Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alternative Human Evolutionary Path


So I saw this article on the WallStreet Journal online about some interesting new fossil evidence about man's descent.  Apparently they have come to some interesting conclusions based on some interesting fossil evidence they have been working on for 15 years.

Here is a link to the actual papers on ScienceMag.

Here are some thoughts on the findings from others. (He provides a executive summary breakdown with critique)

Excerpts from the WSJ article:
"fossils from a 4.4 million-year-old human forebear they say reveals that our ancestors were more modern than scholars had assumed, widening the evolutionary gulf separating humankind from apes and chimpanzees."
Instead, the new finds show that what seems most ancient about modern chimps and apes -- such as canine fangs, long limbs with hooked fingers for swinging through trees, and hands designed for knuckle-walking -- may actually be more recent developments, the researchers said. In that sense, the human hand today actually may be the more primitive appendage, they said.

Already, the discoveries have experts reworking the human pedigree. They undoubtedly will shape debates about human origins for years to come, as scholars argue whether these creatures should be counted among our most ancient direct ancestors or cataloged as an intriguing dead-end.

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