all hominids are homo sapiens

Discussion in 'Science' started by Helen, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Thought this might interest some here -- it's certainly no surprise to creationists!

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    From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/26/wspecies26.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/12/26/ixworld.html
    Believe it or not, they're all the same species
    By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
    (Filed: 26/12/2004)
    It is one of the best-known stories in science: the evolution of mankind from ape-like creatures to modern humans via knuckle-grazing cave-dwellers. Now it has been blown apart by the first comprehensive study of all the fossils, which has revealed that they are probably all variants of Homo sapiens.
    The discovery comes as fossil-hunters in Indonesia continue to defend claims to have found yet another new species of human, dubbed "Hobbit Man". If true, the diminutive creature would join such famous specimens as Lucy, Java Man and the Neanderthals in the complex family tree of mankind.


    The findings have significant implications for the often bitter debates between fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. While they no longer bicker over the so-called "Missing Link" - the now-derided idea of a creature linking humans to chimpanzees - experts continue to argue over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.
    The number of human species claimed by fossil-hunters now stands at around 10, while the total number of human-like species exceeds 50. Such claims have long been based on supposedly significant differences in sizes and shapes of fossil bones. Now they have all been thrown into doubt by research showing that the differences lie within the range expected for just a single species.
    Professor Maciej Henneberg, of the University of Adelaide, a world authority on fossil human anatomy, made the discovery after analysing the skull sizes and estimated body weights for all of the 200 identified specimens of human-like fossils known as hominims. These span the entire history of humans, from the emergence of so-called Australopithecines with an upright stance more than four million years ago to neolithic modern humans from around 10,000 years ago.
    Prof Henneberg found that the fossils show clear evidence of evolution, with substantial increases in both skull sizes and body-weight. However, he also found that the fossils show no evidence of being anything other than a single species which had grown bigger and smarter over time. According to Prof Henneberg, the much-vaunted differences in fossil size used to identify "new" species all lie within the normal range expected for one species.
    Plotted out as a graph, they form the classic bell-shaped curve found using data from modern humans.
    Reporting his findings in the current issue of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Prof Henneberg concludes: "All hominims appear to be a single gradually evolving lineage containing only one species at each point in time."
    The findings have big implications for the often bitter debates between fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. Experts have long bickered over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.
    Prof Henneberg has said that the new results suggest such disputes are meaningless, as they ignore the possibility of huge differences within the same species.
    He said they also raise doubts about the reliability of bones in identifying new human species: "There is no precise way in which we can test whether Julius Caesar and Princess Diana were members of the same species of Homo sapiens".
    According to Prof Henneberg, the study highlights the scant evidence for so many of the claimed new species of human. "Considering that there are only about 200 specimens in total, if these really do represent ten different species, that makes an average of just 20 specimens per species". He added that only a single skull had been found for the "Hobbit Man" of Indonesia.
    Other authorities hailed Prof Henneberg's findings as a much-needed reality check. "Clearly there is a need to be more aware of the possibility of variation - but that is not the inclination today," said Geoffrey Harrison, emeritus professor of biological anthropology at the University of Oxford. "It has been a problem because the discoverers have usually put so much effort into finding the evidence, so they want it to be important".
    Professor Chris Stringer, a leading expert on human fossils at the Natural History Museum, London, said even Neanderthals were not significantly different in skull or body size from modern humans. However, he added that they do differ in other details, such as inner ear bones.
    He said: "The argument they are a different species is, of course, only a hypothesis, but comparisons of skull shape published recently certainly show they are as different from us as monkeys and apes are different from each other".
    According to Prof Henneberg, there are fewer than 30 examples of Neanderthals on which to base any conclusions. What evidence there is, however, is consistent with Neanderthals being from the same species as modern humans.
    He added that the never-ending announcements of new species said more about those making the claims than about human evolution. "The problem is there are far more palaeontologists than fossil specimens".
     
  2. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    From the link:
    "Reporting his findings in the current issue of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Prof Henneberg concludes: 'All hominims appear to be a single gradually evolving lineage containing only one species at each point in time.'"

    In other words, the population evolved from one species to another, with no sidebranches. Which seems contradicted by the fact that Neandertals and anatomically modern humans existed side by side for a very long time, and the DNA data which shows that Neandertals are too different from us to be the same species.

    So we know that there was at least one divergence, between Neandertals and anatomically modern humans.

    The reporter got the story wrong. The good professor didn't say that they were all one species, he said that there was only one species at any point in time.

    Big difference.
     
  3. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    Also quoting from the story:

    "Prof Henneberg found that the fossils show clear evidence of evolution, with substantial increases in both skull sizes and body-weight."

    I do not believe that the professor was casting any doubt on the evolution of humans. The story also says that he only looked at skull sizes and body masses. Therefore he ignored the many other specific physical traits that are used to differentiate the finds into various species. This is also pointed out in the article.

    "Professor Chris Stringer, a leading expert on human fossils at the Natural History Museum, London, said even Neanderthals were not significantly different in skull or body size from modern humans. However, he added that they do differ in other details, such as inner ear bones.

    He said: 'The argument they are a different species is, of course, only a hypothesis, but comparisons of skull shape published recently certainly show they are as different from us as monkeys and apes are different from each other'."
     
  4. RTG

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    ?,Does a humans skull ever quit growing?Is it possible that what they call a neandertral is just a person that lived possibly 150-200+ years?Why is this not a consideration?Has any one ever been able to study someone 200+ years old?There would likly be some differances in the skull and bones of someone who lived 200+ years verses our wopping70-115.
     
  5. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    If that were the case, then you would at least see the beginnings of such changes in our oldest seniors. As far as I know, we don't. We also are fairly confident in observations of how bone grows and Ithink bones in humans lose the ability to grow further after a certain point in life.

    There are some substantial differences in morphology between Neanderthals and modern Humans. Since you mentioned the skull, some of the differences with Neanderthals from humans include prominent brow ridges, a very low and sloping forehead, a flat and low cranial vault instead of a dome, an occipital bulge, and an overall longer and wider skull.

    DNA testing has also shown that Neanderthal DNA is outside the range of that of modern humans.

    Ovchinnikov, I. V., Gotherstrom, A., Romanova, G. P., Kharitonov, V. M., Liden, K., GoodwinW. Molecular analysis of Neanderthal DNA from the northern Caucasus. Nature 404, 490 (2000).

    "But the Feldhofer Neanderthal DNA seems to be distinct from the DNA of any modern human, irrespective of racial or geographical origin. The Caucasus Neanderthal DNA now confirms this: it is closer to the Feldhofer DNA than to any modern human... But the Caucasus DNA and the Feldhofer DNA are quite distinct, having a 3.48&percnt; difference in sequence. This is comparable to differences between humans of different ethnic or geographic origins, and is not surprising given that the Feldhofer and Caucausus individuals lived 2,500 kilometres and tens of thousands of years apart."

    So these two Neanderthal samples have differences in DNA between them in line with the variation found within modern humans but their DNA is far outside the variation actually found within truely modern humans. Therefore, these were not modern humans. And this agrees with the data from the physiology of Neanderthals and humans and it agrees with the different kinds of artifacts found with remains of Neanderthals and humans.

    http://www.nature.com/nsu/000330/000330-8.html
     

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