Chimpanzee Bigfooticus robust clavicle Asia to America
via many Beringias
during ice ages
Africa to Asia to N.America Top view skull skeleton day 1
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lesson # 3
Homo sapiens neanderthalensis
Lesson 3 near bottom
" Neanderthal depictions by paleoanthropologists over the years as sub-humans without sophisticated language skills has been absurdly illogical and prejudicial in their understanding of not only hominin evolution - but animal communication abilities and evolution in general. "
H. sapiens neanderthalensis man average brain size 1480 cc
H. sapiens sapiens man average brain size 1350 cc
They did get the Homo sapiens name on both shapes correct.
A must see is paleo-artist John Gurche's accurate
first ever non-prejudicial rendition of a
Neanderthal man for the
Smithsonian Institution's hominin exhibit.
More on Neanderthal man near the bottom.
You have already seen his skull in
USA TODAY and other publications.
HRB is dedicated to the entertaining study & education about our hominin kin and the new near monthly discoveries across the globe from the 4.4 million year old Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi ) through 3.2 million year old Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy), their presumed descendants of Australopithecus africanus , Australopithecus robustus , Australopithecus boisei & the other robust Australopithecines , Homo habilis , H. floresiensis, Homo robustus bigfooticus TM and the many intermediate hominin forms including Neanderthals - Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo erectus etc.
This site should be added to your favorites - so that you can check back every so often, drinking your morning coffee to see the latest discoveries, skeletal analysis of the bio-mechanics of the various hominin skeletal structure comparisons to each other and to modern Sapiens and the many other discoveries including habitats and their distinctive and unique reproductive and survival strategies.
Stay tuned for our new adventures through time.
NEW Lesson # 4
UPDATE - As I mentioned last year and in my book - the rumored 300 lb. new ape species dubbed Bili Ape has recently been confirmed in African jungles !
How could a 300 pound ape species be unknown & unconfirmed in our densely human populated world all the way into 2010 ?
An ape which can not elude humans via bipedal locomotion as " our living hominin kin " BIGFOOTICUS do.
Lesson # 1
Our first lesson will be about 3.2 million year old Lucy
3.7 to 2.9 million years ago
( minimum- range)
Keep in mind - just because a fossil of a hominin shape
( presumptive species) has not been found outside the proven range - it is highly likely that - that shape lived long before & long after the known fossil samples as the probabilities of finding the first or last individual of any shape (species) is probably almost ZERO ! Rodents and other animals quickly recycle calcium. Watch how quickly lions , hyenas and vultures quickly scatter the skeletons of animals.
Fossils are hard to make and even harder to find.
Especially if you are looking in the wrong places.
Critical thinking is the key !
Question the stated " facts ".
Some scientists have lots of book learnin schmarts but
have little experience with real animals or animal behaviors.
Although Lucy has lost favor as a topic of discussion these past few years, especially with the discovery of ( Ardi ) Ardipithecus ramidus who lived 4.4 million years ago, she is very significant - because - she turned the community of paleoanthopology upside down when she was announced by Donald Johanson - who discovered her in November of 1974. Lucy was named after the Beatles song - Lucy in the sky with diamonds , which was being played over and over in camp - when she was discovered.
Prior to Lucy - it was assumed that hominids (hominins) had to have large brains before they could learn to walk on two legs ( bipedalism ). Forget the obvious fact that birds (dinosaurs) with their birdbrains had been doing it for tens of millions of years. That is why , prior to Lucy - there were many cartoons showing Darwin's head on an apes body all hunched over and why most of the cave-man exhibits throughout the world showed cave people bent over as if their heads were full size and their bodies were catching up and straightening out evolutionarily. We now know that the scientists of the first 3/4 of the twentieth century were kind of silly in their postulations - but at the time they had no hard evidence one way or the other. That is one of the reasons why Lucy is so significant. She got us on a more true path to understanding our progress through time. Lucy had a brain roughly the same size as a chimpanzee yet the rest of her skeleton was very similar to modern human design. She was small, at three and a half feet tall & weighed less than 80 pounds - but her slightly more curved hands & the rest of her skeleton were used very much like modern Homo sapiens. She was fully upright with basically a more refined Bonobos chimpanzee type skull and with no larger brain than a modern chimpanzee. Her feet were very similar to ours. Later on - came the discovery of even older - footprints - in 3.6 million year old volcanic ash of Laetoli which presumably showed - that two Lucys (Afarensis) walked side by side & one of them was probably caring a baby, as her footprints and stride appeared altered as if she were caring a young one on her hip. The tracks next to hers were larger and thus the inference is - that she had her mate walking with her. If it was her husband walking with her, the certificate has long since vanished.
More on Lucy later.
Lesson # 2
The short history of Paleoanthropology
is mostly not a good one.
In 1912 the Piltdown hoax was perpetrated by some unscrupulous characters in England, one of the least logical sites for early hominins to evolve. The stubborn scientific community took 40 years to figure out that an ape jaw had been attached to a human skull even though the hoax had been pointed out decades earlier. This led many prejudicial scientist to ignore the true great hominin discoveries of Africa. Many are just as prone to cultural, religious or self interest prejudices and are in denial of the obvious today as scientists were then. They have allowed inflexibility of mind to rule their reasoning & ridicule with dismissive words - the great new discoveries that debunk what they have been wrongly teaching over their careers. A recent example is the dismissive language used by a paleoanthropologist about the great discovery of Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) saying : " That ain't the foot of a biped ", which demonstrates that jealousies can permeate science discoveries too. That ridiculing scientist obviously does not fully understand the gradual processes of evolution. Ardi is obviously a biped. Ardi was studied and analyzed for more than ten years before he was announced to the world. Most people do not realize that this field of study is as much interpretive art - as science - and more often than not - the prognostications of the prognosticators have been wrong.
So keep an open and flexible mind when it comes to hominid & hominin evolution(s). We have only scratched the surface & several great discoveries which shed new light on hominin reproductive behavior and survival strategies will soon be announced !
Since humans are the least densely haired great apes, it should have been obvious that we evolved in a very warm, stable and probably very humid environment as even deserts tend to get too cold at night for our light hair covering. Our hair covering did not become less because we invented clothing , clothing was created by smart adaptable hominins who ventured outside their historic body comfort zones - probably following game and other resources. Exposure to the elements was obviously not enough of a selective factor (evolution) to cause a large reversal in body hair denseness. It seems that the most likely reason we retained lush head hair - is that our brains function best with stable temperatures. Hair keeps the rain , sun and both heat and cold out. What seems perplexing is why we did not retain more hair on the tops of our feet and shoulders as sun shields.
Maybe the denseness of their jungle habitat sheltered them from much of the direct rays of the burning sun.
Part of the problem is that scientists forget that before humans with their stone or metal axes - the world was more densely forested and the forest were much more widespread and had their internal relative humidity helping to maintain their edges and expansions or to preserve themselves (forests) from shrinking.
Another problem is - that dry areas today with their washed out canyons and valleys - are favored by scientists because larger areas can
be searched on foot and the bones can wash out and be exposed in the sediment layers.
If a bone has traveled down stream or down hill- sometimes like gold nuggets- it can be traced back uphill to their source and more bones or more of the skeleton can be discovered. That is much harder to do in jungles and it is much harder to excavate in jungled or forested areas.
Even though the now desert areas where the searches occur today may have been jungles millions of years ago, today's environment still skews the search locations & thus the hominin skeletal evidence may be very much skewed because of the selection of those search sites.
Our loss of hair denseness may have played a major role in our brain developments and mate selections. That is a big unknown - as is the hair denseness on many hominins ( so called species ).
We know ancestral humans at one time had dense hair covering - as newborn babies still retain some of their strong hair grasping instinct and grip for awhile.
The reason peoples tended to become lighter and lighter skinned as they lived farther north is that a pale face can produce as much of the essential nutrient - Vitamin D - via the suns exposure to the skin as a whole body of a very dark skinned person. Thus over time - the lighter skinned hominins who lived farther north or wore more clothing, tended to be healthier than the ones who were not producing enough vitamin D - and thus, on average - had an advantage in passing along more of their genes. Therefore , over time - more northerly tribal populations tended to become lighter and lighter skinned. It has been shown that there is a connection between skin color, hair and eye color gene expressions as well. Freckles and red hair are an example. Darker skin is obviously more advantageous in warm - sunny - southern climates.
Additionally; body mass of all animal species including humans - tends to become larger the farther north they live. This is a function of conserving or dissipating body heat and referred to as Bergmann's rule. The extinct cave bear is a prime example. In between cold glacial periods their body's shrank in mass and grew when the cold returned. Growing and shrinking many times.
Before people moved around so much, about 1,000 or so years ago, population(s) gene pools were much more effected and thus reflectively expressed by their local environments. In steep mountainous areas of the world , people of each village can tend to have their own "look" as it is easier to find a girlfriend in your own village where the people are friendly toward you - than climbing that 10,000 foot hill to compete with the neighbor village boys. Thus - in small villages , many people are related to each other in some fashion.
Natural selection is still going on in the Human populations today, it is just hard to gauge with the rapid population explosion in the last few hundred years combined with other non environmental factors.
Homo sapiens are likely the first hominins to have large numbers. Neanderthals had 10% larger brains and lived side by side " modern Sapiens " for an amazing 130,000 plus years - but they had to contend with ice ages and harsh winters which no doubt - took a toll on their overall numbers. Their young may have been less likely to survive & adults more likely to become injured.
Their depictions by paleoanthropologists over the years as sub-humans without sophisticated language skills is illogical and prejudicial in their understandings of not just hominin evolution, but animal communication abilities and communication and evolution in general.
Supreme Homo sapiens neanderthalensis were the first known hominins to bury their dead with what appears to be a belief in the after life or possible religion. Their tool kits were superior to Sapiens for tens of thousands of years. They were probably overwhelmed by shear numbers after more than 100,000 years of holding their own. That is a long time. Slight technological advantages by Sapiens such as the Atlatl (spear-thrower), possible new diseases transmitted by Sapiens and those shear numbers probably eventually overwhelmed them. Some probably were also absorbed into the gene pool of Sapiens and visa-versa , although their genes would likely be watered down by now - unless those genes had a strong selective advantage.
A big article in Discover - the world of science in Sept. of 1995 expounds upon all the reasons why the two (so called) species could not interbreed. Recent D.N.A. analysis shows just how presumptive, irrational, illogical and prejudiced the scientific community can be and how they can brainwash themselves to justify their postulations, actions, mis-teachings and biased beliefs which are not based in rational reasoning processes. If you ever hear a scientists or paleoanthropologist use the word " far fetched " it is probably a hint that they are covering their ignorance of a subject.
Lesson 2 1/2
A very few number of people have dominated and controlled the interpretations and reporting of hominin discoveries in the last 50 years and the media has not been well enough informed to question the many theories that have defied common sense. That is still ongoing. An example of that was the "Single Species Hypothesis" promoted by Professor Wol.... who had no proof and who must have never set foot in a dense forest or jungle. His dominate teachings stated that two different similar species could not live side by side for various reasons. His many theories were and are not supported by science or common sense. His absurd teachings were discredited decades earlier by Darwin's discoveries of the many different finch species occupying different niches in a relatively small area and - for hominins - by the discoveries of Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus boisei ( a robust Australopithecine ), A. robustus and Homo habilis and A. sediba living side by side and probably in harmony for hundreds of thousands of years or more.
The depictions on T.V. of various hominin groups millions of years ago in conflict with one another over food resources etc. is not logical nor supportable either. The main conflicts and threats besides injury or disease to hominins and hominids over those first millions of years were likely predators, not each other. Big cats would probably be number one - followed by hyenas, canids, crocodiles, snakes and occasionally eagles.
Africa is a huge area with dense jungles and forests and has many isolation barriers such as: the many large rivers which are a great deterrent to movement. These barriers could keep many hominin groups relatively separated from each other for thousands of years. Their particular isolated niche of the jungle or transition zone or whatever, may have favored certain teeth size and design and other body part shapes for each group - for that particular time and climate in history. That however; does not make them a new species. We have at least five great ape species (including Sapiens) living today in Africa and it is rumored that a new larger species of Chimpanzee may exist. A new population of 1,000 very rare Bonobos has just been discovered in Africa and announced to the world. Up until the last ten thousand years - we five great ape species have lived in relative harmony in Africa.
A minority group has tried hard in recent years to force their prejudices about Australopithecines into the scientific and public consciousness by trying to demote them to a genus called Paranthropus. A more thoughtful and logical majority has pushed back and re-established the Genus name Australopithecus. According to most paleoanthropologists - A. africanus evolved into Homo habilis etc. - who evolved into H. erectus - who evolved into H. sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens etc. etc. Every time they find a new shaped head or skeleton they like to give it a new species name. " Homo sapiens heidelbergensis fifth and main streetensis ". Genetic variability, which allows the driving forces of evolution to work , doesn't enter their minds.
Or the fact: That all of these so called species could interbreed and produce viable offspring , which is the scientific definition and rational for species classification. There is no logical proof that a Homo habilis and Homo sapiens could not breed and produce viable fertile offspring. Their chromosome numbers would be the same and their DNA would be about 99.9 % the same. It is even logical to assume that late Australopithecines and late Homo are close enough genetically to breed and produce not only viable - but fertile and reproducable offspring.
Therefore: the scientific definition of species has long been violated by paleoanthropologists and the art and science of paleoanthopology. There is some room for excuse here though; as it does make it easier for students to follow the evolution of the many human (forms & shapes) through time. From Lucy to the present.
There is no definitive dividing line between
the Genus Australopithecus & the Genus Homo
Australopithecines are ancestral to Homo.
Remember : It is not like one morning - a mother Australopithecus africanus - Mrs. Hatfield said : " Hey honey look - I just gave birth to a Homo habilis - lets name him Adam and hey - the McCoys are having a baby soon - maybe they will be blessed with a Habilis too and can name her Eve . "
Evolution is a little more gradual than that and the fact that the fossils which happen to be discovered - fall into a certain time period and locale which may have influenced certain aspects of the Beings bodies should not make one come to any conclusions that each different shape is a new species that could not - some how - share its D.N.A. with other hominins of different shapes given the circumstances.
There is no defining line between the Genus Homo and Genus Australopithecus except the arbitrary findings of those fossils and the presumptions and educated guesses of the scientists studying the teeth etc. of those partial fossils. They have no logical proof that the contemporary hominins over the last two and a half million years could not interbreed given the right circumstances - as their DNA was probably more than 99.9 % identical to each other for hundreds of thousands of years.
Hominin population groups did not have to be replaced by other invading hominins to change shapes as we have been misled to believe.
The forces of natural selection ( evolution ) were and are at work on all the hominin groups throughout the world and their DNA is and was near identical. Those similar evolutionary forces combined with the sharing of DNA by close geographic groups caused all groups to continue to grow - on average - larger brains and evolve body shapes which suited their habitat.
Extrapolations can be done back through time. If Bonobos and Chimpanzees and Humans share roughly 99 % of DNA and current estimates of our divergence from each other are between 8 and 12 million years - with probably 9 to 10 million years being a good starting point , then each million years of divergence would extrapolate out to about one tenth of one percent difference in DNA. Each one hundred thousand years would be about 1/100 of one percent. If so called different shaped species occasionally interbred for those hundreds of thousands of years then that could drop to 1/1000 th of one percent difference in DNA.
Hardly a new species.
If scientists dug up a Chiwawa skeleton and a St. Bernard skeleton and were told one was one million years old and the other 900,000 years old, no doubt - with the differences in skull crest jaw muscle attachments and size differences - they would conclude that they were two unique species. We know that those two breeds are separated by less than a thousand years and a female St. Bernard A.I. ed by a male Chiwawa will produce viable fertile puppies with features somewhere betwixt the two breeds. Some Homo sapiens populations (races) have been separated from each other for 100,000 years and yet have Zero problem when together, of producing very viable offspring.
So WHAT'S THE POINT again ?
Different sizes (including teeth) & different shapes & proportions of body parts are not always - indicative of different species !
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Homo sapiens neanderthalensis
Neandertal man is a prime example of said
preconceived prejudices by paleoanthropologists.
For decades they have been maligned as sub-humans and continue to be - to this day for unfounded reasons. Their thin numbers in relation to Sapiens were apparently absorbed or went " extinct ". There have been some skeletal remains that appear to be crosses between Sapiens and Neandertals.
Neanderthals had average brain sizes of 1480cc which were 10% larger than so called modern Sapiens, who average 1350 cc. Even Cro-Magnon man ( early European Sapiens) had bigger brains than current humans. Paleoanthropologists usually call this 130 cc Neanderthal brain size advantage"slight or insignificant" when comparing to us. But it is guaranteed - that if the tables and figures were reversed, those same scientists would all be expounding upon how significant those extra 130 cc in brains are to Sapiens superiority over Neandertals.
The facts are:
Neandertals lived at least 230,000 years ago to at least 24,000 years ago and 130,000 years of that time they lived next to or side by side with Homo sapiens.
Their ROBUST (appearance) is a combination of evolving from Homo erectus and the colder climate that they inhabited. Their low density numbers probably reflected most other hominin groups throughout most of history.
Sapiens might be the first hominins to live in large communities with many families. The numbers game may be the prime reason for our ultimate dominance. It may be a combination of many factors that took 100,000 years for Sapiens to replace, absorb & push Neandertals from their range. We humans speak in terms of 1,000 years being a long time. Co-habitation of two differently shaped Sapiens hominins (so called species) for 100,000 years is comparatively - a very long time.
A decades long promoted
For years the foolishness of many anthropologists, scientists and paleoanthropologists have and continue to this day - to assume that Neanderthals did not have sophisticated language - because for many years they had not found hyoid neck bones (near Adam's apple) with Neanderthal skeletons.
The hyoid is the only human bone that is free floating and is not attached to another bone. Predators often go for the soft throat and a loose bone could easily be dispersed or washed away etc.
The idea that humans all of a sudden "evolved"
a hyoid bone for speech out of thin D.N.A. air lacks common sense to such a degree that those scientists - should have to retake kindergarten science.
Now that several Neanderthal hyoid bones have been discovered and are almost an exact match for Homo sapiens hyoid bones, some reactive so called anthropologists now theorize that the reason Neandertals appear to have gone extinct - is because their tongues were fatter and placed differently in their throats allowing them to swallow better, but which allowed them only half the sounds that we can make. " GET A GRIP ! "
These non-scientifically supported, nonsensical prejudicial postulations against our Neanderthal brethren; are stupendously outrageous !
Even the great U.S. hominins (who are known to have mastered speech) were overwhelmed by superior numbers at the Alamo, Korea & Philippines in WWII ! Their tongues were not fat !
Neanderthal man had to contend with many ice ages whereby - the sheets of ice that were created in those colder times reduced their living area and their game's living area. Their prey would be effected along with the plants that both Neanderthal man and the animals ate.
During the peak of those ice ages their ranges would be condensed and the many winter survival stresses magnified. Warm centuries would return and they could again expand their ranges with the newer, stronger, more robust and smarter versions of themselves that made it through the prior tough times.
H. Sapiens ; most of whom were living in Africa - did not have to contend with those cold climates until the last 100,000 years or so and thus could continue to increase their numbers without those intervening periods of numbers constriction and contraction brought about by the climate and severe winters.
So when you hear derogatory comments about Neandertals, remember - Had the tables been turned - they might be showing skulls of those ancient tall foreheaded hominins - who had wimpy skeletons - in their schools with the teachers saying to their students:
" Obviously - Homo sapiens with their smaller brains probably did not have the capacity for sophisticated language and thus - with their skinny necks and tongues couldn't communicate with each other to get out of the way of the moving glaciers". " That kids - is why those melon headed beings are no longer with us today ".
At which point TrogloDan - the class clown - would
throw a spear into the chalkboard and be sent to the Principal's cave.