'First of our kind' found in Morocco
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08-06-2017, 07:30 AM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2017 07:34 AM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
I'm not sure why he phrased things the way he did. It doesn't disprove anything about the previous model... Morocco is still in Africa. It doesn't change the pattern of human evolution much, except to show that early Homo sapiens was more widespread in range than originally thought. Why he would say we thought modern humans "suddenly" appeared is bizarre, as that isn't how evolution works.

This aaaalmost modern human skull is exactly what I'd expect to find, 100K years prior to Cro Magnons... just not where exactly I'd have expected to find it. All this does is tell us that our ancestors were faster in developing early versions of our modern form than first supposed, and were already wider ranging.

Given that our cousins, the Neandertals and Denisovans*, had already managed to migrate out of Africa and colonize most of Eurasia by almost a million years ago, I'd have been surprised if we never found that HS had spread out throughout Africa as well. This is simply our first proof that such is the case.

*Edit to Add: Yes, I'm aware that it was the predecessors of Neandertals and Denisovans, our common Homo erectus/ergaster ancestors, who actually left Africa and colonized Eurasia... I was just referring to them by the variants that were around when the Moroccan H. sapiens fossils above were extant.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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08-06-2017, 07:49 AM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(07-06-2017 01:30 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  This is what makes science so strong: the good Professor had his hypothesis disproven, and has gone on to support the science that disproved it.

Try that with a creatard


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08-06-2017, 09:20 AM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
If humans come from Morocco, why are there still people in Morocco? Consider

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08-06-2017, 12:05 PM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(08-06-2017 07:30 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I'm not sure why he phrased things the way he did. It doesn't disprove anything about the previous model... Morocco is still in Africa. It doesn't change the pattern of human evolution much, except to show that early Homo sapiens was more widespread in range than originally thought. Why he would say we thought modern humans "suddenly" appeared is bizarre, as that isn't how evolution works.

This aaaalmost modern human skull is exactly what I'd expect to find, 100K years prior to Cro Magnons... just not where exactly I'd have expected to find it. All this does is tell us that our ancestors were faster in developing early versions of our modern form than first supposed, and were already wider ranging.

Given that our cousins, the Neandertals and Denisovans*, had already managed to migrate out of Africa and colonize most of Eurasia by almost a million years ago, I'd have been surprised if we never found that HS had spread out throughout Africa as well. This is simply our first proof that such is the case.

*Edit to Add: Yes, I'm aware that it was the predecessors of Neandertals and Denisovans, our common Homo erectus/ergaster ancestors, who actually left Africa and colonized Eurasia... I was just referring to them by the variants that were around when the Moroccan H. sapiens fossils above were extant.

How reliable is the idea that a Neanderthal was something else and not just what we would today typically refer to as a race?

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08-06-2017, 02:12 PM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(08-06-2017 12:05 PM)tomilay Wrote:  How reliable is the idea that a Neanderthal was something else and not just what we would today typically refer to as a race?

That's still up for debate. As with most things in biology, definitions get fuzzy around the edges, when trying to even define what constitutes a species. That's (part of) what makes the Creationist arguments about the "missing link" so frustrating.

Some scientists prefer to refer to us as Homo sapiens sapiens and them as Homo sapiens neandertalensis*, which means they are a sub-species. There is much to commend this view, since we have strong evidence that we interbred with them.

However, I tend to fall into the other camp, and prefer to call us Homo sapiens and them Homo neandertalensis. This is largely because of the gap in time, nearly a million years, in which our ancestors were geographically separated from those of the Neandertals, when Homo erectus/ergaster left Africa for the first time and then began to evolve in different directions from those who stayed in Africa to become us.

The Neandertals kept the original skull shape (though much larger) of Homo erectus, while our ancestors in Africa began to develop/retain more cranial neoteny: the high forehead, lower brow ridges, and underdeveloped jaw that is common in most Great Ape infants. As such, I think it's enough to classify us as separate species, despite the ability to interbreed once the two species reunited in Eurasia.

If you look at the article's picture of the find, which has a regular human skull next to it, you can clearly see that the new skull still has unusually prominent (for modern humans) brow ridges and are transitional between the heavily sloped forehead of Homo erectus and the fully vertical one found in modern Homo sapiens, though it's hard to say without seeing the jaw or back of the skull whether they were also in the process of gaining our pointed chins, reduced mandible thickness, and reduced occipital bun that characterizes modern man.

This is a transitional fossil, clear as day. I think they're just calling it "modern" man because it does indicate that the ancestors of today's humanity were not confined to eastern Africa, as once believed, and can now be traced back another 100,000 years. It's an exciting find, but I think they'd be better off indicating the differences, rather than just the similarities.

Hope that covers what you were asking.



*Footnote: There are two common spellings of Neandertal. The usual in the USA is Neanderthal, but it's technically incorrect. The species is named after the Neander Tal, tal meaning valley-- the Neander Valley, where the cave in which the first fossils were found is located, in Germany. The German "t" in that case is pronounced with a bit of a th sound, leading most English speakers to use the spelling that matches the sound, but the proper spelling is just "t", so I use that.

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08-06-2017, 03:13 PM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
We don't know that any of the Homo (or any hominid) fossils are ancestral to homo sapiens. We already think that most of them were probably not.
There is no good reason to not believe that many "modern" aspects evolve din hominid species multiple times.
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08-06-2017, 05:31 PM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(08-06-2017 03:13 PM)Rik Wrote:  We don't know that any of the Homo (or any hominid) fossils are ancestral to homo sapiens. We already think that most of them were probably not.
There is no good reason to not believe that many "modern" aspects evolve din hominid species multiple times.

This is true, about the uncertainty of our ancestry... but 1) you're going outside the timeline I'm discussing with that statement about "most of them", 2) there are lots of kinds of hominid in that broader timeline, and of the ones that are not clearly off our line, such as the gracile giants, there are many potential candidates, so the question isn't whether or not we have such an ancestor species but which of the ones found, or perhaps another similar to them, was a member of our actual ancestral population, and 3) within the timeline I'm discussing, I would be very, very surprised if Homo erectus/ergaster was not ancestral to humans, given that they were the first hominid to leave Africa and colonize that hemisphere of the planet, and that we have pretty good transitionals for the "might be considered the same species as us" Neandertals in Europe and Asia, with whom we at least shared enough humanity to interbreed-- something that takes more than just DNA compatibility.

I think the case is made that Ergaster is a human ancestor. *shrug*

To me, the real question involves the time period of ~3 MYA, regarding what the transition might be from the clearly-ape-like bipeds (e.g. Ardipithecus) through the clearly humanoid "direction" bipeds (e.g. Lucy and K. platyops) all the way to those which are clearly genus Homo.

We need much more data for whatever came before H. habilis, where the data is much more sketchy. My money's on Kenyanthropus platyops, which lived around the time of Australopithecus (Lucy), and which was discovered in 1999, but we still need to find more of those to be sure it's not an anomaly or a deformity of the (seemingly flat) face. Still, it's a favorite! Smile

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08-06-2017, 05:41 PM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(08-06-2017 03:13 PM)Rik Wrote:  We don't know that any of the Homo (or any hominid) fossils are ancestral to homo sapiens. We already think that most of them were probably not.
There is no good reason to not believe that many "modern" aspects evolve din hominid species multiple times.

Lee Berger suggests that human evolution isn't a bush, with most of the branches dying out, but a "braided stream" where the different types separate and merge back into other lines. Given how close they were there's no real problem with that.
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09-06-2017, 08:24 AM (This post was last modified: 09-06-2017 08:31 AM by kim.)
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(08-06-2017 02:12 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(08-06-2017 12:05 PM)tomilay Wrote:  How reliable is the idea that a Neanderthal was something else and not just what we would today typically refer to as a race?

That's still up for debate. As with most things in biology, definitions get fuzzy around the edges, when trying to even define what constitutes a species. That's (part of) what makes the Creationist arguments about the "missing link" so frustrating.

Some scientists prefer to refer to us as Homo sapiens sapiens and them as Homo sapiens neandertalensis*, which means they are a sub-species. There is much to commend this view, since we have strong evidence that we interbred with them.

However, I tend to fall into the other camp, and prefer to call us Homo sapiens and them Homo neandertalensis. This is largely because of the gap in time, nearly a million years, in which our ancestors were geographically separated from those of the Neandertals, when Homo erectus/ergaster left Africa for the first time and then began to evolve in different directions from those who stayed in Africa to become us.

The Neandertals kept the original skull shape (though much larger) of Homo erectus, while our ancestors in Africa began to develop/retain more cranial neoteny: the high forehead, lower brow ridges, and underdeveloped jaw that is common in most Great Ape infants. As such, I think it's enough to classify us as separate species, despite the ability to interbreed once the two species reunited in Eurasia.

If you look at the article's picture of the find, which has a regular human skull next to it, you can clearly see that the new skull still has unusually prominent (for modern humans) brow ridges and are transitional between the heavily sloped forehead of Homo erectus and the fully vertical one found in modern Homo sapiens, though it's hard to say without seeing the jaw or back of the skull whether they were also in the process of gaining our pointed chins, reduced mandible thickness, and reduced occipital bun that characterizes modern man.

This is a transitional fossil, clear as day. I think they're just calling it "modern" man because it does indicate that the ancestors of today's humanity were not confined to eastern Africa, as once believed, and can now be traced back another 100,000 years. It's an exciting find, but I think they'd be better off indicating the differences, rather than just the similarities.
---

I thought the differences were astounding, as well. Did you notice that elongated skull in the back? Wow! To me that says either, it is an early version of Homo sapiens OR a different version of Homo sapiens. Consider But with that much time ... could it not be both? When it is that far back, so much is up for speculation & scrutiny.

Science magazine had a great article with a view of the back of the skull ... and a very handy reference map of African fossil finds. Thumbsup

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09-06-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: 'First of our kind' found in Morocco
(09-06-2017 08:24 AM)kim Wrote:  Science magazine had a great article with a view of the back of the skull ... and a very handy reference map of African fossil finds. Thumbsup

Where I first heard about it Blush

One of the my favourite sources (together with phys.org, though they have some articles that make me roll my eyes sometimes, usually in the "social sciences" section)

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