Human evolution Intelligent Design

Homo erectus from nearly 1.5 million years ago was “more behaviourally flexible” than thought

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They had different stone tool traditions:

Sileshi Semaw at the National Centre for Research on Human Evolution in Spain and his colleagues identified two H. erectus skulls at a site in Gona, Ethiopia. One was 1.26 million years old and the other dated back at least 1.5 million years. Unusually, the skulls were found directly alongside various stone tools.

Alison George, “Homo erectus used two different kinds of stone tools” at New Scientist

From another source:

Skull fragments from two individuals were recently uncovered in Gona, Afar, Ethiopia, alongside associated stone tools—a rarity in archaeology. Even rarer is the discovery of stone tools hailing from two different technological traditions, a finding that’s upsetting a conventional notion that associates single human species with single stone tool technologies.

George Dvorsky, “Extinct Humans May Have Passed Down Stone Technology for Thousands of Generations” at Gizmodo

But why did we think they wouldn’t be? Isn’t there an underlying story here that is slowly being confuted (but no one wants to really discuss the history in those terms so everything must be treated as a big surprise)?

See also: Do racial assumptions prevent recognizing Homo erectus as fully human?

2 Replies to “Homo erectus from nearly 1.5 million years ago was “more behaviourally flexible” than thought

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    A few notes on homo erectus:

    A snapshot of our mysterious ancestor Homo erectus – JANUARY 21, 2019
    Excerpt: If you bumped into a Homo erectus in the street you might not recognise them as being very different from you. You’d see a certain “human-ness” in the stance, and his or her size and shape might be similar to yours.

    The Evolution of Man: What do We Really Know? Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 21 August 2019
    Excerpt: Homo erectus – long thought to be one of the links between Homo sapiens and perhaps one of the species of Australopithecus – definitely belongs to Homo sapiens. After a careful examination of the evidence (pp. 55-74), Rupe and Sanford present the following table of the artifacts and skills of this group of intelligent humans (2019, p. 74):
    • Watercraft assembly and sailing against an ocean current
    • Language, speech, communication
    • Reasoning, foresight, planning, ingenuity
    • Bead and pendant manufacture/necklaces
    • Cordage/knot-making
    • Manufacture of diverse stone and bone implements
    • Controlled use of fire and hearths of stones (fire places)
    • Catching, skinning, and cleaning fish
    • Cooking food
    • Occupational floors/living spaces
    • Petroglyphs, figurines, paint (red ochre), art
    • Woodworking
    • Coordinated hunting
    • Butchering, skinning, and transporting large game
    • Manufacturing clothing from skins (possibly sewing)
    • Production of fibers and resins
    • Kinship/family structure
    • Care for old and weak individuals48
    Just a note on the often quoted lower brain size of Homo sapiens erectus (as I prefer to call these groups of human beings): His cranial capacities range from 727 to more than 1,200 cc49 – average 940 cc. Interestingly, his brain size is fully overlapped by that of normal (non-pathological) adult modern humans, which ranges from 624 cc (Daniel Lyon) to 2012 cc (Ivan Turgenev) – average 1345 cc (gender and age not considered). Cranial capacity of literature Nobel laureate Anatole France was 933 cc.
    Although there are still some evolutionary voices ranking Homo erectus as a link between the controversial Homo habilis (“handyman”) and/or some other so far unknown ancestor (including candidates from the genus Australopithecus) and Homo sapiens – according to many of the best modern paleoanthropologists Homo erectus is Homo sapiens. “There is strong evidence that the bones commonly referred to as Homo erectus are fully human individuals who suffered from various pathologies associated with such things as inbreeding, mutation, teratogens (developmental abnormalities), etc. Claims that Erectus was a subhuman species are clearly contested among leading evolutionary paleo-experts.
    While some insist Erectus was morphologically distinct from modern man, others point out that Erectus morphology overlaps extensively with modern humans – and so Erectus should be reclassified as Homo sapiens. While some claim they were our progenitors, others acknowledge that they coexisted and interbred with anatomically modern Homo sapiens.”50

    Review of “Contested Bones” (Part 4 – Chapter 4 “Homo erectus”) – video playlist

    Contested Bones: Is There Any Solid Fossil Evidence for Ape-to-Man Evolution? – Dr. John Sanford and Chris Rupe
    Excerpt: We have spent four years carefully examining the scientific literature on this subject. We have discovered that within this field (paleoanthropology), virtually all the famous hominin types have either been discredited or are still being hotly contested. Within this field, not one of the hominin types have been definitively established as being in the lineage from ape to man. This includes the famous fossils that have been nicknamed Lucy, Ardi, Sediba, Habilis, Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal. Well-respected people in the field openly admit that their field is in a state of disarray. It is very clear that the general public has been deceived regarding the credibility and significance of the reputed hominin fossils.
    We will show that the actual fossil evidence is actually most consistent with the following three points. 1) The hominin bones reveal only two basic types; ape bones (Ardi and Lucy), and human bones (Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal). 2) The ape bones and the human bones have been repeatedly found together in the same strata – therefore both lived at the same basic timeframe (the humans were apparently hunting and eating the apes). 3) Because the hominin bones were often found in mixed bone beds (with bones of many animal species in the same site), numerous hominin types represent chimeras (mixtures) of ape and human bones (i.e., Sediba, Habilis).
    We will also present evidence that the anomalous hominin bones that are of the human (Homo) type most likely represent isolated human populations that experienced severe inbreeding and subsequent genetic degeneration. This best explains why these Homo bones display aberrant morphologies, reduced body size, and reduced brain volume.
    We conclude that the hominin bones do not reveal a continuous upward progression from ape to man, but rather reveal a clear separation between the human type and the ape type. The best evidence for any type of intermediate “ape-men” derived from bones collected from mixed bone beds (containing bones of both apes and men), which led to the assembly of chimeric skeletons. Therefore, the hominin fossils do not prove human evolution at all.,,,
    We suggest that the field of paleoanthropology has been seriously distorted by a very strong ideological agenda and by very ambitious personalities.

    Of note to the confusion that surrounded the original classification scheme of homo erectus by Ernst Mayr in 1950:

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009
    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.”

    Regardless of the confusion that Ernst Mayr created with his ‘open ended’ classification scheme for homo erectus, never-the-less, here is a telling confession from Ernst Mayr in 2001

    “Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers.”
    Evolutionist Ernst Mayr (What Evolution Is. 2001)

    Along that same line, here is a telling quote from Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    >”Unusually, the skulls were found directly alongside various stone tools.”

    Accidents happened back then too. And the nearest ER was 7,653 miles away at the time.

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