Image: JOHN GURCHE PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER With a brain half the size of a modern one and a brow reminiscent of Homo habilis, this hominid is one of the most primitive members of our genus on record. Paleoartist John Gurche reconstructed this 1.75-million-year-old explorer from a nearly complete teenage H. erectus skull and associated mandible found in Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. The background figures derive from two partial crania recovered at the site.
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This is a silly statement on a number of levels. For one thing, there are monkeys and apes all over the world. How did primates get so dispersed if they didn't range far and wide?
Second, why limit it to primates? LOTS of animals range far and wide. Why shouldn't humans have done that, too?
This sounds like an ad for a perverse porno site
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Renegade anthropologists rethink where humans came from.
by Susan Kruglinski
From the May 2006 issue, published online May 27, 2006
One of the best-known theories about human evolutionthat the ancestors of Homo sapiens originated in Africa before populating the rest of the world 2 million years agois coming under fire. In a challenge to conventional wisdom, Robin Dennell of the University of Sheffield in England and Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University in the Netherlands argue that the "out of Africa" interpretation is built on shaky evidence. Maybe, they say, it is time to look to Asia instead.
Roebroeks and Dennell point out that recent fossil finds in the nation of Georgia suggest an Asian origin as much as an African one. "We know so little about Asiaand, for that matter, Africathat we should be very careful not to turn a hypothesis into a stone-carved truth simply by repeating it too often," Roebroeks says. "We need comparable data sets from both continents."
Anthropologist Spencer Wells, whose genetic research supports a single African origin, welcomes this questioning of the status quo. "That Homo erectus could have origins in Asia would be potentially shocking," he says, "but I think that what Roebroeks and Dennell are saying reflects the state of the field. We certainly don't have enough fossils. Perhaps we are never going to be able to test this hypothesis."
Meanwhile, population geneticist Alan Templeton of Washington University in St. Louis is overturning ideas about human origins from another angle. He has analyzed genetic relationships among diverse groups of people and finds that today's humans show evidence of interbreeding among Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, and other early hominids over a wide span of time, from as far back as 1.5 million years ago until the last hypothesized global migration, around 80,000 years ago. Templeton concludes that the humans who departed from Africa probably interbred with other early humans in Europe and Asia, contradicting the widely held notion that the Africans wiped out existing populations as they moved.
"We don't have a tree of human populations with branches for Europeans and Asians and Arabs," Templeton says. "It's more like a trellis: Things are intertwined."
Mark Henderson, Science Editor
September 9, 2009
Neanderthal man: a key stage of development may have taken place in Europe
A key stage in human evolution may have taken place on the fringes of Europe and not in Africa as has generally been thought, scientists said yesterday.
Fossils of an ancient human relative, or hominin, from Georgia dated from 1.8 million years ago suggest that the first of our ancestors to walk upright could have done so in Eurasia, the British Science Festival was told.
David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum, said the skulls, fossils and limb bones found at Dmanisi in 1999 and 2001 raise the possibility that Homo erectus, a forerunner of modern humans, evolved in Europe or Asia and later spread back to Africa. He also revealed that a fifth well-preserved skull, the most complete yet, had been discovered at the site.
The Dmanisi fossils, which have been identified either as Homo erectus or a new species, Homo georgicus, have already shown ancient hominins began to leave Africa at least 1.8 million years ago, pushing back the accepted date for the first exodus from the cradle of humanity by several hundred thousand years.
This leaves two possible scenarios for a critical phase in evolution, Professor Lordkipanidze said. Either Homo erectus could have evolved in Africa and then spread to Asia and even Europe, or a more primitive relative might have left Africa and evolved into the more upright, advanced species in Eurasia. We all agree the first appearance of humans was in Africa but when they left and started global colonisation is a debatable issue, Professor Lordkipanidze said.
The prevailing view before Dmanisi was that they left about a million years ago, and had sophisticated tools and quite advanced anatomy and brain capacity. What were finding is different.
The story begins in Georgia. It was always thought the Champions League of human evolution took place in Africa, and Europe was in the second league.
What we are finding changes this. The question is whether the origin of Homo erectus is in Africa or Eurasia? This looked quite stupid a few years ago, and if you asked the question people thought you were a little provocative.
Today it seems not so stupid. There is a possibility Homo erectus originated in Eurasia and its not impossible to think they spread back to Africa. Modern Homo sapiens evolved from this African population much later, about 200,000 years ago, before beginning a second exodus from Africa about 60,000 years ago.
Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the National History Museum in London, said: There must have been a primary dispersal out of Africa prior to the date of the Dmanisi fossils, which does raise the question of where Homo erectus evolved. There could certainly have been an Asian phase in human evolution, with Homo erectus later spreading back to Africa.
He added that there were intriguing similarities between the Dmanisi fossils and the more recent hominins recently discovered at Flores in Indonesia the diminutive species Homo floresiensis and nicknamed hobbits. The possibility exists the primary dispersal gave rise to the Dmanisi fossils and the hobbits, Professor Stringer said.
This would explain why some white folks have no rhythm.
It’s getting to be a big keyword: