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Trimming the human evolutionary tree into a telephone pole?

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Marcus Ross

Geologist Marcus Ross at Liberty University responds to “Did the prehistoric Denisovans cross Wallace’s Line?”, wherein it was noted that

We don’t know very much about the Denisovans, but anthropologists have been wisely reluctant to classify them as a separate species (consider, for example, the Flores man debacle). So the media release quoted above is careful in its choice of words; the Denisovans are a “line of the human family tree” (so is your family, and mine) or “ancient human relatives.”

He writes to say,

I think that the paleoanthropology community will be slow to reduce the number of purported species within Homo. However, the physical diversity in the skulls from Dmanisi is really wild. Lordkipanidze et al. are convinced that the new cranium and jaw (Skull 5) still reside within Homo. If they’re right, then the argument that H. erectus can absorb H. ergaster, and H. georgicus is very strong, and has substantial implications for knocking off H. habilis and H. rudofensis as well. From five species down to one. Neat trick, and would be fine by me.

So if Lordkipanidze et al. are right that the 5 skulls from Dmanisi are all the same species of Homo (most likely erectus), then the fact that they have 5 quite distinct skulls from one location has significant bearing on how physically diverse early Homo was. As they note, many of the other “species” of Homo come from isolated discoveries, where it is tempting to see the discovery as more unique than what it is. They make a very interesting case for pruning the tree of Homo.

My sense is that Darwin’s theory would be a priori more plausible if there were a number of dumb, failed human species around at any given time, and ours just happened to make it to the top.

If there was never any more than one human species at a time in series, that doesn’t prove Darwin’s followers are wrong about human origins, but the situation gives no particular support to their theory as opposed to others.

It's been several months since I read her book, but isn't this essentially what Ann Gauger said in "Science & Human Origins? That the small number of clearly bipedal hominids we've found are close enough to each other that they could be covered by variation between individuals? And the other fossils all appear to be knuckle-walking apes? There are no half-bats. Just BANG!-- bats. And no half-whales. Just BANG! -- whales. So now we have no half-men. Just BANG! -- modern humans and our odd cousins from the Neander Valley. mahuna
Knocking things off lineages means the original evidence was wrong for the original conclusions eh?? If a creationist had said they were wrong we would be accused of denying the science. What happened to all that science behind the original conclusions?? It seems the only SCIENCE going on is about authority of scholars. I predict not just more knocking things over but a whole knock out to evolution being a scientific theory or a liklely hypothesis. Evols watch those right hooks! Robert Byers
Skull "Rewrites" Story of Human Evolution -- Again - Casey Luskin October 22, 2013 Excerpt: "I think it's probably premature to dump everything into Homo erectus," Johanson told NBC News. "This is what you're going to find the most opposition to.",,, "There is a big gap in the fossil record," Zollikofer told NBC News. "I would put a question mark there. Of course it would be nice to say this was the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and us, but we simply don't know." http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/10/skull_rewrites_078221.html Following Up on the Debate over Science and Human Origins http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/11/following_up_on078701.html Has Science Shown that We're Related to Apes? - audio http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLc1ttIFZPo Also up at IDQuest youtube: Scientific Evidence for Intelligent Design - Casey Luskin - video (sound clears up at the 5:00 minute mark) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxsxzb90Cho bornagain77

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