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Author Topic:   New Human Fossils found
Tangle
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Message 1 of 31 (670133)
08-09-2012 4:33 AM


Fossils from Northern Kenya show that a new species of human lived two million years ago, researchers say.

The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from early primates to modern humans.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19184370


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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Adminnemooseus
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Message 2 of 31 (670135)
08-09-2012 4:53 AM


Thread Copied from Coffee House Forum
Thread copied here from the New Human Fossils found thread in the Coffee House forum.

  
Coragyps
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Message 3 of 31 (670145)
08-09-2012 9:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
08-09-2012 4:33 AM


As always, I can email the pdf of Nature's paper to anyone as geeky as I am about reading that stuff.

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Coyote
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Message 4 of 31 (670150)
08-09-2012 10:57 AM


Cool!
From the articles it looks like they found more fossils matching KNM-ER-1470.

Interesting that there were three different types of Homo around at the same time.

Wish they would find those fossils quicker! This is getting interesting.


  
Artemis Entreri 
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Message 5 of 31 (670237)
08-10-2012 6:18 PM


right on
Really the only part of evolution that really interests me, is human evolution, I am not sure what kind of evolutionist that makes me, but yeah, great looking out on the article.

the only comment I have is: they specifically mention a time when there were e species of Homo alive, yet when you look at the graph it clearly shows a time period when there were FOUR (erectus, ergaster, habilis, and rudolfensis). Strikes me as weird to mention 3 as news especially when we think the youngest 3 (sapiens, neanderthalensis, and erectus) lived at the same time.

weird.


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Blue Jay
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Message 6 of 31 (670252)
08-10-2012 11:48 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Artemis Entreri
08-10-2012 6:18 PM


Re: right on
Hi, Chaoticskunk.

chaoticskunk writes:

the only comment I have is: they specifically mention a time when there were e species of Homo alive, yet when you look at the graph it clearly shows a time period when there were FOUR (erectus, ergaster, habilis, and rudolfensis). Strikes me as weird to mention 3 as news especially when we think the youngest 3 (sapiens, neanderthalensis, and erectus) lived at the same time.

As far as I'm aware, Homo erectus and H. ergaster are not generally considered to be all that distinct from one another (erectus are basically just ergaster that lived outside of Africa). And, given current evidence, Neanderthal is probably more appropriately regarded as a subspecies of H. sapiens.

But, the difference here is that ergaster, rudolfensis and habilis were living at the same time and in the same region (southern/eastern Africa), whereas Neanderthal, sapiens and erectus were separated geographically.

Edited by Blue Jay, : underline code


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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onifre
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Message 7 of 31 (670306)
08-12-2012 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Artemis Entreri
08-10-2012 6:18 PM


Re: right on
Kind of off topic but...

Really the only part of evolution that really interests me, is human evolution

The mechanics of evolution are the same for humans and every other animal. Whatever directed human evolution, be it environmental pressure or sexual selection, etc, works the same for all species. So studying one species kind of covers all species.

Unless you meant, you prefer the natural history of humans versus, say, ants? And as human history goes, this is a great find if it all checks out.

I am not sure what kind of evolutionist that makes me

That's not really a "thing".

Understanding evolution is just understanding basic biology.

- Oni


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Artemis Entreri 
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Message 8 of 31 (670313)
08-12-2012 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Blue Jay
08-10-2012 11:48 PM


Re: right on
And, given current evidence, Neanderthal is probably more appropriately regarded as a subspecies of H. sapiens.

I am not a geneticist but I am not sure about that. I think Sapiens and Neaderthalensis are decendants of Heidelbergensis, making them more on the same level rather than one being a sub species of another.

But, the difference here is that ergaster, rudolfensis and habilis were living at the same time and in the same region (southern/eastern Africa), whereas Neanderthal, sapiens and erectus were separated geographically.

I see not geographical difference. I think sapiens encountered both, and I know Erectus were in Europe, but did the other two exist when they were is more the real question.


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Artemis Entreri 
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Posts: 1194
From: Northern Virginia
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Message 9 of 31 (670314)
08-12-2012 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by onifre
08-12-2012 11:49 AM


Re: right on
The mechanics of evolution are the same for humans and every other animal. Whatever directed human evolution, be it environmental pressure or sexual selection, etc, works the same for all species. So studying one species kind of covers all species.

Unless you meant, you prefer the natural history of humans versus, say, ants? And as human history goes, this is a great find if it all checks out.

right. I just like these stories, and this branch of it more. I would rather read about "cavemen", than some "ancient lizard".


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Blue Jay
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Message 10 of 31 (670324)
08-12-2012 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Artemis Entreri
08-12-2012 12:40 PM


Re: right on
Hi, Chaoticskunk.

chaoticskunk writes:

I am not a geneticist but I am not sure about that. I think Sapiens and Neaderthalensis are decendants of Heidelbergensis, making them more on the same level rather than one being a sub species of another.

Homo heidelbergensis was likely also the same species. Neanderthal genes have been found in most modern humans, indicating that some level of interbreeding occurred: this suggests that Neanderthal and sapiens are closely-related enough to be considered the same species.

It all depends on where you want to draw your arbitrary lines.

chaoticskunk writes:

I see not geographical difference. I think sapiens encountered both, and I know Erectus were in Europe, but did the other two exist when they were is more the real question.

I think the only "European" Homo erectus known is from the Caucasus, and it was from well before the first Neanderthals or heidelbergines began to appear there.

And, it isn't about whether the three species ever encountered each other. Homo erectus evolved in Africa and expanded into Asia. Meanwhile, heidelbergensis evolved in Africa, then expanded into Europe, and gradually diverged into a European form (neanderthalensis) and an African form (sapiens). At some later point in time, sapiens expanded and came into contact with the other species, but only after they had been partially isolated for some time, and had already evolved into distinct "species" during their isolation.

By comparison, habilis, rudolfensis and ergaster not only lived in the same location at the same time, but also apparently evolved into distinct "species" in the same location and at around the same time. This is called "sympatric speciation": something other than geography was a barrier to interbreeding between these "species."


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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Dr Adequate
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Message 11 of 31 (670325)
08-12-2012 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Blue Jay
08-12-2012 6:37 PM


Re: right on
Meanwhile, heidelbergensis evolved in Africa, then expanded into Europe, and gradually diverged into a European form (neanderthalensis) and an African form (sapiens).

If this is actually known by anyone, I should like to see the evidence.


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Blue Jay
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Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
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(1)
Message 12 of 31 (670333)
08-12-2012 9:30 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dr Adequate
08-12-2012 7:01 PM


Re: right on
Hi, Dr A.

Dr Adequate writes:

Blue Jay writes:

Meanwhile, heidelbergensis evolved in Africa, then expanded into Europe, and gradually diverged into a European form (neanderthalensis) and an African form (sapiens).

If this is actually known by anyone, I should like to see the evidence.

Well, I suppose I should be more careful.

There's an African form (sapiens) and a European form (neanderthalensis), and heidelbergensis (also European) seems intermediary between the two and also shares particular affinities with other African forms (ergaster and rhodesiensis).

Technically, it's possible that heidelbergensis evolved in Europe (presumably an offshoot of Asian erectus) where it eventually evolved into neanderthalensis; while an offshoot of heidelbergensis expanded back to Africa, whereupon it evolved into rhodesiensis and sapiens, the latter of which migrated back to Europe.

It's also possible that heidelbergensis is the ancestor of neanderthalensis, but not of sapiens, in which case sapiens evolved from ergaster or rhodesiensis (or both).

But, none of this is particularly relevant to my overall point, so I just went with the model that was easiest to explain in a single sentence, so I could get on with it.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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caffeine
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Message 13 of 31 (670344)
08-13-2012 3:23 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Blue Jay
08-12-2012 6:37 PM


Re: right on
By comparison, habilis, rudolfensis and ergaster not only lived in the same location at the same time, but also apparently evolved into distinct "species" in the same location and at around the same time. This is called "sympatric speciation": something other than geography was a barrier to interbreeding between these "species."

Or, rudolfensis and ergaster could both have evolved in small, geographically isolated regions outside the notice of palaentology, at least up till now, before expanding back into the rest of Africa. Is there anything I've missed that argues against this alternative?


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Heathen
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Message 14 of 31 (670346)
08-13-2012 5:07 AM


General question here from a non geneticist/biologist/archaeologist/palaeontologist.

So they find a skull or a group of skulls that do not conform to our understanding of H. sapiens or other known hominids.
At what point and how do they decide that this represents a new species, and not a single or group of deformed H. sapiens?

Is it possible that this "new" species could be the remains of some kind of deformed or mutated already-known type?

Genuinely interested to know how they decide this given the scarcity of these specimens.


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Coyote
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Message 15 of 31 (670356)
08-13-2012 9:49 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Heathen
08-13-2012 5:07 AM


One of the tools they are now using is multivariate statistics.

Discriminant function analysis is quite useful for determining whether new specimens are similar to or different from a particular body of data.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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