Showing posts with label paleoanthropologists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paleoanthropologists. Show all posts

Australpithecus sediba Is Not an Ancestor of Man

The Announcement that skeletons found in South Africa belong to a new species of Man is premature.  They were found in a cave near Johannesburg. The "new species" was named Australopithecus sediba. It was claimed to be the "rosetta stone" into the past. They were also the most complete skeletons ever discovered. The creatures walked upright, had long arms and powerful hands. Unfortunately, they were small brained.

Paleoanthropologists not involved in the find say the name chosen is just a "wastebasket" category. They are not ancestors of Man. Furthermore, some animals in the species could have had larger or smaller brains. It could still be transitional in evolution to Man, but very distant.

It may fit into Homo. Perhaps it is a sister species to Homo habilis. The brain size of Australopithecus sediba is the same as Homo floresiensis, the Hobbit, of Indonesia. The features in sediba are similar to those in other Homo species. Paleoanthropologists put very early finds in Homo. Sediba is not so unique as to have a lineage of its own. Indeed, Australopithecus africanus is older than sediba and africanus does have unique lineage. Sediba is too primitive to be a direct ancestor of Man. Older Homo species have features more like Man than sediba.
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Research Program to Determine Climate Change Impact on Man's Move Out of Africa

It is known that the climate change caused by an asteroid hitting the Earth 65 million years ago led to the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. Other extremes in climate pushed humans to move out of Africa. The National Research Council in the US has released a report calling for funding for more research into climate change and the human movement issue.

Paleoanthropologists and geologists plan the following program: find new fossil sites with remote sensing tools to determine when new species arose: drill ancient lake beds in Africa for more information on human evolution: develop regional models on how climate differed in parts of Africa over the last 100,000 years: and educate the general community on how climate change led to Man moving across the world.

A meeting is to take place on 31st March next year to discuss the determinations of the report and how such a program can be initiated. The first priority, of course, is funding. The present economic climate does not bode well in this regard. However, scientific endeavours must more forward.
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