Keeping up with the Hominin

“Hominin – the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus).”

Australian Museum.

A lot had happened this year with hominin research and some would redefine conventional understandings of this group. Below is a list of new studies that came out this year that I find quite interesting on hominin. Read up so you can show off in class with your knowledge of current hominin research. You know, just so you can make sure that your adjunct is really paying attention of what he/she is doing instead of begrudgingly teaching a class because he/she has to. Or maybe you have a geeky classmate you want to impress. Or if you’re like me, you just wanna be the smartest in class because Asian Fail is not an option. So, enjoy … and if they question you, tell them I said so.

Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus

Paranthropus boisei

From left to right: Comparison of upper jaw, P. boisei and H. sapiens. Photo from PhysOrg.

Homo erectus

  • Stone artifacts, mostly flakes from stone tools, from the Dmanisi site in Georgia (the country, not the state) might suggests that H. erectus evolved outside of Africa. However, no conclusive evidence can be made due to the poor conditions of fossils found near these artifacts. Human ancestors in Eurasia earlier than thought
  • H. erectus reached South Asia earlier than previously thought, between 1.5 to 1 million years ago according to Acheulean tools. Go east, ancient tool makers
An Acheulean hand ax found in India (South Asia) indicates that H. erectus moved to South Asia shortly after the invention of stone tools, around 1.6 million years ago. Photo from ScienceNews.

Homo neanderthalensis

  • Neandertals probably died off because there were too many early humans to compete with. According to a statistical analysis, the Périgord region of southwestern France has the highest concentration of Neandertals and early humans. The ratio between Neandertal to early human was 1 to 10. There were just too many humans for Neanderthals to survive
  • Mousterian culture might have lasted longer than previously thought and Neandertals might have spread as far as northern Russia in the mountains of Polar Urals, near the Arctic Circle. Last Neanderthals Near the Arctic Circle?

Homo floresiensis (the Hobbits)

  • The debate whether H. floresiensis is a separate species or just microcephalic H. sapiens continues on. New study shows that the measurement of the Hobbit skull is within the range of microcephalic H. sapiens. Taking the measure of a hobbit
From left to right: Homo floresiensis (LB1) and Homo sapiens.

Homo sapiens (early and modern humans)

*Bouchra child, Homo sapiens*

  • Dr. Harold Dribble and his team found the skull of “world’s oldest human child” dated around 108,000 years old in Morocco and nicknamed it Bouchra. The boy died when he was 8 years old. This specimen has not been described in any scientific paper so watch out for it soon. World’s Oldest Child Found in Morocco
Originally posted on The Prancing Papio.

20 thoughts on “Keeping up with the Hominin

  1. The link to “Homo Erectus Processed Food Like Humans, Harvard Scientists Say” is broken. It links to http://www.homo erectus processed food like humans%2c harvard scientists

  2. Various Hominin bones continue to be dated at hundreds of thousands of years old, often using dating techniques that produce conflicting results and start with hypothetical assumptions. However, time and again when tested for Carbon 14, these bones consistently have detectable Carbon 14 present, which is only possible if they are less than 60,000 to 100,000 years old. When tested for Carbon 14, the coal, oil, and even the diamonds of the Earth show ages of less than 100,000 years old. All matter derived from organic sources on the planet is consistently found to contain Carbon 14, and is thus less than 100,000 years old. This fact seems to never be addressed as it doesn’t fit the reigning paradigm. Increasingly, we are finding SOFT tissue in bones like dinosaur bones thought to be millions of years old. Before we just buy into the reigning dating paradigm, shouldn’t we at least consider the scientific evidence?

    If you really want to show off your knowledge in class and see if your professor really knows the science, and aren’t afraid of breaking the mold, talk about Carbon 14 dating and soft tissue finds!

    1. I go to a university where professors have no problem talking about such things in depth. There are no soft tissue finds, there are finds of tissues that have been fossilized on a molecular scale. When exposed to a mixture of acids they become pliable and take on a color we think may be similar to what they looked like in life. But they are not organic. And carbon has nothing to do with this finds, due to the lack of organic material. So heavier, more stable elements like sodium argon are used.

  3. Horrible suggestion! First of all the red flags fly high when you google “carbon 14 found in diamonds” and the top results are young earth creationist websites. The claims made by young earth creationists have continually been proven wrong year after year, claim after claim. The anomaly in Carbon 14 dating is well known and is accounted for when real scientists do real science. Take your agenda elsewhere, David.

    1. Bryan, I’m looking at the scientific evidence and NOT dismissing it. You are correct – creation scientists have Carbon 14 dated diamonds. Others never bothered because they assumed diamonds were so old that there wouldn’t be any Carbon 14, so they never even bothered to test. They were shocked to find that result and scrambled for explanations! What you have referred to as an “anomoly” is actually widespread, and also includes oil, natural gas, coal, and even dinosaur bones that are supposed to be millions of years old (and which still contain soft tissue). The Carbon 14 content of supposed ancient organic matter has NOT been proven wrong. Tepid claims of “contamination” are about the only reaction offered to the Carbon 14 finds. But when careful tests are done to eliminate any sources of contamination, the Carbon 14 is still found to be present. If you are actually aware of any actual information addressing this “anomaly” using “real science”, please forward that information to me. For me, real science is openly examining all the scientific evidence regardless of whether it fits the current picture or not. And in this field, there is much scientific evidence that doesn’t fit the picture! If you have an agenda that does not permit you to examine ALL the evidence, it is you who should heed your own advice, don’t you think?

  4. Site your sources or GTFO. Oh, wait, you can’t; creation “scientists” don’t publish, they just make shiny pamphlets and teach kids how to find evidence to fit their claims.

    These aren’t the hominoids you’re looking for…. move along.

    1. Bryan, I actually didn’t want to dignify your most unscientific and ungentlemanly comment with a response. But for the sake of others that might be listening in:

      My initial response was to Prancing Papio regarding his coverage of all the new studies that have come out regarding Hominin research. As Papio himself stated later on, “You can obviously tell I’m a primatologist who deals with live subjects.” In other words, he was printing information that others had written, with full reliance on its scientific authenticity, despite the fact that some of the information was not in an area in which he had expertise or understanding. I don’t fault him for that, as it is a common misunderstanding in all scientific fields that one can rely on the “facts” as published by the PhD scientists that dominate the current paradigm in the field.

      But time and again, the scientific paradigm changes. And when it does, the people that represent the old system do not go down without a fight. You might want to read the famous book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas S. Kuhn. The actual fact of the matter is that time and again, old science has been proved wrong and has been modified and replaced by new science. Did you hear that there is now evidence that Einstein’s venerated Theory of Relativity may be on the chopping block? My point is that adherents to scientific paradigms typically cling voraciously to them, sometimes for years after they have fallen.

      The fact is that Scientific Revolutions must occur eventually when it becomes impossible at some point in time to continue to ignore the scientific evidence against the reigning paradigm. Such is the position that I believe we are in now. The very “scientific” dating methods that produce the “hundreds of thousands of years” ages for Hominins rely on the hypothetical scientific assumptions of their paradigm. As with most paradigms, these assumptions become venerated as “facts” over time, despite their hypothetical roots. It is obvious how little we actually know as we sit back and read the published scientists continuously shoot holes in each other’s hypotheses, as their ideas have “continually been proven wrong year after year, claim after claim.”

      Bryan, you are correct, I wrote about dinosaurs, oil, coal, etc. and these things are not Hominins. However these items are presumably MUCH OLDER than Hominin fossils, so my discussion of them highlights the issues with our current dating methods, which includes Hominins.

      Further, I asked you specifically, “If you are actually aware of any actual information addressing this “anomaly” using “real science”, please forward that information to me.” But rather than provide such information, you resorted to insults like “GTFO”, and an assault on creation scientists. I am asking that the scientific evidence be addressed. I’m not concerned about who may be a proponent of the evidence. I want to address the evidence on its own merit. To vilify scientific evidence based on who is accepting it rather than on its own merits, is indicative that a scientific revolution is forthcoming.

      It sounds like you have a beef with a certain group, but don’t let that affect your science! We still need to scientifically account for the fact that supposedly very old items of organic origin still contain Carbon 14 that was “breathed in” while the organism(s) lived, and which should have long since decayed and be gone!

      1. “Unscientific and ungentlemanly…” This isn’t about science and manners. Snakes like you have been trying to sneak religion into the science classroom my whole life. Actually, calling you a snake does a disservice to snakes. I’m sick of you. You act like you’re just having a casual conversation and bringing up some interesting points but you’re secretly hoping that no one will catch the fact that you are just trying to fill up the few gaps in knowledge left with God. Keep your religion out of it. For the better part of a century you and people like you have been proven wrong in the U.S. over and over again, in classrooms, in publications, and in courtrooms, yet you persist because your organizations have more money than they know what to do with and your people are blinded by faith. You have a belief system and then you set out to find this that support your beliefs. That’s not how science works. You don’t do science; you do lies and deceit.

        “Did you hear that there is now evidence that Einstein’s venerated Theory of Relativity may be on the chopping block?” This is exactly the type of deception I’m talking about. Without knowing what the hell you’re talking about you may have set people at odds with the Theory of Relativity. This is intellectual dishonesty at its finest. You didn’t cite your source, you didn’t describe the evidence. You also didn’t care to mention that the people who ran the experiment think they have done something wrong and have asked the scientific community to help find the problem. They CERTAINLY don’t think they put the Theory of Relativity on the “chopping block.” Those are your words to make their science seem more credible and at odds with the status quo and that, my friend, is intellectual dishonesty at its finest. You are a liar.

        Another example of how you are an opportunistic pseudo-scientist; All of your comments about dating methods are only about Carbon 14. You fail to mention the fact that there are a multitude of alternative dating methods that support the ages of fossils, rocks and artifacts. You pick on Carbon 14 specifically because you think that it is the weakest link. I know you don’t automatically reject any science that refutes Genesis but you do pick on the stuff that you think has a chink in its armor. A clear sign to me that a scientific principle or “discovery” is bogus is it’s Google result. If I google the things you are talking about I get religious websites. I don’t get a scientific publication. Those red flags are enough to make me think that it’s just another piece of propaganda meant to recruit the innocently ignorant into the American Christian business model. But this doesn’t stop me from examining the evidence that religious science enthusiasts think they have and almost always it’s some sort of deception. Some crucial bit of evidence left out here or a complete denial of the advancements in science that instantly refute said argument (like your carbon 14 claim). The few times when this hasn’t been the case have turned out to be just blatant lies and fabrication.

        When I say “cite your sources” I’m not asking you to tell me who told you what you believe, I’m asking for an example of the work that was done to derive at said conclusion. I don’t care who it was, I want to see methods and results to compare them to the methods and results that others have used. If any of what you said was true then there would be a split community in the science field. Some who hold that carbon dating is so inaccurate as to be useless and others who support it based on the work done to date. But you don’t get that. Scientists are largely unified on carbon dating with only a handful of outcasts (usually Christian) supporting your position but with no work. As a teacher you should know the old saying, “show your work.”

        So funny to see you speak of scientific adherents who hold on to old beliefs for years after they’ve been proven wrong. Look in the mirror, buddy; You’re holding on to beliefs invented by stone age goat herders.

        1. Bryan,

          You sound very dogmatic about your points of view. When I click your name, and see your “Other Activities and Interests” on your facebook account, this is what I see:

          “Other Skepticality, Foundation Beyond Belief, Brother Richard, Atheist Alliance International, Corinne Care Fund, Soulful Lotus Photography, Rock Beyond Belief, D.J. Grothe, James Randi Educational Foundation, The Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine, EvolveFISH, Natomas Bike Shop, The Thinking Atheist, Retired/Disabled, OccupySacramento, National Geographic,”

          It appears as though you are a 20-something year old, community college educated fellow. Obviously you’re very wrapped up in your atheist activities and anti-God sentiment. It appears to be the major focus of your life. From your postings here and from your facebook page, it is obvious that you have a theological issue considering emerging scientific evidence that upsets your apple cart.

          I did not bring up religion or God. You did! But scientifically, I do see problems with dating methods used to support the current paradigm. As far as I know, all scientists agree that the Carbon 14 dating method is an exacting method to determine the relative age of organic matter up to 60,0000 to 100,000 years old. Of course, that is assuming that the current level of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere is the same now as it has been for for the past 100,000 years. If something organic has very little Carbon 14 in it, that would mean that it was either closer to 100,000 years old, or from the Creation Scientists’ viewpoint, that it was closer to a time-frame at the beginning of creation (approximately 6,000 years old) and prior to the build-up of significant Carbon-14 in our atmosphere by the action of the Sun.

          Either viewpoint could potentially hold validity. But in EITHER viewpoint, scientists would still agree that an organic item containing Carbon 14 would be LESS THAN 100,000 years old. There are no scientists that have proposed a mechanism by which you could use Carbon 14 dating to obtain an age OLDER than 100,000 years old! So this is at great conflict with some of the dates typically assigned to various Carbon 14 containing organic items of as much as 3 billion or more years old!

          Other radiometric dating methods that are used to date the rock layers that fossils are found in have their own issues and assumptions. Typically different radiometric dating methods used on the same rock sample produce widely diverse results rather than an indisputable age. In the end, the age of a fossil is often “changed” until it fits into the expected time range of the paradigm.

          You speak in very derogatory, accusatory tones and call me names. I am very sorry that you have such a visceral reaction to my comments. I believe that in the end, the observable facts of science will either uphold the existing paradigm, or a scientific revolution will occur, as has happened many times in the past. I prefer to be on the cutting edge of the emerging science and unfortunately, some of these Darwinian assumptions of the 1800’s are rapidly falling to the emerging scientific evidence. If you are not open to explore the emerging science, you may find yourself in the very company of the goat-herders you so despise!


  5. I can’t believe you just tried to attack me as a person. Actually, it shouldn’t surprise me that a creationist would use ad hominem attacks to make themselves look better, it happens every day.

    You didn’t have to bring up religion or God; you took up a creationist argument in your first post. Do you really expect me to believe that you support creationist arguments but aren’t one?

    I grew up in a Christian family (my father and two uncles were ordained), went to a prominent Christian school in the Bay Area, and used my faith and my silver tongue to ignore the evidence and sway people towards Intelligent Design Creationism (back then I just called it Christianity). I could have been you. I just couldn’t lie to myself anymore and I won’t let people like you get away with lying to everybody else.

    Carbon 14 can enter older materials via the sun. Scientists have known this for many years and can account for it. You’re using an old, dead argument to trick people into thinking that you know what you’re talking about. You have a good spiel, but it won’t work on people that actually do their own homework. Other dating methods do not “typically” produce widely different results. There are “typically” error bands that science uses to get a relative date – like 4.6 billion year old rocks on the moon and Earth.

    I’m not sorry that you don’t appreciate being called names – I call it how I see it and I see you. “Darwinian assumptions of the 1800’s…” Really? What did Darwin have to do with dating methods? I don’t despise goat herders at all, I just wouldn’t get my science from them like you do.

    If the world adopted your geology we wouldn’t have to worry about oil anymore; we’d never be able to find it!

  6. I’m still laughing about you calling me “dogmatic,” David. Not believing things that don’t stand up under scrutiny isn’t dogma; it’s called not being gullible.

  7. Dear Mr. Servin:

    You repeatedly implore Mr. Schear to examine your cutting edge emerging science. Obviously, I too would be interested in recent data with the potential to turn my field upside down. But I can’t seem to find the Carbon 14 results you describe in any reputable resource. Please provide readers with the specific journal citations so we can evaluate your claims further.


    Jay Fancher

    1. Jay,

      You are a gentleman! And seemingly open-minded.

      The following abstract……97S

      …quoting from “Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research”, Section B, Volume 29, Issue 1-2, p. 97-99. refers to a “mixed success” when dead geological graphite is measured to be a maximum of 50,000 to 70,000 years old. It is one of MANY such papers in the journals. (Reputable journal papers are often not directly accessible by Google – sorry!)

      The unexpected Carbon 14 presence in virtually every fossil, plus oil, natural gas, coal, graphite, and diamonds is such an anomaly that it would require paradigm reconstruction. Therefor, most scientific publications are silent on comprehensive analysis of the subject. It’s as if they are just hanging on silent hope that some future unanticipated answer will explain this unfortunate data away, lest they be forced to reconsider much of what they have believed all their careers.

      The following paper…

      Click to access Measurable-14C-in-Fossilized-Organic-Materials.pdf

      …co-authored by four PhD scientists summarizes available data for C14 AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) dating of various organic sources. Pages 4-5 of the report list 90 separate samples from published research literature which demonstrate measurable C14 in samples conventionally deemed C14 dead (too old to contain measurable C14). The paper discusses how laboratories deal with the C14 Paradigm Conflict. The paper cites almost 50 sources including many secular scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

      On page 3, the paper reviews another paper by Nadeau, Grootes, Voelker, Bruhn, Duhr, & Oriwall (2001) entitled, “Carbonate 14C background: Does it have multiple personalities?” Their paper details studies they carried out to attempt to understand the source of this C14. In their conclusion they state,
      “Although tests showed some surface contamination, it was not possible to reach lower 14C levels through cleaning, indicating the contamination to be intrinsic to the sample.” They continue, “So far, no theory explaining the results has survived all the tests. No connection between surface structure and apparent ages could be established.”

      Although it is true that this paper was published in a “creation science” publication, the paper contains the most comprehensive scientific review available of the SECULAR data, and cites many secular papers published in secular scientific journals. Keep in mind that it would be next to impossible for this paper to get published in a secular scientific journal because of the peer-review prejudice against such scientific analysis because it is openly challenging the reigning paradigm. However the data itself is indisputable (no scientists have disputed the numerous C14 results) and continues to stand without explanation (no scientists have offered an empirical solution that has survived testing). I am open-minded to consider this overwhelming amount of data from numerous secular and creation science sources.

      Thomas Kuhn, in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” speaks of a type of phenomenon, “… the recognized anomalies whose characteristic feature is their stubborn refusal to be assimilated to existing paradigms. This type alone gives rise to new theories. Paradigms provide all phenomena except anomalies with a theory-determined place in the scientist’s field of vision.”

      The C14 anomaly cries out for paradigm reconstruction and a Scientific Revolution. One response is to just ignore it and wait for future generations to find an answer. The other is to move forward to explore alternate explanations. Like just perhaps all the organic matter on Earth is actually less than 100,000 years old, just like the data indicates. I’ve explored much more scientific data, and I can’t find any data that conclusively supports any organic matter older than 100,000 years old. Current paradigm data has been circularly interpreted from the presupposition of billions of years, and those interpretations fail when the presuppositions are discarded.

      Bryan, spare me the knee-jerk reaction, please. After you’ve read the dozens of journal papers cited, (and understood them) and considered it all in a sound scientific and logical fashion, then I would invite you to respond on a more scholarly level – whether you agree or not!

      Jay, happy reading! Let me know when you’re ready to consider a Scientific Revolution!


      1. The first paper is from 1987. It’s outdated and irrelevant; a simple Google search could tell you that. The second paper is pure religion. No valid science from you… still.

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