Convoluted human evolution (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, June 17, 2013, 23:49 (1617 days ago)

All sorts of fossil branches still being discovered and correlated:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/2013/06/14/homo-denisova-and-homo-flore...

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 11, 2013, 14:57 (1593 days ago) @ David Turell

They may be more ancient than originally thought:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182420.htm

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 25, 2013, 15:52 (1579 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution: new skull

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 17, 2013, 21:50 (1495 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution: new skull

by David Turell @, Friday, October 18, 2013, 05:54 (1495 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution: new skull

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, October 18, 2013, 14:44 (1495 days ago) @ David Turell

I noticed that phys.org failed to report on the cross-section study that was done on all of the skulls found at that site, a selection of human skulls, and a selection of so-called pre-human skulls which found that the variance between all of the groups was statistically similar. This would mean that they weren't different species at all. Different races perhaps, but not different species.

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Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Human evolution: may really be a tree

by David Turell @, Friday, January 10, 2014, 00:15 (1411 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

The finding of more and more H. erectus fossils, it appears the variation of individuals may allow paring of the bush back to a tree.

http://discovermagazine.com/2014/jan-feb/26-skull-suggests-one-hominid-lineage#.Us7FDtJ...

Human evolution: may really be a tree

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, January 23, 2014, 03:17 (1398 days ago) @ David Turell

The finding of more and more H. erectus fossils, it appears the variation of individuals may allow paring of the bush back to a tree.

http://discovermagazine.com/2014/jan-feb/26-skull-suggests-one-hominid-lineage#.Us7FDtJ...

I hate saying I am not surprised, but I'm not. Yet more evidence that the current model of evolutionary theory is wrong, and more evidence that will likely be completely and utterly ignored by mainstream science. Evolution is like the War on Terror. The end goal is too nebulous to ever be resolved conclusively so funding for it is like a never ending bottomless pit.

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Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Human evolution: Neanderthal parts

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 30, 2014, 16:00 (1390 days ago) @ David Turell

Human evolution: Neanderthal parts

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, January 30, 2014, 16:48 (1390 days ago) @ David Turell

My guess is that they will eventually realize that we are the same species. Maybe different races of the same species, but still.

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Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Human evolution: Neanderthal parts

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 30, 2014, 19:23 (1390 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony; My guess is that they will eventually realize that we are the same species. Maybe different races of the same species, but still.

It is like dogs and wolves. All the same and can cross-breed. The definition of 'species' is still not correct or complete.

Human evolution: Neanderthal parts

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, January 30, 2014, 23:50 (1390 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony; My guess is that they will eventually realize that we are the same species. Maybe different races of the same species, but still.


It is like dogs and wolves. All the same and can cross-breed. The definition of 'species' is still not correct or complete.

I know, and it bugs me. The other aspect that bugs me is how we try and pigeon hole nature into our abstract model. Whose to say nature actually operates in terms of mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, etc? Nature may have its own classification system that is as of yet undiscovered.

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Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Human evolution: Little foot

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 15, 2014, 14:33 (1346 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

A new australopithicus from South Africa. An almost complete skeleton; Luci is only 40%. The bush gsets bushier:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140314111525.htm

http://news.sciencemag.org/africa/2014/03/little-foot-fossil-could-be-human-ancestor

Note that age of LF is still debated

Human evolution: Convergent art

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 08, 2014, 19:33 (1139 days ago) @ David Turell

Cave drawings of equal quality at the same time 40 kyo at both ends of the Earth:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13422.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-2...

Were these different humans on the same developmental time table?


"Archaeologists have long been puzzled by the appearance in Europe ~40-35 thousand years (kyr) ago of a rich corpus of sophisticated artworks, including parietal art (that is, paintings, drawings and engravings on immobile rock surfaces)1, 2 and portable art (for example, carved figurines)3, 4, and the absence or scarcity of equivalent, well-dated evidence elsewhere, especially along early human migration routes in South Asia and the Far East, including Wallacea and Australia5, 6, 7, 8, where modern humans (Homo sapiens) were established by 50 kyr ago9, 10. Here, using uranium-series dating of coralloid speleothems directly associated with 12 human hand stencils and two figurative animal depictions from seven cave sites in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, we show that rock art traditions on this Indonesian island are at least compatible in age with the oldest European art11. The earliest dated image from Maros, with a minimum age of 39.9 kyr, is now the oldest known hand stencil in the world. In addition, a painting of a babirusa (‘pig-deer') made at least 35.4 kyr ago is among the earliest dated figurative depictions worldwide, if not the earliest one. Among the implications, it can now be demonstrated that humans were producing rock art by ~40 kyr ago at opposite ends of the Pleistocene Eurasian world."

Human evolution: Modern humans in Asia

by David Turell @, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 19:16 (1125 days ago) @ David Turell

A humam femur from Siberia:

http://www.nature.com/news/oldest-known-human-genome-sequenced-1.16194?WT.ec_id=NATURE-...

"A 45,000-year-old leg bone from Siberia has yielded the oldest genome sequence for Homo sapiens on record — revealing a mysterious population that may once have spanned northern Asia. The DNA sequence from a male hunter-gatherer also offers tanta­li­zing clues about modern humans' journey from Africa to Europe, Asia and beyond, as well as their sexual encounters with Neanderthals."

Human evolution: two interesting essays

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 11, 2014, 00:17 (1076 days ago) @ David Turell

Did free hands drive the big brain is one of the questions raised:

http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v311/n3/full/scientificamerican0914-54...

This one disagrees with some of the conclusions:

http://pleiotropy.fieldofscience.com/2014/12/how-to-evolve-intelligence-in-7-easy.html

Human evolution: Denisovan\'s help

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 02, 2014, 22:15 (1237 days ago) @ David Turell

The genes say the Denisovans helped high altitude adaptation:

http://www.livescience.com/46636-how-tibetans-survive-high-altitude.html?cmpid=557889

Human evolution: Denisovan\'s help

by David Turell @, Friday, April 28, 2017, 15:46 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

A new article on Denisovan genes and the people of Tibet at very high altitude:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/tibetans-inherited-a-high-altitude-gene-from-ancient...

"A gene inherited from the Denisovans, an extinct human subspecies known mainly from a single finger bone found in a cave in Siberia, helps Tibetan people thrive at high altitudes.

"A study led by Hao Hu and Chad Huff from the University of Texas in the US reveals that Tibetans utilise five gene variants that collectively make them well adapted to the low oxygen levels, extreme cold, elevated levels of ultraviolet light and limited food supplies that characterise high-altitude living.

" The research, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, used entire genomes sequenced from 27 Tibetans.

"As expected, the genomes contained two genes – EPAS1 and EGLN1 – previously identified as involved in adaptation to high-altitude life. However, the variant of EPAS1 was unique and found to be derived from the Denisovans.

"The other four genes of interest, however, did not have the same archaic roots, leading the researchers to conclude that except for EPAS1 they “did not detect any evidence of high altitude adaptation from Denisovan gene alleles”.

"The sequencing revealed two other genes, PTGIS and KCTD12, thought to be related to survival in low-oxygen environments, and a variant of VDR, which is linked to vitamin D metabolism and may help ameliorate the deficiencies that commonly affect people who live at great heights.

"Hu and Huff also established that the Tibetan and Chinese Han sub-populations split very early, somewhere between 44,000 and 58,000 years ago, but gene flow between the groups didn’t end until 9,000 years ago.

"Tatum Simonson from the University of California San Diego, US, one of the study’s co-authors, says the results provide pathways for comparative studies in other populations.

“'This study provides further context for analyses of other permanent high-altitude populations, who exhibit characteristics distinct from Tibetans despite similar chronic stresses,” he says."

Comment: More evidence that ancient human populations interbred

Convoluted human evolution: new skull

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, October 18, 2013, 14:36 (1495 days ago) @ David Turell

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution

I had just logged in to post the same story from a different source.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Convoluted human evolution: another new skull

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 18:56 (1027 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 19:07

Recently found in Israel from about 55 thousand years ago. Is it related to Neanderthals?

http://www.nature.com/news/neanderthals-gain-human-neighbour-1.16802?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20...

"The skull was unquestionably from H. sapiens, says Hershkovitz: it was similar in shape to those of earlier African and later European humans. A patina of calcite coated the fragment, and the researchers used radioactive uranium in the mineral to date the bone to about 55,000 years old. That means that “the Manot people are probably the forefathers of the early Palaeolithic populations of Europe”, Hershkovitz says.

"The Manot people are also a leading candidate for the humans that bred with Neanderthals — exploits that have given all of today's non-African humans a sliver of Neanderthal heritage. The Manot Cave is not far from two other sites that held Neanderthal remains of a similar age. “The southern Levant is the only place where anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals were living side by side for thousands and thousands of years,” Hershkovitz says. The ultimate proof would be to look for the presence of Neanderthal ancestry in DNA from the skull, but the region's balmy temperatures mean that ancient DNA is unlikely to have been preserved."

Further comments on our messy history of human evolution:

http://www.nature.com/news/human-history-defies-easy-stories-1.16795?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20...


"Where does the find fit in? Beware simple answers, and, indeed, simple questions. There is a temptation when discussing human evolution to reconstruct it as a narrative, in which successive species evolved to be more like us, and the more like us they became, the more likely they were to migrate to other parts of the world and replace pre-existing forms.

There are at least four things wrong with this. The first is its rather imperialist framing, in which evolution and replacement can be justified after the fact as a kind of manifest destiny.

"The second is that it dismisses any extinct species as inferior and therefore of secondary importance.

"The third is that it assumes the existence of an arrow of progress, in which species always evolve towards ourselves, a mistaken view that is too welcoming of spurious conceits such as ‘missing links', and unwilling to countenance odd side branches such as Homo floresiensis, the peculiar, dwarf hominin (member of the human family) that lived in Indonesia until relatively recent times (see nature.com/hobbit10).

"The fourth, and arguably the most important, is that it misrepresents the extreme fragmentation of the fossil record, something that Charles Darwin recognized, with his usual percipience, as a ‘difficulty' with his theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin was (as usual) selling himself short. That evolution has happened is no longer in doubt: the shared chemistry and structure of all life, from the meanest microbe to the furriest feline, would be testament to that, even had no fossils ever been found."

Another version of the story:

http://phys.org/news/2015-01-ancient-skull-galilee-cave-clues.html

Convoluted human evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 03, 2014, 15:50 (1327 days ago) @ David Turell

Excellent review article by an expert. Ver bushy human tree:

http://www.nature.com/news/human-evolution-fifty-years-after-homo-habilis-1.14957

Convoluted human evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 17, 2014, 19:27 (1313 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, April 18, 2014, 16:37 (1312 days ago) @ David Turell

Early research is using epigenetic markers to sort out DNA differences in Neanderthals and Denisovans and humans. Science is still not sure who the original ancestor was:

http://www.nature.com/news/how-to-build-a-neanderthal-1.15063

"Epigenomes of two archaic humans — a Neanderthal and a Denisovan, groups that lived in Europe and Asia until around 30,000 years ago — are revealed today in Science. The report follows on the publication in December of a similar map from another group analysing epigenetic modifications in a 4,000-year-old native of Greenland2.

"Epigenetic differences between humans and their ancient relatives may explain differences in physical traits, or phenotypes, such as the jutting brow ridge of Neanderthals. Yet various obstacles still hinder the study of ancient epigenomes, and some researchers are not yet sure if the approach will yield insights.


"The genomes of humans and Neanderthals differ little; the two groups have fewer than 100 proteins that differ in their amino acid sequence. DNA sequences alone give little indication of whether the gene was active or not. In contrast, epigenetic chemical signatures can sometimes differ between genes that are active and those that are not. Computational biologists Liran Carmel and stem cell biologist Eran Meshorer, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and their team hoped that if they could detect epigenetic differences between humans and their archaic Neanderthal and Denisovan cousins this might eventually help to tell when and where certain genes were active."

Convoluted human evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, June 20, 2014, 15:13 (1249 days ago) @ David Turell

New Neanderthal skull discoveries. Shows development from an earlier ancestor 430,000 years ago:

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/40288/title/Skull-Collection-Hel...

Convoluted human evolution; more hobbit confusion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 22:48 (1210 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution; Europes three sources

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 18, 2014, 14:30 (1160 days ago) @ David Turell

It seems European human branches arrived from three areas of the Earth:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140917131812.htm

Convoluted human evolution; language is innate

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 18, 2014, 14:34 (1160 days ago) @ David Turell

Convoluted human evolution; language is innate

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 05, 2015, 00:51 (992 days ago) @ David Turell

An ancient homo jaw bone dated at 2.8 million years ago, probably an early H. habilis, and it is the oldest homo fossil yet found near the vicinity where Lucy was discovered in the Afar valley.

http://www.livescience.com/50032-earliest-human-species-possibly-found.html

"The scientists dated the fossil by analyzing the layers of volcanic ash above and below it. "When volcanoes erupt, they send out a layer of ash that contains radioactive isotopes, and these isotopes start going through radioactive decay," Villmoare said. "We can use this to figure out how old those layers of ash are." [Gallery: See Images of Our Closest Human Ancestor]

"The fossil was found near the Ethiopian site of Hadar, home to Australopithecus afarensis, the ancient species that included "Lucy" that was long thought to be a potential ancestor of the human family. Moreover, LD 350-1 only dates to about 200,000 years after Lucy, and its primitive sloping chin resembles that of Australopithecus. However, the fossil's teeth and even proportions of its jaw suggest it belonged to the genus Homo rather than Australopithecus.

"'It's a mixture of more primitive traits from Australopithecus with quite a few traits only seen in later Homo," Villmoare said."

human evolution; developing the big brain

by David Turell @, Friday, March 06, 2015, 14:27 (990 days ago) @ David Turell

Using many modification 'switches' in DNA. Note it required 'thousands' of new (think mutations) modifiers in a relatively short 4-6 million-year period to do this. Not by chance!:

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-evolution-human-brain.html

"Thousands of genetic "dimmer" switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.
(my bold)
"Unlike in rhesus monkeys and mice, these switches show increased activity in humans, where they may drive the expression of genes in the cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that is involved in conscious thought and language. This difference may explain why the structure and function of that part of the brain is so unique in humans compared to other mammals.

"First, Noonan and his colleagues mapped active regulatory elements in the human genome during the first 12 weeks of cortical development by searching for specific biochemical, or "epigenetic" modifications. They did the same in the developing brains of rhesus monkeys and mice, then compared the three maps to identify those elements that showed greater activity in the developing human brain. They found several thousand regulatory elements that showed increased activity in human.

"Next, they wanted to know the biological impact of those regulatory changes. The team turned to BrainSpan, a freely available digital atlas of gene expression in the brain throughout the human lifespan. (BrainSpan was led by Kavli Institute member Nenad Sestan at Yale, with contributions from Noonan and Pasko Rakic, a co-author on this study.) They used those data to identify groups of genes that showed coordinated expression in the cerebral cortex. They then overlaid the regulatory changes they had found with these groups of genes and identified several biological processes associated with a surprisingly high number of regulatory changes in humans."

Convoluted human evolution; relating jawbone and brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 07, 2015, 15:36 (989 days ago) @ David Turell

An ancient homo jaw bone dated at 2.8 million years ago, probably an early H. habilis, and it is the oldest homo fossil yet found near the vicinity where Lucy was discovered in the Afar valley.

Moreover, LD 350-1 only dates to about 200,000 years after Lucy, and its primitive sloping chin resembles that of Australopithecus. However, the fossil's teeth and even proportions of its jaw suggest it belonged to the genus Homo rather than Australopithecus.

"'It's a mixture of more primitive traits from Australopithecus with quite a few traits only seen in later Homo," Villmoare said."

Now consider brain development, noted a day ago (March 06, 2015, 14:27)

"Thousands of genetic "dimmer" switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine."

Although the comments are about current human brains, note a 200,000 year jump from Australopithecus ( with approximately a chimp-sized brain, 400 cc)) to early habilis with larger brain (600 cc) requiring many, many genetic changes. And all by chance! No way!

Convoluted human evolution; relating jawbone and brain

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, St Leonards on Sea, Sunday, March 08, 2015, 15:54 (988 days ago) @ David Turell

Video of Steve Jones explaining how evolution works by chance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGfuSB4eFUM&feature=youtu.be

This is something he often incorporates in his lectures.
I attended one he gave in Leicester some years ago.

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GPJ

Convoluted human evolution; relating jawbone and brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 08, 2015, 18:39 (988 days ago) @ George Jelliss

George: Video of Steve Jones explaining how evolution works by chance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGfuSB4eFUM&feature=youtu.be

This is something he often incorporates in his lectures.
I attended one he gave in Leicester some years ago.

Very neat presentation, but note how long the engineers took by rational selection to get the right weird-looking nozzle. My previous entry, for which George's entry is a commentary, raises the issue of is there enough time for natural selection to work by chance. Obviously, I think not. I think Jones actually supports me. Natural selection by its process of waiting for what is presented by chance mutation, must be very time consuming

Convoluted human evolution; relating jawbone and brain

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, St Leonards on Sea, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 15:36 (986 days ago) @ David Turell

This may be of interest:

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/life%E2%80%99s-origin-might-illustrate-power-g...

Game theory applied to origin of life.

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GPJ

Convoluted human evolution; relating jawbone and brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 16:49 (986 days ago) @ George Jelliss

George: This may be of interest:

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/life%E2%80%99s-origin-might-illustrate-power-g...

Game theory applied to origin of life.

Interesting theory, but same old problem. First ribozymes have to appear, and how does that happen? Molecular reactions certainly reach conclusion in equilibrium, and most proteins are strictly folded for function, so there are more rigid requirements to consider when supposing game theory can help. When all this is unguided, how do we get the results we see around us? Thoughtless molecules competing? Hmmmmm...

Convoluted human evolution; confusing species

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 14:58 (985 days ago) @ David Turell

It is difficult to sort out a straight line of human evolution. Not many fossils and lots of variation:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150309124245.htm

"Recently released research on human evolution has revealed that species of early human ancestors had significant differences in facial features. Now, scientists have found that these early human species also differed throughout other parts of their skeletons and had distinct body forms. The research team found 1.9 million-year-old pelvis and femur fossils of an early human ancestor in Kenya, revealing greater diversity in the human family tree than scientists previously thought.

"Three early species belonging to the genus Homo have been identified prior to modern humans, or Homo sapiens. Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis were the earliest versions, followed by Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens. Because the oldest erectus fossils that have been found are only 1.8 million years old, and have different bone structure than the new fossil, Ward and her research team conclude that the fossils they have discovered are either rudolfensis or habilis. Ward says these fossils show a diversity in the physical structures of human ancestors that has not been seen before."

With just a few fossils and seeing the diversity in humans today, it may just be individual variation within species.

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 28, 2015, 01:36 (908 days ago) @ David Turell

A new species not far from Lucy has turned up based on an upper jaw:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/05/27/scientists-discove...

"A potential new hominin has been discovered, giving the first indication that the human family was full of variety long before our own genus came along. Australopithecus deyiremeda, described for the first time in a paper published Wednesday in Nature, lived at the same time -- and in the same place -- as the species Australopithecus afarensis. That means the famous "Lucy" shared her turf with very close evolutionary cousins."

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by David Turell @, Monday, June 06, 2016, 20:57 (532 days ago) @ David Turell

A follow up study finds there may b e at least three hominids at the time of Lucy:

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-lucy-neighbors-african-fossils.html

:If "Lucy" wasn't alone, who else was in her neighborhood? Key fossil discoveries over the last few decades in Africa indicate that multiple early human ancestor species lived at the same time more than 3 million years ago. A new review of fossil evidence from the last few decades examines four identified hominin species that co-existed between 3.8 and 3.3 million years ago during the middle Pliocene. A team of scientists compiled an overview that outlines a diverse evolutionary past and raises new questions about how ancient species shared the landscape.

***

" The 1974 discovery of Australopithecus afarensis, which lived from 3.8 to 2.9 million years ago, was a major milestone in paleoanthropology that pushed the record of hominins earlier than 3 million years ago and demonstrated the antiquity of human-like walking. Scientists have long argued that there was only one pre-human species at any given time before 3 million years ago that gave rise to another new species through time in a linear manner. This was what the fossil record appeared to indicate until the end of the 20th century. The discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali from Chad in 1995 and Kenyanthropus platyops from Kenya in 2001 challenged this idea. However, these two species were not widely accepted, rather considered as geographic variants of Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis. The discovery of the 3.4 million-year-old Burtele partial foot from the Woranso-Mille announced by Haile-Selassie in 2012 was the first conclusive evidence that another early human ancestor species lived alongside Australopithecus afarensis. In 2015, fossils recovered from Haile-Selassie's ongoing research site at the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia were assigned to the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. However, the Burtele partial foot was not included in this species.

***

"'The Woranso-Mille paleontological study area in Ethiopia's Afar region reveals that there were at least two, if not three, early human species living at the same time and in close geographic proximity," said Haile-Selassie. "This key research site has yielded new and unexpected evidence indicating that there were multiple species with different locomotor and dietary adaptations. For nearly four decades, Australopithecus afarensis was the only known species—but recent discoveries are opening a new window into our evolutionary past."

***
"Paleoanthropologists face the challenges and debates that arise from small sample sizes, poorly preserved prehistoric specimens and lack of evidence for ecological diversity. Questions remain about the relationships of middle Pliocene hominins and what adaptive strategies might have allowed for the coexistence of multiple, closely related species.

"'We continue to search for more fossils," said Dr. Stephanie Melillo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. "We know a lot about the skeleton of A. afarensis, but for the other middle Pliocene species, most of the anatomy remains unknown. Ultimately, larger sample sizes will be the key to sorting out which species are present and how they are related. This makes every fossil discovery all the more exciting.'"

Comment: The shotgun appearance of several hominid forms gives support to my contention that humans were the endpoint of God's guidance of evolution.

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by dhw, Tuesday, June 07, 2016, 13:29 (532 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: The shotgun appearance of several hominid forms gives support to my contention that humans were the endpoint of God's guidance of evolution.

An astonishing conclusion. Homo sapiens is the endpoint - up to now - of a particular line of evolutionary development (all other existing species are also endpoints up to now), so how does the variety of antecedents indicate God's guidance? If he exists, was he incapable of guiding evolution directly to homo sapiens? The evolution of different forms gives clear support to the contention that organisms work out their own solutions in their own ways, and natural selection decides which of them will survive. No “guidance” or “alien hand” (Talbott) is necessary. Of course that does not preclude the possibility that your God designed the intelligence that enables organisms to work out their own solutions.

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 07, 2016, 16:07 (531 days ago) @ dhw

David's comment: The shotgun appearance of several hominid forms gives support to my contention that humans were the endpoint of God's guidance of evolution.

dhw: An astonishing conclusion. Homo sapiens is the endpoint - up to now - of a particular line of evolutionary development (all other existing species are also endpoints up to now), so how does the variety of antecedents indicate God's guidance? If he exists, was he incapable of guiding evolution directly to homo sapiens? The evolution of different forms gives clear support to the contention that organisms work out their own solutions in their own ways, and natural selection decides which of them will survive. No “guidance” or “alien hand” (Talbott) is necessary. Of course that does not preclude the possibility that your God designed the intelligence that enables organisms to work out their own solutions.

I like astonishing you. Why should so many forms of hominid appear? God used evolution as we see its history as a scattergun mechanism that ended up with the h-p bush of life. Nothing direct about it. We must start our analysis with that evidence. Why do you want to imply God was incapable of direct action? Do you know His method or plan? I don't, but can accept what I see. God does not think like you do, but you trying to interpret His actions as if He does..

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by dhw, Wednesday, June 08, 2016, 12:26 (531 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: The shotgun appearance of several hominid forms gives support to my contention that humans were the endpoint of God's guidance of evolution.

dhw: An astonishing conclusion. Homo sapiens is the endpoint - up to now - of a particular line of evolutionary development (all other existing species are also endpoints up to now), so how does the variety of antecedents indicate God's guidance? If he exists, was he incapable of guiding evolution directly to homo sapiens? The evolution of different forms gives clear support to the contention that organisms work out their own solutions in their own ways, and natural selection decides which of them will survive. No “guidance” or “alien hand” (Talbott) is necessary. Of course that does not preclude the possibility that your God designed the intelligence that enables organisms to work out their own solutions.

DAVID: I like astonishing you. Why should so many forms of hominid appear? God used evolution as we see its history as a scattergun mechanism that ended up with the h-p bush of life. Nothing direct about it. We must start our analysis with that evidence.

Precisely. If your God exists, and if he endowed organisms with an automatic inventive mechanism, the result will have been all the different forms we see in the h-p bush, including the different forms of hominid. These different forms are evidence of autonomy, not of “guidance”.

DAVID: Why do you want to imply God was incapable of direct action? Do you know His method or plan? I don't, but can accept what I see. God does not think like you do, but you trying to interpret His actions as if He does.

When you say “humans were the endpoint”, and bearing in mind that out of all the forms of human only homo sapiens has survived, I presume you mean that homo sapiens was his endpoint. And so I ask the same question as you: “Why should so many forms of hominid appear?” I do NOT imply that your God is incapable of direct action. I am saying the evidence shows that if he exists, he left the organisms to work out their own solutions, with natural selection being the final arbiter of which will survive. This “scattergun approach” is NOT “guidance”. Alternatively, you might believe that God dabbled in order to ensure that homo sapiens came out on top, but that is very different from “God's guidance of evolution” to the endpoint of humans.

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 09, 2016, 22:41 (529 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I am saying the evidence shows that if he exists, he left the organisms to work out their own solutions, with natural selection being the final arbiter of which will survive. This “scattergun approach” is NOT “guidance”. Alternatively, you might believe that God dabbled in order to ensure that homo sapiens came out on top, but that is very different from “God's guidance of evolution” to the endpoint of humans.

Good point. This is why I like the complexification approach. The human bush is an h-p bush like everything else, with the cream rising to the top.

Convoluted human evolution; Hobbits verified

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 09, 2016, 22:50 (529 days ago) @ David Turell

The early findings of Hobbits were dated to recent times, 30-50,000 years ago. Now 700,000 years ago fossils have turned up:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46262/title/Oldest-Known--Hobbit-...


"Scientists have discovered hominin remains from the Indonesian island of Flores that may belong to the “hobbit”-like hominin species Homo floresiensis, according to a study published today (June 8) in Nature. In a second study, the researchers estimate that the specimens are around 700,000 years old. The findings provide the strongest evidence to date that H. floresiensis was indeed a distinct species, and significantly push back the age when these small hominins first appeared.

“'It really is the final nail in the coffin for people who believe hobbits were pathological modern humans,” anthropologist William Harcourt-Smith of Lehman College in New York City, who was not involved with the work, told The Scientist. “The whole package speaks to something very Homo floresiensis-like.”

***

"In 2014, van den Bergh, Yousuke Kaifu of Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science, and their colleagues excavated six isolated teeth and a jaw fragment from a sandstone formation in Mata Menge, an early Middle Pleistocene site in the So'a Basin of central Flores. The size and shape of the fossils—derived from at least three individuals—resemble the hobbit fossils found in Liang Bua, but are about 20 percent to 30 percent smaller, according to the researchers. Using CT scanning, the team was able to show that the fossils were from adults.

“'Our working hypothesis is, this is a Homo floresiensis-like fossil,” study coauthor Adam Brumm of Griffith University, Australia, told reporters during the briefing. Brumm stopped short of saying the fossils belong to the species.

***

"The finding “demonstrates that there were small hominins on Flores for a very long time,” Leslie Aiello, president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research in New York City, who was not involved in the studies, wrote in an email to The Scientist. “It is a shame that the fossil material is so fragmentary, but it certainly does seem to support the idea that H. floresiensis descended from an early Asian H. erectus rather than from an earlier hominin,” Aiello added.

"Not everyone agrees with this interpretation. “More work needs to be done and more [fossil evidence] needs to be found to make the case that this is definitely [descended] from Homo erectus,” Harcourt-Smith said.

“'It's extremely impressive work by a very good group of researchers,” paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University said of the studies. “Both the teeth and the jaw make it very clear to me that the hominins they found belong to Homo floresiensis. That's the most parsimonious explanation.”

"The findings open up new questions about how these hobbit-like hominins first reached Flores. Van den Bergh said he thinks the most likely explanation is that a tsunami stranded H. floresiensis's ancestors on the island, where evolutionary pressures eventually shrunk their brains and bodies.

"However, “we've so far only discovered a small number of fossils from Mata Menge,” van den Bergh noted. “More questions must await the discovery of additional fossil remains.'”

Comment; If Asians moved to Madagascar, Africans could travel in the other direction.

Convoluted human evolution; Hobbits and modern homos

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 30, 2016, 17:47 (508 days ago) @ David Turell

Evidence is found that modern humans were on the island either concurrently with the Hobbits or shortly after. the H. sapiens might have caused the Hobbits to disappear:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46448/title/Gap-Between--Hobbits-...

"New research suggests that Homo floresiensis—ancient hominins often called “hobbits”—lived closer in time to modern humans than previously thought. Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia have found evidence that modern humans were using fire on the Indonesian island of Flores as far back as 41,000 years ago, whereas the hobbits lived until roughly 50,000 years ago, the team reported today (June 30) in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

“'This new evidence, which is some of the earliest evidence of modern human activity in Southeast Asia, narrows the gap between the two hominin species at the site,” geoarchaeologist Mike Morley of Wollongong said in a statement. Because there has been no evidence that hobbits used fire, Morley noted that the fires were most likely built by modern humans.

"The researchers were part of the team that first discovered H. floresiensis at a cave in Flores, called Liang Bua, in 2003. A March study dated some hobbit bones to between 100,000 and 60,000 years old, and stone tools found at the site to 190,000 to 50,000 years old. But there was a gap in the record from 46,000 to 20,000 years ago, according to the researchers at Wollongong.

"Morley and colleagues used a method called micromorphology to examine sediments from the cave, then used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of each layer they studied. The team now plans to look for evidence that modern humans may have overlapped with H. floresiensis, possibly leading to the extinction of the latter species, according to the statement.

"Earlier this month (June 8), scientists announced their discovery of the oldest-known hobbit remains from Flores, quelling doubts about the species' existence."

Comment: Still a bush of humans.

Human evolution; hunter-gatherers not peaceful

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 03, 2016, 01:17 (506 days ago) @ David Turell

There is growing evidence of massive battles among ancient hunter-gatherers:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/for-peaceable-humans-dont-look-to-prehistory-1467322723

"Along a river in northern Germany, thousands of men lined up for a pitched battle. Some had come great distances, determined to seize or hold this modest waterway. They went at it mercilessly, leaving hundreds dead, many shot in the back while fleeing. Victory was decisive.

"World War II? Perhaps the Napoleonic Wars? The 30 Years' War?

"Actually, you won't find this battle in any history book. It happened around 1250 B.C., roughly the era of the Trojan War and the biblical war of Deborah. The weapons and tactics were similar to those famous conflicts, the numbers mobilized equally impressive

"Twenty years ago, an amateur archaeologist found an arm bone poking out of the bank of the River Tollense, an arrow point in one end. Since then the accumulated bones and weapons reveal violent death on an astonishing scale.

***

"Scientific archaeology at its best revealed human nature at its worst. With only 3% to 10% of the likely battlefield unearthed, researchers have found at least 130 dead, almost all men in their 20s. Tooth composition and genes show that they came from distant parts of Europe. A wooden causeway of about 400 feet across the valley may have had strategic significance.

***

"Now let us jump back in time an additional 7,000 years and fly 4,000 miles to Nataruk, Kenya, west of Lake Turkana, another scene of armed strife. No bronze here—we are squarely in the Stone Age—but there are still important parallels.

***

"This was a massacre not a battle: 27 dead, including eight women—one very pregnant—and six children. Of 10 complete skeletons, eight showed violent deaths—blunt trauma or blade penetration. Some may have had bound hands. Bodies had fallen or were dumped in a lagoon, just as many of the dead in Germany were found in the river. Obsidian blades, rare locally, suggest the perpetrators came from elsewhere.

"These were hunter-gatherers, once thought to be free of war. (The 18th-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, writing of “savages,” cited “the peacefulness of their passions and their ignorance of vice.”) Violence has been detected earlier in the fossil record, but not on this scale. Some archaeologists think that populations reached a critical mass 10,000 years ago, causing violence to spike. Battles began to increase in number and scale.

"Over the past few decades, archaeologists have begun to question the idea that early humans were peaceable. Having unearthed a range of impressive weapons and fortifications, many now refer to earlier studies as “interpretive pacifications.” Today there is no doubt about the violence in human nature, with war going back at least 10,000 years and homicide much longer.

"The good news, as the psychologist Steven Pinker and others have shown, is that violence rates in our species—hard as it is to believe—have fallen for centuries. To Dr. Pinker's explanations for this trend—state power, commerce, “feminization,” cosmopolitanism and reason—I would add increasing longevity. If disease cuts fewer lives short, life is no longer cheap for a society as a whole, and war grows too expensive."

Comment: Obviously we have always been warlike.

Convoluted human evolution; Lucy had neighbors

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 07, 2016, 19:23 (531 days ago) @ David Turell

Another article on the issue:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606154911.htm

"If "Lucy" wasn't alone, who else was in her neighborhood? Key fossil discoveries over the last few decades in Africa indicate that multiple early human ancestor species lived at the same time more than 3 million years ago. A new review of fossil evidence from the last few decades examines four identified hominin species that co-existed between 3.8 and 3.3 million years ago during the middle Pliocene. A team of scientists compiled an overview that outlines a diverse evolutionary past and raises new questions about how ancient species shared the landscape.

***

"It is now obvious that more than one species of early hominin co-existed during Lucy's time," said lead author Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "The question now is not whether Australopithecus afarensis, the species to which the famous Lucy belongs, was the only potential human ancestor species that roamed in what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia during the middle Pliocene, but how these species are related to each other and exploited available resources."

***

"Co-author Dr. Denise Su, curator of paleobotany and paleoecology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, reconstructs ancient ecosystems. "These new fossil discoveries from Woranso-Mille are bringing forth avenues of research that we have not considered before," said Su. "How did multiple closely related species manage to co-exist in a relatively small area? How did they partition the available resources? These new discoveries keep expanding our knowledge and, at the same time, raise more questions about human origins."

"Paleoanthropologists face the challenges and debates that arise from small sample sizes, poorly preserved prehistoric specimens and lack of evidence for ecological diversity. Questions remain about the relationships of middle Pliocene hominins and what adaptive strategies might have allowed for the coexistence of multiple, closely related species.

"'We continue to search for more fossils," said Dr. Stephanie Melillo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. "We know a lot about the skeleton of A. afarensis, but for the other middle Pliocene species, most of the anatomy remains unknown. Ultimately, larger sample sizes will be the key to sorting out which species are present and how they are related. This makes every fossil discovery all the more exciting.'"

Comment: One of the persistent questions raised by some paleontologists is how do we know that these aren't all the same folks with just a variation like we see in today's people?

Convoluted human evolution: mutation rate

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 12, 2015, 04:12 (985 days ago) @ David Turell

Not at all settled and the Darwinists are reaching unsupported conclusions about variable rates to salvage the confusion about the rate of humans from apes. Not a problem is one thinks that evolution is directed toward humans:

"In the past six years, more-direct measurements using ‘next-generation' DNA sequencing have come up with quite different estimates. A number of studies have compared entire genomes of parents and their children — and calculated a mutation rate that consistently comes to about half that of the last-common-ancestor method.

"A slower molecular clock worked well to harmonize genetic and archaeological estimates for dates of key events in human evolution, such as migrations out of Africa and around the rest of the world1. But calculations using the slow clock gave nonsensical results when extended further back in time — positing, for example, that the most recent common ancestor of apes and monkeys could have encountered dinosaurs. Reluctant to abandon the older numbers completely, many researchers have started hedging their bets in papers, presenting multiple dates for evolutionary events depending on whether mutation is assumed to be fast, slow or somewhere in between.

"Last year, population geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and his colleagues compared the genome of a 45,000-year-old human from Siberia with genomes of modern humans and came up with the lower mutation rate2. Yet just before the Leipzig meeting, which Reich co-organized with Kay Prüfer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, his team published a preprint article3 that calculated an intermediate mutation rate by looking at differences between paired stretches of chromosomes in modern individuals (which, like two separate individuals' DNA, must ultimately trace back to a common ancestor). Reich is at a loss to explain the discrepancy. “The fact that the clock is so uncertain is very problematic for us,” he says. “It means that the dates we get out of genetics are really quite embarrassingly bad and uncertain.' "

http://www.nature.com/news/dna-mutation-clock-proves-tough-to-set-1.17079

Convoluted human evolution: mutation rate

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, March 12, 2015, 04:59 (985 days ago) @ David Turell

It is a shame that the degree of uncertainty is not published in the text books that children are exposed to.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Convoluted human evolution: mutation rate

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 12, 2015, 14:47 (984 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony:It is a shame that the degree of uncertainty is not published in the text books that children are exposed to.

Twisting every finding to support Darwin.

Convoluted human evolution: horizontal gene transfer

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 26, 2015, 18:43 (970 days ago) @ David Turell

There is evidence of at least 145 foreign genes from other species:

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21646197-human-beings-ancestors-ha...

"Alastair Crisp and Chiara Boschetti of Cambridge University, and their colleagues, have been investigating the matter. Their results, just published in Genome Biology, suggest human beings have at least 145 genes picked up from other species by their forebears. Admittedly, that is less than 1% of the 20,000 or so humans have in total. But it might surprise many people that they are even to a small degree part bacterium, part fungus and part alga.

"Dr Crisp and Dr Boschetti came to this conclusion by looking at the ever-growing public databases of genetic information now available. They did not study humans alone. They looked at nine other primate species, and also 12 types of fruit fly and four nematode worms. Flies and worms are among geneticists' favourite animals, so lots of data have been collected on them. The results from all three groups suggest natural transgenics is ubiquitous."

Convoluted human evolution: new Laos fossils

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 09, 2015, 02:31 (957 days ago) @ David Turell

A mix of newer and older human traits:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408100738.htm

"The skull, found in 2009 in a cave known as Tam Pa Ling in the Annamite Mountains of present-day Laos, and reported in 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the oldest modern human fossil found in Southeast Asia. Its discovery pushed back the date of modern human migration through the region by as much as 20,000 years. It revealed that early humans who migrated to the islands and coasts of Southeast Asia after migrating out of Africa also traveled inland much earlier than previously thought, some 46,000 to 63,000 years ago.

"The jaw was discovered in late 2010 and is roughly the same age as the skull. Unlike the skull, it has both modern and archaic human traits.

"'In addition to being incredibly small in overall size, this jaw has a mixture of traits that combine typical modern human anatomy, such as the presence of a protruding chin, with traits that are more common of our archaic ancestors like Neandertals -- for example, very thick bone to hold the molars in place," said University of Illinois anthropology professor Laura Shackelford, who led the study with anthropologist Fabrice Demeter, of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

"This combination of archaic and modern human traits is not unusual, Shackelford said. Other ancient human fossils from Africa, Eastern Europe and China also exhibit this amalgam of characteristics, she said.

"'Some researchers have used these features as evidence that modern humans migrating into new regions must have interbred with the archaic populations already present in those regions," Shackelford said. "But a more productive way to look at this variation is to see it as we see people today -- showing many traits along a continuum.

"'Tam Pa Ling is an exceptional site because it shows that very early modern humans migrating and settling in eastern Asia demonstrated a wide range of anatomy," Shackelford said."

Convoluted human evolution: very old tools

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 16, 2015, 19:00 (949 days ago) @ David Turell

Made by whom?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2015/04/15/archaeologists-take-wrong-t...

"SAN FRANCISCO-Archaeologists working in the Kenyan Rift Valley have discovered the oldest known stone tools in the world. Dated to around 3.3 million years ago, the implements are some 700,000 years older than stone tools from Ethiopia that previously held this distinction. They are so old, in fact, that they predate the earliest fossils representing our genus, Homo, by half a million years. As such they suggest that stone tool manufacture began not with Homo, but with a more primitive member of the human family.

"A happy accident led to the discovery of the ancient tools. Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University and her team had been en route to a known fossil site on the western shore of Lake Turkana one morning in July 2011 when the group took a wrong turn and ended up in a previously unexplored area. The researchers decided to survey it and by teatime they had found stone artifacts. They named the site Lomekwi 3, and went on to recover dozens of tools—including flakes, cores and anvils-from both the surface and below ground. Harmand described the findings April 14 in a talk given at the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco.

"'The cores and flakes we recovered are clearly knapped and are not the result of accidental or natural rock fracture,” Harmand said. “The Lomekwi 3 knappers were able to deliver sufficient intentional force to detach repeatedly series of adjacent and superposed flakes and then to continue knapping by rotating the cores.” The team determined the age of the tools based on their stratigraphic position relative to two layers of volcanic ash and a magnetic reversal of known ages.

"The tools from Lomekwi 3 are quite large—larger than the stone tools from the site of Gona in Ethiopia that were previously the oldest on record and larger than the rocks that chimpanzees use to crack open nuts. According to Harmand, preliminary observations suggest that the Lomekwi toolmakers intentionally selected big, heavy blocks of very hard raw material from nearby sources even though smaller blocks were available. They used various knapping techniques to remove the sharp-edged flakes from the cores.

"Exactly what the Lomekwi knappers used their tools for is not yet clear. Animal bones recovered thus far at the site do not show any signs of human activity. But evidence from another site does suggest that hominins (the group that includes H. sapiens and its extinct relatives) were butchering animals back then. In 2010 scientists working at the site of Dikika in Ethiopia, where fossils belonging to Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, had previously turned up, announced that they had recovered 3.4 million-year-old animal bones bearing distinctive marks. They argued that hominins had made the marks in the course of slicing meat off the bones with stone tools. The claim sparked heated debate. Some skeptics countered that the alleged cut marks were instead the result of the bones having been trampled by passing animals; others suggested that they were bite marks from crocodiles. The discovery of the Lomekwi tools does not prove that hominins made the Dikika marks, but it shows that near contemporaries of the Dikika hominins made implements capable of leaving behind such marks."

Convoluted human evolution: early dexterity

by David Turell @, Monday, April 27, 2015, 00:22 (939 days ago) @ David Turell

Before tools were developed there appears to have been the development of hand dexterity. An example of exaptation, which means ghe function arrives long before the need. Sounds like good planning:

"In a new study, a research team led by Yale University found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools.

"Manual dexterity is traditionally viewed as a key adaptation that separated the earliest primates from other early mammals. It is thought that such abilities evolved in response to no longer needing hands for locomotion, as well as the mechanical demands of using tools.

"Yet there remains debate about the gripping capabilities of early fossil hominins, especially regarding the use of tools. The new study may shed light on some of those issues. For instance, the study suggests that the early human species Australopithecus afarensis may have had greater dexterity than what was required for cutting with a stone, including manipulative and tool-related behaviors that may not have been preserved in the archaeological record."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150420144402.htm

Convoluted human evolution: very old tools

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 21, 2015, 21:38 (914 days ago) @ David Turell

More opinions and thoughts about these 3.3 million-year-old tools:

"The tools "shed light on an unexpected and previously unknown period of hominin behavior and can tell us a lot about cognitive development in our ancestors that we can't understand from fossils alone," said lead author Sonia Harmand, of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University and the Universite Paris Ouest Nanterre.

"Hominins are a group of species that includes modern humans, Homo sapiens, and our closest evolutionary ancestors. Anthropologists long thought that our relatives in the genus Homo -- the line leading directly to Homo sapiens -- were the first to craft such stone tools. But researchers have been uncovering tantalizing clues that some other, earlier species of hominin, distant cousins, if you will, might have figured it out.

"The researchers do not know who made these oldest of tools. But earlier finds suggest a possible answer: The skull of a 3.3-million-year-old hominin, Kenyanthropus platytops, was found in 1999 about a kilometer from the tool site. A K. platyops tooth and a bone from a skull were discovered a few hundred meters away, and an as-yet unidentified tooth has been found about 100 meters away.

"The precise family tree of modern humans is contentious, and so far, no one knows exactly how K. platyops relates to other hominin species. Kenyanthropus predates the earliest known Homo species by a half a million years. This species could have made the tools; or, the toolmaker could have been some other species from the same era, such as Australopithecus afarensis, or an as-yet undiscovered early type of Homo.

Dated by studying magnetic polarity:

"The Earth's magnetic field periodically reverses itself, and the chronology of those changes is well documented going back millions of years. "We essentially have a magnetic tape recorder that records the magnetic field ... the music of the outer core," Kent said. By tracing the variations in the polarity of the samples, they dated the site to 3.33 million to 3.11 million years."

Convoluted human evolution: variation and interbreeding

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 14:57 (909 days ago) @ David Turell

There has been a fair amount of interbreeding in the fossils that are available, and much variation within species:

http://phys.org/news/2015-05-interspecies-love-ins-offbeat-history-species.html

"One of the great revelations from population genetics over recent decades is the surprisingly common occurrence of interspecies mating: hybridisation.

"At least 10% of primate species interbreed naturally, in the wild, and hybridisation is now widely regarded to be a source of evolutionary novelty and to even play a role in the formation of new species.

"In 2010, with the first draft sequence of a Neanderthal genome by Richard Green and co-workers, we began to learn that the ancestors of all living non-Africans had in fact mated with our Neanderthal cousins.

"The result was that 1-4% of our genome is Neanderthal in origin, although, slightly earlier estimates from studies of the human genome by Jeffrey Wall and his team suggested the contribution of archaic human DNA could be least 6%, and perhaps up to 14%.

"The amount varies also between human populations with some East Asians having 40% more Neanderthal DNA than Europeans, according to other research published by Wall and co-workers.

"And yet further work by Jeffrey Wall has shown evidence in the genome of some living Africans for interbreeding with another species there, around 35,000 years ago. One we haven't yet identified from the fossils.

***

"One of the emerging surprises from the fossil record from the period roughly 50,000-10,000 years ago is the remarkably large number of 'enigmatic' remains that have and continue to be discovered.

"By enigmatic I mean that 'overall' they resemble modern humans (H. sapiens) but also possess a surprisingly large number of features that we would normally associate with archaic groups like the Neanderthals.

"I've seen this in my own work with the 'Red Deer Cave people' in Southwest China.

"And its a compelling explanation for the mixed anatomy of the Iwo Eleru remains from West Africa, Nazlet Khater 2 skull from Egypt, Lukenya Hill fossil from Kenya, and in Europe, the Mezzena jaw and Pestera cu Oase remains from Romania, among others.

"A recent news report in Nature announced that DNA had been successfully sequenced from a 35,000 year old jaw from Pestera cu Oase, as described at the Biology of Genomes meeting in Cold Spring Harbor in New York.

"Qiaomei Fu, a palaeogenomicist at Harvard Medical School, and her team apparently found that between 5% and 11% of the DNA of this individual (a man) was Neanderthal, including large chunks of several chromosomes."


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-interspecies-love-ins-offbeat-history-species.html#jCp

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's view now

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 02, 2015, 02:19 (903 days ago) @ David Turell

Human evolution like all of evolution is a bush of development, with only us left:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/43061/title/Reimagining-Humanity/

"A hominin family tree that I drew up in 1993 already featured 12 species, spanning the period from 4 million years ago to the present, while one of my recent trees contains twice as many species, scattered over the last 7 million years. Either way, at any one point in the past, several different hominin species typically coexisted, revealing human evolution not as a linear affair but as a process of vigorous and continuing experimentation with the hominin adaptive potential. Homo sapiens is evidently a huge exception in being the sole hominin species on the planet, and its lonely state cannot be taken as a guide to the past. There is something unprecedented about our species that makes it both intolerant of competition and uniquely able to eliminate it.

"Almost certainly, this novel element lies in the unusual way in which we process information, whereby a vocabulary of mental symbols makes it possible for us to remake the world in our minds. And both the form of our family tree and the archaeological record make it plain that this unique capacity was acquired not only very recently, but also very abruptly in evolutionary terms. Mayr's perspective suggests that we were gradually fine-tuned by natural selection, over the eons, to be the kind of creatures we are. But the diversity of the rapidly expanding hominin fossil record strongly argues otherwise. And if that is the case, we are not condemned by our biology to act in any specific ways. Instead, we are responsible for our own individual behaviors."

Convoluted human evolution: hobbits seperate species

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 19, 2015, 18:20 (732 days ago) @ David Turell

They appear to be related to H. erectus:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hobbits-were-a-separate-species-ancient-chomp...

"The researchers found hobbit teeth were as small as those from short modern humans. However, other features of these teeth looked completely dissimilar from those of modern humans.

"The hobbit teeth displayed a unique mosaic of primitive traits seen in early hominins mixed with more-advanced traits seen in later hominins, the researchers said. For instance, the canine and premolar teeth looked primitive, whereas the molar teeth looked advanced, or as if they had emerged later in the evolution of Homo sapiens, the scientists said.

***

"The researchers found that the hobbit's primitive dental features are most similar to specimens of Homo erectus, the earliest undisputed ancestor of modern humans, from the Indonesian island of Java. However, H. erectus was about as tall as modern humans. The scientists suggest that on isolated islands, the ancestors of the hobbit underwent dramatic dwarfism, with their bodies shrinking from about 5.4 feet (1.65 m) to 3.6 feet (1.1 m), and brains dwindling from about 52 cubic inches (860 cubic centimeters) to 26 cubic inches (426 cubic cm).

"'For me, this work will turn the tide about the question of evolutionary origin of H. floresiensis," study lead author Yousuke Kaifu, a paleoanthropologist at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, told Live Science.

"While the human lineage generally evolved larger bodies and brains over time, the hobbit suggests that isolation on islands could substantially reverse this evolutionary trend, Kaifu said."

Comment: Using teeth for research just as in the Denisovans

Convoluted human evolution:Red Deer Cave people

by David Turell @, Friday, December 18, 2015, 01:38 (704 days ago) @ David Turell

More confusion. This ancient group may have survived until 14,000 years ago in tropical southern China:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151217151544.htm

"A thigh bone found in China suggests an ancient species of human thought to be long extinct may have survived until as recently as the end of the last Ice Age. The 14,000 year old bone -- found among the remains of China's enigmatic 'Red Deer Cave people' -- has been shown to have features that resemble those of some of the most ancient members of the human genus, Homo, despite its young age.

***

"The findings result from a detailed study of the partial femur, which had lain unstudied for more than a quarter of a century in a museum in southeastern Yunnan, following its excavation along with other fossilised remains from Maludong ('Red Deer Cave') in 1989.

"The investigators found that the thigh bone matched those from species like Homo habilis and early Homo erectus that lived more than 1.5 million years ago but are cautious about its identity.

"'Its young age suggests the possibility that primitive-looking humans could have survived until very late in our evolution, but we need to careful as it is just one bone," Professor Ji said.

"The discovery is expected to be controversial because, until now, it had been thought that the youngest pre-modern humans on mainland Eurasia -- the Neanderthals of Europe and West Asia, and the 'Denisovans' of southern Siberia -- died out about 40,000 years ago, soon after modern humans entered the region.

"'The new find hints at the possibility a pre-modern species may have overlapped in time with modern humans on mainland East Asia, but the case needs to be built up slowly with more bone discoveries," Associate Professor Curnoe said.

"Like the primitive species Homo habilis, the Maludong thigh bone is very small; the shaft is narrow, with the outer layer of the shaft (or cortex) very thin; the walls of the shaft are reinforced (or buttressed) in areas of high strain; the femur neck is long; and the place of muscle attachment for the primary flexor muscle of the hip (the lesser trochanter) is very large and faces strongly backwards.

***

"The new discovery once again points towards at least some of the bones from Maludong representing a mysterious pre-modern species. The team has suggested in another recent publication that the skull from Longlin Cave is probably a hybrid between modern humans and an unknown archaic group -- perhaps even the one represented by the Maludong thigh bone.

"'The unique environment and climate of southwest China resulting from the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau may have provided a refuge for human diversity, perhaps with pre-modern groups surviving very late," Professor Ji said.

"Associate Professor Curnoe said: "This is exciting because it shows the bones from Maludong, after 25 years of neglect, still have an incredible story to tell. There may have been a diversity of different kinds of human living until very recently in southwest China. "The riddle of the Red Deer Cave people gets even more challenging now: Just who were these mysterious Stone Age people? Why did they survive so late? And why only in tropical southwest China?'"


Comment: The early Homo tree keeps growing. It is like an explosion of human precursor forms, and supports my contention that humans were the purposeful endpoint
of evolution.

Convoluted human evolution:Red Deer Cave people

by dhw, Friday, December 18, 2015, 20:25 (703 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: More confusion. This ancient group may have survived until 14,000 years ago in tropical southern China:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151217151544.htm

David's comment: The early Homo tree keeps growing. It is like an explosion of human precursor forms, and supports my contention that humans were the purposeful endpoint of evolution.

The more precursor forms there are, the less likely it seems to me that your God had it all planned. If there was a direct line from ape to human, you would be saying: “Look, the arrow of purpose!” You have admitted you don't know why God designed the weaverbird's nest and the parasitic jellyfish when his aim was to produce humans. Will you now perhaps say you don't know why God chose to design all these different human forms when he only really wanted one, but that's what happened, and so that proves that he only really wanted one (although you don't know why he designed all the others)? But perhaps I am being unfair, and you have a more convincing explanation.

Convoluted human evolution:Red Deer Cave people

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 19, 2015, 00:53 (703 days ago) @ dhw


David's comment: The early Homo tree keeps growing. It is like an explosion of human precursor forms, and supports my contention that humans were the purposeful endpoint of evolution.

dhw: The more precursor forms there are, the less likely it seems to me that your God had it all planned. ..... But perhaps I am being unfair, and you have a more convincing explanation.

Remember all this profuse shower of pre-humans occurred 6-8 million years ago. I view it like a Cambrian explosion of hominins, supported by my thought that the challenges presented by nature at that time, or since, did not require that it was 'necessary' for humans to ever appear.

Convoluted human evolution:Red Deer Cave people

by dhw, Saturday, December 19, 2015, 12:10 (703 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: The early Homo tree keeps growing. It is like an explosion of human precursor forms, and supports my contention that humans were the purposeful endpoint of evolution.

Dhw:The more precursor forms there are, the less likely it seems to me that your God had it all planned. If there was a direct line from ape to human, you would be saying: “Look, the arrow of purpose!” You have admitted you don't know why God designed the weaverbird's nest and the parasitic jellyfish when his aim was to produce humans. Will you now perhaps say you don't know why God chose to design all these different human forms when he only really wanted one, but that's what happened, and so that proves that he only really wanted one (although you don't know why he designed all the others)? But perhaps I am being unfair, and you have a more convincing explanation.

DAVID: Remember all this profuse shower of pre-humans occurred 6-8 million years ago. I view it like a Cambrian explosion of hominins, supported by my thought that the challenges presented by nature at that time, or since, did not require that it was 'necessary' for humans to ever appear.

I have reproduced the whole of my argument, since your response misses the point that the diversity of hominins runs COUNTER to your proposal that God planned homo sapiens all along. We know there was an explosion of hominins. We know there was no challenge from Nature that made it ‘necessary' for ANY multicellular organism to appear, since bacteria have survived since the year dot. Challenges from Nature only require adaptation. Innovation requires the drive for improvement, and that applies to every new species, not just humans. So back we go: If God's purpose was to create humans, why did he design the weaverbird's nest and the parasitic jellyfish? You don't know. If his purpose was to create homo sapiens, why did he create homo australopithecus/habilis/erectus/ denisovan/neanderthalensis? If you don't know, once more you can hardly say the explosion supports your contention that they all served your God's purpose of producing ONE species.

Convoluted human evolution:Red Deer Cave people

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 19, 2015, 15:40 (702 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Remember all this profuse shower of pre-humans occurred 6-8 million years ago. I view it like a Cambrian explosion of hominins, supported by my thought that the challenges presented by nature at that time, or since, did not require that it was 'necessary' for humans to ever appear.

dhw: I have reproduced the whole of my argument, since your response misses the point that the diversity of hominins runs COUNTER to your proposal that God planned homo sapiens all along. ....If his purpose was to create homo sapiens, why did he create homo australopithecus/habilis/erectus/ denisovan/neanderthalensis? If you don't know, once more you can hardly say the explosion supports your contention that they all served your God's purpose of producing ONE species.

You have missed the point: the Cambrian was a shotgun mechanism going off in all directions and produced the helter-skelter bush of animal life. The hominin explosion was the same sort of mechanism to produce the best form of human. God follows pattern development in evolution, a point I've made before. This raises a consideration you will accept: perhaps God had an endpoint in humans, but had to develop it through evolutionary experimentation since He is a 'process type' of God, not as totally all-powerful as religions like to represent. Frankly, I don't know. I accept the God I see through His works, which is what religions claim, but then they go to idealistic extremes.

Convoluted human evolution: Another recent hominin?

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 31, 2015, 15:21 (690 days ago) @ David Turell

New findings in China suggest another late surviving hominin like the Hobbits. Again the Red Deer Cave discovery:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22930543-500-new-species-of-human-may-have-share...

"WE MAY have lived alongside an archaic human species just 10,500 years ago in China. Controversial bone discoveries suggest we even interbred with and cannibalised these mystery hominins.

***

"One of the most exciting finds is a hominin femur found in Muladong cave in south-west China, alongside other human and animal bones. It shows evidence of having been burned in a fire that was used for cooking other meat, and has marks consistent with it being butchered. It has also been broken in a way that is used to access bone marrow. Unusually, it has been painted with a red clay called ochre, associated with burial rituals (PLoS One, doi.org/97c).

"Things got more interesting when the team tried to identify the bone. “Our work shows clearly that the femur resembles archaic humans,” says Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led the team behind the discoveries. Yet the sediment the bone was found in dates to just 14,000 years ago. This would make it the most recent human species to go extinct.

"The shaft of the bone is very narrow and it has a thin outer layer. There is also a notch where muscle would have joined the bone that is much larger than in anatomically modern humans, and it faces more towards the back of the bone. “These features suggest it walked differently,” says Curnoe. And judging by the bone's size, he estimates an adult would have weighed 50 kilograms - much smaller than other known Ice Age humans.

“'When you put all the evidence together the femur comes out quite clearly resembling the early members of Homo,” says Curnoe. This includes the earliest human species, Homo habilis and Homo erectus, which lived some 2 million years ago.

"If confirmed, says Petraglia, this would change our understanding of human evolution.

"Besides Homo floresiensis, also known as “the Hobbit”, which was confined to an Indonesian island up to around 18,000 years ago, the most recent archaic humans were thought to be the Denisovans and Neanderthals, which became extinct soon after we came through their lands some 40,000 years ago.

“'This turns that on its head,” says Curnoe. “Its young age shows that remarkably primitive-looking humans must have shared the landscape with very modern-looking people at a time when China's earliest farming cultures were beginning to flourish.”

"But some in the field have doubts that such a young bone can be from something so archaic. “It is not an archaic human,” says Erik Trinkaus at Washington University in St Louis. He thinks the differences in the bone are a result of natural variation within a population, not a new species.

"Henry McHenry at the University of California, Davis, is more ambivalent. He says the femur looks very odd, but that it does seem to have similarities to very archaic humans.

"Supporting evidence comes from Longlin cave, a few hundred kilometres north (see map), where a stash of human bones, including an almost complete skull, were found - some in 1979. Curnoe and Ji Xueping at the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in China re-analysed these bones and dug up more, describing them in 2012.FIG-mg30543501.jpg

"Their analysis suggests the bones belong to a hybrid of our species and something more archaic - probably the hominin that once walked on the now-painted femur. They have preliminarily dated the hybrid to just 10,500 years ago. One of the bones had been cut and had holes dug near its top, suggesting it was used as a vessel for carrying and drinking liquid.

"What all this hints at, Curnoe and colleagues say, is that Homo sapiens was mating with an archaic human species, possibly eating them, and using the hybrid offspring bones as tools. But to back up these claims, we will need DNA evidence, says Petraglia."

Comment: Human evolution came from a bush of types?

Convoluted human evolution: Immunity

by David Turell @, Friday, January 08, 2016, 15:12 (682 days ago) @ David Turell

Interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans seems to have improved human immunity:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45001/title/Borrowing-Immunity-Th...

"Modern humans adopted innate immune genes responsible for recognizing invading microbes from Neanderthals and Denisovans, according to two studies published today (January 7) in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The two teams, based in France and Germany, independently concluded that humans picked up some versions of a cluster of toll-like receptors by interbreeding with archaic hominin relatives.

“'Once humans came out of Africa and then encountered archaic species, they might also have encountered their pathogens,” said Rasmus Nielsen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the studies. “There might have been pathogens that could affect Neanderthals and Denisovans that also could jump into modern humans.”

“'At least partially, Neanderthals may have harbored already adaptive mutations, mutations that rendered them more resistant to infections,” said Lluis Quintana-Murci, an evolutionary geneticist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and a coauthor of one of the new papers.

***

"And the reduced H. pylori prevalence associated with the borrowed TLR alleles is simply a sign that the variants are associated with altered immunity, not necessarily an indication that breeding with Neanderthals helped humans avoid this particular pathogen. “We may not have the pathogens around today that selection was acting in response to,” said Nielsen.

"The studies help confirm that interbreeding between humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans shaped human evolution, sometimes offering key advantages people of combined lineage. “The things that modern humans took away from the interbreeding with the Neanderthals were regions of the genome involved in adaptation to the environment,” said Kelso."

Comment: The conclusions make sense

Convoluted human evolution: hobbits seperate species

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 16, 2016, 05:47 (675 days ago) @ David Turell

Another rather complete discussion of who are the Hobbits.

http://www.livescience.com/29100-homo-floresiensis-hobbit-facts.html?cmpid=NL_LS_weekly...

"When researchers first unearthed H. floresiensis, they also uncovered stone tools and animal remains in the same sediment layers of the Liang Bua cave. The tools were simple and Oldowan-like, resembling the earliest and most primitive types of tools in the fossil record.

"The animal remains included those of Komodo dragons, rats, bat and Stegodon (an extinct, pigmy elephant) juveniles. The Stegodon remains showed evidence of cut marks, suggesting H. floresiensis butchered the animals, while charred bones and fire-cracked rocks suggest the hobbits harnessed fire, according to the 2005 Nature paper

***

"A study published in 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B revealed H. floresiensis had a larger brain than once thought. The CT scan of the hobbit skull suggested its brain was about 426 cubic centimeters (nearly 26 cubic inches), instead of the commonly cited 400 cubic cm. That's more than one-third the size of the modern human brain, which boasts an average volume of about 1,300 cubic cm, or 79 cubic inches.

"The findings suggested H. erectus may be the ancestor of H. floresiensis, as Javanese specimens of H. erectus had brains about 860 cubic cm (52 cubic inches) in size. Alternatively, the hobbit may have evolved from H. habilis, whose brains were only about 600 cubic cm (37 cubic inches), the research suggested.

***

"In a study published July 22 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Collard and his colleagues compiled a dataset containing 380 skull and dental features for the 20 known hominin species. After analyzing and comparing these features using statistical models, they concluded that H. floresiensis was, indeed, a distinct species and not just a small-bodied or deformed human.

"What's more, the analysis suggests that the hobbit is a descendent of a pre-H. erectus small-bodied hominin that migrated out of Africa and to Southeast Asia. This implies that H. erectus may not have been the first hominin to migrate out of Africa (given that the hobbit lived in Asia but didn't evolve from H. erectus), according to the study."

Comment: Note 20 known hominin species. The lead in Homo bush gets bigger

Convoluted human evolution: mixing subtypes

by David Turell @, Monday, February 08, 2016, 15:18 (651 days ago) @ David Turell

A anthropologist discusses what DNA genetic studies tell us about the intermixing and how current humans picked up straits from different sub-species:

https://aeon.co/opinions/human-evolution-is-more-a-muddy-delta-than-a-branching-tree

"Where once we saw each branch in isolation, DNA evidence now reveals a network of connections. From an African origin more than 1.8 million years ago, human ancestors flowed into different populations, following separate paths for hundreds of thousands of years, yet still coming together to mix their genes.

***

"Even ancient genomes have ghosts within them. The Denisovan genome bears the traces of ancient mixture, not only from Neanderthals but with another even more divergent group - some speculate it might have been Homo erectus. Everywhere geneticists look, they see populations more different than any living people, mixing with each other in small fractions. It is no evolutionary tree. Our evolutionary history is like a braided stream.

***

"In the 1970s, geneticists noticed that humans are surprisingly inbred for a worldwide species. Other great apes - the chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans - each have much more variation, so much that today's primatologists recognise two species of orangutans, and up to four species of chimpanzees and gorillas. These apes have deep histories, with populations separated for hundreds of thousands of years. By contrast, humans throughout the world look like refugees from a single small part of Africa.

***

"When Neanderthals, Denisovans and ghost lineages, both inside and outside Africa, walked the Earth, their populations were each quite inbred, but collectively they were diverse, more like gorillas or chimpanzees than today's humans. Across the past 200,000 years, these separate streams were swallowed up by the growth of one African branch of humanity. Humans spread through the world like a broad river delta, carrying slightly different fractions of the flow of ancient streams.

"We don't yet know what triggered the success of these ancient Africans. But we can see some ways that they benefited from mixing with distant populations. As they mixed, they picked up biological solutions first innovated and road-tested by distant populations. Already, we have found Neanderthal or Denisovan genes contribute to immunity, metabolism and proteins expressed in hair and skin. A gene derived from Denisovans has helped people adapt to the low-oxygen environment of the Tibetan plateau. (my bold)

***

"The braided stream of human evolution matches with what we are seeing in other mammals. As geneticists have sampled more and more populations of wild animals, they are finding what has been known for our domesticated plants and animals for a long time: hybridisation and introgression of genes among species and distant populations is ubiquitous in the natural world."

Comment: It appears that the mixing of the different types of hominins/humans contributed much to present-day humans success in surviving the challenges of nature. Note the bold above. My conclusion is the "ancient Africans" can be viewed as a purposeful result.

Convoluted human evolution: ape, chimp split

by David Turell @, Friday, February 12, 2016, 19:57 (647 days ago) @ David Turell

Apes probably 10 mya, chimps 8 mya:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossils-shed-new-light-on-human-gorilla-split...

:The research team focused on the Chorora Formation, the oldest known sediments from the Afar rift. (The formation gets its name from Chorora, a village in the area.)

:In 2007, Suwa and his colleagues discovered nine gorilla-size teeth from the Chorora Formation that belonged to an extinct ape they named Chororapithecus abyssinicus. "Chororapithecus" means "ape from Chorora," while "abyssinicus" refers to Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia.

:The teeth of Chororapithecus appeared specialized for eating stems and leaves, and resembled those of modern gorillas, which suggests that, "Chororapithecus probably represents an ancestral branch of the gorilla lineage," Suwa told Live Science. As such, heand his colleagues wanted to pin down how old Chororapithecus was, in order to better pinpoint when the human and gorilla lineages may have first diverged.

***

:The age and location of these fossils strengthen the view that the human and the modern ape lines originated in Africa and not Asia, the researchers said.

"'Until now, no mammalian fossils south of the Sahara have been securely dated to 8 million to 9 million years ago," Suwa said. "Any and all fossils from this crucial time period of Africa would help unravel the story of human origins and emergence. These are the first such fossils."


***

"The new findings suggest that Chororapithecus is 8 million years old, so "the actual gorilla-human split must then have been up to several million years before that," Suwa said. Therefore, the study shows that the human-gorilla split could have happened "at around 10 million years ago and the human-chimp split at around 8 million years ago," he said."

Comment: The original changes for upright posture in the lumbar spine of monkeys was seen in fossils about 20 mya. Our bodies are similar. If one believes in some form of evolutionary process, here had to be a split at some point.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 14, 2016, 19:45 (645 days ago) @ David Turell

My favorite paleoanthropologist's take on the confusion in human fossil ancestry:

http://inference-review.com/article/the-genus-homo

"You might thus be tempted to imagine that, in the century and a half since Charles Darwin pointed out that we are joined to the rest of nature by common ancestry, science might have begun to make some progress toward a biological definition of the human genus. But if so, you would be doomed to disappointment. Scientists are still arguing vehemently over which ancient fossil human relatives should be included in the genus Homo. And they are doing so in the absence of any coherent idea of what the genus that includes our species Homo sapiens might reasonably be presumed to contain.

***

"But in practice there is a problem: the splitting of lineages that produces those groups of species also produces a branching system of relationships. In other words, the descendants of the ancestral species themselves divide, to produce ever-larger groupings of descendants that are increasingly remotely related. As a result, not all species in any genus will be equally closely related by descent. This means that how inclusive you want your genus to be is an entirely arbitrary matter about which there may be legitimate disagreement. Species have a reasonably objective biological reality that is grounded in the dynamic that exists among their members. Genera, on the other hand, are purely historical constructs.

***

"The fossil record, mainly consisting of mineralized bones and teeth, is a very pale reflection of the once-living world it represents, and it is rare indeed to find an articulated skeleton that will reliably tell you which elements of the individual go together. Worse yet, the fossil bones themselves are more often than not broken and incomplete. As a result, attributing fossils to a species or to a genus can often be an extremely tricky matter involving a lot of subjective judgment. This fairly harsh reality provides much of the background against which attempts to recognize fossil members of the genus Homo need to be understood.

***

"Yet if there is one lesson that we can very clearly derive from a mushrooming fossil record, it is that the history of the hominid family is very much like that of any other successful family of mammals, among which diversification has always been the rule. The history of the hominids has been one of vigorous evolutionary experimentation with the hominid potential. Numerous species, whose relationships can only be clarified by recognizing several genera, have been thrown out onto an ever-changing ecological stage to compete and to flourish, or face extinction.

***

"If we can adopt a more realistic notion of what our genus Homo is, we will at the same time open the way not only to a better understanding of the process that produced us, but also to a more accurate perspective about the kind of creature we happen to be."

Comment: Just a smattering of a great essay, from the bony standpoint, not from the DNA studies. The bush is still a bush.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 16:04 (643 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My favorite paleoanthropologist's take on the confusion in human fossil ancestry:

http://inference-review.com/article/the-genus-homo
QUOTE: "If we can adopt a more realistic notion of what our genus Homo is, we will at the same time open the way not only to a better understanding of the process that produced us, but also to a more accurate perspective about the kind of creature we happen to be."

David's comment: Just a smattering of a great essay, from the bony standpoint, not from the DNA studies. The bush is still a bush.

Thank you for this very interesting essay, which provides a neat paleoanthropological parallel to Steinhardt's emphasis on how little cosmologists actually know about the universe. The quote I have reproduced above from your post is the conclusion, but I think it is also worth quoting the passage that leads to it:
Chance and contingency loom large in this process, which is radically different from the slow, steady slog from primitiveness to perfection envisaged by Mayr. And this is important, for Mayr's gradualist model implies that we have somehow been closely molded by nature to be a particular kind of organism. It implies that many of our features and behaviors have been programmed into us by eons of natural selection, thereby relieving us of some degree of responsibility for how we interact with each other and with the world. If we can adopt…etc.”

I don't know what Tattersall's religious beliefs are, but the role of chance and contingency, the apparently haphazard coming and going of different groups, the dismissal of the idea that we have been “closely molded” or “programmed” (here by nature and/or natural selection, but molding and programming are essential to your own theistic, anthropocentric view of evolution) seem to me to suggest anything but the purposeful creation of homo sapiens which is so close to your heart. And I would say the article on hobbits confirms this impression, despite your comment:

QUOTE: "For while the scientists could not exclude the possibility that the "hobbit" was a scaled-down version of Homo erectus, which arrived on the neighbouring island of Java some million years ago, nor could they be sure that H. floresiensis was not a species in its own right."

David's comment: Until this is settled, they look a lot like us, and therefore will remain Homo. With all the branches of Hominins at the start, it looks like convergence, with humans a definite purpose of the process.

I agree that it looks like convergence - different varieties evolving at the same time, often under different conditions - each of them with the “definite purpose” of surviving and/or improving. Homo sapiens has proved to be the most successful. That is how natural selection works: success = survival. All existing species of organisms have been successful so far (though many are sadly disappearing), but that does not mean that every successful one has been deliberately selected by your God while all the unsuccessful ones have been/are being created and then discarded by your God. If he exists, he set the wheels in motion, but then either he runs the whole show (as suggested by your insistence that even the weaverbird couldn't design its own nest), or the whole show runs itself. The history of evolution, with its higgledy-piggledy comings and goings of all species and varieties, including hobbits and hominins and humans, suggests to me that it's the latter.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 18:43 (643 days ago) @ dhw

David's comment: Until this is settled, they look a lot like us, and therefore will remain Homo. With all the branches of Hominins at the start, it looks like convergence, with humans a definite purpose of the process.

dhw: I agree that it looks like convergence - different varieties evolving at the same time, often under different conditions - each of them with the “definite purpose” of surviving and/or improving. Homo sapiens has proved to be the most successful. That is how natural selection works: success = survival.

Natural selection is the active judge for survival only after it is presented with choices. I'm still asking why humans were presented at all. They weren't necessary from the ape/chimp point of view. Something drove that special brain and intellectual capacity, when it wasn't necessary to appear.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 17:55 (642 days ago) @ David Turell

I am putting this under “Convoluted human evolution” as the two arguments link up:

Dhw (under "Nature's wonders"): you are allowed to read his mind for purpose and impose it on the apparently contradictory process (which you can't understand), but I am criticized if I base my reading of his mind for purpose on observation of the process!

DAVID: I can still see purpose even if I don't understand the intricacies of the process. I'm standing in a Ford automatic car factory. I know what is coming out but I don't understand the robotic process in detail. What is your problem with that reasoning?

I suspect that there is a general consensus that a Ford factory has been designed by humans for the purpose of producing Ford cars. Sadly for your reasoning, there is no general consensus that the universe was designed by God for the purpose of producing humans. If you wish to argue that the product proves the purpose behind the design, then I shall have to point out that the current product is billions of solar systems coming and going, mosquitoes, monarch butterflies, the duckbilled platypus, human beings, the weaverbird's nest, famine, flood, earthquakes, deadly viruses, the skylark's song, the peacock's tail, the camel's hump, arthritis, all things bright and beautiful, all things dark and horrible...need I go on? Yeah, humans are in there somewhere.

This leads to your usual point about humans:

David's comment: Until this is settled, they look a lot like us, and therefore will remain Homo. With all the branches of Hominins at the start, it looks like convergence, with humans a definite purpose of the process.
dhw: I agree that it looks like convergence - different varieties evolving at the same time, often under different conditions - each of them with the “definite purpose” of surviving and/or improving. Homo sapiens has proved to be the most successful. That is how natural selection works: success = survival.

DAVID: Natural selection is the active judge for survival only after it is presented with choices. I'm still asking why humans were presented at all. They weren't necessary from the ape/chimp point of view. Something drove that special brain and intellectual capacity, when it wasn't necessary to appear.

We have both answered this a thousand times. Nothing was “necessary” from the bacteria point of view! The something that drove the special brain and intellectual capacity can only have been the something that drove every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder that has led from bacteria to us. You think they were all preprogrammed or personally supervised by your God, Darwinists argue for random mutations followed by natural selection, and I have suggested that they were all the product of an autonomous inventive mechanism (origin unknown) within the cells/cell communities themselves. I'm afraid if you ask the same question, I can only come up with the same answer.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 00:55 (642 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We have both answered this a thousand times. Nothing was “necessary” from the bacteria point of view! The something that drove the special brain and intellectual capacity can only have been the something that drove every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder that has led from bacteria to us. You think they were all preprogrammed or personally supervised by your God, Darwinists argue for random mutations followed by natural selection, and I have suggested that they were all the product of an autonomous inventive mechanism (origin unknown) within the cells/cell communities themselves. I'm afraid if you ask the same question, I can only come up with the same answer.

Your inventive mechanism is very clever to create consciousness from an unconscious inorganic universe.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 12:49 (642 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We have both answered this a thousand times. Nothing was “necessary” from the bacteria point of view! The something that drove the special brain and intellectual capacity can only have been the something that drove every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder that has led from bacteria to us. You think they were all preprogrammed or personally supervised by your God, Darwinists argue for random mutations followed by natural selection, and I have suggested that they were all the product of an autonomous inventive mechanism (origin unknown) within the cells/cell communities themselves. I'm afraid if you ask the same question, I can only come up with the same answer.

DAVID: Your inventive mechanism is very clever to create consciousness from an unconscious inorganic universe.

Thank you for not repeating your unnecessary argument about the non-necessity of humans. As for the “creation” of consciousness, that is the mystery of ORIGINS, and the origin of my hypothetical conscious (not to be confused with self-aware) inventive mechanism is as unknown as the origin of your hypothetical conscious inventor of the mechanism.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 14:04 (641 days ago) @ dhw

dhw; As for the “creation” of consciousness, that is the mystery of ORIGINS, and the origin of my hypothetical conscious (not to be confused with self-aware) inventive mechanism is as unknown as the origin of your hypothetical conscious inventor of the mechanism.

What we see requires a planning mind, based on human experience. That experience has to be worth something. I have a reason for my conclusion. Yours is simply an invention to fill a void.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Friday, February 19, 2016, 18:19 (640 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw; As for the “creation” of consciousness, that is the mystery of ORIGINS, and the origin of my hypothetical conscious (not to be confused with self-aware) inventive mechanism is as unknown as the origin of your hypothetical conscious inventor of the mechanism.

DAVID: What we see requires a planning mind, based on human experience. That experience has to be worth something. I have a reason for my conclusion. Yours is simply an invention to fill a void.

When I say the origin of the mechanism is unknown, I am acknowledging a void. Your God is your invention to fill that particular void, Dawkins would opt for sheer chance, and I have also offered a vague panpsychist hypothesis as a third such “invention”. When we are discussing the mechanics of evolution, we have another void: namely, how it works. Your invention to fill that particular void is God's 3.8-billion-year computer programme and/or personal tuition, Darwin and Dawkins opt for random mutations and natural selection, and mine is an inventive mechanism within the organisms themselves. Two voids, three inventions to fill each void, and none of these inventions are based on human experience because no human has ever experienced the unique origin of the evolutionary mechanism or the unique process whereby bacteria have evolved into humans.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 20, 2016, 00:59 (640 days ago) @ dhw

When I say the origin of the mechanism is unknown, I am acknowledging a void....... and mine is an inventive mechanism within the organisms themselves. Two voids, three inventions to fill each void, and none of these inventions are based on human experience because no human has ever experienced the unique origin of the evolutionary mechanism or the unique process whereby bacteria have evolved into humans.

But with a look at the biochemistry of life your solution is no better than Darwin's chance. The IM wants as advance. It will need to have two organic molecules to interact. to do this the IM must find can enzyme to facilitate the reaction, Otherwise the reaction will take 3K to 120K years to do the reaction. An enzyme is many thousands of atoms, C,O, H, N, S, P, etc., and usually a metal like Zinc. It must be set up in proper 3-D, and must have two lock/key areas in proper relationship to hold the two molecules for the reaction to take place, which it will do instantly or else life won't work. Unless the IM has cognitive teleology it must now search the universe of possible enzyme molecules in all sizes and shapes and possible metals to find just the right one among millions of possibilities. This is just like Darwin hunt-and-peck. Just what attributes do you wish to apply to the IM so it isn't like Darwin? That is why I so strongly resist your third-way solution. Planning must occur!

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Saturday, February 20, 2016, 13:22 (640 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: When I say the origin of the mechanism is unknown, I am acknowledging a void....... and mine is an inventive mechanism within the organisms themselves. Two voids, three inventions to fill each void, and none of these inventions are based on human experience because no human has ever experienced the unique origin of the evolutionary mechanism or the unique process whereby bacteria have evolved into humans.

DAVID: But with a look at the biochemistry of life your solution is no better than Darwin's chance.

Which solution? I have identified two voids: 1) how life and the mechanisms for evolution originated; 2) how evolution works. Darwin's solution leaves 1) open, and so does mine. As for 2), my IM solution is totally different from Darwin's precisely because every innovation is deliberate and not random, other than the all-important changes in the environment, which even you can't make up your mind about.

DAVID: The IM wants as advance. It will need to have two organic molecules to interact. to do this the IM must find can enzyme to facilitate the reaction, Otherwise the reaction will take 3K to 120K years to do the reaction. An enzyme is many thousands of atoms, C,O, H, N, S, P, etc., and usually a metal like Zinc. It must be set up in proper 3-D, and must have two lock/key areas in proper relationship to hold the two molecules for the reaction to take place, which it will do instantly or else life won't work. Unless the IM has cognitive teleology it must now search the universe of possible enzyme molecules in all sizes and shapes and possible metals to find just the right one among millions of possibilities. This is just like Darwin hunt-and-peck. Just what attributes do you wish to apply to the IM so it isn't like Darwin? That is why I so strongly resist your third-way solution. Planning must occur!

What you are describing sounds to me like the IM itself, which must have been part of the very first cells, and I do not know how the first cells were formed. Once again, you are focusing on the first void - origin - whereas the IM is the “invention” (as opposed to your invention of a divine 3.8-billion-year old computer programme) that fills the second void: how evolution works. As I have stated over and over again, your explanation of its complexity is precisely why I cannot subscribe to atheistic chance as a filler of the first void. What you refuse to recognize is that an unknown, sourceless, supernatural mind so vast that it can create and encompass billions of solar systems (plus various other associated problems) is itself an invention and is just as difficult to believe in as atheistic chance. That is the agnostic's dilemma.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 20, 2016, 14:39 (639 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The IM wants as advance. It will need to have two organic molecules to interact. to do this the IM must find can enzyme to facilitate the reaction, Otherwise the reaction will take 3K to 120K years to do the reaction..... This is just like Darwin hunt-and-peck. Just what attributes do you wish to apply to the IM so it isn't like Darwin? That is why I so strongly resist your third-way solution. Planning must occur!

dhw: What you are describing sounds to me like the IM itself, which must have been part of the very first cells, and I do not know how the first cells were formed. ..... What you refuse to recognize is that an unknown, sourceless, supernatural mind so vast that it can create and encompass billions of solar systems (plus various other associated problems) is itself an invention and is just as difficult to believe in as atheistic chance. That is the agnostic's dilemma.

And what you refuse to look at are the odds of finding the perfect enzyme for the new process. You've talked around it. Only chance or design can find that enzyme, unless you believe in magic, which is what your IM appears to be.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 12:33 (639 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The IM wants as advance. It will need to have two organic molecules to interact. to do this the IM must find can enzyme to facilitate the reaction, Otherwise the reaction will take 3K to 120K years to do the reaction..... This is just like Darwin hunt-and-peck. Just what attributes do you wish to apply to the IM so it isn't like Darwin? That is why I so strongly resist your third-way solution. Planning must occur!

dhw: What you are describing sounds to me like the IM itself, which must have been part of the very first cells, and I do not know how the first cells were formed. ..... What you refuse to recognize is that an unknown, sourceless, supernatural mind so vast that it can create and encompass billions of solar systems (plus various other associated problems) is itself an invention and is just as difficult to believe in as atheistic chance. That is the agnostic's dilemma.

DAVID: And what you refuse to look at are the odds of finding the perfect enzyme for the new process. You've talked around it. Only chance or design can find that enzyme, unless you believe in magic, which is what your IM appears to be.

The section of my post that you have left out reads: “Once again, you are focusing on the first void - origin - whereas the IM is the “invention” (as opposed to your invention of a divine 3.8-billion-year old computer programme) that fills the second void: how evolution works. As I have stated over and over again, your explanation of its complexity is precisely why I cannot subscribe to atheistic chance as a filler of the first void.” How this can be described as refusing to look at or talking round it, I do not know. But clearly the message has not got through: I cannot and do not believe in chance as the creator of the cell and its IM. Unfortunately, however, the invention of a supernatural magician - which is what your “God” appears to be - creates just as many problems for me as the chance discovery of the perfect enzyme. And so I repeat: That is the agnostic's dilemma. I cannot believe in either.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 15:42 (638 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And what you refuse to look at are the odds of finding the perfect enzyme for the new process. You've talked around it. Only chance or design can find that enzyme, unless you believe in magic, which is what your IM appears to be.

dhw: The section of my post that you have left out reads: “Once again, you are focusing on the first void - origin - whereas the IM is the “invention” (as opposed to your invention of a divine 3.8-billion-year old computer programme) that fills the second void: how evolution works.

But the key to an answer must involve analyzing what evolution has produced. We can only work backwards. The processes of life, one of which I have briefly described in finding a way to advance a new complex process in life, are obviously too complex to arrive by chance. You agree. Then what?:

dhw:As I have stated over and over again, your explanation of its complexity is precisely why I cannot subscribe to atheistic chance as a filler of the first void[/i].” How this can be described as refusing to look at or talking round it, I do not know.

Your explanation explains my point:

dhw: I cannot and do not believe in chance as the creator of the cell and its IM. Unfortunately, however, the invention of a supernatural magician - which is what your “God” appears to be - creates just as many problems for me as the chance discovery of the perfect enzyme. And so I repeat: That is the agnostic's dilemma. I cannot believe in either.

But your IM is just an alternative for God, just as supernatural as God is. An IM which solves the enzyme problem has the same characteristics as God, in solving an immensely difficult problems. Again I ask you, why are we here? And your answer is, I can't accept any answer as reasonable. And my answer is, from our experience in our lives, the complexity requires mentation, and nothing else, i.e., thought and planning. Only chance or design. In my reading, no respected authority who is agnostic, has posed anything else, except to plead for a 'third way'. Denton and Nagel are examples. So are you. If we never find a third way, then what? For my part I don't see any evidence for one, not even a glimmer of one.

As a result we are equal. I have my magical solution in your view. You want one.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Monday, February 22, 2016, 13:39 (638 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I cannot and do not believe in chance as the creator of the cell and its IM. Unfortunately, however, the invention of a supernatural magician - which is what your “God” appears to be - creates just as many problems for me as the chance discovery of the perfect enzyme. And so I repeat: That is the agnostic's dilemma. I cannot believe in either.

DAVID: But your IM is just an alternative for God, just as supernatural as God is. An IM which solves the enzyme problem has the same characteristics as God, in solving an immensely difficult problems. Again I ask you, why are we here? And your answer is, I can't accept any answer as reasonable. And my answer is, from our experience in our lives, the complexity requires mentation, and nothing else, i.e., thought and planning. Only chance or design. In my reading, no respected authority who is agnostic, has posed anything else, except to plead for a 'third way'. Denton and Nagel are examples. So are you. If we never find a third way, then what? For my part I don't see any evidence for one, not even a glimmer of one.
As a result we are equal. I have my magical solution in your view. You want one.

I don't “want” anything other than the true explanation, which I know I shall never get unless there is an afterlife in which it is provided! But in answer to your first paragraph, the IM is absolutely NOT an alternative to God. The IM is an alternative to random mutations, your 3.8 billion-year-divine computer programme, and your divine dabbling. It is a hypothetical explanation of how evolution works, and it leaves open the question of its origin.

As always, I agree with you that the complexity of living forms requires mentation, but once again we must distinguish between the IM and the maker of the IM. As we have discussed ad nauseam, there are some distinguished biologists who inform us that cells are capable of mentation. That is the basis of my IM hypothesis to explain how evolution works. And so the question then has to be: what made the cell with its IM? Your answer is a single, universal mind (a “magical” God); the atheist answer is chance. I have offered a panpsychist variation, in which materials “magically” acquire sufficient awareness to work together. This may perhaps tie in with BBella's posts regarding Sheldrake's “morphogenic resonance”. Quite rightly, you anticipate my comment that I do not find any of these hypotheses reasonable, and you ask: ”If we never find a third way, then what?” Then I simply continue to sit on my picket fence till I fall six feet under. However, I am not at all uncomfortable sitting here. On the contrary, I find that the quest for some kind of truth is both enjoyable and highly educational, and for this I can only thank you and BBella and all those who have kept the discussions going for the last eight years!

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Monday, February 22, 2016, 15:24 (637 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: The IM is an alternative to random mutations, your 3.8 billion-year-divine computer programme, and your divine dabbling. It is a hypothetical explanation of how evolution works, and it leaves open the question of its origin.

If the IM explains evolution it requires the ability to plan. It requires a planning mind either as the inventor of the IM or the guider of the IM as you constantly remind us.


dhw: As always, I agree with you that the complexity of living forms requires mentation, but once again we must distinguish between the IM and the maker of the IM. As we have discussed ad nauseam, there are some distinguished biologists who inform us that cells are capable of mentation.

And as I have replied ad nauseam, automatic cell functions can look just like mentation.

dhw: That is the basis of my IM hypothesis to explain how evolution works. I have offered a panpsychist variation, in which materials “magically” acquire sufficient awareness to work together. This may perhaps tie in with BBella's posts regarding Sheldrake's “morphogenic resonance”.

You keep scrambling for alternatives. Sheldrake is only pointing out fields: human species consciousness, morphic phenotypic fields which come as part and parcel of the evolutionary process. He never says these do not come from God.

dhw: I find that the quest for some kind of truth is both enjoyable and highly educational, and for this I can only thank you and BBella and all those who have kept the discussions going for the last eight years!

Thank you. Education will continue!

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by dhw, Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 13:55 (636 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: But your IM is just an alternative for God, just as supernatural as God is.
dhw: The IM is absolutely NOT an alternative to God. The IM is an alternative to random mutations, your 3.8 billion-year-divine computer programme, and your divine dabbling. It is a hypothetical explanation of how evolution works, and it leaves open the question of its origin.
DAVID: If the IM explains evolution it requires the ability to plan. It requires a planning mind either as the inventor of the IM or the guider of the IM as you constantly remind us.

I have restored the two initial comments above (in bold), since that was the point under discussion. Your second sentence returns to the origin of the IM, which I have always left open, and then reverts to your own insistence that it requires a guide, whereas I claim it is autonomous (although God can always do a dabble if he feels like it, as suggested in the scenarios of my Denton post on 20 February). We have discussed the “ability” to plan before. Briefly, the IM or “brain” of the cell community would cooperate with other “brains” to respond to the demands of or opportunities offered by the environment - as with adaptation, which is a response and is not preplanned. If your God is as powerful as you believe, it should not be beyond his ability to create a mechanism that can work out innovations (with any necessary planning)as well as adaptations.

dhw: As always, I agree with you that the complexity of living forms requires mentation, but once again we must distinguish between the IM and the maker of the IM. As we have discussed ad nauseam, there are some distinguished biologists who inform us that cells are capable of mentation.
DAVID: And as I have replied ad nauseam, automatic cell functions can look just like mentation.

I am only explaining that there is scientific backing for the argument that cells are capable of mentation, which means there is scientific backing for my proposal even if you do not accept it.

dhw: That is the basis of my IM hypothesis to explain how evolution works. And so the question then has to be: what made the cell with its IM? Your answer is a single, universal mind (a “magical” God); the atheist answer is chance. I have offered a panpsychist variation, in which materials “magically” acquire sufficient awareness to work together. This may perhaps tie in with BBella's posts regarding Sheldrake's “morphogenic resonance”.
DAVID: You keep scrambling for alternatives. Sheldrake is only pointing out fields: human species consciousness, morphic phenotypic fields which come as part and parcel of the evolutionary process. He never says these do not come from God.

I was following up BBella's revealing comment about “drawing different aspects of information within the field “what Is” together to create the next level of “what Is”, which fits in with my pansychist hypothesis. Most panpsychist theories are actually tied in with some sort of God, but I have suggested one that is not. However, I have acknowledged that it is no more credible (or incredible) than your own God theory or the chance theory of the atheists.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 19:51 (635 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: If your God is as powerful as you believe, it should not be beyond his ability to create a mechanism that can work out innovations (with any necessary planning)as well as adaptations.

I agree.

dhw: [/i]
I was following up BBella's revealing comment about “drawing different aspects of information within the field “what Is” together to create the next level of “what Is”, which fits in with my pansychist hypothesis. Most panpsychist theories are actually tied in with some sort of God, but I have suggested one that is not. However, I have acknowledged that it is no more credible (or incredible) than your own God theory or the chance theory of the atheists.

I agree. we remain apart.

Convoluted human evolution: Timing splits

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 15:23 (615 days ago) @ David Turell

The Denisovan Neanderthal split from a common ancestor is re-dated:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45569/title/Clock-Reset-on-Deniso...

"In this latest study, published today (March 14) in Nature, Matthias Meyer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues examined nuclear DNA. The genetic material revealed that the bones were related to Neanderthals, and not Denisovans. However, Meyer and his colleagues wrote in their report, “mitochondrial DNA recovered from one of the specimens shares the previously described relationship to Denisovan mitochondrial DNAs, suggesting, among other possibilities, that the mitochondrial DNA gene pool of Neanderthals turned over later in their history.”

"Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, told Science News that the results place the Denisovan-Neanderthal divergence at about 450,000 years ago. “Research must refocus on fossils from 400,000 to 800,000 years ago to determine which ones might lie on ancestral lineages of Neandertals, Denisovans and modern humans,” he said.

“'It's wonderful news to have mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from something that is 430,000 years old,” Maria Martinón-Torres, a palaeoanthropologist at University College London, told Nature News. “It's like science fiction. It's an amazing opportunity.'”

Comment: Eventually w might work out the bush of human evolution.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by BBella @, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 19:12 (638 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by BBella, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 19:28

When I say the origin of the mechanism is unknown, I am acknowledging a void....... and mine is an inventive mechanism within the organisms themselves. Two voids, three inventions to fill each void, and none of these inventions are based on human experience because no human has ever experienced the unique origin of the evolutionary mechanism or the unique process whereby bacteria have evolved into humans.


But with a look at the biochemistry of life your solution is no better than Darwin's chance. The IM wants as advance. It will need to have two organic molecules to interact. to do this the IM must find can enzyme to facilitate the reaction, Otherwise the reaction will take 3K to 120K years to do the reaction. An enzyme is many thousands of atoms, C,O, H, N, S, P, etc., and usually a metal like Zinc. It must be set up in proper 3-D, and must have two lock/key areas in proper relationship to hold the two molecules for the reaction to take place, which it will do instantly or else life won't work. Unless the IM has cognitive teleology it must now search the universe of possible enzyme molecules in all sizes and shapes and possible metals to find just the right one among millions of possibilities. This is just like Darwin hunt-and-peck. Just what attributes do you wish to apply to the IM so it isn't like Darwin? That is why I so strongly resist your third-way solution. Planning must occur!

I believe that it is here, at this point mentioned in your thoughts above, that Sheldrakes Morphogenic Resonance within the Morphogenic field comes into play, drawing different aspects of information within the field of "what Is" together to create the next level of "what Is". This is change using the fabric: Quantum Potential.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 19:57 (638 days ago) @ BBella


BBella I believe that it is here, at this point mentioned in your thoughts above, that Sheldrakes Morphogenic Resonance within the Morphogenic field comes into play, drawing different aspects of information within the field of "what Is" together to create the next level of "what Is". This is change using the fabric: Quantum Potential.

But I believe you are misusing the 'potential'. The equations that describe quantum mechanics are covering all the potential possibilities of reactions, not the potential of knowledge, which is what you seem to imply.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by BBella @, Sunday, February 21, 2016, 21:14 (638 days ago) @ David Turell


BBella I believe that it is here, at this point mentioned in your thoughts above, that Sheldrakes Morphogenic Resonance within the Morphogenic field comes into play, drawing different aspects of information within the field of "what Is" together to create the next level of "what Is". This is change using the fabric: Quantum Potential.


But I believe you are misusing the 'potential'. The equations that describe quantum mechanics are covering all the potential possibilities of reactions, not the potential of knowledge, which is what you seem to imply.

I think of the Q "potential" not as knowledge but as the carrier (for lack of a better metaphor) that allows information to get from point a to point b (invited by wave or vibration). But it is not independent it is harmonic or mutual filling both wants/needs of the creative force.

Convoluted human evolution: Tattersall's take

by David Turell @, Monday, February 22, 2016, 00:15 (638 days ago) @ BBella


BBella: I think of the Q "potential" not as knowledge but as the carrier (for lack of a better metaphor) that allows information to get from point a to point b (invited by wave or vibration). But it is not independent it is harmonic or mutual filling both wants/needs of the creative force.

Seems reasonable since I believe that God is hidden behind the wall of quantum uncertainty.

Convoluted human evolution: hobbits seperate species

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 00:59 (644 days ago) @ David Turell

Another take on Hobbits, this one stating that they are a separate species:

http://phys.org/news/2016-02-mystery-hobbits-humans.html

"The new study, based on an analysis of the skull bones, shows once and for all that the pint-sized people were not Homo sapiens, according to the researchers.

"Until now, academic studies have pointing in one direction or another—and scientific discourse has sometimes tipped over into acrimony.

"One school of thought holds that so-called Flores Man descended from the larger Homo erectus and became smaller over hundreds of generations.

"The proposed process for this is called "insular dwarfing"—animals, after migrating across land bridges during periods of low sea level, wind up marooned on islands as oceans rise and their size progressively diminishes if the supply of food declines.

***

"Joining forces with Philippe Charlier, a palaeopathologist at Paris-Descartes University specialised in solving ancient medical mysteries, the researchers secured high-resolution images recently generated in Japan to compute maps of bone thickness variation.

"There is a lot of information contained in bone layers of the skull," Balzeau told AFP.

"The results, he said, were unambiguous: "There were no characteristics from our species"—that is, Homo sapiens.

And while they found evidence of minor maladies, there was nothing corresponding to the major genetic diseases other researchers had pointed to.

"But if one part of the mystery may be solved, another remains intact.

"For while the scientists could not exclude the possibility that the "hobbit" was a scaled-down version of Homo erectus, which arrived on the neighbouring island of Java some million years ago, nor could they be sure that H. floresiensis was not a species it its own right."

Comment: Until this is settled, they look a lot like us, and therefore will remain Homo. With all the branches of Hominins at the start, it looks like convergence, with humans a definite purpose of the process.

Convoluted human evolution: Neanderthal split

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 23:03 (614 days ago) @ David Turell

Apparently about 430,000 years ago, or maybe more:

http://www.nature.com/news/oldest-ancient-human-dna-details-dawn-of-neanderthals-1.1955...

"The remains are known as the Sima hominins because they were found in Sima de los Huesos (Spanish for ‘pit of bones'), a 13-metre-deep shaft in Spain's Atapuerca mountains. Few ancient sites are as important or intriguing as Sima, which holds the remains of at least 28 individuals, along with those of dozens of cave bears and other animals. The hominins might have plummeted to their death, but some researchers think they were deliberately buried there.

"The Sima hominin skulls have the beginnings of a prominent brow ridge, as well as other traits typical of Neanderthals. But other features, and uncertainties around their age — some studies put them at 600,000 years old, others closer to 400,000 — convinced many researchers that they might instead belong to an older species known as Homo heidelbergensis.

***

"The nuclear DNA, Meyer's team reports in Nature on 14 March, shows that the Sima hominins are in fact early Neanderthals. And its age suggests that the early predecessors of humans diverged from those of Neanderthals between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago — too far back for the common ancestors of both to have been Homo heidelbergensis, as some had posited.

"Researchers should now be looking for a population that lived around 700,000 to 900,000 years ago, says Martinón-Torres. She thinks that Homo antecessor, known from 900,000-year-old remains from Spain, is the strongest candidate for the common ancestor, if such specimens can be found in Africa or the Middle East.

"The team's latest mitochondrial sequences, meanwhile, again confirm the puzzling link between the Sima hominins and the Denisovans. Meyer suggests that the ancestors of the two groups carried mitochondrial DNA that is reflected in both — but which is not present in later Neanderthals. This elimination could have happened by chance, but Meyer now favours the hypothesis that an as yet unknown species from Africa migrated to Eurasia and bred with Neanderthals, replacing the mitochondrial DNA lineages. (Supporting this idea, stone-tool technologies spread from Africa to Eurasia around half a million years ago, and again 250,000 years ago)."

Comment: Still a bush of hominins, sorting out the timing of the branches.

Convoluted human evolution: More on Denisovans

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 17, 2016, 22:13 (613 days ago) @ David Turell

It seems their DNA is spread around the Pacific:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160317150805.htm

"Denisovans are related to, but distinct from, Neanderthals. This prehistoric species was discovered less than a decade ago through genetic analysis of a finger bone unearthed in northern Siberia. Named for the mountain cave where that fossil, and later, two teeth, were found, Denisovans became a new addition to our ancient cousins on the evolutionary tree.

"Substantial amounts of Denisovan DNA have been detected in the genomes of only few present-day human populations so far. They are all living in Oceania, thousands of miles away from that Siberian cave.

"'I think that people (and Neanderthals and Denisovans) liked to wander," said Benjamin Vernot, a UW postdoctoral student in genomic sciences who led the project. "And yes, studies like this can help us track where they wandered."

"'Denisovans are the only species of archaic humans about whom we know less from fossil evidence and more from where their genes show up in modern humans," Akey said.

"Denisovan DNA could make up between 2 percent to 4 percent of the genome of a native Melanesian. Lower levels of Denisovan ancestry, other recent studies suggest, may be more widespread in the world.

***

"Where the ancestors of modern humans might have had physical contact with Denisovans is debatable. The best guess, Akey said, is that Denisovans may have had a broad geographic range that extended into East Asia. Early humans with both Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry could have traveled along South East Asia. Eventually, some of their descendants arrived on the islands north of Australia."

Comment: From the origin of H. sapiens in Africa they sure wandered all over.

Convoluted human evolution: Another essay

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 02, 2016, 19:46 (597 days ago) @ David Turell

Another review of the bush of human ancestors, describing the intermingling of genes:

https://aeon.co/opinions/human-evolution-is-more-a-muddy-delta-than-a-branching-tree?ut...

"Where once we saw each branch in isolation, DNA evidence now reveals a network of connections. From an African origin more than 1.8 million years ago, human ancestors flowed into different populations, following separate paths for hundreds of thousands of years, yet still coming together to mix their genes.

***

"The first high-coverage genome provided the biggest surprise: a tiny piece of a finger bone from Denisova Cave, in southern Siberia, has shown us an unknown population (now called the ‘Denisovans') who are as different from living people as from the Neanderthals. They make up some 5 per cent of the ancestry of living Aboriginal Australians, and a tiny fraction of more than a billion people across Asia and the New World.

"Once geneticists knew what to look for, they began documenting more such lineages from the scattered traces of their genes in living people, even without DNA from ancient bones. Geneticists began to call these ‘ghost populations', and quickly showed that many Africans, too, carry a legacy of unknown populations.

***

"Even ancient genomes have ghosts within them. The Denisovan genome bears the traces of ancient mixture, not only from Neanderthals but with another even more divergent group - some speculate it might have been Homo erectus. Everywhere geneticists look, they see populations more different than any living people, mixing with each other in small fractions. It is no evolutionary tree. Our evolutionary history is like a braided stream.

***

"By contrast, humans throughout the world look like refugees from a single small part of Africa. Some scientists even wondered if a massive volcanic eruption might have decimated our numbers.

"But deeper gene sequencing and broader samples of people changed the picture. Our population did not originate in a catastrophe. When Neanderthals, Denisovans and ghost lineages, both inside and outside Africa, walked the Earth, their populations were each quite inbred, but collectively they were diverse, more like gorillas or chimpanzees than today's humans. Across the past 200,000 years, these separate streams were swallowed up by the growth of one African branch of humanity. Humans spread through the world like a broad river delta, carrying slightly different fractions of the flow of ancient streams.

***

"Just last month, two new studies found evidence of yet more Neanderthal and Denisovan genes active in human immune systems. Do we owe our allergies to cavemen, as some press headlines claimed? Probably not. But life outside the tropics does pose unique challenges, including a deficit of vitamin-D production, now known to strongly affect immunity. When Africans encountered these populations, any new immune tricks might have been valuable, especially those field-tested against local parasites.

***

"But anthropologists are just starting to face the question of how we define species with ancient DNA. Faced with the evidence of deep genetic histories of Neanderthals, Denisovans and the ghost populations of Africa, conservation biologists would not hesitate to classify them as species.

***

"Across the 7 million years or more of hominin evolution, there must have been dozens of such long-lasting populations, sometimes mixing and sharing adaptations with each other. As in the case of the Denisovans, we might already have tiny fossil traces of these ancient groups that we cannot yet recognise."

Comment: DNA tells us lots more than bones do.

Convoluted human evolution: Neanderthal DNA

by David Turell @, Friday, June 17, 2016, 00:43 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

Careful study of Neanderthal DNA suggests they were 40% less fit than humans, leading to their demise:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160614-the-downside-to-neanderthal-dna/

"The regions of DNA around our genes are conspicuously absent of Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that natural selection weeded it out. Now Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley, and Kelley Harris of Stanford University have used the uneven distribution of Neanderthal DNA in our genomes to predict what Neanderthal populations might have been like 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.

"According to the new findings, published in Genetics this month, Neanderthal genomes were rife with harmful DNA that significantly reduced the species' fitness. The researchers conclude that Neanderthals were roughly 40 percent less fit than modern humans, meaning they were less likely to produce offspring.

"That's not surprising. By the time early humans arrived in Europe, Neanderthal populations were relatively small. Closely related individuals would have mated, allowing harmful mutations to accumulate in these groups. Indeed, the influx of fresh DNA that came from interbreeding with modern humans likely slowed the Neanderthals' decline.

"Today, approximately 2 percent of the DNA of non-Africans comes from Neanderthals — and some of the bad stuff remains. Nielsen and Harris suggest that people with Neanderthal DNA may be slightly worse off in their ability to reproduce and contribute to the next generation, with about 0.5 percent reduced fitness. That notion is backed up by studies linking data from electronic health records to Neanderthal gene variants, which suggest that these variants could pose an increased risk of depression and other disorders."

Comment: It must have been more than reproductive differences. There had to be competition for game, territory, etc.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Friday, June 17, 2016, 00:55 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

Analysis is still going on about this recently discovered hominin, and trying to fit them into the human bush, which keeps getting bushier:

http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2016/06/what-is-homo-naledi-anyway.html

"There's a new study on the phylogeny of Homo naledi published today in the August issue of Journal of Human Evolution (it's a preprint). The study is written by Mana Dembo and colleagues. They compiled a massive matrix of 391 characters (a supermatrix), all from the skull and teeth. They scored these characters on 22 different hominins and chimps and gorillas. For H. naledi, they compiled only 123 of those characters from the original bones at Wits (Dembo was on the H. naledi research team). That's considerably more than the 87 published in the supplemental material of Berger's original description of H. naledi, which I used previously to do my own phylogenetic analysis.

***

"They did two sorts of studies. In the first, they just looked for the best phylogenetic model, which I've copied below (on the left, from their Figure 2). In this tree, H. naledi ends up basal to a clade that includes modern humans, Neandertals, H. heidelbergensis, and the poorly known H. antecessor (which is thought by some to be ancestral to H. heidelbergensis and by others to BE H. heidelbergensis). In their second analysis, they specifically tested alternative trees that tested the specific relationships of H. naledi. They found that H. naledi is definitely a member of Homo, but they couldn't rule out several alternative trees to the one shown, indicating that the precise phylogenetic position of H. naledi within Homo could not be conclusively determined.

***

"Dembo et al. also report a possible date for Homo naledi of around 900,000 years ago, based on fossil dates and their model of character changes. I'm not that excited about this date, since the 95% high posterior density interval ran from 2.4 million years ago to the present. So basically, there's a pretty good chance Homo naledi lived some time in the past 2.4 million years, according to conventional dating, which we already knew."

Comment: The human bush has all sorts of early groups. It fits the shotgun fashion of all of evolution. This website is from a creationist source, but it accepts the great age of these fossils. I see no reason to presume, if God wanted humans, ask why the bush? All of evolution is a bush. It is God's pattern of development.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 07, 2016, 20:04 (501 days ago) @ David Turell

Now shown to have lived more recently than thought:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46485/title/New-Timeline-for-Homo...

"Last year, anthropologists added a new member to the Homo genus, H. naledi, a human with a tiny head and feet similar to our own. At the time, the researchers didn't pinpoint when H. naledi lived, but a study published in June pegs the age of the specimens to around 900,000 years.

“'Our findings have a number of implications,” the authors wrote in the Journal of Human Evolution. “Most notably, they support the assignment of the new specimens to Homo, cast doubt on the claim that H. naledi is simply a variant of H. erectus, and suggest H. naledi is younger than has been previously proposed.”

"As Science News reported, scientists had originally thought the bones belonged to humans who lived 1.5 million to 2 million years ago, based on the skulls' similarities to those of other hominins. The new phylogenetic model employed a number of different analyses to reach its estimated date of H. naledi's existence.

"According to Live Science, H. naledi's predicted age means it may have coexisted with bigger-brained humans. “One of the questions the possibility of such diversity raises is, ‘Who made the stone tools we find in those parts of the Old World where we've got evidence for multiple species of Homo?'” Mark Collard, a biological anthropologist at Simon Fraser University, told Live Science. “I don't think we can assume that it was just the large-brained Homo species necessarily.”

"Still, other researchers say H. naledi may have lived further back in history. Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Canada, who was not part of the new study, told Science News that H. naledi's story may again be revised by “a good geological date.'”

Comment: All the species of Homo being found fits my theory that several varieties of a new type are produced to allow survivability (natural selection) pick out the winner/winners.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by dhw, Friday, July 08, 2016, 12:49 (501 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: All the species of Homo being found fits my theory that several varieties of a new type are produced to allow survivability (natural selection) pick out the winner/winners.

If that is your theory, I don't think many evolutionists would disagree. Several varieties of homo came into being, and natural selection picked out the winner. Evolution has resulted in millions of organisms and varieties, and the survivors were/are the winners. Darwin had a similar idea. But the theory you have proposed is that God personally directed the production of countless natural wonders and species, including various homos, although he actually set out to produce homo sapiens. Quite apart from the problem of his specially designing all the branches of the higgledy-piggledy bush for our sake, once again let me ask: if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Friday, July 08, 2016, 19:34 (500 days ago) @ dhw

David's comment: All the species of Homo being found fits my theory that several varieties of a new type are produced to allow survivability (natural selection) pick out the winner/winners.

If that is your theory, I don't think many evolutionists would disagree. ..... once again let me ask: if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).

All I can do is look at the existing historical evidence. God uses evolution and flurries of complexity patterns. Perhaps He is not in full control. After all that is religion's guess. He may simple stimulate the evolutionary process until He gets humans. Humans are a most unusual result, which means to me that is what He desired to happen. I can't go further than that.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by dhw, Saturday, July 09, 2016, 12:16 (500 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: All the species of Homo being found fits my theory that several varieties of a new type are produced to allow survivability (natural selection) pick out the winner/winners.

dhw: If that is your theory, I don't think many evolutionists would disagree. ..... once again let me ask: if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).

DAVID: All I can do is look at the existing historical evidence. God uses evolution and flurries of complexity patterns. Perhaps He is not in full control. After all that is religion's guess. He may simple stimulate the evolutionary process until He gets humans. Humans are a most unusual result, which means to me that is what He desired to happen. I can't go further than that.

But until now you have always gone a lot further than that. You have had God preprogramming or dabbling every innovation and natural wonder in the history of life on Earth, all in order to produce humans. However, “perhaps he is not in full control” is the concession I have been asking for. In my theistic hypothesis, he CHOOSES not to be in full control. And that choice may extend to the whole process of evolution, with the concession to you that he might sometimes dabble, e.g. to produce humans.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 09, 2016, 23:43 (499 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: All I can do is look at the existing historical evidence. God uses evolution and flurries of complexity patterns. Perhaps He is not in full control. After all that is religion's guess. He may simple stimulate the evolutionary process until He gets humans. Humans are a most unusual result, which means to me that is what He desired to happen. I can't go further than that.

dhw: But until now you have always gone a lot further than that. You have had God preprogramming or dabbling every innovation and natural wonder in the history of life on Earth, all in order to produce humans. However, “perhaps he is not in full control” is the concession I have been asking for. In my theistic hypothesis, he CHOOSES not to be in full control. And that choice may extend to the whole process of evolution, with the concession to you that he might sometimes dabble, e.g. to produce humans.

I can't go as far as you do. I suspect He watches over evolution quite closely but takes a hands off approach, and I would especially favor that thought if we could find a speciation inventive mechanism in the genome. That would allow for a variety of complexity and survival competition.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by dhw, Sunday, July 10, 2016, 13:12 (499 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: All I can do is look at the existing historical evidence. God uses evolution and flurries of complexity patterns. Perhaps He is not in full control. After all that is religion's guess. He may simple stimulate the evolutionary process until He gets humans. Humans are a most unusual result, which means to me that is what He desired to happen. I can't go further than that.

dhw: But until now you have always gone a lot further than that. You have had God preprogramming or dabbling every innovation and natural wonder in the history of life on Earth, all in order to produce humans. However, “perhaps he is not in full control” is the concession I have been asking for. In my theistic hypothesis, he CHOOSES not to be in full control. And that choice may extend to the whole process of evolution, with the concession to you that he might sometimes dabble, e.g. to produce humans.

DAVID: I can't go as far as you do. I suspect He watches over evolution quite closely but takes a hands off approach, and I would especially favor that thought if we could find a speciation inventive mechanism in the genome. That would allow for a variety of complexity and survival competition.

A “hands off approach” is a far cry from the “full control” you have been advocating for so long. An autonomous inventive mechanism would not just allow for the variety of complexity and survival competition (which I call the higgledy-piggledy bush), but would actually cause it. And you would no longer have to scrabble around to find reasons why God had to design the weaverbird's nest in order to balance nature in order to produce humans (see the insect thread). But of course you are right to point out that such a mechanism has not been found. Nor has a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme. We are hypothesizing.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 10, 2016, 19:55 (498 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I can't go as far as you do. I suspect He watches over evolution quite closely but takes a hands off approach, and I would especially favor that thought if we could find a speciation inventive mechanism in the genome. That would allow for a variety of complexity and survival competition.

dhw: A “hands off approach” is a far cry from the “full control” you have been advocating for so long. An autonomous inventive mechanism would not just allow for the variety of complexity and survival competition (which I call the higgledy-piggledy bush), but would actually cause it. ...But of course you are right to point out that such a mechanism has not been found. Nor has a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme. We are hypothesizing.

We are in agreement about possibilities, but I would remind you this all started from single cells who were programmed to do at least enough to live and evolve. See my long entries on information and life which is covered by four sections.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by dhw, Monday, July 11, 2016, 13:01 (498 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I can't go as far as you do. I suspect He watches over evolution quite closely but takes a hands off approach, and I would especially favor that thought if we could find a speciation inventive mechanism in the genome. That would allow for a variety of complexity and survival competition.

dhw: A “hands off approach” is a far cry from the “full control” you have been advocating for so long. An autonomous inventive mechanism would not just allow for the variety of complexity and survival competition (which I call the higgledy-piggledy bush), but would actually cause it. ...But of course you are right to point out that such a mechanism has not been found. Nor has a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme. We are hypothesizing.

DAVID: We are in agreement about possibilities, but I would remind you this all started from single cells who were programmed to do at least enough to live and evolve. See my long entries on information and life which is covered by four sections.

I am delighted that at long last we are in agreement about possibilities. You don't need to remind me about single cells, since I have been arguing for several years now that instead of the first cells containing programmes for every single innovation and natural wonder in the history of life (your hypothesis, plus dabbling), they may have contained an autonomous inventive mechanism for life and evolution. And I have conceded that the autonomous inventive mechanism may have been designed by your God.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch

by David Turell @, Monday, July 11, 2016, 14:31 (498 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I am delighted that at long last we are in agreement about possibilities. You don't need to remind me about single cells, since I have been arguing for several years now that instead of the first cells containing programmes for every single innovation and natural wonder in the history of life (your hypothesis, plus dabbling), they may have contained an autonomous inventive mechanism for life and evolution. And I have conceded that the autonomous inventive mechanism may have been designed by your God.

We still have a smidgen of difference: my version of the autonomous IM has more God controls than yours, in which it is set totally free to perform by God, and mine which follows guidelines of complexity steering evolution toward humans.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch; Dates?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 14:33 (497 days ago) @ dhw

Dating problems plague this discovery in a cave:

https://aeon.co/ideas/anthropology-is-far-from-licking-the-problem-of-fossil-ages?utm_s...

"Last September, scientists announced the discovery of a never-before-seen human relative (hominin), now known as Homo naledi, deep in a South African cave. The site yielded more than 1,500 bone fragments, an astonishing number in a field that often celebrates the identification of a single tooth. That rich fossil cache revealed much about the creatures, yet it left one glaring question unanswered: when did Homo naledi live? The scientists had no evidence for how old the fossils were. Without that information, it was very hard to know where the new species fits on the tangled human family tree, and to figure out its true meaning.

***

"Over the past century, anthropology's situation improved greatly with the introduction of new techniques, most notably the measurement of radioactive isotopes that decay predictably over time. Radiocarbon dating, which examines the carbon isotopes within the fossils, can measure the age of the bones themselves. Other techniques, such as potassium-argon dating, can derive the age of surrounding volcanic rock. But even those methods were (and are) often limited. Radiocarbon dating works only on fossils 50,000 years or younger, which is not helpful for most of the 7 million years or so of human evolution. Potassium-argon dating can be applied to much older fossils, but it is useless where there are no volcanic rocks. There have also been vexing problems of technique.

***

"The lack of age information is especially confounding because Homo naledi contains such an odd mixture of morphologies. Some of the fossils' traits look very modern, for example their human-like hands and feet; others look remarkably ancient, for instance their primitive shoulders and hips. The evolutionary implications of naledi would look entirely different if the fossils were 2 million versus 20,000 years old - and either is possible. A creature with a modern, delicate hand resembling those of modern humans would present a baffling surprise if it lived 2 million years ago. Conversely, a primitive shoulder that appears to be built for climbing would make sense millions of years ago, but doesn't fit with our ideas about hominin lifestyles in the more recent past. One scientist went so far as to claim that without a convincing measured age, the naledi fossils reveal almost nothing about human evolution.

***

"On the other hand, the story of the Neanderthal shows how far we've come. Using radiocarbon dating, we now know that Neanderthals lived from about 400,000 years ago to 40,000 years ago. Throughout the 20th century, scientists refined these dates using increasingly creative techniques, such as measuring light produced by heated crystals to derive their precise compositions. This knowledge has allowed us to prove that Neanderthals preceded but overlapped with (and occasionally interbred with) modern Homo sapiens.

"While they wait for similar dating breakthroughs for naledi, some scientists see the lack of an established age as an opportunity in disguise. It allows them to focus on the fossil's anatomy without being biased by information about its chronology. Anthropologists have collected vast numbers of fossils since that first find in 1856. They don't need to study naledi in isolation; they can compare it - statistically, morphologically, visually - to other known hominins."

Comment: Tony's complaint about dating is vindicated. Anatomic comparisons with known dated fossils should help.

Convoluted human evolution: Still evolving?

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 14:58 (496 days ago) @ David Turell

A statistical study tires to show that we are, but the evidence appears thin:

http://phys.org/news/2016-07-economist-humans-evolving.html

Harvard economist Jonathan Beauchamp has conducted a study of lifetime reproductive success (rLRS) of a small segment of the U.S. population and has concluded that there is evidence that humans are still evolving. In his paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he describes the study he conducted, his results and why he believes we are still evolving despite our control over our environment.

As Beauchamp notes, many in the scientific community have come to believe that humans stopped evolving approximately 40,000 years ago—shortly after the advent of agriculture. But he notes there is also evidence that refutes such claims, such as studies that have shown that people developed an ability to digest milk and to live at high altitudes much more recently.

To learn more, he conducted an analysis of records on 20,000 people he obtained from the Health and Retirement Study, which has compiled data on people born between the years 1931 and 1953. He chose this group because the vast majority of them were past child-bearing age—thus he was able to calculate a rLRS for each of them. Besides counting how many children they had, he also looked at body mass index, schizophrenia, age of onset of menstruation and education level—all traits that have genetic roots.

After studying the data, Beauchamp found evidence of evolution in two phenotypes—a slight uptick in the age of first menstruation and a trend toward a lower rLRS for people who had more education—conversely, people with less education had more kids and thus more opportunity to pass on their genes.

But, as Beauchamp acknowledges, his study was based on a very limited dataset, and it was constricted in that it left out the possible children that might have been born to the people in the database who died before growing old, for example. There is also an issue with the increased age of first menstruation, as recent studies have shown that it is actually going down, not up. And there is evidence that even if evolution is still at work, it appears that it is being overridden by our ability to control so many factors of our lives, such as saving people who would have died a natural death, or artificial fertility measures for educated people who have children later in life.

Comment: Adults drinking milk is an enzyme adaptation, as is high altitude living, not real evolution. We may be the end point.

Convoluted human evolution: Asian contribution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 20:34 (495 days ago) @ David Turell

As more fossils are uncovered in Asia, the story of human development gets more bushy:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-china-is-rewriting-the-book-on-human-orig...

" Palaeoanthropologists across the globe are starting to pay more attention to Asian fossils and how they relate to other early hominins — creatures that are more closely related to humans than to chimps. Finds in China and other parts of Asia have made it clear that a dazzling variety of Homo species once roamed the continent. And they are challenging conventional ideas about the evolutionary history of humanity.

***

"The tale is further muddled by Chinese fossils analysed over the past four decades, which cast doubt over the linear progression from African H. erectus to modern humans. They show that, between roughly 900,000 and 125,000 years ago, east Asia was teeming with hominins endowed with features that would place them somewhere between H. erectus and H. sapiens,

“'Those fossils are a big mystery,” says Ciochon. “They clearly represent more advanced species than H. erectus, but nobody knows what they are because they don't seem to fit into any categories we know.”

***

"Many researchers, including most Chinese palaeontologists, contend that the materials from China are different from European and African H. heidelbergensis fossils, despite some apparent similarities. One nearly complete skull unearthed at Dali in Shaanxi province and dated to 250,000 years ago, has a bigger braincase, a shorter face and a lower cheekbone than most H. heidelbergensis specimens, suggesting that the species was more advanced.

***

"Many researchers say that there are ways to explain the existing Asian fossils without resorting to continuity with hybridization. The Zhirendong hominins, for instance, could represent an exodus of early modern humans from Africa between 120,000 and 80,000 years ago. Instead of remaining in the Levant in the Middle East, as was thought previously, these people could have expanded into east Asia, says Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford, UK.

***

"A third idea is even more radical. It emerged when Martinón-Torres and her colleagues compared more than 5,000 fossil teeth from around the world: the team found that Eurasian specimens are more similar to each other than to African ones. That work and more recent interpretations of fossil skulls suggest that Eurasian hominins evolved separately from African ones for a long stretch of time. The researchers propose that the first hominins that left Africa 1.8 million years ago were the eventual source of modern humans. Their descendants mostly settled in the Middle East, where the climate was favourable, and then produced waves of transitional hominins that spread elsewhere. One Eurasian group went to Indonesia, another gave rise to Neanderthals and Denisovans, and a third ventured back into Africa and evolved into H. sapiens, which later spread throughout the world. In this model, modern humans evolved in Africa, but their immediate ancestor originated in the Middle East.

***

"Recovering more fossils from all parts of Asia will clearly help to fill in the gaps. Many palaeoanthropologists also call for better access to existing materials. Most Chinese fossils — including some of the finest specimens, such as the Yunxian and Dali skulls — are accessible only to a handful of Chinese palaeontologists and their collaborators. “To make them available for general studies, with replicas or CT scans, would be fantastic,” says Stringer. Moreover, fossil sites should be dated much more rigorously, preferably by multiple methods, researchers say.

"But all agree that Asia — the largest continent on Earth — has a lot more to offer in terms of unravelling the human story. “The center of gravity,” says Petraglia, “is shifting eastward.'”

Comment: Just as the Cambrian shale in China is adding much to our knowledge of evolution at that period, the renewed interest in Asian hominin fossils is showing that the human bush may be even bushier than imagined.

Convoluted human evolution: Still evolving?

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 16, 2016, 21:20 (492 days ago) @ David Turell

Another view of the same study. Not very impressive:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2097630-are-humans-still-evolving-growing-evidence...

"What is new is the tie to genetics. Educational attainment is not strongly heritable, with genes estimated to account for no more than 20 per cent of the variation in attainment. But Beauchamp found that gene variants predictive of attainment, including many active in early brain development, were nearly as strongly predictive of reduced reproduction.

"Beauchamp concluded that natural selection was acting on Americans, albeit slowly. Its impact is equal to a small decline in attainment amounting to a month and a half less education per generation, and is in any case swamped by the many other factors driving up educational attainment at the same time.

"Of course Beauchamp's study only covers a limited sample of US citizens. In addition, participants could be women aged 45 or men in their early 50s, which seems too young to judge lifetime reproduction. There are also suggestions that the number of grandchildren or great-grandchildren is a better measure of fitness.

"However, it is not outlandish to imagine that natural selection may still be acting in this way in the US and beyond, given the pace of change. In 1940, only a quarter of native-born American adults had finished high school. By 2000 this was approaching 90 per cent."

Comment: Not much evidence to me.

Convoluted human evolution: How many proteins?

by David Turell @, Monday, July 25, 2016, 19:25 (483 days ago) @ David Turell

The proteins in a human have been annotated almost completely. Remember proteins are a complex set of molecules and humans have lots of them, and blind evolution found all of them to cooperate and make a human:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160725105235.htm

"The ability to reliably and reproducibly measure any protein of the human proteome in any tissue or cell-type is transformative for understanding systems-level properties as well as specific pathways in physiology and disease. In the lab of Professor Robert Moritz at ISB, a collaborative effort enabled the generation and verification of a compendium of highly specific targeted proteomic assays by the method called selected reaction monitoring, or SRM for short, now provides quantification of 99.7% of the 20,277 annotated human proteins by the widely accessible, sensitive and robust targeted mass spectrometric method selected reaction monitoring, SRM. This Human SRMAtlas provides definitive assay coordinates that conclusively identify the respective peptide in biological samples. (my bold)

"Although the accomplishment of the Human Genome Project in 2003 in creating an inventory of all human genes, the majority of protein research is still focused on the same relatively small subset of proteins that were explored before the human genome was mapped. To move beyond this stagnated proteogenomic research approach, the development of highly specific assays for essentially every human protein was needed. With a resource such as the Human SRMAtlas, the prospect of measuring any protein is now a reality. The Human SRMAtlas now provides verified MS assays based on SRM technology developed in a uniform and consistent process for essentially every protein of the human proteome. These assays can be rapidly deployed in systems biology and biomedical studies to identify and quantify any human protein with high sensitivity and high selectivity, and to navigate complete proteome maps to understand their biological functions."

Comment: Note the bold: over 20,277 different protein molecules make up a human. All by chance? Never.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Friday, August 12, 2016, 21:27 (465 days ago) @ David Turell

We have DNA areas that are 'human accelerated regions' which developed our special evolution:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46643/title/Decoding-Human-Accele...

"The chimp genome was published in 2005, when I was a postdoc at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and those of 12 other vertebrates followed shortly thereafter. At the same time, computational scientists were busy developing algorithms to scan DNA for similar regions across multiple species. Such sequence conservation suggests that these areas are responsible for critical functions. I took these comparative genomic scans to the next level by writing a computer program to identify DNA sequences that are conserved in other animals but have changed rapidly in humans since we evolved from our common ancestor with chimpanzees. This evolutionary signature predicts a loss or modification of function in humans. My colleagues and I used this two-part pattern to define the fastest-evolving regions of the human genome, known as human accelerated regions (HARs). We published the first 202 HARs in 2006.

"An exciting but daunting pattern emerged: only a handful of HARs were in genes. In fact, we had no idea what the vast majority of these putatively functional and uniquely human DNA sequences did, let alone their role in human evolution. HARs are short—on average just 227 base pairs long, much smaller than a gene. They looked like what we called “junk DNA” at that time and would not have been at the top of anyone's list of genomic regions to study, if not for their compelling conservation across most animals and notable differences in humans. (my bold)
***

"...the combined list of identified HARs now includes nearly 3,000 genome segments.4 But the original trend still holds; nearly all HARs are outside genes, some quite far away from any gene in the genome.

***

"Ignoring human DNA for a moment, HAR regions are some of the most conserved sequences in the genomes of mammals. Some of them are nearly identical between chimpanzee and platypus, for example. This close identity suggests that the information encoded in these sequences is critical, and that changes to the sequences will alter their important instructions. This makes the human mutations in HARs truly unexpected.

***

"Integrating this new information into computational models, my colleagues and I predicted that about 5 percent of HARs function as noncoding RNAs, while most are enhancers that control gene expression during embryonic development.

***

"Many HARs are located near genes that control fundamental developmental processes,9 so their altered regulatory function could have profound effects on human biology. Supporting this, the human version of one HAR enhancer (ANC516/HARE5) is active earlier in development and in a larger region of the brain compared to the chimp HAR. Human HARE5 increases expression of its target gene, Frizzled 8, affecting the size and development of the brain in mice.

***

"For example, by comparing a human HAR sequence with the HAR sequence of an archaic hominin, researchers can estimate if the HAR mutated before, after, or during the time period of our common ancestor.12 This approach has revealed that the rate at which HAR mutations emerged was slightly higher before we split from Neanderthals and Denisovans.3,13 As a result, most HAR mutations are millions of years old and shared with these extinct hominins (but not with chimpanzees). (my bold)
***

" ...we spent the past decade showing that HARs are key regulators of embryonic development. This is a huge step forward from HARs being viewed as bizarre junk DNA of unknown function. Looking ahead to when all of our genomes have been analyzed and tools exist for precise editing of HARs in human cells, it seems possible to figure out what happened when each of these evolutionarily conserved sequences suddenly mutated in humans."

Comment: This is why we are not chimps. Looks like God dabbled here to create us. Note the disappearance of more 'junk DNA'. Very long instructive article so I skipped the supportive research descriptions.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by BBella @, Saturday, August 13, 2016, 07:59 (465 days ago) @ David Turell

We have DNA areas that are 'human accelerated regions' which developed our special evolution:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46643/title/Decoding-Human-Accele...

Comment: This is why we are not chimps. Looks like God dabbled here to create us.

That's a giant leap!

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 13, 2016, 15:39 (464 days ago) @ BBella

David: We have DNA areas that are 'human accelerated regions' which developed our special evolution:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46643/title/Decoding-Human-Accele...

Comment: This is why we are not chimps. Looks like God dabbled here to create us.


BBella: That's a giant leap!

This is an extraordinary coding system within DNA that has driven human evolution. Why just us? I see purpose here.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by dhw, Sunday, August 14, 2016, 11:43 (464 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We have DNA areas that are 'human accelerated regions' which developed our special evolution:
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46643/title/Decoding-Human-Accele...

DAVID: This is why we are not chimps. Looks like God dabbled here to create us.
DAVID: (Under “dolphins”:) Dolphins and whales have complex lifestyles as mammals living in water. One must wonder why the evolutionary process drove this complex development.
DAVID: (under “humming birds”): Could this have developed while sustaining many crash landings? Doubtful. How about direct design?
DAVID: (“dolphins” again): Is any of Darwin's theory correct? Is survivability (natural selection) a major factor? Why do we see amazingly complex developments like aquatic mammals? I'm just puzzling over it. The complexity of physiologic requirements is mind boggling.

BBella (re the chimp and dabble reference): That's a giant leap!

It certainly is. We are not chimps. Nor are we whistling dolphins. Nor are we humming birds. Every species (broad sense) is different from other species, and many species have extraordinary talents. And every single talent among your truly amazing natural wonders, David, brings forth the same comment from you: it must have been specially designed by your God. If your God had to specially design the humming bird's collision-avoidance system, like the weaverbird's nest and the billions of other natural wonders extant and extinct, why do you single out humans for “special evolution”? They are ALL examples of “special evolution”!

BBELLA: (re dolphins) Every thing is a complex development. How can a process drive? Sometimes a term will seem like a logical term (like "evolutionary process drove/drives) until you try to imagine it actually taking place.

Spot on again! If you believe in common descent, every development has to take place in existing organisms, which will cope with (= adapt to) or invent new ways of exploiting current environmental conditions. The "drive" for survival is clearly WITHIN organisms, and I would suggest that this is sometimes accompanied by the drive for improvement. But according to you, David, every innovation and every special talent was separately created by your God. So evolution means nothing more to you than God taking one specially created organism and tweaking it so that it becomes another specially created organism or develops a special talent. Again I agree with BBELLA:
Whether there are many more questions that will never be asked or many more answers than can ever be found, it doesnt automatically mean there's a God that designed it all which holds all the answers. But not sayin' there aint, not sayin' there is.”

Even if there is a God, that is no reason for assuming that he directly designed every innovation and natural wonder. He could have given the first life forms the instinct for survival and improvement, plus the means of pursuing those two purposes. Why must every new step require his personal attention? As we have seen throughout our long discussions on God and evolution, with all the intellectual contortions necessitated by your anthropocentric slant on the process, that raises far more questions than it answers. But of course, I acknowledge that unanswerable questions are the raison d'être for this forum.

It's great to have you back!

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 14, 2016, 19:49 (463 days ago) @ dhw

BBELLA:

Whether there are many more questions that will never be asked or many more answers than can ever be found, it doesnt automatically mean there's a God that designed it all which holds all the answers. But not sayin' there aint, not sayin' there is.”

dhw: Even if there is a God, that is no reason for assuming that he directly designed every innovation and natural wonder. He could have given the first life forms the instinct for survival and improvement, plus the means of pursuing those two purposes. Why must every new step require his personal attention? As we have seen throughout our long discussions on God and evolution, with all the intellectual contortions necessitated by your anthropocentric slant on the process, that raises far more questions than it answers. But of course, I acknowledge that unanswerable questions are the raison d'être for this forum.

It's great to have you back!

Thank you. I still believe the preponderance of evidence points to a mind behind all of reality, but we shall keep presenting evidence that I find.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by dhw, Monday, August 15, 2016, 12:20 (463 days ago) @ David Turell

BBELLA: “Whether there are many more questions that will never be asked or many more answers than can ever be found, it doesnt automatically mean there's a God that designed it all which holds all the answers. But not sayin' there aint, not sayin' there is.”

dhw: Even if there is a God, that is no reason for assuming that he directly designed every innovation and natural wonder. He could have given the first life forms the instinct for survival and improvement, plus the means of pursuing those two purposes. Why must every new step require his personal attention? As we have seen throughout our long discussions on God and evolution, with all the intellectual contortions necessitated by your anthropocentric slant on the process, that raises far more questions than it answers. But of course, I acknowledge that unanswerable questions are the raison d'être for this forum.

It's great to have you back!

DAVID: Thank you. I still believe the preponderance of evidence points to a mind behind all of reality, but we shall keep presenting evidence that I find.

But believing in a mind behind reality is not the same as believing that such a mind directly designed every innovation and natural wonder, and in the context of evolution, that is what BBella and I are disputing.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Monday, August 15, 2016, 18:27 (462 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It's great to have you back!

DAVID: Thank you. I still believe the preponderance of evidence points to a mind behind all of reality, but we shall keep presenting evidence that I find.

dhw: But believing in a mind behind reality is not the same as believing that such a mind directly designed every innovation and natural wonder, and in the context of evolution, that is what BBella and I are disputing.

But I don't separate those parts. That is why I have the dilemma of pre-planning or dabbling. The HAR's look like a dabble. Perhaps something equivalent happened in the Cambrian. Unfortunately we cannot check the DNA.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 18, 2016, 15:01 (459 days ago) @ David Turell

The Scientist website has published a diagram showing how small differences in HARs between human and chimp to achieve the evolutionary changes. Please look at the site to see it:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46577/title/Understanding-Human-A...

Comment: Just slight tweaking. It shows why the genome of humans and chimps is 98% the same when looked at without regard for tiny differences like these.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by dhw, Friday, August 19, 2016, 12:23 (459 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The Scientist website has published a diagram showing how small differences in HARs between human and chimp to achieve the evolutionary changes. Please look at the site to see it:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46577/title/Understanding-Human-A...

DAVID'S comment: Just slight tweaking. It shows why the genome of humans and chimps is 98% the same when looked at without regard for tiny differences like these.

Unfortunately, I can't get onto this site. It seems to jam my computer. However, your comment is enlightening in itself. It only takes a tiny tweak to create the great gulf between chimps and humans. And the same applies to the switch from fins to hands:
"The new discovery could help make sense of the intermediate fish with limb-like fins that Dr. Shubin and his colleagues have unearthed. These animals still used the molecular addresses their ancestors used. But when their cells reached their addresses, some of them became endochondral bone instead of fin rays. It may have been a simple matter to shift from one kind of tissue to another.
“'This is a dial that can be tuned (sic),” Dr. Shubin said."

“A slight tweaking”, and “it may have been a simple matter”. Perhaps, then, we should stop harping on about the enormous complexity of the required changes, as if it is beyond the scope of the cell communities themselves to make these tweaks and shifts.

DAVID's comment: Common descent is hard to deny with a study like this. God tunes the dial.

Maybe (theistic version) God created the dial, and left it to the organisms themselves to do the tuning.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by David Turell @, Friday, August 19, 2016, 20:28 (458 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The Scientist website has published a diagram showing how small differences in HARs between human and chimp to achieve the evolutionary changes. Please look at the site to see it:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46577/title/Understanding-Human-A...

DAVID'S comment: Just slight tweaking. It shows why the genome of humans and chimps is 98% the same when looked at without regard for tiny differences like these.

dhw: Unfortunately, I can't get onto this site. It seems to jam my computer. However, your comment is enlightening in itself. It only takes a tiny tweak to create the great gulf between chimps and humans.

That is unfortunate. In the two HAR's shown in the diagram comparing chimp to human, one HAR had six bases changed out of 137, the other seven bases


dhw: “A slight tweaking”, and “it may have been a simple matter”. Perhaps, then, we should stop harping on about the enormous complexity of the required changes, as if it is beyond the scope of the cell communities themselves to make these tweaks and shifts.

You miss an entire point: we see a code change, and its effects, but have no idea how the code change exerts its effects. We are missing a whole layer or mechanism of the process!


DAVID's comment: Common descent is hard to deny with a study like this. God tunes the dial.

dhw: Maybe (theistic version) God created the dial, and left it to the organisms themselves to do the tuning.

If He gave them enough guidance.

Convoluted human evolution: Speedy HARs

by dhw, Saturday, August 20, 2016, 12:03 (458 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The Scientist website has published a diagram showing how small differences in HARs between human and chimp to achieve the evolutionary changes. Please look at the site to see it:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46577/title/Understanding-Human-A...
DAVID'S comment: Just slight tweaking. It shows why the genome of humans and chimps is 98% the same when looked at without regard for tiny differences like these.

dhw: “A slight tweaking”, and “it may have been a simple matter”. Perhaps, then, we should stop harping on about the enormous complexity of the required changes, as if it is beyond the scope of the cell communities themselves to make these tweaks and shifts.
DAVID: You miss an entire point: we see a code change, and its effects, but have no idea how the code change exerts its effects. We are missing a whole layer or mechanism of the process!

I know we don't know how it all works. That is why we keep theorizing. But until now you have always stressed the enormous complexity of the changes, to boost your contention that God must have preprogrammed them or dabbled them. These two posts (from chimps to humans, and from fins to hands) suggest that the actual changes are simple tweaks. In the context of my own hypothesis (that the cell communities create their own innovations), the simpler the tweak, the better.

DAVID's comment: Common descent is hard to deny with a study like this. God tunes the dial.
dhw: Maybe (theistic version) God created the dial, and left it to the organisms themselves to do the tuning.
DAVID: If He gave them enough guidance.

Either they did it themselves or they didn't. For “guidance” read “intelligence”.

Convoluted human evolution: shoulders, throwing

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 21, 2016, 15:17 (456 days ago) @ dhw

The ability to throw a spear or a stone certainly helped in hunting, and the ability became available once humans were truly bipedal and not limited to swinging limb to limb. Fossils show shoulder changes that one would expect:

http://nautil.us/blog/did-our-ancestors-become-bipedal-so-they-could-throw

"Better stone and spear throwers were not only more successful hunters—which meant more calories and, by extension, better health and reproductive success—they were also able to better defend themselves from other hostile hominids. At the Cave of Hearths, in South Africa, Wilson's team found 227 spheroid stones at a site dating back to the Early Stone Age, about 1.8 million years ago. Based on projectile motion simulations, they found that 81 percent of the stones could, if thrown, inflict “worthwhile damage to a medium-sized animal over distances up to 25 m.”

"Some anthropologists maintain that throwing was also a catalyst for a defining characteristic of our species: bipedalism, the ability to walk upright. Darwin suspected as much. In his 1871 book, The Descent of Man, he wrote that the “hands and arms could hardly have become perfect enough to have manufactured weapons, or to have hurled stones and spears with a true aim, as long as they were habitually used for locomotion and for supporting the whole weight of the body, or…for climbing trees. From these causes alone it would have been an advantage to man to have become a biped.”

"Paleontologists since Darwin's time have noted this culmination in the fossil record—a distinct shift in anatomy of the arm, hand, and shoulder away from a configuration suited to swinging through trees to one for throwing stones and spears. Tree-dwelling primates, for example, such as lemurs and tarsiers, have long, narrow shoulder blades designed specifically for overhand locomotion from branch-to-branch. Humans have much wider, triangular-shaped shoulder blades, which allow for a wider range of movements, including throwing.

"Indeed, the human shoulder's defining characteristic is its variability, says Nathan Young, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. “The shoulder is almost as unique as a face,” he says. Much of this variability is found in the scapula, which in humans can vary widely in shape, size, and orientation. By comparison, Young notes, the shoulder blades of tree-dwelling primates show little variation.

"That uniqueness of form hints at the shoulder's supreme versatility. After all, we don't just use our shoulders for throwing—digging and rooting may have also played a role in changing the shoulder's geometry, Young says. But when we do, the throwing motion transforms it, along with the rest of the arm, into a sort of high-precision anatomical slingshot. Of course, the body's lower half—a rotating trunk and large gluteal muscles, the group of three muscles comprising our hindquarters—is also heavily involved, allowing for greater throwing force. “It's a whole linked system,” says Mary Marzke, an emeritus professor of anthropology at Arizona State University. “You can't look at one piece of it without considering the whole thing.”

***

"For example, unlike the hook-like fingers common to many primates adapted to swinging in trees, the fingers of Australopithecus afarensis, she says—which lived between 2.9 and 3.9 million years ago—were capable of forming a “cup,” suggestive of human hand-like dexterity. “Why would this have occurred so long ago?” she wonders. “We have found no tools as old as these afarensis fossils.” To Marzke, this means the diminutive afarensis—whose bipedalism is still debated—could likely throw with some measure of skill.

"Young, for his part, says that there is evidence to suggest that bipedalism preceded throwing, pointing to hominids such as the 2-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba, which had modern-looking feet and legs attached to a more primitive upper body. Still, a connection between bipedalism and throwing remains. “By the time you get to Homo there seems to be much stronger selection for the upper body in coordination with the lower body,” he says.

"The first real hurlers, then, arose about a million or so years later with our big game hunting forebear Homo erectus. Its shoulder, says Harvard anthropologist Neil Roach, like that of modern humans, used a highly specialized sequence of muscles, involving various tendons and ligaments, allowing it to store and then suddenly release tremendous amounts of energy, like a catapult.

"It seems that, once getting around on just two legs became the overriding norm, the arms in turn became free to specialize in non-traveling efforts even more. This allowed for more powerful hurling of stones, spears...

Comment: This article is written as if throwing encouraged bipedalism. Upright posture requires tremendous changes in the pelvis, which changed the entire shape of the birth canal for the female. With its big-headed baby human birth is difficult compared to any animal. It seems to me once you are upright trying to use your arms differently is a logical follow up, not the convoluted teleological Darwinistic issue this article presents.

Convoluted human evolution: shoulders, throwing

by dhw, Monday, August 22, 2016, 13:21 (456 days ago) @ David Turell

David's comment: This article is written as if throwing encouraged bipedalism. Upright posture requires tremendous changes in the pelvis, which changed the entire shape of the birth canal for the female. With its big-headed baby human birth is difficult compared to any animal. It seems to me once you are upright trying to use your arms differently is a logical follow up, not the convoluted teleological Darwinistic issue this article presents.

I must say it had never occurred to me that throwing would have played such an important role in human history, but if all your theories about God's planning are correct, it's obvious that it was all preprogrammed so that humans could eventually bowl a cricket ball.

I agree with you totally that throwing would have been a logical follow-up to and not a cause of bipedalism, and thank you for the extra information. In fairness, I don't see how the Darwin quote can be seen as suggesting otherwise, though the author seems to take it that way. Nathan Young, who "for his part, says that there is evidence to suggest that bipedalism preceded throwing”, certainly agrees with you.

Convoluted human evolution: DNA guidance

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 27, 2016, 21:42 (450 days ago) @ dhw

Recovering DNA has shown that our evolutionary tree is very bushy and more like a river delta with streams in every direction:

https://aeon.co/ideas/human-evolution-is-more-a-muddy-delta-than-a-branching-tree?utm_s...

"scientists once traced our own lineage from the present into the past, moving backward through a thicket of fossil relatives, each perched upon its own special branch to extinction.

"This approach yielded the now-ubiquitous image of the human family tree, with Homo sapiens - the one and only living hominid - sitting alone, seemingly inevitable, at the top. It's a powerful metaphor, but it also turns out to be a deeply mistaken one. Where once we saw each branch in isolation, DNA evidence now reveals a network of connections. From an African origin more than 1.8 million years ago, human ancestors flowed into different populations, following separate paths for hundreds of thousands of years, yet still coming together to mix their genes.

***

"The first high-coverage genome provided the biggest surprise: a tiny piece of a finger bone from Denisova Cave, in southern Siberia, has shown us an unknown population (now called the ‘Denisovans') who are as different from living people as from the Neanderthals. They make up some 5 per cent of the ancestry of living Aboriginal Australians, and a tiny fraction of more than a billion people across Asia and the New World.

***

"In the 1970s, geneticists noticed that humans are surprisingly inbred for a worldwide species. Other great apes - the chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans - each have much more variation, so much that today's primatologists recognise two species of orangutans, and up to four species of chimpanzees and gorillas. These apes have deep histories, with populations separated for hundreds of thousands of years. By contrast, humans throughout the world look like refugees from a single small part of Africa.

***

"When Neanderthals, Denisovans and ghost lineages, both inside and outside Africa, walked the Earth, their populations were each quite inbred, but collectively they were diverse, more like gorillas or chimpanzees than today's humans. Across the past 200,000 years, these separate streams were swallowed up by the growth of one African branch of humanity. Humans spread through the world like a broad river delta, carrying slightly different fractions of the flow of ancient streams.

"We don't yet know what triggered the success of these ancient Africans. But we can see some ways that they benefited from mixing with distant populations. As they mixed, they picked up biological solutions first innovated and road-tested by distant populations. Already, we have found Neanderthal or Denisovan genes contribute to immunity, metabolism and proteins expressed in hair and skin. A gene derived from Denisovans has helped people adapt to the low-oxygen environment of the Tibetan plateau.

Just last month, two new studies found evidence of yet more Neanderthal and Denisovan genes active in human immune systems....life outside the tropics does pose unique challenges, including a deficit of vitamin-D production, now known to strongly affect immunity. When Africans encountered these populations, any new immune tricks might have been valuable, especially those field-tested against local parasites. A talent for quickly adapting to new pathogens and parasites might even explain the initial growth of our ancestors within Africa, where they would have encountered pathogen diversity higher than anywhere else in the archaic human range.

***

"anthropologists are just starting to face the question of how we define species with ancient DNA. Faced with the evidence of deep genetic histories of Neanderthals, Denisovans and the ghost populations of Africa, conservation biologists would not hesitate to classify them as species, just as they now recognise several species of gorillas. Before we can settle this, we might need to uncover more about the anatomy and behaviour of these ancient people, the consequences of their genetic and historical differences.

"What inspires me most about the braided stream of our origins is what it implies about future discoveries. Tracing ghost lineages has already taken us further into the past than the 400,000 years of the current record for ancient DNA from hominins. Across the 7 million years or more of hominin evolution, there must have been dozens of such long-lasting populations, sometimes mixing and sharing adaptations with each other. As in the case of the Denisovans, we might already have tiny fossil traces of these ancient groups that we cannot yet recognize. Many more are out there, waiting for anthropologists to unearth them.

"We are searching."

Comment: We are more inbred than any other primate. We have picked up useful attributes from each set of hominins we bred with. Looks like a guided evolution to me since the pattern is so unusual compared to other primate species..

Convoluted human evolution: Lucy fell from a tree

by David Turell @, Monday, August 29, 2016, 20:58 (448 days ago) @ David Turell

A complex CT scanner has revealed that Lucy had multiple fractures consistent with fall from a high tree. New findings from old bones using new technologies:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160829140417.htm

"Lucy, a 3.18-million-year-old specimen of Australopithecus afarensis -- or "southern ape of Afar" -- is among the oldest, most complete skeletons of any adult, erect-walking human ancestor. Since her discovery in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 by Arizona State University anthropologist Donald Johanson and graduate student Tom Gray, Lucy -- a terrestrial biped -- has been at the center of a vigorous debate about whether this ancient species also spent time in the trees.

***

"Kappelman first studied Lucy during her U.S. museum tour in 2008, when the fossil detoured to the High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility (UTCT) in the UT Jackson School of Geosciences -- a machine designed to scan through materials as solid as a rock and at a higher resolution than medical CT. For 10 days, Kappelman and geological sciences professor Richard Ketcham carefully scanned all of her 40-percent-complete skeleton to create a digital archive of more than 35,000 CT slices.

***

"Studying Lucy and her scans, Kappelman noticed something unusual: The end of the right humerus was fractured in a manner not normally seen in fossils, preserving a series of sharp, clean breaks with tiny bone fragments and slivers still in place.

"'This compressive fracture results when the hand hits the ground during a fall, impacting the elements of the shoulder against one another to create a unique signature on the humerus," said Kappelman, who consulted Dr. Stephen Pearce, an orthopedic surgeon at Austin Bone and Joint Clinic, using a modern human-scale, 3-D printed model of Lucy.

"Pearce confirmed: The injury was consistent with a four-part proximal humerus fracture, caused by a fall from considerable height when the conscious victim stretched out an arm in an attempt to break the fall.

"Kappelman observed similar but less severe fractures at the left shoulder and other compressive fractures throughout Lucy's skeleton including a pilon fracture of the right ankle, a fractured left knee and pelvis, and even more subtle evidence such as a fractured first rib -- "a hallmark of severe trauma" -- all consistent with fractures caused by a fall. Without any evidence of healing, Kappelman concluded the breaks occurred perimortem, or near the time of death.

***

"In comparing her with chimpanzees, Kappelman suggested Lucy probably fell from a height of more than 40 feet, hitting the ground at more than 35 miles per hour. Based on the pattern of breaks, Kappelman hypothesized that she landed feet-first before bracing herself with her arms when falling forward, and "death followed swiftly."

***

"Kappelman conjectured that because Lucy was both terrestrial and arboreal, features that permitted her to move efficiently on the ground may have compromised her ability to climb trees, predisposing her species to more frequent falls. Using fracture patterns when present, future research may tell a more complete story of how ancient species lived and died."

Comment: A reasonable theory. Half ape/ half human will not handle trees as well as a full ape.

Convoluted human evolution: Africa started it

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 20:22 (425 days ago) @ David Turell

New DNA evidence says all of us started in Africa:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2106791-the-most-detailed-look-yet-at-how-early-hu...

"All non-Africans living today can trace the vast majority of their ancestry to a group of pioneers who left Africa in a single wave, tens of thousands of years ago.
We still don't know the exact timing of that migration, precisely where it began, nor the details of movements and how individual populations developed within Africa.
But the discovery of a single exit is a major advance in illuminating the earliest days of humanity's global sprawl, says Joshua Akey at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"Developing a fuller picture of our ancestry requires the study of a range of diverse human populations. Collectively, the authors of three new studies took on that challenge by analysing the genomes of 787 people from more than 270 populations scattered across the globe.

"Genetic similarities between populations show clear evidence for a single exit from Africa, says David Reich at Harvard University. Reich and his colleagues also determined that our African ancestors had already begun diverging into separate groups 200,000 years ago.

"The researchers also looked for a mutation that might have occurred between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago, when human technology and culture took off, with advances in art, burial rituals and tool use.

"But the team failed to find a genetic smoking gun, suggesting that progress was instead propelled by an environmental or lifestyle change, Reich says.

***

"Environmental conditions, such as temperature and plant growth, may have prompted some early human migrations (see box below). And geographical barriers such as mountains and deserts may have kept populations separate, perpetuating genetic differences around the world, according to another of the genetics studies, led by Luca Pagani and Mait Metspalu at the Estonian Biocentre in Tartu.

"Pagani and Metspalu and their colleagues also concluded that most modern non-Africans are descended from a single, out-of-Africa migration. But about 2 per cent of the genome of people from Papua New Guinea comes from an earlier exodus, Pagani says.

“'We see vestiges of an earlier out-of-Africa expansion,” Metspalu says. But, in the end, the main migration almost completely overwhelmed that small, early wave, he adds.
In the first comprehensive study of genetic diversity among Indigenous Australians, Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and his colleagues found that different indigenous groups within Australia are genetically quite distinct, but that they are all descended from a single, founding wave of people from Africa.

"Because Indigenous Australians are prone to diabetes, studying their DNA could explain the genetic drivers behind the disease, Willerslev says.
“They could potentially hold the key as to why other non-Africans also have diabetes,” he says.

"That kind of medical insight is one reason to delve into humanity's genetic history, says Akey.

"Another is simple curiosity about where we came from. But solving that riddle will require contributions from fields outside genetics, too, Akey says, such as archaeology and ecology.:

Comment: I recently published a story about the Chinese studying human fossil DNA looking for a Chinese contribution to hum an development. We seem to have an urge to travel like the Pacific Islanders

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits & humans

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 22, 2016, 02:00 (425 days ago) @ David Turell

Human teeth have been found in the same cave where Hobbit fossils were found. Did humans kill. off the Hobbits?

http://www.nature.com/news/human-remains-found-in-hobbit-cave-1.20656

"A pair of 46,000-year-old human teeth has been discovered in Liang Bua, a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores that was once home to the 1-metre-tall ‘hobbit' species Homo floresiensis. The teeth are slightly younger than the known hobbit remains, which strengthens the case that humans were responsible for the species' demise.

***

"this year, re-dating work in the cave pushed the extinction of hobbits back to around 50,000 years ago4. Roberts, who led that study, noted that humans were known to be already living in southeast Asia around that time. “It's a smoking gun for modern human interaction, but we haven't yet found the bullet,” he told Nature when the paper was published in March 2016.

***

"The human upper premolar and lower molar teeth were discovered in 2010 and 2011 and carbon dated to around 46,000 years old using nearby charcoal, Sutikna told attendees at the meeting. The team is confident that the teeth are from H. sapiens: they are larger than those of H. floresiensis, for instance.

***

"Other evidence presented by Sutikna puts humans in Liang Bua very soon after H. floresiensis vanished, which adds weight to the possibility that humans played a role in the extinction of hobbits, possibly by out-competing them for limited resources on Flores. Evidence of animals that might have been prey for human hunter-gatherers, such as giant storks (Leptoptilos robustus), vultures (Trigonoceps) and miniature elephants called stegodons (Stegodon florensis insularis), vanishes from the cave's sediment layers after around 46,000 years ago. At the same time, freshwater mollusc shells begin to appear in sediments. Such shellfish are common at early human sites across Eurasia and Africa. Stone tools made from chert (which are also regularly found at other human sites) and evidence for fire hearths are also more recent than the hobbit remains at Liang Bua5.
“What we don't yet know is whether there was at least a short overlap in the populations, thus raising the question once again of the possible role of modern humans in the extinction of floresiensis,” says Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London who attended the meeting. If hobbits and humans overlapped, they might even have interbred, Stringer says."

Comment: As humans swarmed all over the globe, it is not surprising that the Hobbits met their fate at the hands of H. sapiens.

Convoluted human evolution: A missing branch?

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 24, 2016, 00:15 (423 days ago) @ David Turell

Study of Australian Aboriginal DNA indicates they are cross-bred with an unknown branch of humans:

http://www.agnosticweb.com/index.php?mode=posting&id=22931&back=entry

"The genetic analyses revealed the genomes of present-day aboriginal Australians might harbor evidence of ancient interbreeding with an unknown human lineage.
"Who these people are, we don't know," said Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and senior author of one of the three studies.

"Previous research unearthed bones from a mysterious extinct branch of the human family tree from Denisova cave in Siberia's Altai Mountains. Analysis of DNA extracted from the fossils suggested these "Denisovans" shared a common origin with Neanderthals, but were nearly as genetically distinct from Neanderthals as Neanderthals were from living people. [Denisovan Gallery: Tracing the Genetics of Human Ancestors]

"Recent work suggested that Denisovans have contributed about 5 percent of their DNA to the genomes of present-day people of the Pacific islands of Oceania. However, these new findings suggest that what seemed to be evidence of Denisovans in the Pacific were actually signs of an unknown human lineage.

"'These guys were very distantly related to Denisovans, but by no means Denisovan," Willerslev told Live Science. "They were even more distantly related to Neanderthals, and they might have been even more distantly related to modern humans. We believe that they interbred with modern humans shortly before modern humans crossed into the ancient continent of Sahul — what is now Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania — some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago."

***

"The scientists also discovered that aboriginal Australians "are one of the oldest living populations on Earth, and have been in the same area for the past 50,000 to 60,000 years," Willerslev said.

***

"There was a great deal of controversy "over whether or not aboriginal Australians directly descend from the first humans entering Australia," Willerslev said. "The answer to that question is yes — our data is completely consistent with aboriginal Australians descending from the first humans to enter Australia. It shows a very long connection between those people and the land. [How Did Life Arise on Earth]
"I can't think of any other place in the world where humans have been so long in the same spot as Australia," Willerslev said. "Yes, there are populations in Africa that are older, but we have no idea if they stayed in the same area in Africa for as long a time."

"'We found that because aboriginal Australians have spent such a long time in Australia, they are very genetically diverse," Willerslev said. "An aboriginal Australian from eastern Australia and one from southwestern Australia are almost as different genetically as an Asian is from a European."
The researchers noted that about 90 percent of aboriginal Australians speak languages belonging to a single linguistic family, "but some people in northwest Australia speak other language families," Willerslev said. "It'd be very interesting to see what the story is there when it comes to how they migrated to Australia.'"

Comment: Not surprising, since evolution appears to be a bush not a tree, and human development can certainly follow the same pattern.

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits & humans

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 23, 2017, 20:03 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

Now shown to have emigrated from Arica as a fairly ancient species, much earlier than sapiens. pr0bably H. habilis:

https://phys.org/news/2017-04-indonesian-hobbits-revealed.html

"The study by The Australian National University (ANU) found Homo floresiensis, dubbed "the hobbits" due to their small stature, were most likely a sister species of Homo habilis—one of the earliest known species of human found in Africa 1.75 million years ago.

"Data from the study concluded there was no evidence for the popular theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from the much larger Homo erectus, the only other early hominid known to have lived in the region with fossils discovered on the Indonesian mainland of Java.

***

"'The analyses show that on the family tree, Homo floresiensis was likely a sister species of Homo habilis. It means these two shared a common ancestor," Dr Argue said.

"'It's possible that Homo floresiensis evolved in Africa and migrated, or the common ancestor moved from Africa then evolved into Homo floresiensis somewhere."

"Homo floresiensis is known to have lived on Flores until as recently as 54,000 years ago.

***

"Where previous research had focused mostly on the skull and lower jaw, this study used 133 data points ranging across the skull, jaws, teeth, arms, legs and shoulders.

"Dr Argue said none of the data supported the theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from Homo erectus.

"'We looked at whether Homo floresiensis could be descended from Homo erectus," she said.

"'We found that if you try and link them on the family tree, you get a very unsupported result. All the tests say it doesn't fit—it's just not a viable theory."

"Dr Argue said this was supported by the fact that in many features, such as the structure of the jaw, Homo floresiensis was more primitive than Homo erectus.

"'Logically, it would be hard to understand how you could have that regression—why would the jaw of Homo erectus evolve back to the primitive condition we see in Homo floresiensis?"

"Dr Argue said the analyses could also support the theory that Homo floresiensis could have branched off earlier in the timeline, more than 1.75 million years ago.

"'If this was the case Homo floresiensis would have evolved before the earliest Homo habilis, which would make it very archaic indeed," she said.

"Professor Mike Lee of Flinders University and the South Australian Museum, used statistical modeling to analyse the data.

"'When we did the analysis there was really clear support for the relationship with Homo habilis. Homo floresiensis occupied a very primitive position on the human evolutionary tree," Professor Lee said.

"'We can be 99 per cent sure it's not related to Homo erectus and nearly 100 per cent chance it isn't a malformed Homo sapiens," Professor Lee said."

Comment: The background of this strange group looks to lead back to Africa, where the early human species developed.

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits & humans

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, April 24, 2017, 00:32 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

"'We looked at whether Homo floresiensis could be descended from Homo erectus," she said.

"'We found that if you try and link them on the family tree, you get a very unsupported result. All the tests say it doesn't fit—it's just not a viable theory."

"Dr Argue said this was supported by the fact that in many features, such as the structure of the jaw, Homo floresiensis was more primitive than Homo erectus.

"'Logically, it would be hard to understand how you could have that regression—why would the jaw of Homo erectus evolve back to the primitive condition we see in Homo floresiensis?"

"Dr Argue said the analyses could also support the theory that Homo floresiensis could have branched off earlier in the timeline, more than 1.75 million years ago.

"'If this was the case Homo floresiensis would have evolved before the earliest Homo habilis, which would make it very archaic indeed," she said.

"Professor Mike Lee of Flinders University and the South Australian Museum, used statistical modeling to analyse the data.

"'When we did the analysis there was really clear support for the relationship with Homo habilis. Homo floresiensis occupied a very primitive position on the human evolutionary tree," Professor Lee said.

"'We can be 99 per cent sure it's not related to Homo erectus and nearly 100 per cent chance it isn't a malformed Homo sapiens," Professor Lee said."

Comment: The background of this strange group looks to lead back to Africa, where the early human species developed.

I have serious reservations about this whole thing, not the least of which is sample size. As sample sizes go, this is ridiculously small. You can not take 1 skeleton, an incomplete skeleton at that, a few teeth and random bones from as few as 12 other possible analogues and infer details about an entire species! Worse, your article here has them diverging 1.75 million years ago, the bones are estimated at 80k years old, and their tools are estimated at somewhere between 150k-50k years ago. When you use a time frame of anywhere between 1.75myo-50Kyo you can make just about any 'just so' story fit.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Convoluted human evolution: Hobbits & humans

by David Turell @, Monday, April 24, 2017, 05:13 (211 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

"'We can be 99 per cent sure it's not related to Homo erectus and nearly 100 per cent chance it isn't a malformed Homo sapiens," Professor Lee said."

Comment: The background of this strange group looks to lead back to Africa, where the early human species developed.


Tony: I have serious reservations about this whole thing, not the least of which is sample size. As sample sizes go, this is ridiculously small. You can not take 1 skeleton, an incomplete skeleton at that, a few teeth and random bones from as few as 12 other possible analogues and infer details about an entire species! Worse, your article here has them diverging 1.75 million years ago, the bones are estimated at 80k years old, and their tools are estimated at somewhere between 150k-50k years ago. When you use a time frame of anywhere between 1.75myo-50Kyo you can make just about any 'just so' story fit.

They found one cave with several specimens on one island. They used comparative paleontology to make these current judgements. The Denisovans and their DNA is from one finger!

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch; Dates?

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 15:45 (207 days ago) @ David Turell

There is a new opinion about H. naledi. They are an ancient form but lived until more recently than thought:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39710315

"A primitive type of human, once thought to be up to three million years old, actually lived much more recently, a study suggests.

"The remains of 15 partial skeletons belonging to the species Homo naledi were described in 2015.

"They were found deep in a cave system in South Africa by a team led by Lee Berger from Wits University.

"In an interview, he now says the remains are probably just 200,000 to 300,000 years old.

"Although its anatomy shares some similarities with modern people, other anatomical features of Homo naledi hark back to humans that lived in much earlier times - some two million years ago or more.

"'These look like a primitive form of our own genus - Homo. It looks like it might be connected to early Homo erectus, or Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis," said Prof Berger's colleague, John Hawks, from the University of Wisconsin.

"Although some experts guessed that naledi could had lived relatively recently, in 2015, Prof Berger told BBC News that the remains could be up to three million years old.

"New dating evidence places the species in a time period where Homo naledi could have overlapped with early examples of our own kind, Homo sapiens.

"Prof Hawks told the BBC's Inside Science radio programme: "They're the age of Neanderthals in Europe, they're the age of Denisovans in Asia, they're the age of early modern humans in Africa. They're part of this diversity in the world that's there as our species was originating."

"We have no idea what else is out there in Africa for us to find - for me that's the big message. If this lineage, which looks like it originated two million years ago was still hanging around 200,000 years ago, then maybe that's not the end of it. We haven't found the last [Homo naledi], we've found one."

"The naledi remains were uncovered in 2013 inside a difficult-to-access chamber within the Rising Star cave system. At the time, Prof Berger said he believed the remains had been deposited in the chamber deliberately, perhaps over generations.

"This idea, which would suggest that Homo naledi was capable of ritual behaviour, met with controversy because such practices are thought by some to be characteristic of human modernity.

"Prof Hawks says that the team has since started exploring a second chamber.

"'[The second] chamber has the remains of an additional three individuals, at least, including a really, really cool partial skeleton with a skull," said Prof Hawks.

"Researchers have already attempted to extract DNA from the remains to gain more information about naledi's place in the human evolutionary tree. However, they have not yet been successful.

"'[The remains] are obviously at an age where we have every reason to think there might be some chance. The cave is relatively warm compared to the cold caves in northern Europe and Asia where we have really good DNA preservation," said Prof Hawks."

Comment: The ancient human bush is large and I believe its importance is shown by he fact that this is the main thrust of the fossil history of the evolution of living forms in the past eight million years. God's teleology?

Convoluted human evolution: Ancient N. American visit?

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 18:59 (207 days ago) @ David Turell

A dig in San Diego suggests a human visit 115,000 years ago:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/new-evidence-places-humans-in-america-130-000-...

"Human settlement of North America may have occurred at least 115,000 years earlier than thought, if intriguing evidence unearthed in California is correct.

"In a letter published in the journal Nature, a team of researchers led by Steven Holen from the Centre for American Paleolithic Research in South Dakota, USA, reports on the discovery and dating of broken bones found near San Diego 20 years ago.

"The bones belonged to a mastodon (Mammut americanum) – an extinct mammal that looked somewhat like an elephant, or a mammoth – and showed clear marks of human butchery. The site where they were found also contained unambiguous human artifacts, namely hammerstones and anvils.

" The artifacts, together with cut marks on the bones indicating they had been butchered while still fresh, led scientists to conclude that the massive animal had been sliced up to be eaten. However, at the time of the discovery dating methods were insufficiently precise to indicate the age of the remains.

"Revisiting the finds, Holen and his team used a type of radiometric dating that relies on gauging the ratio of uranium to thorium in calcium carbonate material. The method is particularly accurate up to 500,000 years.

"When applied to the mastodon bones, the results were unexpected, establishing that the animal died 130,000 years ago (give or take 10,000). This, in light of the strong evidence suggesting that the beast had met its demise – or at least been dismembered soon after death – by human hands, was stunning.

***

"The evidence, however, does not establish that the ancient mastodon eaters were Homo sapiens. Indeed, it would be very unlikely that they were, given that our species is generally held to have migrated out of Africa only around 60,000 years ago.

"Holen and colleagues state that their “findings confirm the presence of an unidentified species of Homo”.

"The San Diego site, they add “is, to our knowledge, the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in North America and, as such, substantially revises the timing of the arrival of Homo into the Americas”.

"In an accompanying editorial in Nature, archaeologist Erella Hovers of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel says the evidence presented by Holen and colleagues has been rigorously researched.

"However, she adds, “the proposed hominin narrative derived from these data has some gaping holes that need filling”.

"She concludes: “Time will tell whether this evidence will bring a paradigm change in our understanding of processes of hominin dispersal and colonisation throughout the world, including in what now seems to be a not-so-new New World.'”

Comment: It seems as if ancient humans travelled all over the world. There is no evidence of permanent settlement at that time. That seems to be about 14,000 years ago from solid evidence.

Convoluted human evolution: Ancient N. American visit?

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 19:48 (207 days ago) @ David Turell

Another find is the settlement in British Columbia about 14,000 years ago possibly from Atlantic seamen:

http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/native-canadian-legend-proven-true-with-the-discovery-...

"The Heiltsuk Nation are indigenous Canadians whose ancestors once controlled 6,000 sq. miles (approx. 16,000 sq. km) of coastline in what is now British Columbia. Heiltsuk is also a language family, much like Latin is the root to Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Those among the Heiltsuk Nation today were formerly known as the Bella Bella band (an Anglo mistake for what was actually a geographical feature).
 
"According to their oral history, the Maker set their ancestors down within their traditional territory, before the great flood. Through artifacts uncovered on their lands, we know that modern-day Heiltsuk have been living in the same area for the past 9,700 years. Previous archeological research put them in British Columbia at 1,000 BCE. Until now, there was no proof that they were there before the worldwide flood, mentioned in the Bible and other texts of that day.

"Archaeologists have now proven the Bella Bella Heiltsuk’s legend true. Researchers at the Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria, discovered the 14,000 year old settlement. It is thought to have been a refuge for the Heiltsuk’s ancestors during the second Ice Age.

***

"The excavation was meticulous and painstaking, according to Alisha Gauvreau, a PhD student at the University of Victoria, who worked at the site. At first, they discovered a hearth or fire pit approx. 8 ft. (2.5 meters) underground. It still contained some charcoal flakes. They had the slices analyzed. Carbon dating puts them at 13,613 to 14,086 years old. “We were so happy to find something we could date,” she said. Then through more excavation through soil and peat, they found a nearby cache of stone tools.

***

"Some amazing artifacts were found including fishhooks and an atlatl. This was a javelin throwing device. Far older than a bow and arrow, it’s used to increase distance and accuracy. They even found a wooden drill used to start fires. “What this is doing is just changing our idea of the way in which North America was first peopled,” Gauvreau said.

"This discovery deals another blow to the land bridge theory. Today, historians and archaeologists aren’t sure how North America was peopled by its original inhabitance. A previous study found that not enough game or edible plants would've been available on the land bridge, to sustain a trek between Siberia and Alaska. Also, historians placed the date of that crossing at 13,000 years ago. That date alongside this discovery doesn't match up. 

"This finding and others, support the theory that wayfarers came not on land but by sea. “From our site, it is apparent that they were rather adept sea mammal hunters," Gauvreau said.

"Previously, the earliest found artifact, and so evidence of human occupation of the West Coast, was the Manis Mastodon spear tip. It was unearthed on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula and dates back to about 13,800 BCE, which also challenges the land bridge theory."

Comment: Our ancestors really were intrepid travelers. Columbus was not the initial discoverer of North America.

Convoluted human evolution: Ancient N. American visit?

by David Turell @, Friday, April 28, 2017, 19:02 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

The San Diego mastodon find from 130,000 years ago is disputed:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49308/title/Paper-Suggesting-Majo...

" If this latest conclusion is valid, it would push the date of the peopling of the Americas back by 100 millennia. “If you are going to push human antiquity in the New World back more than 100,000 years in one fell swoop, you’ll have to do so with a far better archaeological case than this one,” David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, who—like Grayson—was not involved with the study, told Nature.

"Critics have argued that the authors failed to rule out damage caused to the bones by construction equipment or natural causes. But one coauthor, who helped excavate the site, said that the bones were too deep in the Earth to suffer damage from construction machinery rolling across the surface. The mastodon remains and the stones that the authors claimed could have been used as hammers were “deeply buried. . . . There was no equipment damage to the heart of the site,” Thomas Deméré, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, told Science.

"Vance Holliday, a University of Arizona archaeologist, agreed with other critics, saying that the Nature paper does not contain enough evidence to push back the timeline of hominins’ population of North America. “[The authors] present evidence that the broken stones and bones could have been broken by humans,” he told The New York Times. “But they don’t demonstrate that they could only be broken by humans.'”

Comment: If there were humans on the U.S west coast that long ago, there is no evidence they hung around.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 29, 2017, 16:17 (205 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study of the brain suggests more advanced for its size than it sboyld be expected to be:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2128583-mystery-human-species-homo-naledi-had-tiny...

"It had a peculiar mix of anatomical features, which is part of what makes it hard to tell when the species lived. But what really set tongues wagging was the suggestion by Berger and his colleagues that H. naledi had deliberately disposed of its dead in this deep, dark, difficult-to-reach cave chamber full of remains.

"Such an endeavour probably required emotional sophistication, not to mention teamwork, to carry out the task, but H. naledi’s skull was less than half the size of our own. Could its tiny brain have powered such advanced behaviour?

"Berger and the other members of the H. naledi research team think it could. Using pieces of fossil skull, the group has now produced casts of parts of H. naledi’s small brain. The pattern of ridges and troughs (called gyri and sulci) on the surface of the casts offers hints about the way the brain was organised.

“'Some of the casts we are working on are the most extraordinarily preserved I’ve ever seen,” says John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The detail is just pristine.”

"What excites the team most is a region on the side of H. naledi’s frontal lobe called Brodmann area 45, part of Broca’s area, which in modern humans has links to speech production. In this part of our brains, the pattern of gyri and sulci is very different from that seen in chimpanzees. H. naledi seems to have had our pattern, even though as an adult its BA45 was not much larger than that of a chimpanzee.

“'You look at the naledi cast and you think – holy crap this is just a tiny human,” says Hawks.


***

"Hurst adds that there is also evidence for a general expansion of the bottom surface of the frontal lobes – a region associated with higher emotions like empathy. Together, these observations might help to explain why groups of the small-brained hominin could have become interested in careful disposal of their dead, and how they could work together to transport bodies through the narrow and pitch-black cave system that led to the burial chamber.

"Dean Falk at Florida State University in Tallahassee was also at last week’s meeting, and had an opportunity to look at the H. naledi brain casts and discuss them with Hurst. “We agreed on most of the interpretations,” she says – but not on the presence of a modern BA45. “This is just my initial reaction, but I’m not seeing BA45,” says Falk. “To me the general shape of the region looks ape-like.”

"Hurst isn’t surprised by Falk’s conclusion. “My first reaction was the same,” he says. It was only after hours spent carefully comparing the H. naledi brain cast with the casts of other hominin and ape brains that he and his colleagues became convinced that it had a modern configuration.

***

"...focusing on casts of the rear part of the H. naledi brain.

"Holloway looked at a sulcus here that he says separates the visual cortex at the very rear of the brain from the parietal and temporal lobes that lie slightly further forward. In humans, the sulcus is smaller than in chimpanzees, reducing the size of the visual cortex and increasing the size of the parietal and temporal lobes. In H. naledi, the sulcus seems to have begun shifting into a modern-human-like configuration along some of its length,.

“'The significance is that the visual cortex is purely sensory,” says Holloway. “But the parietal and temporal lobes right adjacent to it are very important for complex social behaviour.”

"Again, it seems that H. naledi was more socially sophisticated than the small size of its brain might suggest.

“'In our field, there is this dispute about whether the important thing in human brains is their size or the way they are organised,” says Hawks. H. naledi seems to suggest organisation is more critical.

"Simon Neubauer at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, says the work supports the idea that parts of the brain became modern in their configuration before they grew large." (my bold)

Comment: the key issue to me in every aspect of the human bush is the evolutionary persistence in improving the brain, implying a driving purpose behind it, God.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 05:33 (196 days ago) @ David Turell

Natural evolution is over. We are now in control:

https://singularityhub.com/2017/03/26/the-rise-of-a-new-species-of-human-being/

"Today, what survives on Earth can be determined entirely by human beings. We can alter the genetics of almost any life form and potentially design entirely new ones.
According to renowned physicist Freeman Dyson, “In the future, a new generation of artists will be writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses.”

"In their book Evolving Ourselves , Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans describe a world where evolution is no longer driven by natural processes. Instead, it is driven by human choices, through what they call unnatural selection and non-random mutation. As a result, we will see the emergence of an entirely new species of human beings.

"There is no doubt that Enriquez and Gullans describe a powerful tool for accelerating human progress.

***

"There is one evolutionary structure that Darwin and Wallace discovered that applied for four billion years, where random mutation and natural selection continue to occur. But then there is a world where the primary determinant of what lives and dies becomes human beings. This is a world of unnatural selection, because humans would rather have dogs and cats than snakes and grizzly bears. It’s a world where we deliberately insert genes into bacteria, plants and animals for specific purposes. This is a form of intelligent design, and has nothing to do with random mutations.

***

"Even Darwin had difficulty defining species. We have at least 19 different definitions of the term species. Depending on which of these definitions we adopt, it could be much earlier or much later. Already, we are seeing this by controlling our reproduction, which is the core of evolution.

***

"Yes. Most evolution doesn’t work. 99 percent of the species that have ever lived are extinct. Evolution is actually a continuous set of experiments, many of which fail. It would not be surprising to see some things go horribly wrong. That is simply what happens in nature.

***

"....there is a whole series of ways in which you can modify gene expression within the DNA code itself. We can alter the expression of that code. We can modify how the environment interacts with the code. We can modify the metabolism or the microorganisms that execute on that code. We already have instruments at many different levels to modify the expression of that DNA, even if it is written exactly the same way.

"That aside, we are starting to see scientists who are able to create heredity using alternative chemical structures. So we can add or substitute letters to DNA and still have living organisms that inherit in different ways."

Comment: One the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by dhw, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 12:12 (196 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Natural evolution is over. We are now in control:

https://singularityhub.com/2017/03/26/the-rise-of-a-new-species-of-human-being/

A pretty depressing but thought-provoking argument article.

QUOTE: "Yes. Most evolution doesn’t work. 99 percent of the species that have ever lived are extinct. Evolution is actually a continuous set of experiments, many of which fail. It would not be surprising to see some things go horribly wrong. That is simply what happens in nature.”

He obviously isn’t a great fan of your concept of divine design!

DAVID’s comment: On the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.

We have no idea what the universe will throw at us in the next few thousand million years, so I would be very hesitant to assume that evolution is over, but as long as our planet continues to sustain life forms as we know them, I would have to agree. Presumably this is where theists might wonder what their God is up to. Simply watching the spectacle? Sloped off to watch something else? Poised to do an almighty dabble? What do you reckon?

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 18:40 (195 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID’s comment: On the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.

dhw: We have no idea what the universe will throw at us in the next few thousand million years, so I would be very hesitant to assume that evolution is over, but as long as our planet continues to sustain life forms as we know them, I would have to agree. Presumably this is where theists might wonder what their God is up to. Simply watching the spectacle? Sloped off to watch something else? Poised to do an almighty dabble? What do you reckon?

There are a group of Christian believers and this includes some Orthodox Jews in this country who feel God guides humans and His preferred country is the USA. There are books on the subject. That certainly suggests He may be following closely. The arrival, unexpectedly, of Trump may be a sign.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by dhw, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 12:37 (195 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: On the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.

dhw: We have no idea what the universe will throw at us in the next few thousand million years, so I would be very hesitant to assume that evolution is over, but as long as our planet continues to sustain life forms as we know them, I would have to agree. Presumably this is where theists might wonder what their God is up to. Simply watching the spectacle? Sloped off to watch something else? Poised to do an almighty dabble? What do you reckon?

DAVID: There are a group of Christian believers and this includes some Orthodox Jews in this country who feel God guides humans and His preferred country is the USA. There are books on the subject. That certainly suggests He may be following closely. The arrival, unexpectedly, of Trump may be a sign.

I’m sure you are not alone in believing that your God guides humans, and I’m sure there are quite a lot of Americans who think the USA is God’s chosen country, and if some of them have written books as well, then gosh folks it must be true, mustn’t it? Please tell us what they think the unexpected arrival of Trump is a sign of.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 18:40 (194 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: On the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.

dhw: We have no idea what the universe will throw at us in the next few thousand million years, so I would be very hesitant to assume that evolution is over, but as long as our planet continues to sustain life forms as we know them, I would have to agree. Presumably this is where theists might wonder what their God is up to. Simply watching the spectacle? Sloped off to watch something else? Poised to do an almighty dabble? What do you reckon?

DAVID: There are a group of Christian believers and this includes some Orthodox Jews in this country who feel God guides humans and His preferred country is the USA. There are books on the subject. That certainly suggests He may be following closely. The arrival, unexpectedly, of Trump may be a sign.

dhw: I’m sure you are not alone in believing that your God guides humans, and I’m sure there are quite a lot of Americans who think the USA is God’s chosen country, and if some of them have written books as well, then gosh folks it must be true, mustn’t it? Please tell us what they think the unexpected arrival of Trump is a sign of.

I believe the evangelicals are convinced God stepped in. I live in their neighborhood in Texas.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, May 12, 2017, 11:58 (193 days ago) @ David Turell

It is funny how in one article David links, it says "The Genome is far more complex than we ever thought and we still don't understand it." and in the next it says "We are in control of evolution."

Sounds like a lot of hype to me. I will wait until they manage to eradicate even one single hereditary disease before giving them a pat on the back, though. Maybe that will give their shoulders time to heal from patting themselves on the back so hard.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Convoluted human evolution: We are in control

by David Turell @, Friday, May 12, 2017, 15:07 (192 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony:It is funny how in one article David links, it says "The Genome is far more complex than we ever thought and we still don't understand it." and in the next it says "We are in control of evolution."

Sounds like a lot of hype to me. I will wait until they manage to eradicate even one single hereditary disease before giving them a pat on the back, though. Maybe that will give their shoulders time to heal from patting themselves on the back so hard.

See my new article on probabilistic genome interpretation. We do know some specifics presented in the article.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 15:25 (195 days ago) @ David Turell

This branch has been dated, and the burial sites are not more than 300,000 years old, which means hey existed at the same time as when H. sapiens appeared:

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/homo-naledi-likely-existed-alongside-early-human...

"Johannesburg - A year and a half after fossils belonging to the Homo naledi species were discovered, scientists and researchers can now reveal that it is highly likely that the species lived alongside Homo sapiens (early humans).

***

"Homo naledi was alive sometime between 335 000 and 236 000 years ago. This places this population of primitive small-brained hominis at a time and place that is likely alongside Homo sapiens.

“'This is the first time that it has been demonstrated that another species of homonin survived alongside the first humans in Africa,” Berger said.

"Although the Homo naledi fossils shared some primitive features with some of the earliest known members of the Homo genus who lived nearly 2 million years ago, the remains also shared some features with modern humans, he said.

***

"The dates were determined through six independent methods by at least 19 scientists from laboratories and institutions across the world.

"This meant that Homo naledi may have survived for as long as two million years alongside other species of hominins in Africa, the period which paleoanthropologists like Berger describe as the ‘late Middle Pleistocene’.

"Researchers and scientists had previously thought that only Homo sapiens existed on the African continent during that period because the period was characterised by the rise of "modern human behaviour".

"That kind of behaviour was previously attributed to the rise of modern humans and was thought to represent the origins of complex modern human activities such as burial of the dead, self-adornment and complex tools.

“'We can no longer assume that we know which species made which tools, or even assume that it was modern humans that were the innovators of some of these critical technological and behavioural breakthroughs in the archaeological record of Africa."

Comment: What is significant to me is this finding parallels the Hobbit survival in Asia. Primitive hominin forms had the capacity of survival into modern times. Why did one set of branches modernize into Neanderthals and H. sapiens and the others in the bush of types remain more or less static? Was one type preferred by God?

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by dhw, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 12:01 (195 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This branch has been dated, and the burial sites are not more than 300,000 years old, which means they existed at the same time as when H. sapiens appeared:
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/homo-naledi-likely-existed-alongside-early-human...

We have discussed naledi before, beginning on Friday July 7 2016 under “Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi branch”. Here are some quotes which I find highly revealing in the light of your current belief in God’s unlimited powers and full control:

DAVID: All the species of Homo being found fits my theory that several varieties of a new type are produced to allow survivability (natural selection) pick out the winner/winners.
Dhw: […] I don't think many evolutionists would disagree. Several varieties of homo came into being, and natural selection picked out the winner. Evolution has resulted in millions of organisms and varieties, and the survivors were/are/will be the winners. Darwin had a similar idea. But the theory you have proposed is that God personally directed the production of countless natural wonders and species, including various homos, although he actually set out to produce homo sapiens. […] if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).

David: […] Perhaps He is not in full control. […] He may simply stimulate the evolutionary process until He gets humans. […]
dhw: […] “perhaps he is not in full control” is the concession I have been asking for. In my theistic hypothesis, he CHOOSES not to be in full control. And that choice may extend to the whole process of evolution, with the concession to you that he might sometimes dabble, e.g. to produce humans.
DAVID: I can't go as far as you do. I suspect He watches over evolution quite closely but takes a hands off approach, and I would especially favor that thought if we could find a speciation inventive mechanism in the genome. That would allow for a variety of complexity and survival competition.

The “hands off approach” which you “suspected” has to entail at least a degree of control being sacrificed, which in turn requires an autonomous inventive intelligence which he can dabble with (= hands on) if he wants to. Now, however, under “Explaining natural wonders” we have the following:

dhw: Why are you so afraid to acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that he enabled organisms to do their own designing (though with the option of dabbling when he felt like it)?
DAVID: Not 'afraid'. God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities.

“No matter how it happened”, but it can only have happened your way, and the “hands off” approach disappears. In that case do please give us your new answer to my original question and comment:
…if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).”

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 18:25 (194 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 19:25


dhw: The “hands off approach” which you “suspected” has to entail at least a degree of control being sacrificed, which in turn requires an autonomous inventive intelligence which he can dabble with (= hands on) if he wants to. Now, however, under “Explaining natural wonders” we have the following:

dhw: Why are you so afraid to acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that he enabled organisms to do their own designing (though with the option of dabbling when he felt like it)?
DAVID: Not 'afraid'. God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities.

dhw: “No matter how it happened”, but it can only have happened your way, and the “hands off” approach disappears. In that case do please give us your new answer to my original question and comment:
…if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).”

My above comment indicates no change in my position that God is in charge. You are raising the issue of why so many hominin forms. I don't know any answers, since we do not have DNA from all of them to compare, and see how they might interrelate, as we do with Denisovans, Neanderthals, etc. As for competition it doesn't seem that any of the other earlier forms could stand up to sapiens once they appeared. That looks like God's intent from the beginning. We might suppose that the bush of earlier forms were somewhat experimental. We are then back to 'process evolution' with God experimenting and dabbling on the way to His goal. We have discussed this possibility before. God's powers may require that He evolve what He wants: the universe, Earth's characteristics, life, humans. See this article which supports the idea that naledi is a dead end:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-evidence-of-mysterious-homo-naledi-raise...

"Faith also does not buy the argument H. naledi could have given rise to H. sapiens. “If the dates are correct, then H. naledi is a classic example of an evolutionary dead end,” he asserts, noting the similarities to the miniature human “hobbit” species Homo floresiensis that lived on the Indonesian island of Flores until around 50,000 years ago. “[H. naledi] couldn’t possibly have given rise to living human populations today.'”

I would remind you, as I respond to your questions and objections that I am willing to offer possibilities about God, but I'm sure you understand every guess may vary, as you note, but each revolves about the central premise that God is always in charge.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by dhw, Thursday, May 11, 2017, 14:05 (194 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The “hands off approach” which you “suspected” has to entail at least a degree of control being sacrificed, which in turn requires an autonomous inventive intelligence which he can dabble with (= hands on) if he wants to. Now, however, under “Explaining natural wonders” we have the following:

dhw: Why are you so afraid to acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that he enabled organisms to do their own designing (though with the option of dabbling when he felt like it)?
DAVID: Not 'afraid'. God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities.
dhw: “No matter how it happened”, but it can only have happened your way, and the “hands off” approach disappears. In that case do please give us your new answer to my original question and comment:
“…if he knew that homo sapiens (his apparent purpose) would survive, he must have fixed it that way, so what do you think was the point of his organizing the competition? If he didn't know, he was not “in full control” (your theory, not mine).”

DAVID: My above comment indicates no change in my position that God is in charge.

If God exists, of course he is in charge. But that does not mean he could not have opted to give organisms the freedom to do their own designing (subject to the occasional dabble), or experimented, or had new ideas as he went along.

DAVID: […] As for competition it doesn't seem that any of the other earlier forms could stand up to sapiens once they appeared. That looks like God's intent from the beginning. We might suppose that the bush of earlier forms were somewhat experimental. We are then back to 'process evolution' with God experimenting and dabbling on the way to His goal. We have discussed this possibility before.

Experimentation was the solution I offered you, and here is the relevant section of the discussion, under “God and evolution”, 21 March at 13.49:
dhw: I have offered you these theistic alternatives:
1) He wanted to create humans (i.e. beings with a consciousness like his own), but didn’t know how to do it so kept experimenting.

DAVID: #1 is totally off the reservation. Any power that can produce a fine-tuned universe can then see to the creation of humans without difficulty.

What is totally off the reservation in March is back on again in May. (See below)

DAVID: See this article which supports the idea that naledi is a dead end:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-evidence-of-mysterious-homo-naledi-raise...

If it is a dead end, that hardly explains why your God designed it. Experimentation does, but you rejected that.

DAVID: I would remind you, as I respond to your questions and objections that I am willing to offer possibilities about God, but I'm sure you understand every guess may vary, as you note, but each revolves about the central premise that God is always in charge.

As above, he can be in charge and experiment, have new ideas, or sacrifice control, all of which you have categorically rejected. Every guess of yours varies, every guess of mine is categorically rejected, and then you come back to my guesses as if you were “willing to offer possibilities”! If you were willing to ACCEPT that certain explanations were possible, you would not have to keep tying yourself in knots.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by David Turell @, Friday, May 12, 2017, 00:07 (193 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: If God exists, of course he is in charge. But that does not mean he could not have opted to give organisms the freedom to do their own designing (subject to the occasional dabble), or experimented, or had new ideas as he went along.

See the whale video produced today. Only a planning mind can produce those stages of whale development.

DAVID: See this article which supports the idea that naledi is a dead end:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-evidence-of-mysterious-homo-naledi-raise...

dhw: If it is a dead end, that hardly explains why your God designed it. Experimentation does, but you rejected that.

God could very possibly have developed different forms of hominin to see which would better develop the current brain we have. You seem to keep forgetting that the evidence is God uses evolution as a way of advancing His purposes, and His method of evolution of life results in a very bushy process.


DAVID: I would remind you, as I respond to your questions and objections that I am willing to offer possibilities about God, but I'm sure you understand every guess may vary, as you note, but each revolves about the central premise that God is always in charge.

dhw: As above, he can be in charge and experiment, have new ideas, or sacrifice control, all of which you have categorically rejected. Every guess of yours varies, every guess of mine is categorically rejected, and then you come back to my guesses as if you were “willing to offer possibilities”! If you were willing to ACCEPT that certain explanations were possible, you would not have to keep tying yourself in knots.

As always I return to the same point about God: God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities. The bushiness of life may indicate a degree of experimentation.

Convoluted human evolution: H. naledi ; recent

by dhw, Friday, May 12, 2017, 13:18 (193 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: See this article which supports the idea that naledi is a dead end:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-evidence-of-mysterious-homo-naledi-raise...

dhw: If it is a dead end, that hardly explains why your God designed it. Experimentation does, but you rejected that.
DAVID: God could very possibly have developed different forms of hominin to see which would better develop the current brain we have. You seem to keep forgetting that the evidence is God uses evolution as a way of advancing His purposes, and His method of evolution of life results in a very bushy process.

We both believe that evolution took place. If God exists, the fact that evolution resulted in a very bushy process suggests that God wanted a bush, not that God only wanted humans and needed a bush to get what he wanted. However, it’s good to see that you now accept the possibility of experimentation which you had categorically rejected earlier. Perhaps you will eventually accept the possibility of other hypotheses which you have categorically rejected, since your own leads you to an ever changing variety of “guesses”.

DAVID: As always I return to the same point about God: God is in charge no matter how it happened. 3.8 billion year program or dabbling remain the only possibilities. The bushiness of life may indicate a degree of experimentation.

As always, I return to the same point about God: if he exists, of course he is in charge. That does not mean that his sole aim was to produce humans and everything else was related to that, and it does not mean that your hypothesis of a 3.8-billion-year-old programme and/or dabbling remains the only possibility.

Convoluted human evolution: earliest environment

by David Turell @, Monday, May 15, 2017, 23:06 (189 days ago) @ dhw

The earliest Homo fossil, 400,000 years earlier than previous early Homos lived in an unchanging grassy environment:

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-grassy-earliest-homo.html

"Using stable isotopes of fossil teeth, the researchers found that early Homo at Ledi-Geraru was indeed associated with open and arid grassy environments. Results show that almost all animals found with early Homo at Ledi-Geraru fed on grass, including some that consumed substantial amounts of tree leaves prior to 2.8 million years ago.

"The diet of early Homo at Ledi-Geraru, however, appears to be indistinguishable from that of the earlier Australopithecus, implying that a change in diet is not a characteristic of the origins of Homo.

"We weren't necessarily surprised that the diet of early Homo was similar to Australopithecus," said Chris Campisano, research associate with the Institute of Human Origins and associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. "But we were surprised that its diet didn't change when those of all the other animals on the landscape did."

"Placing Ledi-Geraru in a regional context indicates that eastern Africa environments at this time were not homogeneous. The ecology of the lower Awash Valley shifted from a wet and wooded environment at the time of the disappearance of Australopithecus around three million years ago to a dry and open landscape at the time of early Homo 2.8 million years ago.

"'Although Lucy's species persisted through many environmental changes in the Hadar sequence," School of Human Evolution and Social Change graduate student John Rowan said, "it seems the species was unable to persist as really open environments spread in the Afar during the late Pliocene."

"Furthermore, these results indicate that the spread of grassy environments at Ledi-Geraru occurred earlier than in the Turkana Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia, which continued to have wooded regions that supported browsers and other mammals that fed on both trees and grasses.

"'By using several different habitat proxies, we were able to refine previous ecosystem reconstructions in each basin so that we were able to identify the details of the spread of grasslands," said Kaye Reed, President's Professor and director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Reed is also a research associate with the Institute of Human Origins. "We are planning to compare other East African hominin sites using these same methodologies.'"

Comment: The common diet between Lucy and the appearance of Homo species indicates a fairly constant environment as it shifted from patches of woods to totaly grassy. Nothing here shows stress to drive brain enlargement. In fact no reason is seen in this study.

Convoluted human evolution: Early spine changes

by David Turell @, Monday, May 22, 2017, 20:43 (182 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Monday, May 22, 2017, 21:05

A very well preserved lower back spine from a young hominid 3.3 million ago shows the changes that allowed upright posture:

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-million-year-old-fossil-reveals-human-spine.html

"...the human spine also reflects our distinctive mode of walking upright on two feet. For instance, humans have fewer rib-bearing vertebrae - bones of the back - than those of our closest primate relatives. Humans also have more vertebrae in the lower back, which allows us to walk effectively. When and how this pattern evolved has been unknown until now because complete sets of vertebrae are rarely preserved in the fossil record.

"For many years we have known of fragmentary remains of early fossil species that suggest that the shift from rib-bearing, or thoracic, vertebrae to lumbar, or lower back, vertebrae was positioned higher in the spinal column than in living humans. But we have not been able to determine how many vertebrae our early ancestors had," said Carol Ward, a Curator's Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and lead author on the study. "Selam has provided us the first glimpse into how our early ancestors' spines were organized."

***

"The scans indicated that Selam had the distinctive thoracic-to-lumbar joint transition found in other fossil human relatives, but the specimen is the first to show that, like modern humans, our earliest ancestors had only twelve thoracic vertebrae and twelve pairs of ribs. That is fewer than in most apes.
"This unusual early human configuration may be a key in developing more accurate scenarios concerning the evolution of bipedality and modern human body shape," said Thierra Nalley, an assistant professor of anatomy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, also an author on the paper.

"This configuration marks a transition toward the type of spinal column that allows humans to be the efficient, athletic walkers and runners we are today.

"'We are documenting for the first time in the fossil record the emergence of the number of the vertebrae in our history, when the transition happened from the rib-bearing vertebrae to lower back vertebrae, and when we started to extend the waist," Alemseged said. "This structure and its modification through time is one of the key events in the history of human evolution.'"

Comment: Human upright posture is very different than ape posture. They are still on all fours for much of their locomotion and their lower spine and pelvis are very different. The bony spinal changes had to precede the upright posture, and once again the gaps in hominin fossils do not show tiny steps in this development. This specimen is very different from ape spines. Unless many intermediate forms are discovered, we are left with saltations to allow upright posture. Design required.

Convoluted human evolution: Early spine changes

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 01, 2017, 00:54 (173 days ago) @ David Turell

More commentary on this 3.3 million year old humanoid child with a humanlike spine and an upper torso more apelike:

"The fossil, also called  “Selam” — “peace” in the Ethiopian Amharic language — has revealed numerous insights into our early human relatives. But Alemseged said one of the most startling findings comes from the toddler's spine, which had an adaptation for walking upright that had not been seen in such an old skeleton.

"The result, he said, is a creature whose upper body was apelike, but whose pelvis, legs and feet had familiar, humanlike adaptations.

“If you had a time machine and saw a group of these early human relatives, what you would have said right away is, 'What is that chimpanzee doing walking on two legs?' " Alemseged said.

"The findings, show for the first time the spinal column was humanlike in its numbering and segmentation. Though scientists know that even older species were bipedal, researchers said Selam's fossilized vertebrae is the only hard evidence of bipedal adaptations in an ancient hominid spine.

“'Yes, there were other bipedal species before, but what is making this unique is the preservation of the spine, which simply is unprecedented,” Alemseged said. “Not only is it exquisitely preserved, but it also tells us that the human-type of segmentation emerged at least 3.3 million years ago. Could there have been other species with a similar structure, yes, but we don't know for sure.”

"Human beings share many of the same spinal structures as other primates, but the human spine — which has more vertebrae in the lower back, for example — is adapted for efficient upright motion, such as walking and running on two feet."

Comment: What this further study shows is that our earliest ancestors coming out of trees had advanced bipedal changes before permanently climbing down. Their upper body was apelike and last to change. It seems like evolution follows the pattern of change first and use second, as the big brain, size first use second.

Convoluted human evolution: founder effects

by David Turell @, Friday, June 02, 2017, 15:18 (171 days ago) @ David Turell

Migration by a few individuals meant new subpopulations were the result of interbreeding, the founder effect:

https://aeon.co/essays/how-much-does-evolution-depend-on-chance?utm_source=Aeon+Newslet...

"when humans colonised new lands, it was probably a few intrepid explorers looking for new pastures. And the DNA evidence bears this out. Across the world, we see ‘bottlenecks’ at the genetic level — signatures where a small group of individuals, carrying a relatively small number of genetic variants, have set up new colonies. This is the key to understanding why the most genetically diverse human population can be found in Africa, while the populations of further migrations are descended from a much smaller stock of brave (or desperate) migrants.

***

"On the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, there are fewer than 300 permanent residents, and around half of them suffer from asthma....The 282 residents they studied were descended from just 15 original settlers, who, it turned out, had an usually high prevalence of asthma among them. Because the founders were forced to interbreed, asthma increased in prevalence throughout the population. Scientists call this phenomenon a ‘founder effect’. It is, in more technical terms, the change in frequency of a trait when a new population is formed by a small number of individuals. And it is founder effects such as this that have left their signature, in our bodies and in our genes, to spread like ancient footprints out of Africa to the rest of the world.

***

" Mayr wondered whether evolution might ‘speed up’ when a few individuals colonise a new area. After further research, he argued that, in small populations, new combinations of interacting genes could arise, which would in turn interact with natural selection and cause the population to undergo what he called a ‘genetic revolution’. Evolution would take a whole new path, and new branches of the evolutionary tree would eventually form, much more quickly than if natural selection alone had been the guiding force.

"Today, almost all evolutionary biologists agree that founder effects occur, and can explain variation among individuals within a species. But whether they persist over evolutionary time, and especially whether they are involved in the formation of new species, is a point of contention. Experiments with small fruitfly populations in the lab have almost all failed to produce the expected evolutionary change. There have also been theoretical critiques of Mayr and other proponents of his theory. To boot, there were problems with finding evidence in the wild. Human populations are very closely related, and any divergence has occurred, in evolutionary terms, relatively recently. But biological species are often separated by millions of years, and if any founder effects had occurred by this point, their footprints might well have been erased. The consensus is that, aside from a few examples, founder effects have not been a major force in shaping the tree of life."

Comment: It appears there is enough genetic diversity in a small group of humans that we have very little evidence of effects of inbreeding causing bad results in small migrating groups.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Friday, July 28, 2017, 19:35 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

No fossils found but a compound in human saliva says someone is missing:

http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/researchers-found-evidence-of-a-human-ancestor-weve-ne...

"We know that humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans had a common ancestor named Homo heidelbergensis, who lived 700,000 to 200,000 years ago. H. heidelbergensis had a short, wide body which preserved heat. As such, it was the first hominin who was able to live in colder climates.

"H. heidelbergensis was no slouch. It used spears for hunting and had fire. It was also the first to make shelters out of rocks or stones, and the first to hunt large game. Somewhere around 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, a group of them migrated out of Africa. Sometime after that, it split off into Neanderthals and Denisovans. While Neanderthals settled in Europe and Western Asia, Denisovans migrated to central and Southeast Asia, traveling as far as the Pacific Islands and even Australia.

"Somewhere around 130,000 years ago our ancestors, Homo sapiens, came onto the scene. Although, new evidence may push their arrival much farther back, to 300,000 years ago, according to a newly discovered skull, excavated from a cave in Morocco last June. Supposedly, humans didn’t start migrating out of Africa in large numbers until 125,000-60,000 years ago. Some scholars believe a smaller, earlier migration took place before the larger one.  

***

"Now a team of experts, led by two professors at the University of Buffalo, report findings that fragment our understanding even further. They’ve isolated a gene from an ancient hominin species we’ve never encountered before. It’s some kind of genetic missing link. The gene known as MUC7 is present in the saliva of all humans. But it’s radically different from one lineage to the next.

***

“'Our research traced the evolution of an important mucin protein called MUC7 that is found in saliva,” he said. “When we looked at the history of the gene that codes for the protein, we see the signature of archaic admixture in modern day Sub-Saharan African populations.”

"MUC7 is the gene which produces mucin, the substance that makes saliva thick and sticky. As such, it binds to microbes in an effort to protect the body from infection.  Not all of the MUC7 genes are the same, however. It is these variations which can help scientists untangle the different strains leading to different lineages.

"Researchers examined MUC7 within the genomes of 2,500 participants. Those from Sub-Saharan Africa had a type that varied considerably from those from other regions. The gene was so different in fact, Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes were more closely aligned with ours more than this variety. The evolutionary path of us and this “ghost” ancestor split 500,000 to 2.5 million years ago. Our ancestors are thought to have admixed with them somewhere between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago.

"Dr. Gokcumen said:

"Based on our analysis, the most plausible explanation for this extreme variation is archaic introgression — the introduction of genetic material from a ‘ghost’ species of ancient hominins. This unknown human relative could be a species that has been discovered, such as a subspecies of Homo erectus, or an undiscovered hominin. We call it a ‘ghost’ species because we don’t have the fossils."

Comment: Like the Denisovans about whom we only have a tooth and a little finger, in this case we have genetics but no bones. H. naledi bones (15 individuals) were just discovered. How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Saturday, July 29, 2017, 08:53 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

Looks like a large bush to me. Most purposes run in a straight line, don’t they?

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 29, 2017, 14:19 (115 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

dhw: Looks like a large bush to me. Most purposes run in a straight line, don’t they?

But all of evolution is a giant bush. That's the purposeful approach

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Sunday, July 30, 2017, 10:47 (114 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

dhw: Looks like a large bush to me. Most purposes run in a straight line, don’t they?

DAVID: But all of evolution is a giant bush. That's the purposeful approach.

In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 30, 2017, 18:24 (113 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

dhw: Looks like a large bush to me. Most purposes run in a straight line, don’t they?

DAVID: But all of evolution is a giant bush. That's the purposeful approach.

dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:19 (113 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How many other branches are yet to be found. There appears to be a large bush of hominins, when nothing else advanced. Looks like a purposeful push toward H. sapiens.

dhw: Looks like a large bush to me. Most purposes run in a straight line, don’t they?

DAVID: But all of evolution is a giant bush. That's the purposeful approach.

dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

DAVID: But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

It is you who are trying to “dilute it” by saying that one single species (Homo sapiens) was the purpose of the giant bush. I am pointing out that a single purpose would normally follow a straight line and not branch out into a higgledy-piggledy bush.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Monday, July 31, 2017, 15:23 (112 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

DAVID: But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

dhw: It is you who are trying to “dilute it” by saying that one single species (Homo sapiens) was the purpose of the giant bush. I am pointing out that a single purpose would normally follow a straight line and not branch out into a higgledy-piggledy bush.

But all of evolution's past has produced bushes as it progressed. Where is the straight line you are suggesting?

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 12:18 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

DAVID: But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

dhw: It is you who are trying to “dilute it” by saying that one single species (Homo sapiens) was the purpose of the giant bush. I am pointing out that a single purpose would normally follow a straight line and not branch out into a higgledy-piggledy bush.

DAVID: But all of evolution's past has produced bushes as it progressed. Where is the straight line you are suggesting?

Your question is the one I think you should ask yourself! I am pointing out that singular purposes normally follow straight lines. There IS no straight line, either for the bush of evolution generally or for the bush of hominins and homos. And that suggests to me that there IS no singular purpose!

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 17:37 (111 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

DAVID: But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

dhw: It is you who are trying to “dilute it” by saying that one single species (Homo sapiens) was the purpose of the giant bush. I am pointing out that a single purpose would normally follow a straight line and not branch out into a higgledy-piggledy bush.

DAVID: But all of evolution's past has produced bushes as it progressed. Where is the straight line you are suggesting?

dhw: Your question is the one I think you should ask yourself! I am pointing out that singular purposes normally follow straight lines. There IS no straight line, either for the bush of evolution generally or for the bush of hominins and homos. And that suggests to me that there IS no singular purpose!

The pattern of evolution is bushiness. But it always showed further complexity as it progressed. It definitely shows a directionality which can be equated to purpose: produce the most complex. And it has. The human brain.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Wednesday, August 02, 2017, 14:04 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In that case, the purpose is a giant bush – not one single species.

DAVID: But as I pointed out there was a bush explosion of various hominins as the major thrust of evolution in the past 8-10 million years. That is the purposeful event. You are trying to dilute it.

dhw: It is you who are trying to “dilute it” by saying that one single species (Homo sapiens) was the purpose of the giant bush. I am pointing out that a single purpose would normally follow a straight line and not branch out into a higgledy-piggledy bush.

DAVID: But all of evolution's past has produced bushes as it progressed. Where is the straight line you are suggesting?

dhw: Your question is the one I think you should ask yourself! I am pointing out that singular purposes normally follow straight lines. There IS no straight line, either for the bush of evolution generally or for the bush of hominins and homos. And that suggests to me that there IS no singular purpose!

DAVID: The pattern of evolution is bushiness. But it always showed further complexity as it progressed. It definitely shows a directionality which can be equated to purpose: produce the most complex. And it has. The human brain.

I am fully aware that the pattern of evolution is bushiness, and that the advance from bacteria to dinosaurs, dodos, the duck-billed platypus and us Davids entails complexity. Why you should think that all of these relate to your God’s single purpose of producing the human brain, as opposed to the purpose of producing bushiness, has been the subject of endless posts between us. If you stop telling us that higgledy-piggledy bushiness is evidence of a single purpose, l will refrain from listing the rest of the contradictions.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 02, 2017, 19:38 (110 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: The pattern of evolution is bushiness. But it always showed further complexity as it progressed. It definitely shows a directionality which can be equated to purpose: produce the most complex. And it has. The human brain.

dhw: I am fully aware that the pattern of evolution is bushiness, and that the advance from bacteria to dinosaurs, dodos, the duck-billed platypus and us Davids entails complexity. Why you should think that all of these relate to your God’s single purpose of producing the human brain, as opposed to the purpose of producing bushiness, has been the subject of endless posts between us. If you stop telling us that higgledy-piggledy bushiness is evidence of a single purpose, l will refrain from listing the rest of the contradictions.

You are confusing method with purpose. The bushiness is fused with advancing complexity, thus the human brain result, under God's guidance.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Thursday, August 03, 2017, 10:50 (110 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The pattern of evolution is bushiness. But it always showed further complexity as it progressed. It definitely shows a directionality which can be equated to purpose: produce the most complex. And it has. The human brain.

dhw: I am fully aware that the pattern of evolution is bushiness, and that the advance from bacteria to dinosaurs, dodos, the duck-billed platypus and us Davids entails complexity. Why you should think that all of these relate to your God’s single purpose of producing the human brain, as opposed to the purpose of producing bushiness, has been the subject of endless posts between us. If you stop telling us that higgledy-piggledy bushiness is evidence of a single purpose, l will refrain from listing the rest of the contradictions.

DAVID: You are confusing method with purpose. The bushiness is fused with advancing complexity, thus the human brain result, under God's guidance.

Wearing my theist hat, I am challenging the logic behind your assumption that your God’s sole purpose was to create a single species, and he chose to fulfil his purpose by creating a great bush of species. I suggest that if he knew what he was doing, the great bush may have been part of his purpose, i.e. he actually wanted a great bush. And I suggest that the ever changing nature of that bush (including the comings and goings of the different hominids and homos) indicates that constant change was also part of his purpose. And I suggest that constant change runs contrary to the hypothesis that he started out with the sole purpose of creating a single species. But we have been over this a thousand times, and so if you will stop telling us that the higgledy-piggledy bush was God’s method of fulfilling his sole purpose of producing the human brain, I will stop proposing alternative interpretations of the bush and your God’s intentions.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 03, 2017, 14:55 (109 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And I suggest that constant change runs contrary to the hypothesis that he started out with the sole purpose of creating a single species. But we have been over this a thousand times, and so if you will stop telling us that the higgledy-piggledy bush was God’s method of fulfilling his sole purpose of producing the human brain, I will stop proposing alternative interpretations of the bush and your God’s intentions.

Sorry, your objection has holes. Evolution is change. In the case of the human evolutionary bush, the brain kept growing and developing more advanced functional hominins until humans appeared. Looks like a teleologic plan to me. Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course. Just as logical has your stories.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Friday, August 04, 2017, 09:48 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: And I suggest that constant change runs contrary to the hypothesis that he started out with the sole purpose of creating a single species. But we have been over this a thousand times, and so if you will stop telling us that the higgledy-piggledy bush was God’s method of fulfilling his sole purpose of producing the human brain, I will stop proposing alternative interpretations of the bush and your God’s intentions.

DAVID: Sorry, your objection has holes. Evolution is change. In the case of the human evolutionary bush, the brain kept growing and developing more advanced functional hominins until humans appeared. Looks like a teleologic plan to me. Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course. Just as logical has your stories.

That IS my theistic story: that your God may have set the whole process of evolution in motion and let it run its course. Hence the great bush. But you won’t have it. According to you, God is always in control, and his sole purpose is to produce the brain of Homo sapiens! With my theist hat on, I’ve even allowed for the possibility of a special dabble, in order to accommodate the acknowledged specialness of Homo sapiens, but that’s not enough for you. Instead you have him personally designing the pre-whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s migratory lifestyle, the parasitic wasp, dinosaurs, various types of nervous system, various brands of hominin and homo, and the duck-billed platypus, although all he actually wants to do is design Homo sapiens’ brain. Of course evolution is change. On a vast, bushy, higgledy-piggledy scale, not in a targeted straight line. Recently in a weak moment even you admitted that you couldn’t understand why your God would design all the different pre-whales if his sole purpose was to produce Homo sapiens. But then back you slide into the same old groove. And back I have to come with the same old objections. If you stop, I’ll stop.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Friday, August 04, 2017, 21:58 (108 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And I suggest that constant change runs contrary to the hypothesis that he started out with the sole purpose of creating a single species. But we have been over this a thousand times, and so if you will stop telling us that the higgledy-piggledy bush was God’s method of fulfilling his sole purpose of producing the human brain, I will stop proposing alternative interpretations of the bush and your God’s intentions.

DAVID: Sorry, your objection has holes. Evolution is change. In the case of the human evolutionary bush, the brain kept growing and developing more advanced functional hominins until humans appeared. Looks like a teleologic plan to me. Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course. Just as logical has your stories.

dhw: That IS my theistic story: that your God may have set the whole process of evolution in motion and let it run its course. Hence the great bush. But you won’t have it. According to you, God is always in control, and his sole purpose is to produce the brain of Homo sapiens! With my theist hat on, I’ve even allowed for the possibility of a special dabble, in order to accommodate the acknowledged specialness of Homo sapiens, but that’s not enough for you. Instead you have him personally designing the pre-whale, the weaverbird’s nest, the monarch butterfly’s migratory lifestyle, the parasitic wasp, dinosaurs, various types of nervous system, various brands of hominin and homo, and the duck-billed platypus, although all he actually wants to do is design Homo sapiens’ brain. Of course evolution is change. On a vast, bushy, higgledy-piggledy scale, not in a targeted straight line. Recently in a weak moment even you admitted that you couldn’t understand why your God would design all the different pre-whales if his sole purpose was to produce Homo sapiens. But then back you slide into the same old groove. And back I have to come with the same old objections. If you stop, I’ll stop.

I'll stop. God should always be in control. That is why He is God. You can imagine Him any way you want to in order to dilute his powers.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Saturday, August 05, 2017, 08:37 (108 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course evolution is change. On a vast, bushy, higgledy-piggledy scale, not in a targeted straight line. Recently in a weak moment even you admitted that you couldn’t understand why your God would design all the different pre-whales if his sole purpose was to produce Homo sapiens. But then back you slide into the same old groove. And back I have to come with the same old objections. If you stop, I’ll stop.

DAVID: I'll stop. God should always be in control. That is why He is God. You can imagine Him any way you want to in order to dilute his powers.

You have not stopped. And so once again with my theist’s hat on, I must point out to you that it is not a dilution of your God’s powers to suggest that he deliberately engineered a system that enables organisms to work out their own modes of survival and improvement. Why “should” he always be in control if he chooses to give his creations freedom? You accept that concept of freedom with your belief in human free will, so why not extend the principle to the whole process of evolution? In your own words (another of your unguarded moments): “Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course.” No dilution whatsoever, and at a stroke you remove all the anomalies I keep listing.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 05, 2017, 15:22 (107 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Of course evolution is change. On a vast, bushy, higgledy-piggledy scale, not in a targeted straight line. Recently in a weak moment even you admitted that you couldn’t understand why your God would design all the different pre-whales if his sole purpose was to produce Homo sapiens. But then back you slide into the same old groove. And back I have to come with the same old objections. If you stop, I’ll stop.

DAVID: I'll stop. God should always be in control. That is why He is God. You can imagine Him any way you want to in order to dilute his powers.

dhw: You have not stopped. And so once again with my theist’s hat on, I must point out to you that it is not a dilution of your God’s powers to suggest that he deliberately engineered a system that enables organisms to work out their own modes of survival and improvement. Why “should” he always be in control if he chooses to give his creations freedom? You accept that concept of freedom with your belief in human free will, so why not extend the principle to the whole process of evolution? In your own words (another of your unguarded moments): “Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course.” No dilution whatsoever, and at a stroke you remove all the anomalies I keep listing.

Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

Convoluted human evolution:genetic explosion

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 05, 2017, 18:13 (107 days ago) @ David Turell


David: Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

An article has just appeared that covers this subject from the atheist science viewpoint:


https://phys.org/news/2017-08-paper-genus-homo-response-environmental.html

"Many scientists have argued that an influx, described as a "pulse," of new animal species appear in the African fossil record between 2.8 and 2.5 million years ago, including our own genus Homo. Experts believe it takes a broad-scale event like global climate change to spark the origination of so many diverse new species. However, W. Andrew Barr, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology, published a report that says it's possible the pulse of new species could have occurred by chance and might not be directly related to climate change.

"It is generally accepted that when major environmental changes occur, some species will go extinct and others will originate, which can create a cluster or pulse of new species in the fossil record. However, there is not a set definition of what is considered a pulse, so experts have disagreed about which clusters constitute meaningful events and which can be explained as random fluctuations.

"Dr. Barr used computer simulation to model what the fossil record might look like over time in the absence of any climate change and found clusters of species originations that were of similar magnitude to the clusters observed in the fossil record. This means random patterns are likely under-credited for their role in speciation fluctuation, he said.

"Dr. Barr's findings mean scientists may need to rethink widely-accepted ideas about why human ancestors became smarter and more sophisticated.

"The idea that our genus originated more than 2.5 million years ago as part of a turnover pulse in direct response to climate change has a deep history in paleonthropology," Dr. Barr said. "My study shows that the magnitude of that pulse could be caused by random fluctuations in speciation rates. One implication is that we may need to broaden our search for why our genus arose at that time and place."

***

"The idea the the origin of Homo is part of a climate-caused turnover pulse doesn't really bear out when you carefully look at the evidence and compare it against other possible explanations," Dr. Barr said.

"This research challenges scientists to be careful about the stories they tell about the history of human adaption, Dr. Barr said. Traits that make humans different from our ancestors, like larger brains and greater technological sophistication, could have arisen for a variety of reasons, he said.

"'We can sit in the present and tell stories of the past that make sense of our modern day adaptations," he said. "But these could have evolved for reasons we don't know.'"

Comment: This article makes a point about the real existence of 'pulses' which are sudden jumps or speeding up of a slower evolutionary process. The author suggests why without mentioning God. With my view of God always being in control, I can understand that He might slow down or speed up the process at times. Knowing that it took 3.6-8 billion years or so to reach the point when humans appeared, God was obviously willing to work slowly (by our standards) and perhaps speeded things up when the preparation for that 'pulse' was complete. At any rate the sudden pulse of hominins was the only major step in evolution in the past 6-8 million years as far as we know.

Convoluted human evolution:genetic explosion

by dhw, Sunday, August 06, 2017, 08:56 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES (my bold): ….it's possible the pulse of new species could have occurred by chance and might not be directly related to climate change.

Traits that make humans different from our ancestors, like larger brains and greater technological sophistication, could have arisen for a variety of reasons, he said.

"We can sit in the present and tell stories of the past that make sense of our modern day adaptations," he said. "But these could have evolved for reasons we don't know."


Yep, it could have occurred by chance, or it could have occurred through climate change, or it could have occurred for a variety of reasons including other reasons we don’t know. Am I alone in feeling just a little unenlightened?

Convoluted human evolution:genetic explosion

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 06, 2017, 15:24 (106 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES (my bold): ….it's possible the pulse of new species could have occurred by chance and might not be directly related to climate change.

Traits that make humans different from our ancestors, like larger brains and greater technological sophistication, could have arisen for a variety of reasons, he said.

"We can sit in the present and tell stories of the past that make sense of our modern day adaptations," he said. "But these could have evolved for reasons we don't know."


dhw: Yep, it could have occurred by chance, or it could have occurred through climate change, or it could have occurred for a variety of reasons including other reasons we don’t know. Am I alone in feeling just a little unenlightened?

The result of too much money allowing computer simulations. GIGO. But the history of evolution is the presence of 'pulses' as in human development.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Sunday, August 06, 2017, 08:51 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course evolution is change. On a vast, bushy, higgledy-piggledy scale, not in a targeted straight line. Recently in a weak moment even you admitted that you couldn’t understand why your God would design all the different pre-whales if his sole purpose was to produce Homo sapiens. But then back you slide into the same old groove. And back I have to come with the same old objections. If you stop, I’ll stop.

DAVID: I'll stop. God should always be in control. That is why He is God. You can imagine Him any way you want to in order to dilute his powers.

dhw: You have not stopped. And so once again with my theist’s hat on, I must point out to you that it is not a dilution of your God’s powers to suggest that he deliberately engineered a system that enables organisms to work out their own modes of survival and improvement. Why “should” he always be in control if he chooses to give his creations freedom? You accept that concept of freedom with your belief in human free will, so why not extend the principle to the whole process of evolution? In your own words (another of your unguarded moments): “Perhaps God set a genetic explosion in motion and let it run its course.” No dilution whatsoever, and at a stroke you remove all the anomalies I keep listing.

DAVID: Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 06, 2017, 15:20 (106 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

dhw: Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Monday, August 07, 2017, 09:29 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

dhw: Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

DAVID: What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.

Back we go to your nebulous “guidelines”, but I’m delighted that you are at last granting organisms the possibility to do their own inventing. So let's take the pre-whale, and decide what were the guidelines and what were the pre-whale's own inventions. First guideline, perhaps: God said: “Go live in the water,” and behold, the pre-whale did go live in the water. What happened next? If God invented fins and blowholes and a fishy tail, there wouldn’t be much left for the whale to “invent”, would there? So what guidelines are you envisaging? Did God say: “Them thar legs ain’t much use in the water, so get rid of ‘em”? And the pre-whale said to itself: “God says to get rid of my legs, so I’m gonna invent fins instead”? May I suggest that if the pre-whale could invent its own fins, it could also make its own decision to enter the water and its own discovery that legs weren’t much use in the water? So do please tell us precisely what “guidelines” you envisage for the pre-whale, and what you think the pre-whale invented all by itself.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 01:16 (105 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Our free will is a result of the brain/consciousness we were given. All other organisms simply live, survive and reproduce. Your 'anomalies' are the result of removing God in control. The 'genetic explosion' refers to my comment about all the hominins that appeared as the only advance in evolution, which I would believe was totally under God's control.

dhw: Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

DAVID: What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.

dhw: Back we go to your nebulous “guidelines”, but I’m delighted that you are at last granting organisms the possibility to do their own inventing. So let's take the pre-whale, and decide what were the guidelines and what were the pre-whale's own inventions. First guideline, perhaps: God said: “Go live in the water,” and behold, the pre-whale did go live in the water. What happened next? If God invented fins and blowholes and a fishy tail, there wouldn’t be much left for the whale to “invent”, would there? So what guidelines are you envisaging? Did God say: “Them thar legs ain’t much use in the water, so get rid of ‘em”? And the pre-whale said to itself: “God says to get rid of my legs, so I’m gonna invent fins instead”? May I suggest that if the pre-whale could invent its own fins, it could also make its own decision to enter the water and its own discovery that legs weren’t much use in the water? So do please tell us precisely what “guidelines” you envisage for the pre-whale, and what you think the pre-whale invented all by itself.

The whale is still under God's guidelines. I've not changed my point of view much as you wish it. God controls evolution.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 08:57 (105 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

DAVID: What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.

dhw: Back we go to your nebulous “guidelines”, but I’m delighted that you are at last granting organisms the possibility to do their own inventing. So let's take the pre-whale, and decide what were the guidelines and what were the pre-whale's own inventions. First guideline, perhaps: God said: “Go live in the water,” and behold, the pre-whale did go live in the water. What happened next? If God invented fins and blowholes and a fishy tail, there wouldn’t be much left for the whale to “invent”, would there? So what guidelines are you envisaging? Did God say: “Them thar legs ain’t much use in the water, so get rid of ‘em”? And the pre-whale said to itself: “God says to get rid of my legs, so I’m gonna invent fins instead”? May I suggest that if the pre-whale could invent its own fins, it could also make its own decision to enter the water and its own discovery that legs weren’t much use in the water? So do please tell us precisely what “guidelines” you envisage for the pre-whale, and what you think the pre-whale invented all by itself.

DAVID: The whale is still under God's guidelines. I've not changed my point of view much as you wish it. God controls evolution.

I am not asking you to change your point of view. Taking the example of the various pre-whales, I am asking you to clarify what you mean by “guidelines” and what you mean by the “invention” God allows.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 18:44 (104 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Free will is an example of your God’s willingness to give up control. The anomaly of your God designing eight different types of pre-whale when all he wanted to do was produce the human brain has nothing to do with “removing God in control” and everything to do with the fact that, as you have admitted, even you can’t make sense of your own hypothesis. Setting something in motion and letting it run its course is a strange way of describing total control.

DAVID: What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.

dhw: Back we go to your nebulous “guidelines”, but I’m delighted that you are at last granting organisms the possibility to do their own inventing. So let's take the pre-whale, and decide what were the guidelines and what were the pre-whale's own inventions. First guideline, perhaps: God said: “Go live in the water,” and behold, the pre-whale did go live in the water. What happened next? If God invented fins and blowholes and a fishy tail, there wouldn’t be much left for the whale to “invent”, would there? So what guidelines are you envisaging? Did God say: “Them thar legs ain’t much use in the water, so get rid of ‘em”? And the pre-whale said to itself: “God says to get rid of my legs, so I’m gonna invent fins instead”? May I suggest that if the pre-whale could invent its own fins, it could also make its own decision to enter the water and its own discovery that legs weren’t much use in the water? So do please tell us precisely what “guidelines” you envisage for the pre-whale, and what you think the pre-whale invented all by itself.

DAVID: The whale is still under God's guidelines. I've not changed my point of view much as you wish it. God controls evolution.

dhw: I am not asking you to change your point of view. Taking the example of the various pre-whales, I am asking you to clarify what you mean by “guidelines” and what you mean by the “invention” God allows.

If you know comparative anatomy a leg and a flipper have analogous parts. The 'guidelines' are design changes required. The 'invention' is the actual change as required in the genome. All requires design planning. Just image remodeling your home. It has to the same process of designing new walls, plumbing wiring, etc.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 09:02 (104 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The whale is still under God's guidelines. I've not changed my point of view much as you wish it. God controls evolution.

dhw: I am not asking you to change your point of view. Taking the example of the various pre-whales, I am asking you to clarify what you mean by “guidelines” and what you mean by the “invention” God allows.

DAVID: If you know comparative anatomy a leg and a flipper have analogous parts. The 'guidelines' are design changes required. The 'invention' is the actual change as required in the genome. All requires design planning. Just image remodeling your home. It has to the same process of designing new walls, plumbing wiring, etc.

Thank you for this very encouraging clarification. Let’s put it in more concrete terms, bearing in mind your original statement: “What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.”

Guideline: your God says to the pre-whale: “Go live in the water and redesign thyself accordingly.”
Invention: God allows the pre-whale to engineer (“invent”) its own changes so that it can live more comfortably in the water. Frankly, I don’t see any reason whatsoever why the pre-whale shouldn’t have taken its own decision to go live in the water, especially if environmental conditions made the water a more attractive place to live in, but the important thing here is your acknowledgement that the cell communities of which the organism is made are capable of changing their own structure, or redesigning themselves. That is the whole point of my “intelligent cell” hypothesis: that the cell communities have the ability (possibly God-given, or in your terms "allowed") to make the changes, as opposed to being preprogrammed or dabbled by your God before they even enter the water.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 09, 2017, 15:23 (103 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The whale is still under God's guidelines. I've not changed my point of view much as you wish it. God controls evolution.

dhw: I am not asking you to change your point of view. Taking the example of the various pre-whales, I am asking you to clarify what you mean by “guidelines” and what you mean by the “invention” God allows.

DAVID: If you know comparative anatomy a leg and a flipper have analogous parts. The 'guidelines' are design changes required. The 'invention' is the actual change as required in the genome. All requires design planning. Just image remodeling your home. It has to the same process of designing new walls, plumbing wiring, etc.

dhw: Thank you for this very encouraging clarification. Let’s put it in more concrete terms, bearing in mind your original statement: “What happened followed my approach of God allowing invention under guidelines.”

Guideline: your God says to the pre-whale: “Go live in the water and redesign thyself accordingly.”
Invention: God allows the pre-whale to engineer (“invent”) its own changes so that it can live more comfortably in the water. Frankly, I don’t see any reason whatsoever why the pre-whale shouldn’t have taken its own decision to go live in the water, especially if environmental conditions made the water a more attractive place to live in, but the important thing here is your acknowledgement that the cell communities of which the organism is made are capable of changing their own structure, or redesigning themselves. That is the whole point of my “intelligent cell” hypothesis: that the cell communities have the ability (possibly God-given, or in your terms "allowed") to make the changes, as opposed to being preprogrammed or dabbled by your God before they even enter the water.

Your definition of guidelines is not mine. They are not an order to go do something. They are plans to follow in redevelopment as in my house-building analogy.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Thursday, August 10, 2017, 08:54 (103 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Guideline: your God says to the pre-whale: “Go live in the water and redesign thyself accordingly.”
Invention: God allows the pre-whale to engineer (“invent”) its own changes so that it can live more comfortably in the water. Frankly, I don’t see any reason whatsoever why the pre-whale shouldn’t have taken its own decision to go live in the water, especially if environmental conditions made the water a more attractive place to live in, but the important thing here is your acknowledgement that the cell communities of which the organism is made are capable of changing their own structure, or redesigning themselves. That is the whole point of my “intelligent cell” hypothesis: that the cell communities have the ability (possibly God-given, or in your terms "allowed") to make the changes, as opposed to being preprogrammed or dabbled by your God before they even enter the water.

DAVID: Your definition of guidelines is not mine. They are not an order to go do something. They are plans to follow in redevelopment as in my house-building analogy.

You wrote that God allowed “invention under guidelines”. I am only trying to find out how you distinguish between guidelines (provided by God) and invention (by the organisms). If you are now saying that God drew up all the plans, what exactly did the pre-whales invent? Or, to use your building analogy, are you now defining invention as automatically carrying out instructions?

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 10, 2017, 18:29 (102 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: Guideline: your God says to the pre-whale: “Go live in the water and redesign thyself accordingly.”
Invention: God allows the pre-whale to engineer (“invent”) its own changes so that it can live more comfortably in the water. Frankly, I don’t see any reason whatsoever why the pre-whale shouldn’t have taken its own decision to go live in the water, especially if environmental conditions made the water a more attractive place to live in, but the important thing here is your acknowledgement that the cell communities of which the organism is made are capable of changing their own structure, or redesigning themselves. That is the whole point of my “intelligent cell” hypothesis: that the cell communities have the ability (possibly God-given, or in your terms "allowed") to make the changes, as opposed to being preprogrammed or dabbled by your God before they even enter the water.

DAVID: Your definition of guidelines is not mine. They are not an order to go do something. They are plans to follow in redevelopment as in my house-building analogy.

dhw: You wrote that God allowed “invention under guidelines”. I am only trying to find out how you distinguish between guidelines (provided by God) and invention (by the organisms). If you are now saying that God drew up all the plans, what exactly did the pre-whales invent? Or, to use your building analogy, are you now defining invention as automatically carrying out instructions?

You want exactitude and I don't have it. God does not let me in on his methods. I start with the premise that God is in control and uses an evolutionary method. Advances in form follow plans or guidelines. Perhaps it is better to leave out the word invention and say the advancing animal form is initiated on a timetable. Since evolution requires so much time it is possible the organisms play a role in when to initiate.

Convoluted human evolution: migration to SE Asia

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 10, 2017, 18:55 (102 days ago) @ David Turell

As far back as 70,000 years ago:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/archaeology/fossils-rewrite-story-of-human-settlement-in-sou...

"Fossil teeth found at an ancient cave site lost to science for more than a century indicate humans lived on the Indonesian island of Sumatra 63,000 to 73,000 years ago – 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"The teeth, retrieved from a cave named Lida Ajer, in the Padang Highlands on Sumatra’s west coast, provide the earliest evidence of modern humans living in a rainforest – an environment known to be extremely challenging for incoming Homo sapiens, who were adapted to open grassland survival.

***

"The teeth – an incisor and a molar – were actually discovered by Dutch paleoanthropologist and explorer Eugene Dubois in the late 19th century. Dubois classified them as hominin.

"Soon after, the teeth, other fossils recovered and the Lida Ajer site itself fell from academic view, primarily because of uncertainties regarding the age of the artefacts due to incomplete notes and poor excavation practices.

"As a result, the Sumatran location has never featured in any serious exercise to map human inflow into Asia.

***

"Arriving at the site, they set about dating the deposit layer inside the cave in which the teeth were originally located, by using two different types of thermoluminescence analysis. Additional uranium-thorium dating provided supporting information.

"Uranium-thorium dating was also used on fossilised gibbon teeth found in the deposit – some freshly found and one originally excavated by Dubois.

"Next, the human teeth were subjected to a series of examinations, including enamel-dentine junction morphology, enamel thickness and comparative morphology.

"The results confirmed Hooijer’s findings, conclusively ruling out them coming from another member of the Homo genus.

"Combining the dating results of the location and other fossils yielded a firm date range of the teeth being 63,000 to 73,000 years old.

"Although claims for modern human settlement in Sumatra prior to 60,000 years ago had been made in the past, the evidence was indirect and considered open to question. Westaway’s team has now provided definitive proof.

"Even more interesting is that the proof comes from a site known to have been within a “closed-canopy” rainforest at the time.

"Human migration into previously uninhabited areas is thought to have occurred mainly along coastal routes, because open marine-linked environments provided the easiest and most food-abundant access.

“'Conversely,” write the researchers, “rainforests, with their highly spaced, seasonal resources, scarce fat-rich faunas and dearth of carbohydrate-rich plants, present serious difficulties for movement and colonisation by hominins that evolved in open environments.

"“Successful exploitation of rainforest environments requires the capacity for complex planning and technological innovations: the behavioural hallmark of our species.” (my bold)

"The Lida Ajer fossils, they go on to say, indicate incursions from coastal to forest environments happened much earlier than previously thought, possibly very close to the time of first arrival."

Comment: H. sapiens wandered all over the globe. Note my bold. Our brain's special capacity is the cause. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, did not wander. Their brains were bigger but less complex (it is assumed). Size and complexity of brain dictates what a species will develop. Size and complexity first, use second. It is so obvious.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Friday, August 11, 2017, 10:40 (102 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You wrote that God allowed “invention under guidelines”. I am only trying to find out how you distinguish between guidelines (provided by God) and invention (by the organisms). If you are now saying that God drew up all the plans, what exactly did the pre-whales invent? Or, to use your building analogy, are you now defining invention as automatically carrying out instructions?

DAVID: You want exactitude and I don't have it. God does not let me in on his methods. I start with the premise that God is in control and uses an evolutionary method. Advances in form follow plans or guidelines. Perhaps it is better to leave out the word invention and say the advancing animal form is initiated on a timetable. Since evolution requires so much time it is possible the organisms play a role in when to initiate.

If God exists, and if you believe in evolution, then of course God uses evolutionary methods. But you are very precise in your account of his methods. Over and over again you tell us that either he preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder 3.8 billion years ago, or he personally dabbled them. You even go so far as to tell us that he restructured organisms before their environment changed. And you tell us that all of these programmes and dabblings served the single purpose of producing the human brain. These are the “exactitudes” I keep challenging because they simply don’t add up. (No need for us to go over the long list of illogicalities again.) Now, when challenged, you jettison your “invention under guidelines” and have pre-whales making no decisions or changes of their own other than possibly deciding when to switch on God’s 3.8-billion-year-old programme for blowholes, all for the sake of the human brain. Does that really make sense to you?

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Friday, August 11, 2017, 15:26 (101 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If God exists, and if you believe in evolution, then of course God uses evolutionary methods. But you are very precise in your account of his methods. Over and over again you tell us that either he preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder 3.8 billion years ago, or he personally dabbled them. You even go so far as to tell us that he restructured organisms before their environment changed. And you tell us that all of these programmes and dabblings served the single purpose of producing the human brain. These are the “exactitudes” I keep challenging because they simply don’t add up. (No need for us to go over the long list of illogicalities again.) Now, when challenged, you jettison your “invention under guidelines” and have pre-whales making no decisions or changes of their own other than possibly deciding when to switch on God’s 3.8-billion-year-old programme for blowholes, all for the sake of the human brain. Does that really make sense to you?

If I decide God is fully in control, and you don't want Him to be, then my faith makes no sense to you. Your attempt to make sense out of what God does makes no sense to me, since you cannot bring yourself to choose to believe in Him. There is no perfect explanation of God's methods or motives, since we are both trying to read His mind from evidence in His works. The only explanations are chance or design, but ou don't like that dichotomy and try to weasel in third ways that are pipe dreams, like panpsychism which introduces a nebulous form of consciousness from nowhere. I try to extrapolate from established scientific belief. You tend to invent theories with no basis.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Saturday, August 12, 2017, 10:33 (101 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If God exists, and if you believe in evolution, then of course God uses evolutionary methods. But you are very precise in your account of his methods. Over and over again you tell us that either he preprogrammed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder 3.8 billion years ago, or he personally dabbled them. You even go so far as to tell us that he restructured organisms before their environment changed. And you tell us that all of these programmes and dabblings served the single purpose of producing the human brain. These are the “exactitudes” I keep challenging because they simply don’t add up. (No need for us to go over the long list of illogicalities again.) Now, when challenged, you jettison your “invention under guidelines” and have pre-whales making no decisions or changes of their own other than possibly deciding when to switch on God’s 3.8-billion-year-old programme for blowholes, all for the sake of the human brain. Does that really make sense to you?

DAVID: If I decide God is fully in control, and you don't want Him to be, then my faith makes no sense to you.

I have no problem with the concept of a God in full control. My problem is with your interpretation of your God’s intentions, when I look at the reality of evolutionary history. I simply don’t understand why a God in full control, who has the single purpose of producing the human brain, should devote so much attention to preprogramming or personally dabbling eight stages of whale, the monarch’s migratory lifestyle, the weaverbird’s nest, and a zillion other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders. So I offer a different theistic hypothesis, in which your God chooses to allow his invention of life and evolution to run its own course. Even you have agreed that this hypothesis fits in perfectly with the history of evolution as we know it.

DAVID: The only explanations are chance or design, but you don't like that dichotomy and try to weasel in third ways that are pipe dreams, like panpsychism which introduces a nebulous form of consciousness from nowhere. I try to extrapolate from established scientific belief. You tend to invent theories with no basis.

I accept the dichotomy, but find ALL the hypotheses impossible to have faith in – and that includes chance and both “nebulous forms of consciousness from nowhere”: i.e. panpsychist and divine. I don’t know what “established scientific belief” provides a basis for the hypothesis that there is an unknown power “from nowhere” which created life for the sole purpose of producing the human brain, and preprogrammed or personally dabbled a zillion innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders in order to fulfil that one and only purpose.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 12, 2017, 14:59 (100 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: If I decide God is fully in control, and you don't want Him to be, then my faith makes no sense to you.

I have no problem with the concept of a God in full control. My problem is with your interpretation of your God’s intentions, when I look at the reality of evolutionary history. I simply don’t understand why a God in full control, who has the single purpose of producing the human brain, should devote so much attention to preprogramming or personally dabbling eight stages of whale, the monarch’s migratory lifestyle, the weaverbird’s nest, and a zillion other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders. So I offer a different theistic hypothesis, in which your God chooses to allow his invention of life and evolution to run its own course. Even you have agreed that this hypothesis fits in perfectly with the history of evolution as we know it.

Yes it fits evolution as we see the history. Your views simply leaves out the possibility of a purpose driving evolution. The crowning achievement of the process is the human brain, the most complex functional biological organ in the universe. Nothing else organic or inorganic is equal to it. Just add purpose to your purposeless thinking.


DAVID: The only explanations are chance or design, but you don't like that dichotomy and try to weasel in third ways that are pipe dreams, like panpsychism which introduces a nebulous form of consciousness from nowhere. I try to extrapolate from established scientific belief. You tend to invent theories with no basis.

dhw: I don’t know what “established scientific belief” provides a basis for the hypothesis that there is an unknown power “from nowhere” which created life for the sole purpose of producing the human brain, and preprogrammed or personally dabbled a zillion innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders in order to fulfil that one and only purpose.

All of science provides a background to see the purpose in evolution. Designs found in nature, elucidated by science, provide the background to understand a planning mind is required.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Sunday, August 13, 2017, 11:12 (100 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If I decide God is fully in control, and you don't want Him to be, then my faith makes no sense to you.

dhw: I have no problem with the concept of a God in full control. My problem is with your interpretation of your God’s intentions, when I look at the reality of evolutionary history. I simply don’t understand why a God in full control, who has the single purpose of producing the human brain, should devote so much attention to preprogramming or personally dabbling eight stages of whale, the monarch’s migratory lifestyle, the weaverbird’s nest, and a zillion other innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders. So I offer a different theistic hypothesis, in which your God chooses to allow his invention of life and evolution to run its own course. Even you have agreed that this hypothesis fits in perfectly with the history of evolution as we know it.

DAVID: Yes it fits evolution as we see the history. Your views simply leaves out the possibility of a purpose driving evolution. The crowning achievement of the process is the human brain, the most complex functional biological organ in the universe. Nothing else organic or inorganic is equal to it. Just add purpose to your purposeless thinking.

It does not leave out the possibility of a purpose – it merely challenges your own particular concept of a purpose, which does NOT fit the history of evolution (see above). I have offered you a purpose that fits in perfectly with the history, and even incorporates the possibility of your God setting the process in motion: namely, evolution is driven by the twin purposes of survival and improvement. Humans embody both “drives”, and are themselves motivated by them.

DAVID: All of science provides a background to see the purpose in evolution. Designs found in nature, elucidated by science, provide the background to understand a planning mind is required.

I cannot see “all of science” confirming your belief that the purpose of every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was to produce the human brain. I agree, however, that the designs found in nature require intelligence. That does not mean the intelligence can only be that of a single, sourceless, unknown and unknowable mind creating robots incapable of designing anything for themselves (apart from humans, who for some reason have been granted autonomy, but we mustn’t ask why in case we anthropomorphize God).

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 13, 2017, 18:25 (99 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes it fits evolution as we see the history. Your views simply leaves out the possibility of a purpose driving evolution. The crowning achievement of the process is the human brain, the most complex functional biological organ in the universe. Nothing else organic or inorganic is equal to it. Just add purpose to your purposeless thinking.

dhw: It does not leave out the possibility of a purpose – it merely challenges your own particular concept of a purpose, which does NOT fit the history of evolution (see above). I have offered you a purpose that fits in perfectly with the history, and even incorporates the possibility of your God setting the process in motion: namely, evolution is driven by the twin purposes of survival and improvement. Humans embody both “drives”, and are themselves motivated by them.

The whale series we have been discussing does not fit 'survival and improvement'. Why choose survival by going into a hostile environment for mammals with complications like birth under water? It is not even clear that survival and competition are major factors in evolution. The drive to complexity, I often discuss, seems much more to the point, again by looking at the whales.


DAVID: All of science provides a background to see the purpose in evolution. Designs found in nature, elucidated by science, provide the background to understand a planning mind is required.

dhw: I cannot see “all of science” confirming your belief that the purpose of every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was to produce the human brain. I agree, however, that the designs found in nature require intelligence. That does not mean the intelligence can only be that of a single, sourceless, unknown and unknowable mind creating robots incapable of designing anything for themselves (apart from humans, who for some reason have been granted autonomy, but we mustn’t ask why in case we anthropomorphize God).

I did not say science confirms my belief. Evidence from science forms the background of my evidence for my beliefs. Multiple intelligences multiply the fantasy you follow. One intelligence is enough. And the human brain is a masterful final result that proves the point to me.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Monday, August 14, 2017, 13:12 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes it fits evolution as we see the history. Your views simply leaves out the possibility of a purpose driving evolution. […]
dhw: It does not leave out the possibility of a purpose – it merely challenges your own particular concept of a purpose, which does NOT fit the history of evolution (see above). I have offered you a purpose that fits in perfectly with the history, and even incorporates the possibility of your God setting the process in motion: namely, evolution is driven by the twin purposes of survival and improvement. Humans embody both “drives”, and are themselves motivated by them.
DAVID: The whale series we have been discussing does not fit 'survival and improvement'. Why choose survival by going into a hostile environment for mammals with complications like birth under water?

Perhaps because the environment they were leaving was even more hostile, or perhaps the environment they were entering offered a greater abundance of food. Nobody knows why they entered the water, so we can only speculate. Why would your God have engineered all these complex stage-by-stage restructurings and sent these creatures into a “hostile environment” if all he wanted to do was produce the human brain?

DAVID: It is not even clear that survival and competition are major factors in evolution. The drive to complexity, I often discuss, seems much more to the point, again by looking at the whales.

I didn’t mention competition, but it’s pretty obvious that if resources are limited, those organisms which can develop better means of acquiring them, or better means of protecting themselves, will have a better chance of survival. “Better” this and that = improvement. Cooperation, however, is another vital factor in the evolutionary process. As repeated many times over, I don’t see the point in complexity for complexity’s sake, but it makes no difference to the fact that I am NOT leaving out the possibility of purpose driving evolution – I am simply disagreeing with your idea of what that purpose is.

DAVID: All of science provides a background to see the purpose in evolution. Designs found in nature, elucidated by science, provide the background to understand a planning mind is required.
dhw: I cannot see “all of science” confirming your belief that the purpose of every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was to produce the human brain. […]
DAVID: I did not say science confirms my belief. Evidence from science forms the background of my evidence for my beliefs.

Every non-believing scientist will claim the same for his beliefs. Think Dawkins. My point is that science provides as little support for your religious beliefs as for his belief in materialism and for the idea of autonomous cellular intelligence - which can be theistic or atheistic, and in my case is not a belief but a hypothesis.

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Monday, August 14, 2017, 17:17 (98 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes it fits evolution as we see the history. Your views simply leaves out the possibility of a purpose driving evolution. […]
dhw: It does not leave out the possibility of a purpose – it merely challenges your own particular concept of a purpose, which does NOT fit the history of evolution (see above). I have offered you a purpose that fits in perfectly with the history, and even incorporates the possibility of your God setting the process in motion: namely, evolution is driven by the twin purposes of survival and improvement. Humans embody both “drives”, and are themselves motivated by them.
DAVID: The whale series we have been discussing does not fit 'survival and improvement'. Why choose survival by going into a hostile environment for mammals with complications like birth under water?

Perhaps because the environment they were leaving was even more hostile, or perhaps the environment they were entering offered a greater abundance of food. Nobody knows why they entered the water, so we can only speculate. Why would your God have engineered all these complex stage-by-stage restructurings and sent these creatures into a “hostile environment” if all he wanted to do was produce the human brain?

DAVID: It is not even clear that survival and competition are major factors in evolution. The drive to complexity, I often discuss, seems much more to the point, again by looking at the whales.

dhw: I didn’t mention competition, but it’s pretty obvious that if resources are limited, those organisms which can develop better means of acquiring them, or better means of protecting themselves, will have a better chance of survival. “Better” this and that = improvement. Cooperation, however, is another vital factor in the evolutionary process. As repeated many times over, I don’t see the point in complexity for complexity’s sake, but it makes no difference to the fact that I am NOT leaving out the possibility of purpose driving evolution – I am simply disagreeing with your idea of what that purpose is.

But it is complexity that developed. And remember my example that the human line developed and the ape line remained unchanged. Why? Chance? The apes, until recently with humans encroaching, survived just fine with no problems. The human line, leaving the trees, introduced more dangers to their survival than if they had stayed there. In a way just like the whales, why change habitat? I see it all as driven by purpose.


dhw: Every non-believing scientist will claim the same for his beliefs. Think Dawkins. My point is that science provides as little support for your religious beliefs as for his belief in materialism and for the idea of autonomous cellular intelligence - which can be theistic or atheistic, and in my case is not a belief but a hypothesis.

It is all in the interpretation. I have mine. You have yours

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by dhw, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 11:41 (98 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is not even clear that survival and competition are major factors in evolution. The drive to complexity, I often discuss, seems much more to the point, again by looking at the whales.

dhw: I didn’t mention competition, but it’s pretty obvious that if resources are limited, those organisms which can develop better means of acquiring them, or better means of protecting themselves, will have a better chance of survival. “Better” this and that = improvement. Cooperation, however, is another vital factor in the evolutionary process. As repeated many times over, I don’t see the point in complexity for complexity’s sake, but it makes no difference to the fact that I am NOT leaving out the possibility of purpose driving evolution – I am simply disagreeing with your idea of what that purpose is.

DAVID: But it is complexity that developed. And remember my example that the human line developed and the ape line remained unchanged. Why? Chance? The apes, until recently with humans encroaching, survived just fine with no problems. The human line, leaving the trees, introduced more dangers to their survival than if they had stayed there. In a way just like the whales, why change habitat? I see it all as driven by purpose.

As I said before, maybe the first pre-whales (and humans too) were forced to change habitat, or thought it would be advantageous to do so. The sole purpose you see in the whales changing habitat is to produce the human brain, but even you can’t find any connection. Except that the reason why you think your God preprogrammed or dabbled the whale and the monarch’s migration and the weaverbird’s nest was to keep life going, which has nothing to do with his sole purpose of producing the human brain. As for “unchanged”, bacteria have also remained unchanged, but you and I believe that every species alive today is descended from ancestors that did change. I suggest they all said to themselves: “I wanner survive” or “I wanner improve my chances of survival”, but if you think they said to themselves: “I wanner be more complex,” that’s fine. Though of course you don’t think they said anything. You think God said to each and every one of them: “I wanner make you more complex, so that I can produce the human brain.”

Convoluted human evolution: a branch is missing

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 19:21 (97 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: As I said before, maybe the first pre-whales (and humans too) were forced to change habitat, or thought it would be advantageous to do so. The sole purpose you see in the whales changing habitat is to produce the human brain, but even you can’t find any connection. Except that the reason why you think your God preprogrammed or dabbled the whale and the monarch’s migration and the weaverbird’s nest was to keep life going, which has nothing to do with his sole purpose of producing the human brain. As for “unchanged”, bacteria have also remained unchanged, but you and I believe that every species alive today is descended from ancestors that did change. I suggest they all said to themselves: “I wanner survive” or “I wanner improve my chances of survival”, but if you think they said to themselves: “I wanner be more complex,” that’s fine. Though of course you don’t think they said anything. You think God said to each and every one of them: “I wanner make you more complex, so that I can produce the human brain.”

In the other thread today I've made the point that bacteria have easily survived. Survival is a Darwinian concept of struggle, fitness and natural selection, which does not necessarily apply.

Convoluted human evolution: new footprints on Crete

by David Turell @, Friday, September 01, 2017, 21:31 (80 days ago) @ David Turell

These are dated 5.7 million years ago and compound the confusion about human evolution:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-fossil-footprints-theories-human-evolution.html

"Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa - with ape-like feet.

***

"More recent fossil discoveries in the same region, including the iconic 3.7 million year old Laetoli footprints from Tanzania which show human-like feet and upright locomotion, have cemented the idea that hominins (early members of the human lineage) not only originated in Africa but remained isolated there for several million years before dispersing to Europe and Asia. The discovery of approximately 5.7 million year old human-like footprints from Crete, published online this week by an international team of researchers, overthrows this simple picture and suggests a more complex reality.

***

"The new footprints, from Trachilos in western Crete, have an unmistakably human-like form. This is especially true of the toes. The big toe is similar to our own in shape, size and position; it is also associated with a distinct 'ball' on the sole, which is never present in apes. The sole of the foot is proportionately shorter than in the Laetoli prints, but it has the same general form. In short, the shape of the Trachilos prints indicates unambiguously that they belong to an early hominin, somewhat more primitive than the Laetoli trackmaker. They were made on a sandy seashore, possibly a small river delta, whereas the Laetoli tracks were made in volcanic ash.

***

"At approximately 5.7 million years, they are younger than the oldest known fossil hominin, Sahelanthropus from Chad, and contemporary with Orrorin from Kenya, but more than a million years older than Ardipithecus ramidus with its ape-like feet. This conflicts with the hypothesis that Ardipithecus is a direct ancestor of later hominins. Furthermore, until this year, all fossil hominins older than 1.8 million years (the age of early Homo fossils from Georgia) came from Africa, leading most researchers to conclude that this was where the group evolved. However, the Trachilos footprints are securely dated using a combination of foraminifera (marine microfossils) from over- and underlying beds, plus the fact that they lie just below a very distinctive sedimentary rock formed when the Mediterranean sea briefly dried out, 5.6 millon years ago. By curious coincidence, earlier this year, another group of researchers reinterpreted the fragmentary 7.2 million year old primate Graecopithecus from Greece and Bulgaria as a hominin. Graecopithecus is only known from teeth and jaws.

***

"During the time when the Trachilos footprints were made, a period known as the late Miocene, the Sahara Desert did not exist; savannah-like environments extended from North Africa up around the eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, Crete had not yet detached from the Greek mainland. It is thus not difficult to see how early hominins could have ranged across south-east Europe and well as Africa, and left their footprints on a Mediterranean shore that would one day form part of the island of Crete.

"'This discovery challenges the established narrative of early human evolution head-on and is likely to generate a lot of debate. Whether the human origins research community will accept fossil footprints as conclusive evidence of the presence of hominins in the Miocene of Crete remains to be seen," says Per Ahlberg."

Comment: This finding suggests there were other branches of the human developmentary bush in the southern part of Europe before the developing types in Africa appeared. Obviously footprints do not tell us about brain size, but it suggests that different body parts developed at different speeds in different hominins, in this instance, feet.

Convoluted human evolution: new footprints on Crete

by dhw, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 13:00 (80 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: These are dated 5.7 million years ago and compound the confusion about human evolution:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-fossil-footprints-theories-human-evolution.html

DAVID’s comment: This finding suggests there were other branches of the human developmentary bush in the southern part of Europe before the developing types in Africa appeared. Obviously footprints do not tell us about brain size, but it suggests that different body parts developed at different speeds in different hominins, in this instance, feet.

There seem to be new discoveries every other week, and they all add to the confusion. One thing seems pretty certain, though: if there is a designer, and if his primary purpose was to design homo sapiens, he sure had problems getting there.;-)

Convoluted human evolution: new footprints on Crete

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 14:46 (80 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: These are dated 5.7 million years ago and compound the confusion about human evolution:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-fossil-footprints-theories-human-evolution.html

DAVID’s comment: This finding suggests there were other branches of the human developmentary bush in the southern part of Europe before the developing types in Africa appeared. Obviously footprints do not tell us about brain size, but it suggests that different body parts developed at different speeds in different hominins, in this instance, feet.

dhw: There seem to be new discoveries every other week, and they all add to the confusion. One thing seems pretty certain, though: if there is a designer, and if his primary purpose was to design homo sapiens, he sure had problems getting there.;-)

I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.

Convoluted human evolution:new human footprints 2

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 02, 2017, 22:54 (79 days ago) @ David Turell

Another article on the subject of 5.7 million years-old hominin:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/evolution/footprint-find-on-crete-may-push-ba...

"HUMAN-like footprints have been found stamped into an ancient sea shore fossilised beneath the Mediterranean island of Crete.
"They shouldn’t be there.
"Testing puts the rock’s age at 5.7 million years.
"That’s a time when palaeontologists believe our human ancestors had only apelike feet.
"And they lived in Africa.
"But a study into the Trachilos, western Crete, prints determines them to feature prominent human features and an upright stance.
"And that’s significant as the human foot has a unique shape. It combines a long sole, five short toes, no claws — and a big toe.
"In comparison, the foot of a Great Ape look much more like a human hand.
"And that step in evolution wasn’t believed to have taken place until some 4 million years ago.

***


“'The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial,” the study’s abstract admits.
“'The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini (human ancestral tree), but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene (2.5 million to 11,700 years ago) hominins we must also entertain the possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.”
"Put simply, the study argues there was another — previously unidentified — human-like creature walking the Earth long before we believed it was possible."

Comment: If we split off from Chimps 8+ million years ago, that is not much evolution time to get to hominin!

Convoluted human evolution: new footprints on Crete

by dhw, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 13:56 (79 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There seem to be new discoveries every other week, and they all add to the confusion. One thing seems pretty certain, though: if there is a designer, and if his primary purpose was to design homo sapiens, he sure had problems getting there. ;-)

DAVID: I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.

I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

I don’t know why you keep harping on about hominins being the only family that changed. If apes all descended from a common ancestor, there are loads of variations. Perhaps you mean that only homos developed into homo sapiens, whereas gibbons only developed into 16 species of gibbon, and none of them are homo sapiens. (I’m not denying the uniqueness of the human brain here, just the statement that “apes made no changes”.) Here’s a sample of “family” changes taken from Wikipedia:

The family Hylobatidae, the lesser apes, include four genera and a total of sixteen species of gibbon, including the lar gibbon and the siamang, all native to Asia. They are highly arboreal and bipedal on the ground. They have lighter bodies and smaller social groups than great apes.
The family Hominidae (hominids), the great apes, includes two extant species of orangutans and their subspecies, two extant species of gorillas and their subspecies, two extant species of chimpanzees and their subspecies, and one extant species of humans in a single extant subspecies with several geographic populations.[1][a][2][3] There are seven extant species of great apes: two in the orangutans (genus Pongo), two in the gorillas (genus Gorilla), two in the chimpanzees (genus Pan), and a single extant species, Homo sapiens, of modern humans (genus Homo).[4][5]

X

Convoluted human evolution: new footprints on Crete

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 03, 2017, 15:26 (78 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: There seem to be new discoveries every other week, and they all add to the confusion. One thing seems pretty certain, though: if there is a designer, and if his primary purpose was to design homo sapiens, he sure had problems getting there. ;-)

DAVID: I think all God did was open the flood gates of different hominin types for further development. What other family of organisms did this? None! Apes made no changes.

dhw: I agree that the floodgates opened. But I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?

I don’t know why you keep harping on about hominins being the only family that changed. If apes all descended from a common ancestor, there are loads of variations. Perhaps you mean that only homos developed into homo sapiens, whereas gibbons only developed into 16 species of gibbon, and none of them are homo sapiens.

That is of course what I mean.

dhw: (I’m not denying the uniqueness of the human brain here, just the statement that “apes made no changes”.) Here’s a sample of “family” changes taken from Wikipedia:

The family Hylobatidae, the lesser apes, include four genera and a total of sixteen species of gibbon, including the lar gibbon and the siamang, all native to Asia. They are highly arboreal and bipedal on the ground. They have lighter bodies and smaller social groups than great apes.
The family Hominidae (hominids), the great apes, includes two extant species of orangutans and their subspecies, two extant species of gorillas and their subspecies, two extant species of chimpanzees and their subspecies, and one extant species of humans in a single extant subspecies with several geographic populations.[1][a][2][3] There are seven extant species of great apes: two in the orangutans (genus Pongo), two in the gorillas (genus Gorilla), two in the chimpanzees (genus Pan), and a single extant species, Homo sapiens, of modern humans (genus Homo).[4][5]

All you have shown is apes just evolved more varieties of the same ape level of development!

Convoluted human evolution: early primates confuse

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 09, 2017, 15:27 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

The new fossil findings are not clarifying the arrival of primates, but a mix of confusing fossils starting 57 million years ago:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146797/

"Now a fossil discovered in France suggests the first primate might actually have been a bizarre monkey-like animal capable of acrobatic leaping. That makes it harder to work out what drove primate evolution.

"Primates first appear in the fossil record about 57 million years ago. They quickly divided into two groups – the “wet-nosed” primates that now include lemurs and the “dry-nosed” primates represented by tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans.

"Primates on both sides of the divide have features in common, including grasping hands and feet, and nails rather than claws. This implies that these features evolved in the primate common ancestor.

***

"But a 52-million-year-old fossil ankle bone found near Marseilles, France, calls this idea into question. Boyer and his colleagues, who analysed the fossil, say it belonged to an early primate called Donrussellia provincialis, which was previously known only from fossil teeth.

"Boyer believes that D. provincialis is the most primitive wet-nosed primate so far discovered. What’s more, the shape and size of the ankle bone suggest D. provincialis was an adept leaper, flexing and quickly extending its ankle to launch into the air.

"That is significant, because recent discoveries suggest primitive dry-nosed primates were also good leapers. Archicebus achilles, described in 2013, had a long hindlimb and short forelimbs, which are characteristic of a leaping animal.

“'Donrussellia and Archicebus are definitely on opposite sides of the tree,” says Boyer. “So when they both have the suggestion of leaping traits, it starts to look like acrobatic leaping behaviours were important early in primate evolution.”

***

"If primates did begin as leapers, it will be harder to work out what drove their initial evolution, says Boyer. “It’s easy to understand how specialisation for navigating small branches would be beneficial, specifically for harvesting food objects that grow there. It’s hard to think of a simple scenario that would emphasise acrobatic leaping on its own.”

"Other fossils suggest that the first primate had extraordinarily long fingers, he says. “So you have this animal that was very acrobatic, probably leaping from large diameter supports – tree trunks – but at the same time it had almost monstrously long fingers that go beyond what’s required for grasping.”

"That is a weird combination of features, says Boyer. “But the insane thing is, researchers have discovered skeletons of fossil animals called apatemyids that appear just a few million years before the first primates, and have this same anatomical pattern.”

"While apatemyids are not directly related to primates, says Boyer, their similarities to the earliest primates may provide important clues about how our distant ancestors lived."

Comment: For early small mammals to enter trees they had to develop ways to get there. The period discussed is within the first ten million years after Chicxulub. Both legs and arms had to change form and function. It is easy to see purposeful planning for the future tree dwellers.

Convoluted human evolution:late tree newly described

by David Turell @, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 20:30 (62 days ago) @ David Turell

The timing as to how Neanderthals and Denisovans appeared is changed according to this article:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/genetics-spills-secrets-from-neanderthals-lost-history-2...

"Approximately 750,000 years ago, according to Rogers, the forerunners of Neanderthals and Denisovans left the ancestors of modern humans behind in Africa to make their way across Eurasia’s expansive territory. Once on their own, something nearly wiped them out entirely; the genetic data shows the population passed through a severe bottleneck, never observed in previous studies. But whatever caused that brush with disaster, the archaic humans bounced back from it, and just a few thousand years later — by 744,000 years ago — they separated into two separate lineages, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The former then split further into the smaller regional groups that so fascinated Rogers.

"The dating of that schism between the Neanderthals and the Denisovans is surprising because previous research had pegged it as much more recent: a 2016 study, for instance, set it at only 450,000 years ago. An earlier separation means we should expect to find many more fossils of both eventually. It also changes the interpretation of some fossils that have been found. Take the large-brained hominid bones belonging to a species called Homo heidelbergensis, which lived in Europe and Asia around 600,000 years ago.

"Paleoanthropologists have disagreed about how they relate to other human groups, some positing they were ancestors of both modern humans and Neanderthals, others that they were a nonancestral species replaced by the Neanderthals, who spread across Europe.
Rogers’ findings imply that the H. heidelbergensis had to have been an early Neanderthal. “The separation time we estimate is so early that a European hominid from 600,000 years ago pretty much has to be a Neanderthal,” he said, “at least genetically, even if they didn’t look entirely like Neanderthals yet.”

"Coincidentally or otherwise, this new reconstruction of the Neanderthals’ complicated early history closely resembles what we learned about the populations of anatomically modern people who first spread into Europe and Asia. Nearly 50,000 years ago, Eurasians separated from Africans, experienced a bottleneck period during which their population was very low, and then splintered into regional populations throughout Eurasia — the so-called out-of-Africa theory of human migration. “It looks like the same thing happened 600,000 or 700,000 years ago” with the Neanderthals and Denisovans, Rogers said. “There was another out-of-Africa diaspora that no one had previously suspected.”

"It’s no secret that the Neanderthals struggled: The glacial periods they endured and the fragmentation of their population left them unable to support robust social or technological growth. “But the one misconception people have is that we represent progress, that modern humans are the best and Neanderthals beneath us,” Hawks said. “When it comes to being hunters, being reliant on high-energy food resources in marginal environments, Neanderthals were the extreme.” He added, “They solved problems we don’t face today. How did they live at such low population densities for hundreds of thousands of years? That’s something we never managed.”

Comment: The point that Neanderthals had to deal with glaciation and survived them indicates they were quite capable folks. It is obvious we are still learning about our antecedents.

Convoluted human evolution: Neanderthal character

by David Turell @, Monday, August 22, 2016, 19:54 (455 days ago) @ David Turell

The story is changing. The more they are studied the more advanced they seem:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46672/title/The-Neanderthal-in-th...

"On August 3, 1908, the first near-complete Neanderthal skeleton was discovered in a cave near the village of La Chapelle-aux-Saints in south central France, during a survey of the region's Paleolithic archaeological sites.

***

"...the La Chapelle discovery was the first Neanderthal specimen found in an original archaeological context and the first to be expertly excavated and carefully studied. Because the body was arranged in a flexed, fetal position and carefully placed in the floor of the cave, excavators argued that fossil—nicknamed the Old Man—had been purposefully buried by his Neanderthal contemporaries.

***

"Once they had excavated the fossil, the discoverers sent the Old Man remains to Marcellin Boule, an eminent expert in human evolution at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, for careful study.

***

"Boule concluded that Neanderthals were sad specimens of nature. He argued that the species was stooped in its posture and stunted in its culture. Boule's conclusions quickly turned into the pop-culture caricature that we tend to associated with the Neanderthal species. The image of a hunched, cave-dwelling lout barely capable of brandishing a club quickly caught the public's imagination in the early 20th century.

***

"Today, we're rather used to the idea that Neanderthals had a vibrant culture, but science and society's acceptance of each new piece of the Neanderthal story is an uphill battle, thanks to the Old Man's early days in the public's eye. We now have archaeological evidence that Neanderthals built structures; that they had sophisticated hunting strategies, fire-starting technologies, and art; and, of course, that they buried their dead. Analyses of Neanderthal DNA show us more and more similarities between ourselves and Neanderthals, with every indication that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred in their evolutionary history. Every “human” behavior we can claim to separate ourselves from our Pleistocene relatives, we eventually find in Neanderthals, blurring the line between human and not.

"Decades of researchers have studied the Old Man since Boule's original analysis. Every new iteration of the Neanderthal's story humanizes him, turning the fossil from a dim troglodyte into a dignified paleo patriarch. The more we study the Old Man, the more the differences between our species melt away."

Comment: Thank goodness research straightened out the misrepresentation. It still doesn't explain fully why they completely died out. Obviously we were more suited for survival, but exactly how is not clear.

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