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Homo sapiens is off the hook for the murder of homo erectus

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Homo erectus: "He'd left before we got there, yer Honor"/Lillyundfreya

At Eurekalert (June 29, 2011), we learn: “Finding showing human ancestor older than previously thought offers new insights into evolution.” In the current episode, new excavations in Indonesia and dating analyses show that modern humans never co-existed with Homo erectus. The find counters previous hypotheses – which it must, in order to qualify as an episode:

The new story supports the “multiregional” model of human evolution.

Homo erectus is widely considered a direct human ancestor—it resembles modern humans in many respects, except for its smaller brain and differently shaped skull—and was the first of our ancestors to migrate out of Africa, approximately 1.8 million years ago. Homo erectus went extinct in Africa and much of Asia by about 500,000 years ago, but appeared to have survived in Indonesia until about 35,000 to 50,000 years ago at the site of Ngandong on the Solo River. These late members of Homo erectus would have shared the environment with early members of our own species, Homo sapiens, who arrived in Indonesia by about 40,000 years ago.

The existence of the two species simultaneously has important implications for models about the origins of modern humans. One of the models, the Out of Africa or replacement model, predicts such overlap. However, another, the multiregional model, which posits that modern humans originated as a result of genetic contributions from hominin populations all around the Old World (Africa, Asia, Europe), does not. The late survival of Homo erectus in Indonesia has been used as one line of support for the Out of Africa model.

However, findings by the SoRT Project show that Homo erectus’ time in the region ended before modern humans arrived there. The analyses suggest that Homo erectus was gone by at least 143,000 years ago—and likely by more than 550,000 years ago. This means the demise of Homo erectus occurred long before the arrival of Homo sapiens.

Interesting. In this version, homo sapiens does not murder homo erectus. The spread for the exit of homo erectus from the scene is 400,000 years. A bit fuzzy in the frame, don’t you think?

Some other episodes linked here.

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I liked crevo's analysis of the 'plasticity' of the whole homo erectus line of evidence: Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens - 05/27/2009 - Creation Safaris: Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period....”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: "Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be." By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.” http://creationsafaris.com/crev200905.htm#20090527a bornagain77

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