Showing posts with label origins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label origins. Show all posts

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Link-dump #17 (Fortean edition)

"They" Are Not "Them": A Hybrid View of the UFO Presence

Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea

Chinese scientists 'filmed UFO for 40 minutes'

Has Jesus Christ been spotted on Mars? (I don't see it.)

A skull that rewrites the history of man

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Neanderthal sandwiches

How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans

The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la R├ęcherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Return of the "hobbits"

Hobbits 'are a separate species'

The team, which discovered the tiny remains in Liang Bua cave on Flores, contends that the population belongs to the species Homo floresiensis - separate from our own grouping Homo sapiens.

They argue that the "Hobbits" are descended from a prehistoric species of human - perhaps Homo erectus - which reached island South-East Asia more than a million years ago.

Over many years, their bodies most likely evolved to be smaller in size, through a natural selection process called island dwarfing, claim the discoverers, and many other scientists.

(Via The Keyhoe Report.)

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Remember the "iceman"? If not, this should refresh your memory.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'Hobbit' Fossils Represent A New Species, Concludes Anthropologist

University of Minnesota anthropology professor Kieran McNulty (along with colleague Karen Baab of Stony Brook University in New York) has made an important contribution toward solving one of the greatest paleoanthropological mysteries in recent history -- that fossilized skeletons resembling a mythical "hobbit" creature represent an entirely new species in humanity's evolutionary chain.

. . . and around and around we go.

Tangentially related:

La Planete des Singes: Human-Ape Hybrids and the Future of Chumanity

One of the leading activists to speak out against experiments that might involve inter-species breeding with humans and apes is Dr. Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, who this past April warned of a "controversial draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill" which did not specifically place restrictions on human sperm being inseminated into animals. MacKellar argues "if a female chimpanzee was inseminated with human sperm the two species would be closely enough related that a hybrid could be born."

Indeed, there are many instances throughout the last century where experiments were planned which may have proven conclusively whether creation of a "humanzee" were possible, though according to public records, none were seen through to completion. However, does this mean that there couldn't have been other instances where interbreeding took place at other times?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Return of the Neanderthals

Every serious scientist knows that we and other animals evolved from the same ancestors. The real question today is whether to put our DNA and theirs back together. Until now, that question has been raised in the form of human-animal hybrids made in labs for research. You can argue that these are somehow wrong because they're newfangled and artificial. But what can you say about Neanderthals? They were made by nature, not industry. In fact, we're the industrial villains who apparently wiped them out. They're as natural as we are.

Of course, just because "we" survived and the Neanderthals didn't doesn't necessarily entail that we're smarter. I actually suspect that Neanderthals were at least the equals of Cro-Magnons.

Maybe that's exactly what this planet needs right now: some good old-fashioned Neanderthal brains steering the ship.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gobekli Tepe: The World's First Temple?

To Schmidt and others, these new findings suggest a novel theory of civilization. Scholars have long believed that only after people learned to farm and live in settled communities did they have the time, organization and resources to construct temples and support complicated social structures. But Schmidt argues it was the other way around: the extensive, coordinated effort to build the monoliths literally laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies.

(Via Futurismic.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Disgruntled by National Geographic's distinctly unflattering rendering of "Wilma," a supposedly typical Neanderthal woman, conscientious Posthuman Blues reader Michael Garrett has produced a relatively blemish-free version:

She's still no Brooke Burke, but at least now she looks human -- which, being Neanderthal, she's not . . .

On the other hand, the "new" Wilma still looks a lot more appealing than this unsightly chimera, produced by John Fenderson:

Monday, September 22, 2008

DNA-Based Neanderthal Face Unveiled

Meet Wilma -- named for the redheaded Flintstones character -- the first model of a Neanderthal based in part on ancient DNA evidence.

Artists and scientists created Wilma (shown in a photo released yesterday) using analysis of DNA from 43,000-year-old bones that had been cannibalized. Announced in October 2007, the findings had suggested that at least some Neanderthals would have had red hair, pale skin, and possibly freckles.

(Via Aberrant News.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neanderthals were not 'stupid,' says new research

Neanderthals were not as stupid as they have been portrayed, according to new research Tuesday showing their stone tools were as good as those made by the early ancestors of modern humans, Homo sapiens.

The findings by a team of scientists at British and US universities challenge the assumption that the ancestors of people living today drove Neanderthals into extinction by producing better tools.

Another reason to read and savor Robert J. Sawyer's "Hominids."

(Thanks to Nick Redfern.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Religion a figment of human imagination

No, wait! Surely you're just kidding, right?

Humans alone practice religion because they're the only creatures to have evolved imagination.

That's the argument of anthropologist Maurice Bloch of the London School of Economics. Bloch challenges the popular notion that religion evolved and spread because it promoted social bonding, as has been argued by some anthropologists.

Instead, he argues that first, we had to evolve the necessary brain architecture to imagine things and beings that don't physically exist, and the possibility that people somehow live on after they've died.

On the other hand, would we recognize a chimpanzee religion as such if we saw it?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Incredible pictures of one of Earth's last uncontacted tribes firing bows and arrows

Skin painted bright red, heads partially shaved, arrows drawn back in the longbows and aimed square at the aircraft buzzing overhead. The gesture is unmistakable: Stay Away.

For a culture weaned on cinematic images of spear-wielding "savages," these photos might seem less shocking than inevitable.

Lest there's any confusion on the matter: if an alien spaceship buzzes a major Western city, you can bet our reaction would be much the same.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Which Existed First: God or the Human Imagination?

"One can be a member of a transcendental group, or a nation, even though one never comes in contact with the other members of it. Moreover, the composition of such groups, whether they are clans or nations, may equally include the living and the dead," he added.

He argues that no animals, not even our nearest relatives the chimpanzees, can do this. Instead, he says, they're restricted to the routine and Machiavellian social interactions of everyday life.

The reason for this, he says, is that they can't imagine beyond this immediate social circle, or backwards and forwards in time, in the same way that humans can.

Not that long ago we deemed ourselves unique because of our ability to use tools; now we're assured we're the only species with the ability to imagine. I have to wonder just how long this will last.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Humans nearly wiped out 70,000 years ago, study says

The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated that the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

Two-thousand people? Hell, we humans now routinely kill each other in much larger quantities.

My, have we come a long way.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Meteorites delivered the 'seeds' of Earth's left-hand life

Breslow simulated what occurred after the dust settled following a meteor bombardment, when the amino acids on the meteor mixed with the primordial soup. Under "credible prebiotic conditions" -- desert-like temperatures and a little bit of water -- he exposed amino acid chemical precursors to those amino acids found on meteorites.

Breslow and Columbia chemistry grad student Mindy Levine found that these cosmic amino acids could directly transfer their chirality to simple amino acids found in living things. Thus far, Breslow's team is the first to demonstrate that this kind of handedness transfer is possible under these conditions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Human ancestor fossil found in Europe

The researchers said the fossil found last year at Atapuerca in northern Spain, along with stone tools and animal bones, is up to 1.3 million years old. That would be 500,000 years older than remains from a 1997 find that prompted the naming of a new species: Homo antecessor, or Pioneer Man, possibly a common ancestor to Neanderthals and modern humans.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How intelligent dinosaurs conquered the world

A brief citation doesn't do this one justice. Incidentally, the biped dinosaur discussed in the article has been oft-cited by various ufologists as a candidate "Gray" alien, even if the similarities are ultimately unconvincing. After all, dinosaurs didn't make the evolutionary cut. And even if they had, there's certainly no guarantee they'd evolve into dome-headed humanoids.

The "reptilian" crowd will likely propose that scientific speculation about intelligent dinosaurs -- even purely hypothetical dinosaurs -- bolsters their beliefs, which leaves one wondering why such a decidedly nonhuman species would take to meddling with human politics. Maybe a consultation with David Icke is in order . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This one's been making the rounds, but it's worth posting:

Blue-eyed humans have a single, common ancestor

Variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can all be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes. "From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor," says Professor Eiberg. "They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA."

I'm honestly not sure how to characterize my own eye-color. Grayish blue-green? Greenish gray?

Friday, January 04, 2008

"Hobbits" May Have Been Genetic Mutants

A rare disease characterized by small brain and body size but near normal intelligence is caused by mutations in a gene coding for the protein pericentrin, researchers have found.

The scientists speculate that the condition may explain the tiny, hobbitlike people that occupied a remote, Indonesian island about 18,000 years ago -- adding fuel to the debate over whether the unusual creatures were a new species or just diseased modern humans.

And around and around we go . . . which, in science, is often as it should be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly

The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today.

By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.

Until recently, anthropologists believed that evolutionary pressure on humans eased after the transition to a more stable agrarian lifestyle. But in the last few years, they realized the opposite was true -- diseases swept through societies in which large groups lived in close quarters for a long time.

Altogether, the recent genetic changes account for 7% of the human genome, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

The implications make the mind reel . . .