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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Strange 'conehead' skeleton unearthed at Russia's Stonehenge: Elongated head was bound in tribal tradition 2,000 years ago Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

A skeleton with an unusual-shaped skull has been unearthed on a site known as Russia's Stonehenge.
When images of the remains were first published, UFO enthusiasts rushed to claim they were proof that aliens had once visited Earth.
But archaeologists have revealed that the bones belong to a woman who lived almost 2,000 years ago and had an elongated skull because it was bound out of tribal tradition...

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Scientists Prove Hobbit/Dmanisi Detractors Wrong for the Hundredth Time

Bayesian analysis of a morphological supermatrix sheds light on 
controversial fossil hominin relationships. 

Mana Dembo, Nicholas J. Matzke, Arne O. Mooers, Mark Collard. 


The phylogenetic relationships of several hominin species remain 
controversial. Two methodological issues contribute to the 
uncertainty—use of partial, inconsistent datasets and reliance on 
phylogenetic methods that are ill-suited to testing competing 
hypotheses. Here, we report a study designed to overcome these issues. 
We first compiled a supermatrix of craniodental characters for all 
widely accepted hominin species. We then took advantage of recently 
developed Bayesian methods for building trees of serially sampled tips 
to test among hypotheses that have been put forward in three of the 
most important current debates in hominin phylogenetics—the 
relationship between Australopithecus sediba and Homo, the taxonomic 
status of the Dmanisi hominins, and the place of the so-called hobbit 
fossils from Flores, Indonesia, in the hominin tree. Based on our 
results, several published hypotheses can be statistically rejected. 
For example, the data do not support the claim that Dmanisi hominins 
and all other early Homo specimens represent a single species, nor 
that the hobbit fossils are the remains of small-bodied modern humans, 
one of whom had Down syndrome. More broadly, our study provides a new 
baseline dataset for future work on hominin phylogeny and illustrates 
the promise of Bayesian approaches for understanding hominin 
phylogenetic relationships. 

Also, Australopithecus sediba "groups with Homo and may be its 
ancestor" (but implying a stratigraphic gap of 300.000-800.000 years), 
and Sahelanthropus is the most basal hominin, followed by Ardipithecus 
(Orrorin was not included in this study). 


Friday, September 11, 2015

Ancient human with more than 10% Neanderthal DNA found

Thanks again to JTEM:

NOTE:  No mention of mtDNA & y haplogroups, 
which is a terrible shame because they say 
this man (his people) likely left no living 
ancestors. Meaning, they had haplogroups 
not present in modern people... 

At least that's what I think they mean. 

Damn media! 

Quite frankly, he doesn't look ancient 

: DNA from a man who lived 40,000 years ago in Romania 
: reveals that up to 11 percent of his genome came from 
: Neanderthals. 

Which sounds about right if his great grand dad was 
a Neanderthal, and he lost the Neanderthal y chromosome. 

If he has the Neanderthal y Chromosome, then the 
Neanderthals likely go back further. 

Just saying. 

Yes other models do work. 

Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House

A disease only contracted by those in the prime of their lives? 
My guess is that the epidemic was sexual or associated with what adults ate, as opposed to what children and the elderly ate...$B/ 

The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a prehistoric village in northeast China, researchers report in two separate studies. 

The bodies of juveniles, young adults and middle-age adults were packed together in the house -- smaller than a modern-day squash court -- before it burnt down. Anthropologists who studied the remains say a "prehistoric disaster," possibly an epidemic of some sort, killed these people. 

The site, whose modern-day name is "Hamin Mangha," dates back to a time before writing was used in the area, when people lived in relatively small settlements, growing crops and hunting for food. The village contains the remains of pottery, grinding instruments, arrows and spearheads, providing information on their way of life. [In Photos: Remains of 'End of World' Epidemic Found in Ancient Egypt] 

"Hamin Mangha site is the largest and best-preserved prehistoric settlement site found to date in northeast China," a team of archaeologists wrote in a translated report published in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Archaeology (the original report appeared in Chinese in the journal Kaogu). In one field season, between April and November 2011, the researchers found the foundations of 29 houses, most of which are simple one-room structures containing a hearth and doorway. 

Unknown advanced Russian people? 

This sculpture is older than Stonehenge and the 
pyramids COMBINED! 

Here's a better story: 

I'm thinking that it has to be an artifact of 
preservation. That, "Technology" such as this 
was quite common everywhere, only it didn't last. 
It wasn't preserved. 

If you think of it, preservation on this scale 
would be incredibly rare. If anything remained 
of an object like this at all -- anything -- 
it would probably be just tiny fragments. It's 
unlikely we could even tell that it was once 
part of a moment. 

At least in 999999 cases out of a million. 

So it's entirely possible that we've found 
dozens or even thousands of such monuments 
all over the world, but we couldn't tell them 
apart from a random stick that fell off a 

Let's face it, you could double the age of this 
object and it would STILL be thousands of years 
younger then the first carvings -- including 
human figures. So the "Technology" to produce 
such a moment was already extremely ancient by 
the time this one was made. This does not 
require that anyone ever APPLIED the technology 
is such a way, but they were certainly capable. 

No, sorry, I have to write this off NOT as a 
history "First," but as an artifact of preservation. 

Thanks JTEM who posted this on google groups

Early hominins were small than previously thought

J Hum Evol. 2015 Aug;85:75-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.05.005.
Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Body mass estimates of hominin fossils and the evolution of human body
Grabowski M, Hatala KG, Jungers WL, Richmond BG.


Body size directly influences an animal's place in the natural world,
including its energy requirements, home range size, relative brain size,
locomotion, diet, life history, and behavior. Thus, an understanding of
the biology of extinct organisms, including species in our own lineage,
requires accurate estimates of body size. Since the last major review of
hominin body size based on postcranial morphology over 20 years ago, new
fossils have been discovered, species attributions have been clarified,
and methods improved. Here, we present the most comprehensive and
thoroughly vetted set of individual fossil hominin body mass predictions
to date, and estimation equations based on a large (n = 220) sample of
modern humans of known body masses. We also present species averages
based exclusively on fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions,
estimates of species averages by sex, and a metric for levels of sexual
dimorphism. Finally, we identify individual traits that appear to be the
most reliable for mass estimation for each fossil species, for use when
only one measurement is available for a fossil. Our results show that
many early hominins were generally smaller-bodied than previously
thought, an outcome likely due to larger estimates in previous studies
resulting from the use of large-bodied modern human reference samples.
Current evidence indicates that modern human-like large size first
appeared by at least 3-3.5 Ma in some Australopithecus afarensis
individuals. Our results challenge an evolutionary model arguing that
body size increased from Australopithecus to early Homo. Instead, we
show that there is no reliable evidence that the body size of
non-erectus early Homo differed from that of australopiths, and confirm
that Homo erectus evolved larger average body size than earlier


Postcranial morphology of the middle Pleistocene humans from Sima de los Huesos, Spain

Postcranial morphology of the middle Pleistocene humans from Sima de 
los Huesos, Spain. 

Current knowledge of the evolution of the postcranial skeleton in the 
genus Homo is hampered by a geographically and chronologically 
scattered fossil record. Here we present a complete characterization 
of the postcranium of the middle Pleistocene paleodeme from the Sima 
de los Huesos (SH) and its paleobiological implications. The SH 
hominins show the following: (i) wide bodies, a plesiomorphic 
character in the genus Homo inherited from their early hominin 
ancestors; (ii) statures that can be found in modern human 
middle-latitude populations that first appeared 1.6–1.5 Mya; and (iii) 
large femoral heads in some individuals, a trait that first appeared 
during the middle Pleistocene in Africa and Europe. The 
intrapopulational size variation in SH shows that the level of 
dimorphism was similar to modern humans (MH), but the SH hominins were 
less encephalized than Neandertals. SH shares many postcranial 
anatomical features with Neandertals. Although most of these features 
appear to be either plesiomorphic retentions or are of uncertain 
phylogenetic polarity, a few represent Neandertal apomorphies. 
Nevertheless, the full suite of Neandertal-derived features is not yet 
present in the SH population. The postcranial evidence is consistent 
with the hypothesis based on the cranial morphology that the SH 
hominins are a sister group to the later Neandertals. Comparison of 
the SH postcranial skeleton to other hominins suggests that the 
evolution of the postcranium occurred in a mosaic mode, both at a 
general and at a detailed level. Postcranial morphology of the middle Pleistocene humans from Sima de los Huesos, Spain

Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa

Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. 

Current fossil, genetic, and archeological data indicate that Homo 
sapiens originated in Africa in the late Middle Pleistocene. By the 
end of the Late Pleistocene, our species was distributed across every 
continent except Antarctica, setting the foundations for the 
subsequent demographic and cultural changes of the Holocene. The 
intervening processes remain intensely debated and a key theme in 
hominin evolutionary studies. We review archeological, fossil, 
environmental, and genetic data to evaluate the current state of 
knowledge on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. The emerging 
picture of the dispersal process suggests dynamic behavioral 
variability, complex interactions between populations, and an 
intricate genetic and cultural legacy. This evolutionary and 
historical complexity challenges simple narratives and suggests that 
hybrid models and the testing of explicit hypotheses are required to 
understand the expansion of Homo sapiens into Eurasia. 
Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa

Homo Naledi Buried Their Dead

New facts on a species of homo that lived nearly 2 million years ago and buried their dead in ritual fashion
:south africa fossils new species human ancestor homo naledi

south african hominin fossil