Tag Archives | Hominids

African Genome Offers New Leads in the Story of Human Evolution

Via IO9:

It’s pretty much an established fact that ancient human beings interbred with their Neanderthal cousins, but according to scientists investigating the African genome, interspecies breeding may have occurred much earlier than we thought:

Their findings suggest humans are more genetically diverse than we’d previously believed. But they also show that ancient humans may have interbred with an unknown species of hominin — what researchers surmise “could have been a sibling species to Neanderthals.

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All Non-African People Are Part Neanderthal

Neanderthal child

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal child.

Interesting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:

The evidence has been mounting for years that early humans and Neanderthals interbred, but now it’s pretty much a certainty. Part of the X chromosome found in people from outside Africa originally comes from our Neanderthal cousins.

It’s kind of amazing to think that, as recently as just a few years ago, the scientific consensus was that humans and Neanderthals were completely separate species and probably didn’t interbreed. Since then, a ton of new evidence has come to light to change that position, and now new research from Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal more or less completes this big reversal.

Neanderthals, one of the last extant hominid species other than our own, left Africa somewhere between 400,000 and 800,000 years ago and settled mostly in Europe until they went extinct 30,000 years ago. Early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago, meaning they overlapped with Neanderthals in time and place for at least 20,000 years.

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What Happened to Our Larger-Brained Hominid Ancestors?

Gary Lynch and Richard Granger write on Discover:

The following text is an excerpt from the book Big Brain by Gary Lynch and Richard Granger, and it represents their own theory about the Boskops. The theory is a controversial one; see, for instance, paleoanthropologist John Hawks’ much different take.

BoskopSkullComparisonIn the autumn of 1913, two farmers were arguing about hominid skull fragments they had uncovered while digging a drainage ditch. The location was Boskop, a small town about 200 miles inland from the east coast of South Africa.

These Afrikaner farmers, to their lasting credit, had the presence of mind to notice that there was something distinctly odd about the bones. They brought the find to Frederick W. Fitz­Simons, director of the Port Elizabeth Museum, in a small town at the tip of South Africa. The scientific community of South Africa was small, and before long the skull came to the attention of S.

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