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Hostilopithicus Ramificationus? (Ardi)

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Michelle
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M. Spector wrote:

Neanderthals were not humans. They were a different species from homo sapiens. That's why there's no neanderthal DNA in our genome. They were not a different race of humans. Even if there were any validity to your bizarre assertion that cannibalism is motivated by racism, it would not apply in the case of the neanderthals.

It's nothing more than pure fancy to suggest that humans ate neanderthals because they were different or inferior beings. And it's an even bigger leap of nonsense to suggest that such a hypothetical attitude on the part of early homo sapiens could be called racism.

Racism is not about how people feel. Nor is it about people not liking the looks of other people. It is a system of exploitation and oppression of a racialized group of humans by another group of humans (i.e. "whites"), who hold power over them. Racism simply did not exist 30,000 years ago.

Clearly, you haven't read any Jean M Auel novels! ;)


Sineed
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Since M. Spector wrote that post, evidence has emerged suggesting that we do have Neanderthal in our DNA.

At least cannibals aren't guilty of speciesm.


M. Spector
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Actually, since I wrote that, as Brian points out above, some scientists are now claiming that we do have some Neanderthal DNA. If it turns out that Homo sapiens interbred with Homo neanderthalensis scientists will have to rethink the status of Neanderthals as a separate species.

I still maintain that Brian doesn't understand the first thing about racism. 


6079_Smith_W
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... Everyone except those of African descent, who are pure Homo sapiens. This happened because the strains which became Neanderthal left Africa earlier. So Homo sapiens who migrated later inbred with them. Those who remained in Africa did not.

Sapiens and neanderthal are two separate species (and there are others, including one which may have been discovered recently); it just happens that most of us are mongrels. And not claiming; it is hard science.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17370170

And in case anyone was wondering how narrow the gene pool is, this is how close we may have come to extinction at one point - 15,000 people:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

 


Michelle
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According to Jean M. Auel, humans called neanderthal "flatheads".  And the heroine (human) was found abandoned at birth and adopted by neanderthals and ended up bearing a half-neanderthal baby.  And once she got back into human society as an adult, she discovered that human society hated neaderthals and called them mean names, like the aforementioned "flatheads".  So there.

;)


M. Spector
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

Sapiens and neanderthal are two separate species (and there are others, including one which may have been discovered recently); it just happens that most of us are mongrels.

Offspring of "two separate species" are called hybrids, not mongrels. Typically mammal hybrids are sterile and cannot reproduce among themselves offspring having the same hybrid genome. If two species can mate and produce offspring of both sexes that can reproduce among themselves, then the original two species should not be considered separate species at all.


6079_Smith_W
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Spector, do you have a professional opinion to that effect? I don't want to wander too far down this blind alley, but I believe the prevailing wisdom was, and still is that neanderthals were a separate species than sapiens. That is why they have a separate name.

Failing that, call it what you will, but most of us humans are the product of two species interbred. And looking at the stats, I'd say a fair number of us are fertile, despite that.

 

 

 


Fidel
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I'm kind of shocked at the state of what some of us think of early man. Surely cannibalism was not popular for very long. And look where slavery took the Egyptians and Romans. After reading economic historian Michael Hudson, there is an interesting reason why certain pre-Roman empires lasted thousands of years longer than the Romans. Hudson says that all of the longest lasting civilisations/empires were careful not to allow usury and compound interest to overrun them. Hudson says there are all kinds of books pointing to various reasons for decline of the Romans, but most of them ignore Roman historians themselves who pointed to appalling greed, indebtedness and an inability to continue funding empire expansion. IOWs, the rich felt they were above paying taxes in support of empire and were addicted to "unearned income."

Jeremy Rifkin has an interesting take on civilisation and how empathy has shaped our societies over time. 

The Empathic Civilisation Jeremy Rifkin (YouTube)

Rifkin says studies have shown that people are softwired to experience another's plight as if we are experiencing it ourselves. And certain primates are more capable of it than others.

ETA:

Brian White wrote:
Good grief. Even ants take slaves/

And look where they are as a result. Apparently slavery and cannibalism are roads to serfdom and even lilliputianism long time.


6079_Smith_W
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@ Fidel

No to go further down, but off the top of my head, I don't think the Eqyptians were big slavekeepers either. Certainly there is no evidence they ever kept the Israelites as slaves. That is a biblical myth.

 

 


M. Spector
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

I believe the prevailing wisdom was, and still is that neanderthals were a separate species than sapiens. That is why they have a separate name.

That was the prevailing wisdom, yes, and in accordance with that, it was the prevailing wisdom that Homo neanderthalensis was a cousin of Homo sapiens, that they all died out without leaving any modern descendants, and that they were not ancestors of modern humans.

I am suggesting that in light of recent evidence that suggests H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis were capable of interbreeding, science will have to reconsider the prevailing wisdom that they were separate species, a proposition which prima facie rules out interbreeding.


Fidel
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Fidel

No to go further down, but off the top of my head, I don't think the Eqyptians were big slavekeepers either. Certainly there is no evidence they ever kept the Israelites as slaves. That is a biblical myth.

You're right and I think the Sphynx might even be pre-Egyptian. But who built the pyramids if not slaves? Were there unionized guilds of stone masons, carpenters and seafarers back then?


Rabble_Incognito
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M. Spector wrote:

Actually, since I wrote that, as Brian points out above, some scientists are now claiming that we do have some Neanderthal DNA. If it turns out that Homo sapiens interbred with Homo neanderthalensis scientists will have to rethink the status of Neanderthals as a separate species.

It is more substantial than a mere 'claim' it is now best described as 'normal science'. The genetics 'specifies' we 'did the monkey' with a monkey. People will use objects, right, or hands, so why not engage with someone who feels good? I think most activities that humans 'can' do or are 'capable' of physically doing, some human will have done.

 

 

 


M. Spector
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Rabble_Incognito wrote:

It is more substantial than a mere 'claim' it is now best described as 'normal science'.

I won't consider it "normal science" until scientists decide that H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis were just variants of the same species, allowing them to interbreed. Until then, there is a disconnect between the "two distinct species" theory and the "interbreeding" theory.

I wonder, for example, whether the presence of some "Neanderthal DNA" in the human genome might be something we actually inherited from the last common ancestor of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, rather than something we acquired through interspecies mating.

Quote:
The genetics 'specifies' we 'did the monkey' with a monkey. People will use objects, right, or hands, so why not engage with someone who feels good? I think most activities that humans 'can' do or are 'capable' of physically doing, some human will have done.

Yes, but inter-species hanky-panky doesn't normally make one the ancestor of a new species capable of procreating itself. (Or is that where "sheeple" came from?)


Rabble_Incognito
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This fits with the dialog:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/discovering-ardi-ardipithecus-ramidus/

Pair bonding affords survival in a way that people who live alone understand all too well.  Perhaps the documentary can clear up some questions that remain about Ardi.

Spector - my memory is baked on Neanderthal but I was reading about it recently - the DNA science being 'normal science' is true as I know you know - but the specimens that held the DNA, I would think they could be questionable - I'm no anthro guy but interpreting specimens in a dig context can't be child's play. Plus our understanding of DNA is much greater now.

Re: interspecies mating - I was near the Bovine Sex Club this week.

http://www.bovinesexclub.com/website/home.php

I've been having troubles here using Search in my documentary site for the Ardi and Neander documentaries so here's a bunch unsorted:


Caissa
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Robert Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax series is very good on human neanderthal interactoion.

http://www.sfwriter.com/


Rabble_Incognito
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The two species thing is a categorical distinction that I think I just saw in the Ape2Man doc was due in part to two German geneticists who looked at Neanderthal DNA against human and found a dozen or so differences in the genetic outline.  During the JP Rushton fiasco years ago, the wisdom was that human 'races' were separated by very few important genetic differences - hair texture, eye colour possibilities, skin colour, etc. Stuff that doesn't really matter. But the concept of race wasn't projected by the rest of the community as being of significance - the whole notion of race was a bit suspect. For Rushton, yes race was real. He saw differences in penis size and brain size that many of us thought irrelevant (as well as empirically suspect).

So when science applies a categorical like 'two different species' it begs the question 'what makes them categorically different'. You've suggested inability to make babies with each other which is fine - good defn. So if they can procreate we'd agree they're in the same species technically speaking. In the doc, the researchers make this early conclusion based on 11 differences between mod human and NDTHL, but these may not be 'relevant' to the act of procreation - they could be hair colour, eyes, it's unknown - remember this was when they concluded Neanderthal was a different species - they said nothing about procreation and in the doc it was untested.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Well what do they say? 

The nearest anyone has come is to suggest that they are a subspecies.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=our-neandertal-brethren  

Even though it is known that they were two distinct groups which interbred (and it was not from an earlier common ancestor, because African people do not share those genomes) it is still quite acceptable to call them two different species (since the term does not have one clear meaning, and neanderthals are themselves associated with different species).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species

http://rafonda.com/interbreeding_between_species.html

(edit)

And another look at the two sides to the question:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3431609.stm

 

 

 

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Studies have shown that hair and eye colour are superficial differences between humans. Tests on mice have shown minute changes in nostril openings and skin pigment occur with changes in environment. We developed blond hair and blue eyes over relatively short amounts of time after migrating north following herds of game. Perhaps in as little as a few hundred thousand years we changed from black African in appearance to Nordic and everything in between.

Brian White wrote:
I have noticed that science is collectively glossing over our horrific past. (They only mention the neanderthals as possible pot roasts) but there were at least 4 or 5 other human species at the time that went into the pot too.
It is a shame because as a species we probably need the genetic diversity more than modern humans needed the protein.

The modern theory based on statistical evidence shows that we lost our genetic diversity after migrating from Africa. Africans are the most genetically diverse people today as a result. Bottlenecks and barriers to survival did occur, and war and conflict were probable factors according to some theories. But the largest bottlenecks were mountainous regions, the sea, glaciers, starvation and so on. As we migrated away from Africa, fewer numbers survived various bottlenecks to genetic diversity.


M. Spector
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

The nearest anyone has come is to suggest that they are a subspecies.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=our-neandertal-brethren

That article says that “between 1 and 4% of the ge­nomes of people in Eurasia are derived from Neandertals” but doesn't explain what that means. Another article, in National Geographic, cites a study that found that "Neanderthal DNA is 99.7 percent identical to modern human DNA". 

How are those two statements to be reconciled? (that's not a rhetorical question)


Brian White
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How come the "pure" homo sapiens have more genetic diversity than those that migrated to Europe and interbred with a whole other species of human? and those that migrated to Asia and interbred with a 3rd  whole separate species of human? (edited to add: Neandertals were in Europe a long time, they must have had a BUNCH of really useful genes that developed over that time as adaptation to european conditions but hardly any survive, even less survive from the central asian human which may have had even more adaptations than neandertals)  And maybe a 4th species of human existed in Asia!. My whole point is that the  Toba catastrophe theory assumes that other humans did not exist. Clearly there were lots of humans.  I am saying that there were other humans but our ancestors prefered eating them (bush meat) to screwing them. Maybe toba marks the  birth of religion or birth of extreme racism or extreme tribalism or  something like that. Maybe those that stayed in Africa did not have such a narrow view of the human species or weren't so canabal inclined  as my ansestors and that is the reason for their greater genetic diversity. I might have celtic ancestors. They were head hunters. They probably ate people. Some of the first nations  I know also had head hunters in their ancestors. So, isn't it reasonable to think that 30,000 years ago, our common ancestors ate people too?  Food was in shorter supply then because there was no farming. Maybe the people who stayed in Africa were just nicer people with a broader definition of what human is and prefered to eat animals?  I have no problem saying that my ancestors were (probably) a bad lot. I didn't choose them, and they didn't choose me as a decendant.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

... Everyone except those of African descent, who are pure Homo sapiens. This happened because the strains which became Neanderthal left Africa earlier. So Homo sapiens who migrated later inbred with them. Those who remained in Africa did not.

Sapiens and neanderthal are two separate species (and there are others, including one which may have been discovered recently); it just happens that most of us are mongrels. And not claiming; it is hard science.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17370170

And in case anyone was wondering how narrow the gene pool is, this is how close we may have come to extinction at one point - 15,000 people:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Apparently the genetic evidence says that we mated with one other group of ancient humans, the Denisovans, who lived throughout Asia.  


6079_Smith_W
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@ Brian White

The claim about African people being the most genetically diverse is not mine. 

And the Toba catastrophy happened 70,000 yeas ago, long before these species existed.

As far as I know, anyhing resembling culture dates from the last 10,000 or so years.

 

 

 

 


Fidel
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Brian White wrote:

How come the "pure" homo sapiens have more genetic diversity than those that migrated to Europe and interbred with a whole other species of human? and those that migrated to Asia and interbred with a 3rd  whole separate species of human? (edited to add: Neandertals were in Europe a long time, they must have had a BUNCH of really useful genes that developed over that time as adaptation to european conditions but hardly any survive, even less survive from the central asian human which may have had even more adaptations than neandertals)

Because we kept dying off. The first time we were reduced to about a dozen ex-Africans and suffering various bottlenecks to developing genetic diversity through significant numbers of us according to scientists. According to you it was because we were so much tasty beef jerky for another. And recent studies have shown that Europeans have many more mutations and possibly harmful ones than African subjects.

Apparently Africans are superior in DNA composition compared to us non-African, banjo-playing, genetic equivalents to the Beverly Hillbillies.


M. Spector
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

And the Toba catastrophy happened 70,000 years ago, long before these species existed.

But according to Wikipedia, "the first proto-Neanderthal traits appeared in Europe as early as 600,000-350,000 years ago. Proto-Neanderthal traits are occasionally grouped with another phenetic 'species', Homo heidelbergensis, or a migrant form, Homo rhodesiensis."

 


6079_Smith_W
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Yes, "proto" means first, root  or source, and it refers to traits.

The interbreeding is believed to have happened between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago, and the catastrophy allegedly happened 77,000 years ago.

 

(edit)

I mis-read that, Spector. It seems there were distinct neanderthals around 100,000 years ago, but anything older than 135K is mixed with an earlier species. The group as a whole had left Africa 400,000 years ago.

And the population bottleneck happened before sapiens and neanderthals encountered each other and allegedly interbred. 

 


Brian White
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"And the population bottleneck happened before sapiens and neanderthals encountered each other and allegedly interbred". You can remove the allegedly.  And I did not say the claim that Africans were more  genetically diverse was in error or bogus.  If the european and asian invaders were decent human beings, they would at least  have slept with some of the at least 3 human species they encountered in their invasion and therefore they should have a bigger gene pool than the africans,  not a smaller one.

Denisovan genes are not found in Africans, those people had moved out long before the "population bottleneck".      "As far as I know, anyhing resembling culture dates from the last 10,000 or so years".  Thats funny, flax for clothing dates back at least 30, 000 years. Stone tool "culture" dates back much much further. Into the millions of years.  Several different stone tool cultures are known from the neandertals just in Italy! (Different neandertal tribes used different techniques for making their tools).    Our european ancestors and asian ancestors had options to expand their gene pool. The tiny amount of neandertal and denisovan genes that are left shows that they did not use it as much as they should have.  I suspect cultural or religous racism as the primary reason that modern europeans, asians and native americans have a shrunken gene pool. The population bottleneck is bogus. If an extremely warlike cannibal tribe kills all the other tribes, what does the genetic result resemble?

A population bottleneck.  In fact it looks exactly the same.

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

You should stop and claim victory now while you're ahead.


6079_Smith_W
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Victory? 

 Fidel, the cannibalistic subtext aside, we are having a conversation, not eating each other alive.

 

 


Brian White
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? ????  Whatever.   Humans are really smart, so why would a pissy little volcano kill nearly all of them? And humans (people that could breed with our ancestors) were spread across half the globe at the time of the "bottleneck". Much more likely that they were killed by ethnic cleansing by our rotten ancestors than some stupid old volcano.

Fidel wrote:

You should stop and claim victory now while you're ahead.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Brian, 

You can't eat smarts, unless you are a zombie. 

Just look at the comparatively small effect a volcanic eruption had on world population in the medieval era - helping to cause famine and the black death which decimated world population, and Europe in particular. 

And we have had enough documented mass-extinctions in the past. Sorry, but the dinosaurs weren't exterminated by genocide, and that is not what happened with early humans either.


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