Skip to comments.Homo sapiens developed a new ecological niche that separated it from other hominins
Posted on 07/30/2018 12:14:44 PM PDT by Simon Green
Critical review of growing archaeological and palaeoenvironmental datasets relating to the Middle and Late Pleistocene (300-12 thousand years ago) hominin dispersals within and beyond Africa, published today in Nature Human Behaviour, demonstrates unique environmental settings and adaptations for Homo sapiens relative to previous and coexisting hominins such as Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus. Our species' ability to occupy diverse and 'extreme' settings around the world stands in stark contrast to the ecological adaptations of other hominin taxa, and may explain how our species became the last surviving hominin on the planet.
The paper, by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Michigan suggests investigations into what it means to be human should shift from attempts to uncover the earliest material traces of 'art', 'language', or technological 'complexity' towards understanding what makes our species ecologically unique. In contrast to our ancestors and contemporary relatives, our species not only colonized a diversity of challenging environments, including deserts, tropical rainforests, high altitude settings, and the palaeoarctic, but also specialized in its adaptation to some of these extremes.
Ancestral ecologiesthe ecology of Early and Middle Pleistocene Homo
Although all hominins that make up the genus Homo are often termed 'human' in academic and public circles, this evolutionary group, which emerged in Africa around 3 million years ago, is highly diverse. Some members of the genus Homo (namely Homo erectus) had made it to Spain, Georgia, China, and Indonesia by 1 million years ago. Yet, existing information from fossil animals, ancient plants, and chemical methods all suggest that these groups followed and exploited environmental mosaics of forest and grassland.
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
Admixture: Breeding like rabbits with whomever.
Phys.org! Same website that reported last month that DNA dating of origins showed that 90% of all current species just “showed up” in the last 100 to 200 thousand years ago, including humans.
This seems to be the gist of the article:
This ecological ability may have been aided by extensive cooperation between non-kin individuals among Pleistocene Homo sapiens, argues Dr. Brian Stewart, co-author of the study. “Non-kin food sharing, long-distance exchange, and ritual relationships would have allowed populations to ‘reflexively’ adapt to local climatic and environmental fluctuations, and outcompete and replace other hominin species.” In essence, accumulating, drawing from, and passing down a large pool of cumulative cultural knowledge, in material or idea form, may have been crucial in the creation and maintenance of the generalist-specialist niche by our species in the Pleistocene.
phys.org seems to pick papers that are controversial and before they are peer-reviewed.
I looked at not only that article but some others with equally odd conclusions (and the conclusions are guesses even by the authors themselves).
There is some deeper science here dealing with DNA and biology that really require a biologist to follow but I am going to spend some time trying to unpack it.
I also will await the peer reviews before reacting.
Thank you Captains Obvious. The authors of the article, not the poster :-).
Thanks Simon Green.
Wanna come over to my cave and do some admixing?
They probably invented the singles bar, right after they figured out fermented bevs.
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