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Peking Man Older Than Thought

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:34 pm
by Beagle
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7937351.stm
This method is based on the radioactive decay of unstable forms, or isotopes, of the elements aluminium and beryllium in quartz grains. This enabled them to get a more precise age for the fossils.

The results show the Peking Man fossils came from ground layers that were 680,000-780,000 years old, making them about 200,000 years older than had previously been believed.

Comparisons with other sites show that Homo erectus survived successive warm and cold periods in northern Asia.
IIRC this cave is the earliest recorded proof of fire making, although earlier humans were known to use fire - it was unknown if they could actually make it.

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:17 pm
by Beagle
http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/0Bq8ScZvzP ... 120309.pdf

Another report, a little more in depth. 2 pages.

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:46 pm
by Minimalist
The species is easily distinguished from H. sapiens
by its distinctive torso, which was much more barrel-shaped and
larger in volume11.
Wouldn't it be nice to know if they really were all separate species ?

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:49 pm
by Beagle
Well, H. Erectus was certainly an early human, and looked differently than we do. But I'm not paying too much attention to labels anymore. They make for confusion and blur the big picture, imo.

I've been interested lately in "morphological continuity". This is an argument that states that early humans were all skeletally different across the three main regions - Europe, Africa, and Asia. And although today we have all morphed into a more similar appearance, those old differences in skeletal structure still exist.

More evolution has occurred over the last 10,000 yrs. than at any time before, mostly driven by the high population density of humans. As an example, a 7,000 yr. old person was reclaimed from Little Salt Spring in Florida. Their mDNA does not match any known type today. And Otzi the Iceman?. Same thing and he is only 5,000 yrs. old. So we're still evolving.

So.....it's pretty unrealistic to compare any Pleistocene human with us and say that they're extinct. Or somehow - not us.

Just my opinion.

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:29 pm
by Digit
My opinion also.

Roy.