Friday, September 11, 2015

Meet the relatives

It's been a fascinating week in the rich story of human evolution; results and findings were announced by a team working in South African of a new species of early hominid named "Homo Naledi". The remains of around 15 individuals were found back in 2013 in a deep cave that's only just accessible through a tiny 18 inch gap, the conclusion is that it's likely these early hominids were disposing of their "dead" away from everyday life, perhaps to prevent scavenging by animals or possibly as some kind of ritualistic behaviour. We will probably never know the full story but never the less such behaviour so early in our evolution will almost certainly revise opinions about the rough elapsed time and path taken for Homo-Sapiens to walk out of Africa, perhaps by millions of years.

As you can see in the photo above, either this is the worst lunch box ever or there are many new prehistoric bones to now be studied and compared; it seems that some features of Naledi are like modern humans (the feet for example suit walking upright) but the brain cavity is much smaller and the hands although modern in proportion have slightly curved fingers which is reminiscent of modern apes like chimpanzees a truly intermediate species, I wonder if they can get DNA from any of the teeth, that would be quite something.

No doubt the coming months will see interesting revisions to the overall scientific consensus regarding the detailed timeline of human evolution and also no doubt we'll also see creationists contorting, twisting and selectively quote mining in order to fit this fantastic discovery into their perverted narrative (yawn) - interesting times.

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