Skip to comments.Smithsonian opens $21M human evolution hall
Posted on 03/17/2010 9:45:29 AM PDT by JoeProBono
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is opening a new permanent exhibit exploring human evolution over 6 million years.
The nearly $21 million Hall of Human Origins opens Wednesday. It will include more than 285 fossils and artifacts, including the only Neanderthal skeleton in the United States....
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern version of a Homo sapiens skeleton
$21 million more wasted.
Lincoln Chafee left the country?
Why do you say that?
Maybe they should have included a model of humans walking with dinosaurs ...maybe even riding one. Only way they could waste more, but that idea was already taken.
Wheres my jacket? Its suede, with a fringe...”
$21 million for an exhibit on only one side of a controversial issue. It would be the same as opening a pro-abortion museum on the public dime. (Or the same as apologizing to the Japanese for WWII that they did in that exhibit.) I guess it is $21 million of our money not wasted on other things, but it is still wasted.
Controversial? The Theory of Evolution is among the most studied and sound concepts in science. The only people who think it is controversial are either people who don’t understand biology or those who want to push a religious agenda under the guise of science.
Gallup Poll 2007 May 21-24
Now thinking about how human beings came to exist on Earth, do you, personally, believe in evolution, or not?
Can you get more divided than that?
By the way, for Republicans it was 30% yes and 68% no. The only reason it came close to even overall was the typical oversampling of Democrats.
Controversial is what I was saying. What I meant was controversial among the general public, not among the scientific community. (Who, by the way, are famous now for their belief in the Theory of Global Warming.)
No, cynics have a very valid point: humans could not have evolved from natural selection alone in the timeframe they did. And many evolutionists simply can't handle the truth. The evolutionary pressure that drove human evolution, while leaving the evolution of other animals untouched, is tribal warfare. Many academians cannot accept that modern humans are violent war makers by nature any more than cynics can accept natural selection caused intelligent humans to pop out of the background so fast. Until scientists do the math and discover that humans are fundamentally nasty creatures and that eglatarian socialism could never work, the theory of human evolution is flawed.
Six million years is plenty of time for humans to differentiate themselves from the closest related species, chimpanzees, by 2% in genetic DNA and 6% in genomic DNA. The observed rate of mutation is both necessary and sufficient to effect this amount of change over six million years.
Tribal warfare is man-made so by definition is not natural. Evolutionists don't appreciate the central role that tribal warfare plays in human evolution and that humans are not a product of nature but of envious murder and war. Natural selection is not a significant factor in the evolution of modern humans, nor in the foods we like to eat. Almost all human-specific traits and culture, such as religion, can be traced to their advantage in war. Modern humans are not the natural masters we like to think, and the theory of evolution as popularly described does not add up. The cynics have valid points.
Women, in general, prefer tall men. This is an example of “sexual selection” which is also part of “natural selection”. The fact that it is female humans doing the selecting and not female peacocks doesn't make it any less “natural”.
Evolutionary Biologists have long recognized the role of violence in human evolution. There is no doubt that among all the apes, we are the most carnivorous, the most violent, and the most murderous. Those changes are understood by Evolutionary Biologists to have come about via evolution through natural selection of genetic variation. And yes, natural selection includes war.
The theory as “popularly described”, as understood by you ( or MIS-understood by you); may well not “add up”. But that is a lack of your understanding, not a lack on the part of the theory.
By your definition, what isn't natural? What's the point of even having the word natural if it includes human activity?
Tallness is a marker for above average ability to provide. Tall people are not just taller, but in general are wider and deeper, and so are their brains. Tall people tend to make more money, not because they are taller, but because they are smarter.
Many cosmetic traits in humans were cultivated by mothers favoring them in their children, not from mate selection. White skin, blond hair, and blue eyes are examples. It's hard to imagine in modern times but for most of our past mothers had to choose which child survived because food was not reliable. If a mother had 6 kids, one with golden blond hair, the rest with brown, the blond was favored and had a better chance of survival. Many white children are born initially with blond hair and blue eyes, but these traits are free to completely change once the child has successfully bonded to the mother. While men also like blond hair and blue eyes surviving into adulthood, they'll pretty much mate with anything and they were not the primary driver of these cosmetic traits.
People long have known and understood that selective breeding can accomplish huge changes in the morphology, coloration, and behavior of domesticated animals. Darwin showed that “nature” also does selecting.
Humans are part of nature, and if we are talking about the “natural” tendency of women to prefer tall men, that is part of nature. If we are talking about the “natural” tendency of human males to compete violently resulting in death, then that is also part of nature.
Nature also implies that the actions are confined to material causes; i.e. nothing “supernatural”.
Mothers do not often starve their children just because they do not conform to whatever beauty standards are conveyed by their culture. Ever hear of the expression “A face only a mother could love”? Almost all mothers think their baby is the most beautiful thing in the world, even if it isn't.
Do you get this hookum from somewhere, or are you making it up as you go along?
You're the one making up meanings to words as you go along. Monkeys are natural. There is little natural about modern humans or the foods we like to eat. We are not the product of natural selection. If you continue to say we are then religious people and other cynics have valid reasons to reject your version of events. It's impossible we happened naturally in the time frame we did.
The objections of most religious people to science is due to their religion; it is not based upon their understanding of the science.
Your objection to the theory of evolution through natural selection of genetic variation is OBVIOUSLY not based upon any sort of knowledge or understanding of the subject.
Thanks JoeProBono. You've got a nerve. ;')To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.The Neandertal EnigmaFrayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]
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Why do you say that? do you fear reality?
Have you ever visited the National museum of Natural History?
If not, you need to scrounge up some $$ and go see what you are missing?
I visited the Royall Tyrell Museum in Alberta. They have the largest collection of Dinosaur fossils existant.
I was looking at a stegosaurus skeleton and a man came up shaking his head.
He said “ I just can’t imagine how they hunted those with only spears”
He was not Neanderthal, but Homo sapiens.
It is not a controversial issue.
War is a Darwinian activity. It is how the weak get eliminated and massive gene transfer takes place.
Progressive pacifists are weak and will be overcome. Since their women are ugly, the gene transfer will be dampened
Consider this: If modern man evolved, then he must have evolved from SOMETHING... I mean, nobody out there is claiming that man or anything else ever evolved from NOTHING.
Now, all serious evolutionists as well as all other scholars in the relevant fields acknowledge that, in order to be descended from something, at some point, somehow or other, you have to be able to interbreed with the something.
The question is, what did modern man evolve from? What is there or has there ever been on this planet which we could have evolved from, i.e. something noticably different from us but with which we could still at some point interbreed?
The basic answer is a big fat nothing. You used to see these evolutionite diagrams showing the evo-loser chain of being, starting with monkeys and apes, and then homo-superbackwardsensis, then homo-reallybackwardsensis, and then Lucy, and then Java man and Peking man and the other homo erectus types, and then the neanderthal and then modern man.
It was presumed that we had evolved from the neanderthal since everybody else in that chain was clearly much further removed from us and more apelike.
Thus it was always a big mystery that, despite much evidence of modern humans and neanderthals living in close proximity to eachother for long periods of time, there had never beeen any evidence at all of crossbreeding. A big article on the topic appeared in Discover magazine in the mid 90s:
And then, beginning in the late 90s, DNA was extracted from neanderthal remains and analyzed, and the big mystery was resolved. Neanderthal DNA was described as "about halfway between ours and that of a chimpanzee", thus neatly ruling the neanderthal out as a plausible human ancestor; we could no more interbreed with neanderthals than we could with horses or chickens.
Like I say, all other hominids are much further from us THAN the neanderthal. Basically, there is no plausible evolutionary antecedant for modern man on this planet; you'd have to have some new hominid, closer to us in both time and morphology THAN the neanderthal and, if such a creature had ever existed, his works and remains would be all over the map and very easy to find.
Even such mainstream biology outlets as PLOS Biology note that the neanderthal made ZERO contribution to the genetic makeup of modern man and, again, all other hominids were much further away from us than the neanderthal and obviously made LESS THAN ZERO contribution to our genetic makeup.
That leaves three possibilities for how modern man got here:
The idea of man having evolved here is not workable. Any workable scheme for the arrival of modern man on this planet involves intelligent and deterministic processes, and not evolution.
I agree with that. Darwin did write about tribal warfare but didn't feature the key role it played, possibly because many people couldn't handle the truth. Even today many evolutionists accept only half of Darwin: the natural selection part. The descent of man from tribal warfare part they can't accept any more than cynics can accept that human intelligence is the one-of-kind super high-speed product of natural selection.
Modern man was created here from scratch, and recently.
Modern man was genetically re-engineered from the neanderthal or some other existing creature.
Modern man was imported from somewhere else in the cosmos.
Dang, they're on to us boys.
The potentially-poisonous Japanese fugu fish has achieved notoriety, at least among scientists who haven't eaten any, because it has a genome that can be best described as "concise". There is no "junk" DNA, no waste, no nonsense. You get exactly what it says on the tin. This makes its genome very easy to deal with in the laboratory: it is close to being the perfect genetic instruction set. Take all the genes you need to make an animal and no more, stir, and you'd get fugu. Now, most people would hardly rate the fugu fish as the acme of creation. If it were, it would be eating us, and not the other way round. But here is a paradox. The human genome probably does not contain significantly more genes than the fugu fish. What sets it apart is - and there is no more succinct way to put this - rubbish.
The human genome is more than 95% rubbish. Fewer than 5% of the 3.2bn As, Cs, Gs and Ts that make up the human genome are actually found in genes. It is more litter-strewn than any genome completely sequenced so far. It is believed to contain just under 31,780 genes, only about half as many again as found in the simple roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans (19,099 genes): yet in terms of bulk DNA content, the human genome is almost 30 times the size.A lot is just rubbish, plain and simple. But at least half the genome is rubbish of a special kind - transposable elements. These are small segments of DNA that show signs of having once been the genomes of independent entities. Although rather small, they often contain sequences that signal cellular machinery to transcribe them (that is, to switch them on). They may also contain genetic instructions for enzymes whose function is to make copies and insert the copies elsewhere in the genome. These transposable elements litter the human genome in their hundreds of thousands. Many contain genes for an enzyme called reverse transcriptase - essential for a transposable element to integrate itself into the host DNA.
The chilling part is that reverse transcriptase is a key feature of retroviruses such as HIV-1, the human immunodeficiency virus. Much of the genome itself - at least half its bulk - may have consisted of DNA that started out, perhaps millions of years ago, as independent viruses or virus-like entities. To make matters worse, hundreds of genes, containing instructions for at least 223 proteins, seem to have been imported directly from bacteria. Some are responsible for features of human metabolism otherwise hard to explain away as quirks of evolution - such as our ability to metabolise psychotropic drugs. Thus, monoamine oxidase is involved in metabolising alcohol.
If the import of bacterial genes for novel purposes (such as drug resistance) sounds disturbing and familiar, it should - this is precisely the thrust of much research into the genetic modification of organisms in agriculture or biotechnology.
So natural-born human beings are, indeed, genetically modified. Self-respecting eco-warriors should never let their children marry a human being, in case the population at large gets contaminated with exotic genes!One of the most common transposable elements in the human genome is called Alu - the genome is riddled with it. What the draft genome now shows quite clearly is that copies of Alu tend to cluster where there are genes. The density of genes in the genome varies, and where there are more genes, there are more copies of Alu. Nobody knows why, yet it is consistent with the idea that Alu has a positive benefit for genomes. To be extremely speculative, it could be that a host of very similar looking Alu sequences in gene-rich regions could facilitate the kind of gene-shuffling that peps up natural genetic variation, and with that, evolution. This ties in with the fact that human genes are, more than most, fragmented into a series of many exons, separated by small sections of rubbish called introns - rather like segments of a TV programme being punctuated by commercials.
The gene for the protein titin, for example, is divided into a record-breaking 178 exons, all of which must be patched together by the gene-reading machinery before the finished protein can be assembled. This fragmentation allows for alternative versions of proteins to be built from the same information, by shuffling exons around. Genomes with less fragmented genes may have a similar number of overall genes - but a smaller palette of ways to use this information. Transposable elements might have helped unlock the potential in the human genome, and could even have contributed to the fragmentation of genes in the first place (some introns are transposable elements by another name). This, at root, may explain why human beings are far more complex than roundworms or fruit flies. If it were not for trashy transposable elements such as Alu, it might have been more difficult to shuffle genes and parts of genes, creating alternative ways of reading the "same" genes. It is true that the human genome is mostly rubbish, but it explains what we are, and why we are who we are, and not lying on the slab in a sushi bar.
Weird coincidence, I was *just now* scratching myself.
Every human act is technically natural, with reference to evolution.
Don’t let human semantics get the better of reason.
I think there might have been a tipping-point crossed when the brain achieved a certain capacity. Of course, cultural aspects were critical to catalyse this phenomenon, which is evident when you examine remote tribes such as those in the southern Nicobar islands, who are anatomically modern humans, but behave more or less like advanced orangutans.
A sort-of runaway event that lead us to be what we are today. Nonetheless, natural selection is very much in play here. By ‘natural’ I include those actions that human individuals influenced, as well. We are a part of the natural world.
By that definition what isn't natural? Man made, managed, or altered by definition is not natural. Modern humans have very little to do with nature, and many of us have a false impression of what nature is from watching Hollywood entertainment. It's a stretch to say humans living in modern civilization are a part of the natural world.
You’re right, nothing is.
Even animals which succeed, now have to be associated with human activity.
For example, it will be a long time before dogs or chickens go extinct.