Human evolution

2015, Hominid hype of the year: homo Naledi

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From Casey Luskin at Salvo:

The discoverers of Homo naledi are calling it an “anatomical mosaic.” That terminology raises a red flag. In the parlance of evolutionary biology, that usually means the fossil is a unique organism that doesn’t fit easily into the standard evolutionary tree. As one technical paper concluded, “the H. naledi skeleton is a unique mosaic previously unknown in the human fossil record.”9

Indeed, just four years ago, the hominin Australopithecus sediba—also discovered and promoted by Berger—was the transitional form du jure between the australopithecines and our own genus, Homo. Yet sediba is very different from naledi in some important ways, including the pelvis. If the same researchers now want to advocate Homo naledi as some new “transitional form,” they must radically revise their evolutionary story.

No, they don’t have to revise. I’ts like a soap opera or a long-running comic strip. They can just keep adding to it.

Both sediba and naledi have been called a “human ancestor” in recent years, but evolutionarily speaking, both claims cannot be true. As one news outlet rightly acknowledged: “Each [sediba and naledi] has different sets of australopith-like and human-like traits that can’t be easily reconciled on the same family tree.”10

Another major challenge to claims for Homo naledi as a transitional form is the fact that the age of these newly reported fossils is currently completely unknown. More.

Oh well, keep digging.

Future hedder?: Human family tree shaken!! Homo hype found!!

See also:

Further to homo Naledi not pubb’d in Nature (One controversy revolves around the fact that the usual venues for such a find did not want to publish it. )

The Little Lady of Flores spoke from the grave. But said what, exactly?

And Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents

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One Reply to “2015, Hominid hype of the year: homo Naledi

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Isn’t evolution wonderful ! Always surprising us with what we find next !

    Just as we’d thought something was the case. Bingo! A whole new vista opens up for us, a whole new palette of possibilities ; strictly evolutionary ones of course…

    I swear when we understand everything there is to learn about the cosmos and our simian nature, we’ll still be being bombarded withe exciting new discoveries about evolution.

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