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Early human skull has inner ear “long thought” unique to Neanderthals

Archaic human temporal bone/Chinese Academy of Science

From ScienceDaily:

Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neandertals.

“The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

“It suggests, instead, that the later phases of human evolution were more of a labyrinth of biology and peoples than simple lines on maps would suggest.”

See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents –  for the way in which the notion of Neanderthals as a “separate species” dies hard despite intense clubbing from evidence. At least, one must play fast and loose with the concept of “species.”

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Good-bye Heidelberg Man: You Never Existed - July 11, 2014 Excerpt: “If someone kills one person they go to jail,” anthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco noted last month at a meeting here in France’s deep south. “But what happens if you kill off a whole species?” The answer soon became apparent: anguished debate. In the balance was Homo heidelbergensis, a big-brained human ancestor generally seen as a pivotal figure, (common ancestor of modern humans and our extinct closest cousins, the Neandertals), during a murky period of evolution. At the invitation-only meeting, researchers debated whether this species really was a major player—or "no more than a paleoanthropologists’ construct". http://crev.info/2014/07/heidelberg-man-never-existed/ bornagain77

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