sediment within the cave.
The research, after an interruption due to the dictatorship in Greece, continued up to 1983. It was then ordered by the government that all excavations at the site were forbidden to anyone, including the original archaeological team, and for 15 years nobody had access to the site or to the findings – no reason was provided by the government. Was this denial of access to prevent the extraction of whatever new scientific conclusions remained hidden within the incredible fossils embedded within the layers of the caves’ walls?
After the Anthropological Society of Greece took the case to the courts, 15 years later they were again allowed access to the cave. Since then the Ministry of Culture is trying in any way to overcome the Courts decision and further trials proceed.
Dr Poulianos’ findings contradicted conventional views regarding human evolution and his research was suppressed. Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home in 2012 and the culprits have never been found. He and his team have been denied further access to the cave to complete their research and study, and the whereabouts of the skull is now unknown.
Today a sign sits outside the cave of Petralona stating that the skull found in the cave was 300,000 years old, and on Wikipedia today you will see references dismissing the evidence and trying to date the Petralona skull within acceptable parameters – between 160,000 and 240,000 years old.
Recently, Professor C.G. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor of the University of Cambridge sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture in Greece saying that the correct date of the skull is 700,000 years old and not 300,000. He has also challenged the government’s suppression of information regarding this incredible discovery.
The Greek Ministry of Education, Religions, Culture and Sports,
Athens 106 82,
5 September 2012
I am writing on behalf of the European Anthropological Association, which is the umbrella professional and academic association linking all of the national European biological anthropology and human biology societies, to express our concerns about the conservation of the Petralona Cave and Skull, the misinformation of the dating of the skull, as well as the treatment of personnel associated with the conservation of the Cave.
The bases of our concerns are that the skull has been damaged through many scratches and the crown of a tooth (1st molar) cut off. As requested by Anthropological Association of Greece what is required is a detailed description of the present status of the skull, so that no one in future can arbitrarily damage it further. There is also the problem of dating which has been scientifically dated at about 700,000 years ago not 300,000 as is given at the information desk. There is a very detailed record of the excavations and findings which need to receive further public presentation but which have never been catalogued so as to prevent specimens going missing.
It is very unfortunate that the Greek
Archaeological Department stopped Dr Aris Poulianos from further
work in the Cave without any explanation. It is also very worrying
that Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured
in their home earlier this year and the culprits have not been
found. He was also verbally abused when attempting to give an
invited presentation to teachers and school children.
Senior anthropologists and geologists
have also been denied access to the Cave and the specimens for
further study on a number of occasions without substantive reasons.
Earlier this year there has also been misinformation given to the
Greek Parliament concerning financial aspects of the Cave.
The most important conclusion of Dr Poulianos' research regards the co-existence of all main anthropological types (African – Kobi (700,000), Asian – Beijing (500,000), European – Petralona (750,000) at almost the same period. That means: the appearance of the today human main populations (races or even better phyllae - from the Greek language and that’s why polyphyletic etc) is tending to almost 1,000,000 m.y.a. and not to only 10,000 or 30,000 years as currently considered world wide.
However, independently if there is a scientific dispute on the above, it is only sad to become aware that research is not allowed to those who are not coordinated to the “standard” knowledge, risking even their lives in front of gun shooters.
Is this a cover up of an incredible discovery that the powers-that-be do not want us to have access to? You be the judge.
By John Black
The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory -- Continued:
New pre-human species offers evolutionary clues
(Reuters) - Two partial skeletons unearthed in a South African cave belong to a previously unclassified species of pre-human dating back almost 2 million years and may shed new light on human evolution, scientists said on Thursday.
Fossils of the bones of a young male and an adult female suggest the newly documented species, called Australopithecus sediba, walked upright and shared many physical traits with the earliest known Homo species.
The finding of the pre-human, or hominid, fossils -- which scientists say are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old -- was published in the journal Science and may answer some key questions about where humans came from.
Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, who led the team that found the fossils in August 2008, told a news conference held near the cave outside Johannesburg the discovery was "unprecedented."
"I am struck by the exceptional nature of something right on our doorstep ... there are more hominid fossils than I have ever discovered in my entire career," he said.
"When we found it we never imagined that we were looking at a new species."
Berger earlier told reporters by telephone the team were hoping to reveal a possible two further skeletons from the same site.
He was reluctant to define the new species as a "missing link" in human evolutionary history, but said it would "contribute enormously to our understanding of what was going on at that moment where the early members of the genus Homo emerged."
South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told the news conference: "As any parent knows, one of the most common questions a child asks is, 'where do I come from?' It has become clear the answer is 'Africa'.
"With the World Cup in 63 days, we will now be able to welcome people from the world with fresh news of our past."
Many experts believe the human genus Homo evolved from the Australopithecus genus about 2 million years ago. One of the best-known pre-humans is "Lucy," the skeleton of a species called Australopithecus afarensis, and this new species is about 1 million years younger than "Lucy," the scientists said.
The fossils, a juvenile male and an adult female, were found in the Malapa caves in the "Cradle of Mankind" World Heritage Site, 40 km (25 miles) outside Johannesburg.
The species had long arms, like an ape, short powerful hands, a very advanced pelvis and long legs capable of striding and possibly running like a human, the researchers said.
The scientists estimate both hominids were about 1.27 meters, although the child would have grown taller.
The brain size of the younger one was probably between 420 and 450 cubic centimeters, which is small when compared with the human brain of about 1200 to 1600 cubic centimeters, they said.
"These fossils give us an extraordinarily detailed look into a new chapter of human evolution ... when hominids made the committed change from dependency on life in the trees to life on the ground," said Berger.
Paul Dirks of James Cook University in Australia, who also worked on the study, said he and a team of researchers from around the world identified the fossils of at least 25 other species of animals in the cave, including saber-toothed cats, a wildcat, a brown hyena, a wild dog, antelopes and a horse.
(Additional reporting by Diana Neille, editing by Alison Williams)
Homo neanderthalensis: The Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of the genus Homo
which is closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossils, dating from the Pleistocene period, which have been found in Europe and
parts of western and central Asia. The species is named after the Neanderthal (Neander Valley), the location in Germany where it was first discovered.
Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies of Homo sapiens or as a separate species of the same genus. The first humans with
proto-Neanderthal traits are believed to have existed in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago.
| Paranthropus boisei or
Australopithecus boisei was an early hominin, described as the largest
of the Paranthropus genus (robust australopithecines). It lived in Eastern
Africa during the Pleistocene epoch from about 2.3 until about 1.2 million
First discovered by anthropologist Mary Leakey on July 17, 1959, at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, the well-preserved cranium (nicknamed "Nutcracker Man") was dated to 1.75 million years old and had characteristics distinctive of the robust australopithecines. Mary and her husband Louis Leakey classified the find as Zinjanthropus boisei: "Zinj" for the medieval East African region of Zanj, "anthropus" meaning "man" (human); and "boisei" for Charles Boise, the anthropologists' team’s benefactor.
Paranthropus boisei (as the species was eventually categorized) proved to be a treasure especially when the anthropologists' son Richard Leakey considered it to be the first hominin species to use stone tools. Another skull was unearthed in 1969 by Richard at Koobi Fora near the Lake Turkana region, in Kenya.
| Homo habilis
Homo habilis or "handy-man" is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from
approximately 1.4 to 2.33 million years ago, during the Gelasian
Pleistocene period. The discovery and description of this species is
credited to both Mary and Louis Leakey, who found fossils in Tanzania,
East Africa, between 1962 and 1964. Homo habilis (or possibly H.
rudolfensis) was the earliest known species of the genus Homo until May
2010, when H. gautengensis was proposed by Darren Curnoe, a species
theorized to be even older than H. habilis.
| Australopithecus sediba
Sep 16, 2011 by Staff Writers Terra Daily Credit: Peter Schmid. Munich, Germany (SPX)
The fossil remains of an adult female right hand bones of Australopithecus sediba rearticulated. From Malapa, South Africa, include an almost complete right hand in association with the right forelimb bones, in addition to several bones from the left hand. Hand bones from a single individual with a clear taxonomic affiliation are scarce in the hominin fossil record, which has hampered understanding of the evolution of manipulative abilities in hominins. An international team of researchers including Tracy Kivell of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has now published a study that describes the earliest, most complete fossil hominin hand post-dating the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record, the hand of a 1.98-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa.
The researchers found that Au. sediba used its hand for arboreal locomotion but was also capable of human-like precision grips, a prerequisite for tool-making.
Furthermore, the Au. sediba hand makes a better candidate for an early tool-making hominin hand than the Homo habilis hand, and may well have been a predecessor from which the later Homo hand evolved.
The extraordinary manipulative skills of the human hand are viewed as a hallmark of humanity. Over the course of human evolution, the hand was freed from the constraints of locomotion and has evolved primarily for manipulation, including tool-use and eventually tool-production.
Understanding this functional evolution has been hindered by the rarity of relatively complete hand skeletons that can be reliably assigned to a given taxon based on a clear association with craniodental fossils.
Tracy Kivell of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and colleagues from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, Duke University in Durham, USA and the University of Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland, now describe the earliest, most complete fossil hominin hand post-dating the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record around 2.6 million years ago.
"Almost all other fossil hominin hand bones prior to Neanderthals are isolated bones that are not anatomically associated (i.e., do not belong to the same individual) and are not clearly attributed to a specific hominin species", says Kivell: "The Australopithecus sediba hand thus allows us for the first time prior to Neanderthals to evaluate the functional morphology of the hand overall, rather than just from isolated bones."
The researchers reconstructed the Au. sediba hand, then compared it with other hominin fossils and investigated the presence of several features that have been associated with human-like precision grip and the ability to make stone tools. They found that Au. sediba has many of these features, including a relatively long thumb compared to the fingers - longer than even that of modern humans - that would facilitate thumb-to-finger precision grips.
Importantly, Au. sediba has more features related to tool-making than the 1.75-million-year-old "OH 7 hand" that was used to originally define the "handy man" species, Homo habilis.
However, Au. sediba also retains morphology that suggests the hand was still capable of powerful flexion needed for climbing in trees.
"Taken together, we conclude that mosaic morphology of Au. sediba had a hand still used for arboreal locomotion but was also capable of human-like precision grips", says Kivell and adds: "In comparison with the hand of Homo habilis, Au. sediba makes a better candidate for an early tool-making hominin hand and the condition from which the later Homo hand evolved."
Australopithecus sediba: A 2-million-year old hominid from South Africa had a very unusual diet, an international team of researchers has found. Instead of living on grasses and wild animals from the nearby savannas, like modern humans and pre-humans that have previously been studied, Australopithecus sediba lived on bark, woody tissues, fruits and other plants found almost exclusively in forests, like modern chimpanzees.
That diet may be one reason why the species died out, researchers said.
A. sediba was first discovered in 2008 in a pit at the Malapa Cave about 30 miles north of Johannesburg. Only about 4 feet tall, the creatures had an upright posture, long, gangly limbs, short fingers, a long thumb for gripping and a relatively complex brain compared with earlier species. Uranium dating of sediment covering the fossils places their age at about 2 million years.
A. sediba may have been a descendant of A. africanus, which was in turn a descendant of A. afarensis, a hominid that lived about 3 million years ago and is best known for the specimen known as Lucy. It is not clear if A. sediba is an ancestor of humans or a hominid offshoot that died out -- although the latter possibility seems more likely.
A team led by anthropologist Amanda G. Henry of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Liepzig, Germany, studied the teeth from two A. sediba individuals, using a laser to blast minute amounts of enamel from the teeth for analysis in a mass spectrometer.
That allowed researchers to determine the relative amounts of the stable isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-13 in the tooth enamel that was laid down when the primates were young. Carbon-12 indicates that the hominids ate so-called C3 plants, which are mostly forest foods, such as as leaves and fruits. Carbon-13 indicates that they ate so-called C4 plants, savanna foods such as seeds, roots and grasses.
The team reported online in the journal Nature that they found primarily carbon-13, indicating that A. sediba consumed between 95% and 100% forest-based foods. In contrast, teeth from rodents and hoofed animals from the same region and period indicated that they were consuming mostly plants found on the grasslands.
These findings, the team said, help show why some early species thrived and continued to evolve, while others did not. "We know that if you are a hominid, in order to get to the rest of the world, at some point you must leave the forests, and our ancestors apparently did so," said geochemist Benjamin H. Passey of Johns Hopkins University, a co-author. "The fates of those who did not leave are well known: they are extinct or, like the chimpanzee and gorilla today, are in enormous peril." A. sediba apparently did not leave the forest.
Other evidence the researchers found supports this conclusion. Henry analyzed dental tartar found on the teeth and discovered fossilized particles of plant tissue known as phytoliths. The phytoliths suggest that, in the period before their deaths, the primates "were avoiding the grasses growing in open grasslands that were abundant in the region at the time," Henry said.
Microscopic pits and scratches on the teeth also indicated that at least one of the hominids was eating harder foods, like nuts.
"What fascinates me are that these individuals are oddballs," said co-author Matt Sponheimer of the University of Colorado at Boulder. "I had pretty well convinced myself that, after 4 million years ago, most of our hominid kin had diets that were different from living apes, but now I am not so sure."
Mysterious Chinese Fossils May Be New Human Species
| Homo erectus (meaning "upright man,") is an extinct
species of hominin that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to
the later Pleistocene, with the earliest first fossil evidence
dating to around 1.8 million years ago and the most recent to around
300,000 years ago. The species originated in Africa and spread as
far as England, Georgia, India, China and Java.
There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H. erectus, with two major alternative classifications: erectus may be another name for Homo ergaster, and therefore the direct ancestor of later hominids such as Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens; or it may be an Asian species distinct from African ergaster.
Some palaeoanthropologists consider H. ergaster to be simply the African variety of H. erectus. This leads to the use of the term "Homo erectus sensu stricto" for the Asian H. Erectus, and "Homo erectus sensu lato" for the larger species comprising both the early African populations (H. ergaster) and the Asian populations.
The first hypothesis is that H. erectus migrated from Africa during the Early Pleistocene, possibly as a result of the operation of the Saharan pump, around 2.0 million years ago, and dispersed throughout much of the Old World. Fossilized remains 1.8 to 1 million years old have been found in Africa (e.g., Lake Turkana and Olduvai Gorge), Georgia, Europe (Spain), Indonesia (e.g., Sangiran in Central Java and Trinil in East Java), Vietnam, China (e.g., Shaanxi) and India.
The second hypothesis is that H. erectus evolved in Eurasia and then migrated to Africa. The species occupied a Caucasus site called Dmanisi, in Georgia, from 1.85 million to 1.77 million years ago, at the same time or slightly before the earliest evidence in Africa. Excavations found 73 stone tools for cutting and chopping and 34 bone fragments from unidentified creatures.
* * * * *
We Didn't Start the Fire... Homo erectus Did
Volume 65 Number 4, July/August 2012
by Zach Zorich
Some paleoanthropologists believe that people have been eating cooked food, and therefore making fires, for millions of years. The evidence for this, so far, has been evolutionary changes in hominin skeletons, such as decreasing tooth and jaw sizes. But there has been very little direct archaeological evidence of fire use prior to 700,000 years ago—until now. Francesco Berna of Boston University and a multinational team of researchers have uncovered evidence that Homo erectus was using fire about one million years ago at Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.
Using a technique that allows researchers to conduct microscopic analysis of the chemical composition of a sample, Berna was able to identify burned pieces of bone and plant material in the cave's sediments. The sediment came from an excavation unit that is roughly 100 feet inside the cave, which makes it unlikely that the material was burned by a lightning strike or wildfire. According to Berna, learning to use fire was an important turning point for our species—both evolutionarily and culturally. "Control of fire is a tool for adapting to different environments," he says. "It provides warmth, it provides light...and it keeps away wild animals."
* * * * *
Early Homo Erectus Range In China Was Vast
XIAN, CHINA—Scientists in China have analyzed sediments at the Homo erectus site of Shangshazui in northern China, and discovered that members of that extinct human species were living there up to 1.7 million years ago, which is 700,000 years older than previously thought. Paleoanthropologists already knew that H. erectus had migrated to southern China by that time, but the age of the northern site came as a suprise. The discovery means that H. erectus ranged across a much vaster area than anthropologists once believed.
| Australopithecus aethiopicus or Paranthropus aethiopicus
is an extinct species of hominid, one of the robust australopithecines.
The first specimen of Australopithecus aethiopicus that was discovered is known as Omo 18. Omo 18, also known as Paraustralopithecus aethiopicus was discovered in southern Ethiopia by French archeologists Camille Arambourg and Yves Coppens in 1967.
Omo 18 serves as a predecessor to KNM-WT 17000, which was discovered by Alan Walker. The finding discovered in 1985 by Alan Walker in West Turkana, Kenya, KNM WT 17000 (known as the "Black Skull" due to the dark coloration of the bone, caused by high levels of manganese), is one of the earliest examples of robust pliocene hominids. A Key feature of Omo 18 is that it has a v-shaped jaw unlike the other Australopithecus species found. Although, Omo 18 was the first skull discovered of these species, many paleoanthropologists ignored the finding on the basis that it was similar to the other species of australopithecines. Once KNM-WT 17000 was discovered, interest renewed in Omo 18 and it was reclassified.
Description of Australopithecus aethiopicus is categorized into a group known as the robust australopithecines. The robust australopithecines are split into three species, Australopithecus aethiopicus, Australopithecus robustus, and Australopithecus boisei. There has been an ongoing debate over the exact phyletic origins of each of these species. The robust australopithecines share many characteristics of the cranium and mandible, perhaps suggesting a shared evolutionary development. Australopithecus aethiopicus has notable features that differ from the other robust australopithecines, including a larger zygomatic arch, extended ramus, and a more prognathic face. These differences may have been developed during the evolution of aethiopicus, but it may also suggest that A. aethiopicus has a different phylogenetic history than A. robustus and A. boisei.
The skull is dated to 2.5 million years ago, older than the later forms of robust australopithecines. Anthropologists suggest that P. aethiopicus lived between 2.7 and 2.5 million years ago. The features are quite primitive and share many traits with Australopithecus afarensis; thus P. aethiopicus is likely to be a direct descendant. With its face being as prognathic (projecting) as A. afarensis, its brain size was also quite small at 410 cc.
P. aethiopicus was first proposed in 1967 to describe a toothless partial mandible (Omo 18) found in Ethiopia by French paleontologists. Lower jaw and teeth fragments have been uncovered. P. aethiopicus had a large sagittal crest and zygomatic arch adapted for heavy chewing (as in gorilla skulls). Not much is known about this species since the best evidence comes from the "Black Skull" and the jaw. There is not enough material to make an assessment to how tall they were, but they may have been as tall as Australopithecus afarensis. Paranthropus aethiopicus is considered a megadont archaic hominin; the term megadont referring to the huge size of the postcanine tooth crowns. The initial discovery was a toothless adult mandible in the Shungura formation of the Omo region of Ethiopia in 1967 (Omo 18.18). The ash layers above and below the fossils give an approximate date of 2.3-2.5 mya. There is only one mostly complete skull for this hominin, so it’s hard to make proper inferences about physical characteristics. However, it can be said that the available skull is similar to P. boisei, although the incisors are larger, the face more prognathic, and the cranial base less flexed.
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