Posts Tagged ‘Jean jacques Hublin’

Humans: Neanderthals, Other Ancestors, Colonized & Migrated, Back & Forth. Therein Our Smarts

January 26, 2018

What does it mean to be human? It used to mean a race, then “Homo Sapiens”. Now, it’s getting seriously more complicated, in other words: mathematical. Titles in the media know, repeating what semi-brainless academics erupted with: “In Cave in Israel, Scientists Find Jawbone Fossil From Oldest Modern Human Out of Africa”.

Paleontologists announced in January 2018 the discovery of a fossilized “modern human” jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old. By “modern human” they mean: like us.

If confirmed, the find, a find of a kind I expected, will rewrite the official, academic early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the textbook time that Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa. 

Neanderthals all over us… Fair skin genes seem to have come from Neanderthals … and African from Subsaharan Africa have them to, before much more recent mutations darkened their skins… Yes, matters are becoming complicated. Th argument has been made, by comparison with the mysterious Homo Antecessor, that the Neanderthal face was actually more evolved. Yes, evolved. 

However, one has to be careful: a jaw doesn’t a mind makes. Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ DNA were already found, without any modern DNA descendants (whereas we all, or nearly all, have Neanderthal and Denisovan genetics!)

Previous discoveries in Israel limestone caves indicated that so-called “modern” humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unraveling that narrative, big time. It is replacing it by the mathematical mix and match I favor..

This would be the earliest modern human anyone has found outside of Africa, ever,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison who was not involved in the study… But is an old fashion thinker.

Oldest modern human” is slippery conceptual ground: it seems to insinuate that most humans then occupying Eurasia, and who were to occupy Eurasia for the next 150,000 years, during the 200,000 to 50,000 years span, were not really human, or “modern”.  Yet, those humans made discoveries such as burning coal for energy, genetically engineering European wolves into wolves, etc… Insinuating that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not human is, arguably, the mother of all racism. And against our own ancestors! Sadomasochist racism?

To the contrary, evidence instead points out that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not just human, but super-human (Neanderthals had much larger brains than today’s “Sapiens”, by up to 20%!). It seems highly likely they invented so many technologies, they guaranteeing the evanescence of their own genetic modifications (they obsolesced themselves!)

So what of this “modern human” concept? A “modern jaw” does not make a modern mind.

I have proposed that the dilution of Neanderthals and Denisovans characteristics in Sapiens Sapiens genomics was most probably a mathematical effect, helped by climate change and advancing technology: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

The upper jawbone — which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor, and was described in a paper in the journal Science — provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.

In a way, that theory, the all-out of Africa, and Africa only theory, was silly: Homo Ergaster was in the Caucasus around 1.9 million years ago, in force. In those tough conditions, Homo Ergaster, an early prototype of Homo Erectus, was probably dressed in furs (at least, so they were represented on the cover of Science at the time! The winter is cold in the Caucasus!)

What didn’t kill them should have made them stronger, and smarter. Colonization, immigration is not just a hope, it’s a school. By conquering Eurasia, Homo Ergaster made the species stronger and smarter. Actually the earliest example of domestication of fire comes from China, and it’s 1.3 million years old. China, not Africa (right, some parts of China are colder than anywhere in Africa but for the glaciers of Ruwenzori).

It seems likely that colonizing Eurasia made the species more superior than it would have been otherwise. Just as Neanderthal genes were found all the way down Africa, why would not a back colonization, or back migration from eurasia to Africa have happened?

This is exactly what my little “math extinguished Neanderthal” theory predicted, and now what is found ou. Consider : “Deeply divergent archaic mitochondrial genome provides lower time boundary for African gene flow into Neanderthals” Wherein it is shown that African Homo Sapiens genes passed into the Neanderthal gene pool around 270,000 years ago!

It’s not because Darwin said humanity originated in Africa, that it really did in all ways. Maybe it didn’t, in crucial ways. Well, actually, it’s now proven… And guess what? It was only logical. That enemy of Darwin, Nietzsche (“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”), would have been delighted: Eurasian colonization made Homo stronger, and yes, neanderthals were fully human.  

Colonialism springs eternal! This, colonialism, immigration, exploration, is what humanity does, and has always done, and used as an engine of evolution, not to say creation. Notice here the problem with uncorrected, rampant and unthinking Political Correctness: it hates colonialism, thus hates what made us, the core of the human adventure. (OK, paradoxically, although it hates “colonialism”, much of the PC herd loves another way to describe it, immigration! Mental coherence is the first victim of Political Correctness.)

Once again, it turns out that Homo Sapiens Sapiens was actually in Eurasia 100,000 years before we thought (as recently as last year!) that he was. So the interaction with Neanderthals and Denisovans was not a short affair, but something that lasted at least 140,000 years. This indicates that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not inferior, they may actually have been superior, and math extinguished them!

Not only Neanderthals had bigger brains, but they had bigger faces, and those faces differed more from ours than ours may have differed from Homo Antecessor (an ancestor known from just remnants of four individuals at this point; it lived 800,000 years ago, and looked surprisingly “modern”). It’s not me who made this shocking observation, but one of the top specialist of the subject, fellow Algerian Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Hublin and his colleagues created computer models that let them “grow” skulls virtually. “When we do this, we can explain the variation in shape between Neanderthals,” says Hublin. “But if we grow a modern human skull to the size of a Neanderthal, we don’t have something that looks like a Neanderthal. You get something different.

Hublin thinks that modern humans have retained a lot of primitive features from our distant ancestors. “It seems the Neanderthals are more evolved in their own direction than modern humans.” He observes. Said differently, the faces of modern humans may not be that modern.

The term ‘modern’ is somewhat misleading,” says Hublin. “When you say ‘modern’, people assume you mean ‘more evolved’, but in fact in our case it may mean ‘more primitive’.” We have met supermen, and we diluted, we degenerated from them, long ago…

In any case, our ancestors were colonists, here, there, now and then, and everywhere. From DNA studies, it is known that, around 10,000 years ago, Fertile Crescent peasant colonized the Mediterranean islands, and went all the way to Italy, and probably beyond, bringing along their agricultural know-how. So when we go conquer back Iraq, we are going home, Neocons are sure to add, but we will smile sardonically… There had been a controversy about how they proceeded: through land, or islands? Islands! In particular, Crete.

Big data is fashionable. we were created by big data, and, even more, significant data. That data was found in other places than Africa. That data made us smarter.

So now, what’s next? The Moon! Mars! They are within easier reach than the bottom of the ocean, that’s for sure… Colonization will us strong, smart, push us forward, just like our ancestors

Patrice Aymé