RE: Anthropological items

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sun Jul 07 2002 - 01:30:11 EDT

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    I just was able to get a copy of the Science article on the new find at
    Dmanisi. The amazing fact is that the authors are just a whisker away from
    saying that these skulls are transitional between H. erectus and H. habilis.
    Indeed they do suggest that the habilines were the first to emigrate from
    Africa. And that would be an amazing feat for mankind 2 million years ago.
    They say:

    ìWe suggest that the ancestors of the Dmanisi population dispersed from
    Africa before the emergence of humans identified broadly with the H. erectus
    grade.î Abesalom Veku et al, ìA New Skull of Early Homo from Dmanisi,
    Georgia,î Science, 297(2002):85-89, p.85


            ìThe Dmanisi hominids are among the most primitive individuals so far
    attributed to H. erectus or to any species that is indisputably Homo, and it
    can be argued that this population is closely related to Homo habilis (sensu
    stricto) as known from Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Koobi For a in northern
    Kenya and possibly Hadar in Ethipoia. The presence at Dmanisi of individuals
    like D2700 calls into question the view that only hominids with brains
    equivalent in size to those of mid-Pleistocene H. erectus were able to
    migrate from Africa northward through the Levantine corridor into Asia. It
    now seems more likely that the first humans to disperse from the African
    homeland were similar in grade to H. habilis (sensu stricto).î Abesalom Veku
    et al, ìA New Skull of Early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia,î Science,
    297(2002):85-89, p. 88.

    Now to Jay's questions:

    Jay wrote:
    >Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 11:03 AM

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

    Fine, then does that mean you believe humanity is over 2.5 million years
    old? That is how old the genus Homo is.

    >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

    Documentation please? I would like to ask why the nasion projection is
    different in ancient hominids, why they had flattened rear-protruding skulls
    with large brow ridges which we don't see today? Are you actually aware of
    the major skull changes between us and them? ARe you aware that these skull
    changes don't exist today in any human population? For instance, the H.
    erectus, if looked at from the top, has a skull which is hour-glass shaped.
    No modern human has that shape of a skull so how can you claim that these
    are nothing more than variants within the modern population?

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

    No, they are observational. I would ask if you have ever read a technical
    journal or book on anthropology? If you are so sure of this, please document

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

    Are you another lawyer who, like Phil Johnson, thinks he doesn't have to
    actually read the subject matter before critiquing it?

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

    I get no grants, have no tenure (indeed am subject to layoff at a moments
    notice) and don't seek certain results. In fact I never intended to become
    what I am today. Thus I don't seek certain results.

    >Abuses also are engendered by a media thirsty for news.

    Agreed, but you paint with a very broad brush. What IN PARTICULAR makes you
    think this applies here?


    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of Jay Willingham
    >James Estes Willingham, Jr.
    >Attorney and Counselor at Law
    >2411 Mohawk Trail,
    >Maitland, Florida 32751-4032,
    >phone: 407-645-5454, fax: 407-628-1170,
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Glenn Morton" <>
    >To: <>
    >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
    >> at Dmanisi, Georgia. This skull was found in association with larger
    >> H. erectus' and it dates to 1.7 million years. The first two
    >skulls found
    >> 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
    >> Daniel Lyon, an Irishman of the last century who had a brain size of 700
    >> There is some spculation that this new skull might very well be habilis,
    >> 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, ¦Very Old Tools," Science, 295(2002):795
    >> No other animal spread so rapidly as did H. erectus. It appears that he
    >> 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
    >> on the part of the Neanderthals, but simply that most
    >experiments resulted
    >> in worse results. The report says:
    >> ¦Recent volumetric definitions of Levallois core technology are amenable
    >> mathematical modelling. We present a simple geometric model that permits
    >> controlled manipulation of a few of the key parameters defining
    >> core morphology. The models indicate that Levallois cores are relatively
    >> efficient at minimizing raw material waste while at the same time
    >> 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, ¦Constraints on Levallois Core
    >> Mathematical Model" Journal of Archaeological Science,Vol. 28, No. 7,
    >> 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,"
    >> Kuhn "you have a really bad back"), like tortoises and shellfish, to
    >> reproducing, hard-to-catch game like rabbits and birds. They speculate
    >> a burgeoning human population forced people to broaden their diet to
    >> animals that were more difficult to hunt."
    >> "Finds of shell beads from places like -°agizli Cave in Turkey and
    >> 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
    >> 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
    >> distance who the person is and how you should deal with them."--ERIC A.
    >> POWELL
    >> 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
    >> alter body plan.
    >> 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
    >> "The Amud Neanderthals emphasized both wood and grass exploitation.
    >> parts of trees and shrubs were used mainly for fuel. Herbaceous plants
    >> used for bedding, possibly fuel, and for food. There is clear and
    >> 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
    >> 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
    >> and for better understanding the role of vegetal resources in shaping
    >> patterns." Marco Madella et al, "The Exploitation of Plant Resources by
    >> Neanderthals in Amud Cave (Israel): The Evidence from Phytolith
    >> Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 29, No. 7, July 1, 2002, pp.
    >> Evidence for active hunting 1.5 myr ago.
    >> There has been a long running controversy in anthropology about when
    >> hunting began. By this it is meant active hunting as opposed to
    >> the kills of lions and hyaenas. A recent abstract adds
    >evidence in favor
    >> hunting. It says:
    >> ¦An assemblage of 1.5Ma Oldowan sites situated on a paleosol of
    >> Peninj (Tanzania) presents a new type of archaeological record
    >> by abundant faunal remains associated to a small amount of stone tools
    >> an extensive area. The widespread nature of the archaeological
    >> 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
    >> have been a feasible option available to hominids. Cut mark patterns
    >> that hominids were actively involved in obtaining animal
    >resources rather
    >> than visiting other carnivores' kills. The data presented would
    >> 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
    >> Domˆnguez-Rodrigo, , Ignacio de La Torre1, Luis de Luque,
    >Luis AlcalÖ,
    >> Rafael Mora, Jordi Serrallonga, Victoria Medina, ¦The ST
    >Site Complex
    >> 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
    >> The site is 1.6 myr old and is claimed to contain human fossil
    >> 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.
    >> 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)
    >> 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
    >> antibodies against human IgG than with antibodies against horse IgG,
    >> 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
    >> controversies. ¦ JesTs M. Torres, Concepci§n Borja, Enrique
    >G. Olivares,
    >> ¦Immunoglobulin 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
    >> for lots of creation/evolution information
    >> anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    >> personal stories of struggle

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