Thursday 29th of July 2021

about homo sapiens...

homo sapienshomo sapiens


















Having reached more than 36,600 reads, this line of articles on this site has become overloaded and needs a complementary line, as new scientific/philosophical information comes to light: 


When human’s very ancient ancestors took their first steps out of Africa, some 3 million years ago, their brains looked more like those of great apes. A new study says our big brains developed only some 400,000 years later.

Using CT technology to scan what skull fossils remain from our earliest ancestors, researchers at the University of Zurich have turned conventional scientific thinking on its head, saying that our modern brains began to evolve in Africa only about 1.7 million years ago.

Prior to the Swiss research, conventional scientific thinking was that our hominid lineage arose some 2.8 million years ago, and our predecessors spread out of Africa around 2.1 million years ago.


The researchers, who published their study in the current edition of the journal Science, used CT scans to analyze replicas of the brain’s outer surface re-created from the oldest known fossils of early human skulls. The 1.77-million to 1.85-million-year-old fossils are from the Dmanisi archaeological site in Georgia, and were compared by the researchers with bones roughly two million to 70,000 years old from sites in Africa and Southeast Asia.

For their research, the Swiss scientists focused on the frontal lobes – the areas of the human brain linked with complex mental tasks such as toolmaking and language. Early hominids from Dmanisi and Africa were found to have retained a great-ape-like organization of their frontal lobe some 1.8 million years ago – long after they began moving away from Africa.


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Science  09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 165-171 Brain evolution in early Homo


Human brains are larger than and structurally different from the brains of the great apes. Ponce de León et al.explored the timing of the origins of the structurally modern human brain (see the Perspective by Beaudet). By comparing endocasts, representations of the inner surface of fossil brain cases, from early Homo from Africa, Georgia, and Southeast Asia, they show that these structural innovations emerged later than the first dispersal of the genus from Africa, and were probably in place by 1.7 to 1.5 million years ago. The modern humanlike brain organization emerged in cerebral regions thought to be related to toolmaking, social cognition, and language. Their findings suggest that brain reorganization was not a prerequisite for dispersals from Africa, and that there might have been more than one long-range dispersal of early Homo.

Science, this issue p. 165; see also p. 124


The brains of modern humans differ from those of great apes in size, shape, and cortical organization, notably in frontal lobe areas involved in complex cognitive tasks, such as social cognition, tool use, and language. When these differences arose during human evolution is a question of ongoing debate. Here, we show that the brains of early Homo from Africa and Western Asia (Dmanisi) retained a primitive, great ape–like organization of the frontal lobe. By contrast, African Homo younger than 1.5 million years ago, as well as all Southeast Asian Homo erectus, exhibited a more derived, humanlike brain organization. Frontal lobe reorganization, once considered a hallmark of earliest Homo in Africa, thus evolved comparatively late, and long after Homo first dispersed from Africa.


I, neanderthal...

In our article the polarity reversal... about a brief earth magnetic field polarity switch and in this line of articles we have mentioned "our cousins", the Neanderthals. They were not a different race of Homo sapiens but a DIFFERENT SPECIES of EVOLVED hominids. Becoming extinct by 40,000 years ago, these hominids and modern humans coming from Africa had a brief encounter over more than 5,000 years in Europe, even possibly a 10,000 years overlap, during which they "interbred" somewhat. More information about the influx of modern humans into Europe through more scientific research and genetic studies shed light on this strange relationship which produced offsprings with both genetic markers, leading the modern humans in Europe to still retain a small percentage of NEANDERTHAL genetic material. This is part of the evolution of our species that make us who we are... Eventually we will find out the trail of where the Neanderthals came from in Africa, when they diverged from the original ape common ancestor, and when they moved to the European continent. A new study brings more information:



The four-story labyrinth of galleries in Bulgaria's Bacho Kiro cave has long been a magnet for all sorts of humans. Neanderthals came first, more than 50,000 years ago, and left their characteristic Mousterian stone tools among the stalagmites. Next came modern humans in at least two waves; the first littered the cave floor with beads and stone blades stained with ochre, about 45,000 years ago. Another group settled in about 36,000 years ago with even more sophisticated artifacts.

Now, a new ancient DNA study shows the first group of modern humans at Bacho Kiro carried a recent legacy from Neanderthals: Those people's ancestors had interbred with our extinct cousins as recently as six generations, or 160 to 180 years, previously.

However, another study out this week, of what may be the oldest modern human in Europe, shows the first wave of moderns had diverse Neanderthal legacies. The genome of a dark-skinned, brown-haired, brown-eyed woman from Zlatý kůň cave in the Czech Republic included only 3% Neanderthal DNA, which likely came from a long-ago tryst in the Middle East, not from recent contact, the study suggests.


Taken together, these genomic snapshots offer a glimpse into the identities of the mysterious modern humans who first set foot in Europe and their relationship to Neanderthals, who vanished about 40,000 years ago. “You're talking about multiple waves of modern humans,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. “Some groups mixed with Neanderthals, and some didn't. Some are related to later humans and some are not.”


The new revelations fill out the story of these ancient encounters, says Mateja Hajdinjak, a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI) and an author of the Bacho Kiro study. “For the first time, we're getting ancient DNA from multiple early modern humans that tells us so much about their interactions with some of the very last Neanderthals in Europe,” she says.

After modern humans trekked out of Africa 60,000 to 80,000 years ago, they interbred at least once with Neanderthals, most likely in the Middle East about 50,000 years ago, previous ancient DNA research has shown. Those studies include analyses of two early modern humans from Eurasia: a 45,000-year-old thigh bone of a man from Ust'-Ishim in Siberia, and the jawbone of a young man from Petştera cu Oase cave in Romania, dated to between 37,000 and 42,000 years ago. The Oase man inherited as much as 6.4% of his DNA from a recent Neanderthal ancestor. But he lived at least 5000 years after modern humans had arrived in Europe. This week's studies offer a genetic glimpse of an earlier time, when modern humans first ventured into Neanderthal territory.

Hajdinjak and MPI paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo analyzed genomes from Bacho Kiro, where last year researchers used a new protein-based method to show that bone fragments in a middle layer of cave sediments came from modern humans (Science, 15 May 2020, p. 697). In the new study, the researchers sequenced genomes from a molar and bone fragments from that middle layer and directly dated them to 42,580 to 45,930 years ago. They also sequenced DNA from bone found in a younger layer and dated it to 35,000 years ago. Remains from both layers were modern humans, but from different populations, they report in Nature this week.

The genomes show the three oldest modern humans at Bacho Kiro were distantly related to a 40,000-year-old partial skeleton from Tianyuan in China, as well as to other ancient and living East Asians and Native Americans. That suggests they all descended from an early population that once spread across Eurasia, but whose descendants in Europe seem to have died out. The lineage survived in Asia, later giving rise to people who migrated to America.

Those modern humans had also inherited 3% to 3.8% of their DNA from Neanderthal ancestors. The chunks of Neanderthal DNA were long, which suggested they arose from mixing only six generations earlier, because with each new generation, recombination breaks stretches of DNA in shorter fragments. That mating must have been different from the one that gave the younger Oase man his larger Neanderthal legacy. This “suggests that such mixing was common,” Hajdinjak says.

Genomic analysis of the female skull found in Zlatý kůň cave (which means golden horse in Czech), near Prague, tells a different story, according to a paper this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution by a team led by paleogeneticists Johannes Krause and Kay Prüfer of MPI. The woman's Neanderthal DNA likely came from the first known interbreeding, between Neanderthals and the ancestors of all living Eurasians, as modern humans expanded out of Africa and moved into Eurasia, Krause says.

Researchers hadn't been able to directly date the Czech skull, which was discovered in the 1950s, because bovine glue used to repair it contaminated the bones. So Krause and Prüfer turned to a clever dating method that uses the ancestral mating with Neanderthals as a time marker. The chunks of Neanderthal DNA in the genome from the Zlatý kůň skull suggest the woman was born 60 to 80 generations (roughly 2000 years) after her ancestors mated with Neanderthals, they conclude. The 45,000-year-old Siberian male inherited his shorter Neanderthal DNA chunks about 85 to 100 generations after that same encounter. That suggests the Czech female lived before the Siberian male and could be as old as 47,000 years—the oldest known modern in Europe, Krause says.

The authors make a “compelling” case that the woman lived at least 45,000 years ago, says population geneticist John Novembre of the University of Chicago.

Krause's team also found that unlike the Bacho Kiro individuals, the Zlatý kůň skull was no more closely related to ancient Asians than to Europeans. This suggests she came from an ancient population that had not yet differentiated genetically into Asians and Europeans, Krause says.

The differences in how often modern humans mated with Neanderthals could reflect the small population sizes of each group at the time, Novembre suggests. And Zlatý kůň is located in what was perhaps the northern edge of Neanderthal territory, whereas Bulgaria's Balkan Mountains were a known refuge for Neanderthals as modern humans pushed into Europe.

The new data show that all of the modern human lineages vanished by the advent of the last ice age, which reached its peak about 20,000 years ago. After the ice melted, other modern humans from Eurasia repopulated the continent. “Multiple groups headed out [to Eurasia], but it seems like only a fraction of these early modern humans left progeny,” Novembre says.


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Science 09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 115-116



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old bones...


Archaeologists found the fossil remains of nine Neanderthal men in a cave near Rome, Italy's Culture Ministry said on Saturday.

Eight of them date to between 50,000 and 68,000 years ago, while the oldest could be 90,000 or 100,000 years old, the ministry said in a statement.

Archeologists made the major discovery in Grotta Guattari — prehistoric caves found more than 80 years ago — situated about 100 meters (328 feet) from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in San Felice Circeo in Italy's Lazio region.

"Together with two others found in the past on the site, they bring the total number of individuals present in the Guattari Cave to 11, confirming it as one of the most significant sites in the world for the history of Neanderthal man," the ministry said.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini praised the find as "an extraordinary discovery which the whole world will be talking about."

What else was found?

Archaeologists began conducting new research into the Guattari Cave in October 2019. The cave was initially found by accident by a group of workers in 1939.

Paleontologist Albert Carlo Blanc discovered a well-preserved Neanderthal skull shortly afterward. The cave had been closed off by an ancient landslide.

Excavations also uncovered bones, craniums and other body parts at the site, as well animal remains such as the aurochs — an extinct bovine — and elephant, rhinoceros, giant deer, cave bears, wild horses and hyenas.

"Many of the bones found show clear signs of gnawing," the ministry statement said. 



Ancient ancestors 


Neanderthals are the closest known ancient relatives of humans.

In 2016, scientists found that Neanderthals from Siberia's Altai mountains may have shared 1-7% of their genetics with the ancestors of modern humans.

"Neanderthal man is a fundamental stage in human evolution, representing the apex of a species and the first human society we can talk about," said local director of anthropology Mario Rubini. 

Rubini said the discovery of the Neanderthal remains near Rome will shed an "important light on the history of the peopling of Italy."

Neanderthals died out around 40,000 years ago. Scientists have suggested that factors including increased competition from modern humans as well as climate change which killed them off.


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See also: 

the polarity reversal...




planet of the apes...

 Earth was once a planet of the apes—and they set the stage for human evolution



More than 10 million years ago, the world was brimming with a wide variety of apes. Scientists studying the ones that are still alive today can learn a lot about human evolution—but they miss out on many clues that can only be found from the apes that went extinct. Watch to learn how fossil apes have strengthened ideas about how humans evolved, and what steps we can take to learn even more about our ancient ancestors.


See video:


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archaic homo cooking...


Middle Pleistocene Homo in the Levant

Our understanding of the origin, distribution, and evolution of early humans and their close relatives has been greatly refined by recent new information. Adding to this trend, Hershkovitz et al. have uncovered evidence of a previously unknown archaic Homo population, the “Nesher Ramla Homo” (see the Perspective by Mirazon Lahr). The authors present comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analyses of fossilized remains from a site in Israel dated to 140,000 to 120,000 years ago indicating the presence of a previously unrecognized group of hominins representing the last surviving populations of Middle Pleistocene Homo in Europe, southwest Asia, and Africa. In a companion paper, Zaidner et al. present the radiometric ages, stone tool assemblages, faunal assemblages, and other behavioral and environmental data associated with these fossils. This evidence shows that these hominins had fully mastered technology that until only recently was linked to either Homo sapiens or Neanderthals. Nesher Ramla Homo was an efficient hunter of large and small game, used wood for fuel, cooked or roasted meat, and maintained fires. These findings provide archaeological support for cultural interactions between different human lineages during the Middle Paleolithic, suggesting that admixture between Middle Pleistocene Homo and H. sapiens had already occurred by this time.


Science 25 Jun 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6549, pp. 1424-1428


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