Re: Anthropological items

From: Jay Willingham (jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com)
Date: Sat Jul 06 2002 - 15:02:33 EDT

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    I find it difficult to accept taxonomical classification of true hominid
    remains as anything other than variations within homo sapiens.

    It appears to me that most if not all hominid fossils are within or close to
    the arguable range of physiological variation seen in historical homo
    sapiens.

    Assumptions about braincase and other skeletal characteristics of the
    pre-historic hominids are fascinatingly speculative at best.

    I love scientific inquiry but believe too many scientists tend to make the
    hypothesis to theory leap prematurely.

    This condition is endemic to patron, tenure and grant systems requiring
    publication or seeking a certain result.

    Abuses also are engendered by a media thirsty for news.

    Jay

    James Estes Willingham, Jr.
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    2411 Mohawk Trail,
    Maitland, Florida 32751-4032,
    phone: 407-645-5454, fax: 407-628-1170,
    jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Glenn Morton" <glenn.morton@btinternet.com>
    To: <asa@calvin.edu>
    Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 8:37 PM
    Subject: Anthropological items

    > It has been a while since I have posted anything on fossil man. The most
    > interesting news item concerns the discovery of a very small brained
    hominid
    > at Dmanisi, Georgia. This skull was found in association with larger
    brained
    > H. erectus' and it dates to 1.7 million years. The first two skulls found
    at
    > Dmanisi have brain-sizes of 800 cc, this one has a brain-size of 600
    > cc--smaller than the brain size of any normal human being (the smallest
    was
    > Daniel Lyon, an Irishman of the last century who had a brain size of 700
    cc.
    > There is some spculation that this new skull might very well be habilis,
    in
    > which case it would be the only known case of habilis living with erectus
    > and would have serious implications for how the habilines evolved into
    > erectines.
    >
    > Migration of Homo erectus out of Africa
    >
    > Speaking of the first H. erectus outside of Africa (above), there is new
    > evidence of when H. erectus left africal. At Erk-el-Ahmar,Jordon, Oldowan
    > tools were found (Oldowan tools are the oldest form of stone tools known).
    > Dating by magnetostratigraphy shows that the stone tools are between 1.8-2
    > million years old. This would be consistent with the earliest known
    > occurrences of H. erectus outside of Africa. He had the technology and
    > intelligence to essentially inhabit the vast majority of the Old World.
    > Erectus is found from Java to China, to Georgia, to Italy prior to 800,000
    > years ago.
    >
    > > Early human sites
    > > Longupo Cave, China 1.9 myr
    > > Java 1.8 myr
    > > Turkana Kenya 1.6-1.9 myr
    > > Dmanisi Georgia 1.7 myr
    > > Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania 1.2-1.8 myr
    > > Ubeidiya, Israel 1.5 myr
    > > Gongwanling, China 1.1 myr
    >
    > see Constance Holden, ŌVery Old Tools,” Science, 295(2002):795
    >
    > No other animal spread so rapidly as did H. erectus. It appears that he
    was
    > much more capable than we often give him credit.
    >
    > Neanderthal Efficiency.
    >
    > A new study of Levallois stone tool techniques show how they maximize the
    > cutting edge and minimize wastage. It seems that the Neanderthals, who
    > invented this technique, were not so stupid after all. The temporal
    > persistence of this tool type may not have been due to lack of
    inventiveness
    > on the part of the Neanderthals, but simply that most experiments resulted
    > in worse results. The report says:
    >
    > ŌRecent volumetric definitions of Levallois core technology are amenable
    to
    > mathematical modelling. We present a simple geometric model that permits
    > controlled manipulation of a few of the key parameters defining Levallois
    > core morphology. The models indicate that Levallois cores are relatively
    > efficient at minimizing raw material waste while at the same time
    maximizing
    > productivity in terms of total number of tool blanks and amount of cutting
    > edge produced. Deviations from an ideal Levallois geometry produce
    > significant declines in both efficiency and productivity. These results
    > implicate mechanical and economic constraints as factors underlying the
    > broad geographic distribution and temporal persistence of Levallois core
    > technologies during the Middle and Late Pleistocene.” P. Jeffrey
    > Brantingham, Steven L. Kuhn, ŌConstraints on Levallois Core Technology:
    A
    > Mathematical Model” Journal of Archaeological Science,Vol. 28, No. 7,
    July
    > 1, 2001pp. 747-761
    >
    > Ornamentation may simply be due to population expansion
    >
    > A study by Mary Stiner concerning the food remains in caves in Turkey and
    > Lebanon have convinced Stiner and her team that there was a population
    > explosion in those regions between 40-50 kyr ago. The news account says:
    > "The archaeologists have noticed a shift in diet during this time from
    > slow-reproducing animals that are relatively easy to capture ("unless,"
    says
    > Kuhn "you have a really bad back"), like tortoises and shellfish, to
    quickly
    > reproducing, hard-to-catch game like rabbits and birds. They speculate
    that
    > a burgeoning human population forced people to broaden their diet to
    include
    > animals that were more difficult to hunt."
    >
    > "Finds of shell beads from places like -°agizli Cave in Turkey and
    Ksar'
    > Akil in Lebanon also suggest a growing population. "You use ornaments to
    > identify things about yourself," says Kuhn. "The target audience for the
    > beads is people who are more or less strangers, that know just enough
    about
    > you to understand what ornaments mean. As populations grow, you deal with
    > more strangers. Beads are a new form of communication, so that you know at
    a
    > distance who the person is and how you should deal with them."--ERIC A.
    > POWELL
    > http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=0205/newsbriefs/cave
    >
    >
    > Of Mice and Men
    >
    > While we may only be 2% different in DNA from us to the chimps (99.6% if
    > only genes are considered), there is only 2.5% difference between mice and
    > men. This says that only small changes in the DNA are required to
    radically
    > alter body plan.
    > http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992352
    >
    > Neanderthal plant use
    >
    > Neanderthals were not so different from us. They used plants in much the
    > same way was modern, technologically primitive humans do. The report
    says:
    >
    > "The Amud Neanderthals emphasized both wood and grass exploitation.
    Ligneous
    > parts of trees and shrubs were used mainly for fuel. Herbaceous plants
    were
    > used for bedding, possibly fuel, and for food. There is clear and
    repetitive
    > evidence for the exploitation of mature grass panicles, inferred to have
    > been collected for their seeds. These findings suggest that, as with the
    > pattern recently discerned for faunal resources, a broad spectrum of
    plants
    > has been exploited from at least the end of the Middle Palaeolithic.
    > Phytolith analysis now provides a tool for testing models explaining
    > subsistence and mobility patterns during the Levantine Middle Palaeolithic
    > and for better understanding the role of vegetal resources in shaping
    these
    > patterns." Marco Madella et al, "The Exploitation of Plant Resources by
    > Neanderthals in Amud Cave (Israel): The Evidence from Phytolith Studies",
    > Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 29, No. 7, July 1, 2002, pp.
    703-719
    >
    > Evidence for active hunting 1.5 myr ago.
    >
    > There has been a long running controversy in anthropology about when
    active
    > hunting began. By this it is meant active hunting as opposed to scavenging
    > the kills of lions and hyaenas. A recent abstract adds evidence in favor
    of
    > hunting. It says:
    >
    > ŌAn assemblage of 1.5Ma Oldowan sites situated on a paleosol of
    Maritanane,
    > Peninj (Tanzania) presents a new type of archaeological record
    characterized
    > by abundant faunal remains associated to a small amount of stone tools
    over
    > an extensive area. The widespread nature of the archaeological materials,
    > together with different weathering stages of the fauna and articulated
    > clusters of bones suggests that hominids redundantly visited the area to
    > obtain and process animal carcasses. Bone surface analyses indicate that
    > hominids had primary access to fully fleshed carcasses, and that carnivore
    > activity was restricted to post-depositional ravaging. Given that a high
    > degree of competition among carnivores seems to have existed in the
    > paleohabitats near the location where the ST Site Complex was formed, as
    > inferred by a landscape taphonomy study, passive scavenging does not seem
    to
    > have been a feasible option available to hominids. Cut mark patterns
    suggest
    > that hominids were actively involved in obtaining animal resources rather
    > than visiting other carnivores' kills. The data presented would initially
    > support behavioural interpretations such as those proposed by O'Connell
    > (1997) suggesting that the ST site complex might have been the result of
    > "near-kill locations" redundantly visited by hominids.” Manuel
    > Dom√nguez-Rodrigo, , Ignacio de La Torre1, Luis de Luque, Luis AlcalÖ,
    > Rafael Mora, Jordi Serrallonga, Victoria Medina, ŌThe ST Site Complex
    at
    > Peninj, West Lake Natron, Tanzania: Implications for Early Hominid
    > Behavioural Models” Journal of Archaeological Science
    > Vol. 29, No. 6, June 1, 2002,pp. 639-665
    >
    > Horse or man?
    >
    > An extremely controversial Spanish site, is still battling for
    recognition.
    > The site is 1.6 myr old and is claimed to contain human fossil FRAGMENTS.
    > Many people have doubted that conclusion and claim the fossils are horse.
    > The argument started before Dmanisi was found proving that H. erectus was
    > indeed out of Africa that long ago. However, the argument has continued
    > until today. The two fossils in question are VM-1960 and VM 3691 and even
    > the shape of the bone sutures have been the occasion of argumentation.
    Thus
    > these researchers looked for chemical evidence of what species the bones
    > belong to. The abstract says:
    >
    > "Fossil extracts were tested with antibodies against human IgG and against
    > horse IgG with two independent immunological methods: dot-blotting (DB)
    and
    > a modification of this latter method: quantitative dot-blotting (QDB). IgG
    > was detected by DB and was quantifiable by QDB in some of the fossils
    > tested. Equid fossils from Atapuerca and Venta Micena gave stronger
    > reactions with the antibodies against horse IgG than with the antibodies
    > against human IgG. Fossils VM3691 and VM1960 reacted more strongly with
    the
    > antibodies against human IgG than with antibodies against horse IgG,
    whereas
    > no IgG was detected in fossils CV1 and CV2. These findings show that
    > species-specific IgG can be detected in fossils as old as 1.6Myr. The
    > immunological analysis of fossil proteins may help to solve
    palaeontological
    > controversies. Ō JesTs M. Torres, Concepci§n Borja, Enrique G. Olivares,
    > ŌImmunoglobulin G in 1.6 Million-year-old Fossil Bones from Venta Micena
    > (Granada, Spain)” Journal of Archaeological Science Vol. 29, No. 2,
    > February 1, 2002,pp. 167-175
    >
    > This supports the human hypothesis rather than the horse hypothesis.
    >
    >
    > glenn
    >
    > see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
    > for lots of creation/evolution information
    > anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    > personal stories of struggle



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