View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently July 29th, 2014, 10:48 am



Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
 New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution 
Author Message
RIP Killer
User avatar

Joined: August 6th, 2004, 9:21 am
Posts: 9376
Location: Dallas
Post New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution
Quote:
New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution

Scientists in South Africa have discovered a key "missing link" in human evolution - a hominid 1.8 million years old that may be the oldest direct human ancestor ever found.

The fossils of the species, dubbed Australopithecus sediba, were among an extensive collection found in newly-exposed cave sediments at the Malapa Cave site, about 28 miles northwest of Johannesburg. They are the most complete early hominid fossils ever found.

The finds shed light on a sparsely documented era of evolution when four or more ape-like hominid species lived in Africa.

Because the skeletons are nearly complete, scientists can relate the face to the hand, the body, and the brain of a single individual. Consequently, this is the most complete hominid skeletons we have until the Neanderthals.

According to the in depth study published in the journal Science, while the tiny skulls, long arms, and diminutive bodies were all quite chimp-like, the ankles, hands, and pelvis were surprisingly modern.

Reconstructing the creature's grapefruit-sized brain based on three-dimensional X-ray scans of a fossilized cranium, scientists claim that the early hominid also showed some of the first signs of sophisticated mental abilities.

About 4 feet tall, the fossils of Australopithecus sediba ("southern wellspring ape") were discovered in 2008 and first reported last year. The vanished species climbed trees like orangutans and walked on the ground like people.

Here's a quick look at the early hominid's human-like features as revealed in the fossil find:

-Foot bones reveal an upright-walking stance, while ankle bones show a tree-climber.

-Fossil hands reveal long thumbs and wrists similar to modern humans that would enable the use of tools. However, curved fingers appear more ape-like.

-While the brain was less than one-third the size of modern human's, features in the inner skull suggest specialized brain areas found in modern humans.

-Pelvis reconstructions reveal broad hips that the team argues allowed these human ancestors to birth large-brained babies.

The team of 80 scientists and technicians, led by Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, claim that the species was likely the ancestor of the genus Homo, to which all modern humans belong.

However, this claim has been disputed by several researchers in the field who argue that the species was more likely an evolutionary dead end.

"Just because it shares a bit of anatomical morphology with Homo does not mean it is Homo or ancestral to Homo," anthropologist Bernard Wood at George Washington University told The Wall Street Journal. "It looks increasingly that these bits of morphology are appearing more than once, independently, in the tree of life."

Yet, Wood acknowledges that the bones are "stunning" and challenge several assumptions about human origins.

So far Dr. Berger and his team have discovered 220 bones comprising the skeletons of five individuals. Remarkably, these include infant, juvenile and adult remains representing both sexes. The collection may be of a family that died by falling into the Malapa Cave roughly 1.98 million years ago, based on laboratory estimates. Some bones were found still connected to each other as they may have been when they died.

Scientists will likely debate for several years whether Australopithecus sediba is a missing link or a dead end. Either way, the find provides a treasure trove of knowledge on early hominids.

_________________
Image
LB Tweet


September 9th, 2011, 10:40 am
Profile WWW
RIP Killer
User avatar

Joined: June 26th, 2006, 1:03 pm
Posts: 13429
Post Re: New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution
Truth is, we will never know.

Quote:
"Just because it shares a bit of anatomical morphology with Homo does not mean it is Homo or ancestral to Homo," anthropologist Bernard Wood at George Washington University told The Wall Street Journal. "It looks increasingly that these bits of morphology are appearing more than once, independently, in the tree of life."


This is the summation of most of the fossil record. It's a best guess with crappy jigsaw puzzles that all have the same shape and fit together with eaech other.

_________________
regularjoe12 - "You are crackin me up! really! HILARIOUS um let me quote some intellgent people in this coneversation: Steensn:"


September 9th, 2011, 10:43 am
Profile
RIP Killer
User avatar

Joined: August 6th, 2004, 9:21 am
Posts: 9376
Location: Dallas
Post Re: New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution
steensn wrote:
Truth is, we will never know.


This is such an ignorant quote and a cop out, I'm glad scientist don't have such a defeatist attitude. I'm glad that people don't listen to nonsense like that. Remember the whole "Everything that can be invented has been invented" quote - you know who that sounds like.

The only truth here is we know more every day. We may never have a perfect fossil record of each and every single step of the evolutionary chain, that by no means doesn't mean we won't have the capability to "fill in" the ret of the chain through sophisticated software programs or other means not invented or even imagined yet.

But again, to state something like that as an absolute truth is naive and shallow thinking.

_________________
Image
LB Tweet


September 9th, 2011, 10:52 am
Profile WWW
RIP Killer
User avatar

Joined: June 26th, 2006, 1:03 pm
Posts: 13429
Post Re: New Fossil May be ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution
That is not what I said...

I said we will never know because just like proving God doesn't exist, you simpy can't. You are taking nonsense that doesn't apply and equating it with what I said.

Simply put, we can NEVER know what the fossil record actually was because every semi human like fossil found wouldn't be an ancestor to humans and there is no way to know if it was or an offshoot. We simply cannot with the tools we have or will likely have in the long term future determine this.

Unless we invent a time machine... then we are golden. Until then, this "OOO OOO OO, missing link! See!!!" Is a bunch of unsubstantiated BS and is only the best guess with minimal information we have. We simply don't have enough information and won't because it was lost, to recreate the actual evolutionary tree.

_________________
regularjoe12 - "You are crackin me up! really! HILARIOUS um let me quote some intellgent people in this coneversation: Steensn:"


September 9th, 2011, 10:58 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 4 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.