Human Ancestors in Eurasia Earlier Than Thought

Matt Kaplan, Nature News, June 6, 2011

Archaeologists have long thought that Homo erectus, humanity’s first ancestor to spread around the world, evolved in Africa before dispersing throughout Europe and Asia. But evidence of tool-making at the border of Europe and Asia is challenging that assumption.

Reid Ferring, an anthropologist at the University of North Texas in Denton, and his colleagues excavated the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. They found stone artifacts–mostly flakes that were dropped as hominins knapped rocks to create tools for butchering animals–lying in sediments almost 1.85 million years old. Until now, anthropologists have thought that H. erectus evolved between 1.78 million and 1.65 million years ago–after the Dmanisi tools would have been made.

Furthermore, the distribution of the 122 artifacts paints a picture of long-term occupation of the area. Instead of all the finds being concentrated in one layer of sediment, which would indicate that hominins visited the site briefly on one occasion, the artifacts are spread through several layers of sediment that span the period between 1.85 million and 1.77 million years ago. The findings are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

{snip}

Eurasian ancestry?

The presence of a tool-using population on the edge of Europe so early hints that the northern continent, rather than Africa, may have been the evolutionary birthplace of H. erectus. Unfortunately, the fossils of the hominins responsible for making the tools are not proving very helpful to the debate.

Fossilized bone fragments found in the same sedimentary layers as the Dmanisi artefacts are too weathered to be identified as belonging to any one species, so it is impossible to say for sure whether the tools were made by H. erectus.

{snip}

There and back again

Even if the ancient inhabitants of the Dmanisi site were not early members of H. erectus, there is still a problem: anthropologists have previously thought that no hominins existed outside of Africa as early as 1.85 million years ago.

“Anthropology textbooks of the 1990s often showed maps with large arrows indicating migration of early H. erectus from its inferred core area of eastern Africa to other parts of the Old World,” explains Roebroeks. The findings in Dmanisi make such an explanation look faulty.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    A lot of aware Whites don’t like the Out-of-Africa genesis idea. While I understand this, I don’t see that the truth or falsity of OOA helps or harms our arguments. After all, no non-Whites appeal to OOA to halt their attacks on us, do they?

    And further back in time we would have a common ancestor with non-Whites, or more pointedly, Africans, anyway. I just don’t want us to hang our hopes and arguments on OOA being false, and then it gets proved, and we’d have to do all this backtracking.

  • Anonymous

    I would be appreciative of anyone who can point to any transcript of an informed debate/ discussion in the last 20 years between multi-regionalits and OoA proponents. It seems to me as someone yet inexpert in this area of inquiry that inconvenient facts and questions have been “cookie cut’ out of regard by both sides. Too, I wonder if the work of Carleton Coon is due a thorough retrospective in light of recent findings?

  • OBSERVER

    The latest theory is based on multiple movements of “humans” out of Africa. The fossil record is full of numerous Homo variants. In fact, if we were honest, our “races” are really sub-species like the way other animals are labeled. But, we can’t have that.

  • highduke

    After 3-5% Eurasian Neanderthal ancestry, the Denisova findings, the Gould scandal and now this, all I need is one more inevitable decisive discovery and I’m gonna dust off my CS Coon collection and start again with Origin of Races. Out of Africa doesn’t refute ‘Racism’ so no need to lie about it plus there are still die-hard Multi-regionalists teaching today and I bet the entire human genome will be re-interpreted as they say it will. Hopefully by mid-decade.

  • JuneWarren

    I studied anthropology/archaeology in the late 60s, early 70s. Back then almost everyone thought Asia or Eurasia was when humans originated. However, because of Leakey’s discoveries, political correctness, and Afro-centrism, people with those views were academically suspect and considered closet racists.

    A lot of people like me are beginning to feel vindicated.

  • John Bell in England

    I doubt if it really matters where the first humans originated, what does matter is the political spin which is put on the subject.

    The BBC is presently showing a series on the beginnings of the present species, Homo Sapiens, and its encounter in India with Homo Erectus with dire consequences for the latter. Homo Sapiens individuals are portrayed by blacksactors led by a wise black matriarch; this is nonsense because at this very early date the developed “negroid” type had not appeared, and when it did appear it did so in west Africa, not in India where the earliest Sapiens gave rise to the Australoid sub-species and therefore probably bore some resemblance to existing Australoids.

    In contrast with the portrayal of Sapiens as blacks, and the constant description of them as “our ancestors” , the brutish, lumpish Erectus types – lacking even the power of speech – are portrayed as light skinned and played by white actors. What was I saying about political spin?

  • John Engelman

    All this seems to indicate is that early humans left Africa earlier than previously suspected. DNA evidence and fossil evidence continues to indicate that human evolution began six million years ago in and near what is now Ethiopia. Modern humans began to develop 200,000 years ago in Africa. Everyone who is not a 100 percent black is descended from 100 to 200 modern humans who left Africa 50,000 to 65,000 years ago. These occasionally mated with the more primitive humans they encountered, but this happened rarely.

    Until the development of agriculture in the Mid East ten thousand years ago, and civilization there five thousand years ago human evolution seems to have happened more rapidly in Africa because there was a larger human population there than in Eurasia. A large gene pool is likely to evolve faster than a small gene pool because there is more scope for beneficial mutations.

    This does not mean that the races are equal in average ability levels, personality, and character because much human evolution happened during the last 50,000 years.

    Most of this is presented in The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

    http://www.amren.com/ar/2009/05/index.html

  • IrishBloodEnglishHeart

    I watched a programme a few nights ago called “Planet Of The Apemen”, aired on the BBC. I don’t know if this particular programme has been aired in the USA, or is scheduled to be, but if you can, have a look at it on-line. It’s a not so subliminal piece of anti-White indoctrination, in the usual dumbed-down, drama-documentary style.. It told the story of a family of early Homo Sapiens, played by black actors, who spoke English and were portrayed as sophisticated toolmakers, wearing clothes and shoes. They were looking to survive in the harsh conditions of a desert like landscape in India, around 100,000 years ago. They encountered a group of Homo Erectus, all male, no women or children in sight, played by White actors, who howled and grunted, and were made up to look more “ape-like”, and wore no more than a filthy loin cloth and carried crude stone hand axes. The father of the group was battered to death in front of his son, the Homo Erectus characters (White, remember) howling and whooping like apes. Truly appalling TV. If anyone else saw this, I’d be interested to hear your views.

  • Jeddermann

    All these discoveries are basically so fragmentary in nature that is hard to make conclusive inferences based on what little is ever found. Theory yes, conclusions that are absolutely correct NO.

    Everyone wants conclusion and absolute fact and this is just not possible given the fragmentary and uncertain record! And we do have a tendency to say that if Leakey said it is so, it must be so, because that is what seems to “fit” at the time.

    I recall reading sometime ago that the complete base of knowledge on Neanderthal is based upon about forty skeletal remains total, most of the remains fragmentary and mixed. A jaw here, a rib here, a leg bone here, etc. Some more or less full skeletal remains, but not much.

  • Mike from not-Queens

    Also remember that some scientists made a ‘recreation’ of the first European that was deliberately sub-Saharan African. Unless you dug into it you would think they did it with an entire skull. You wouldn’t know that all they had was a bit of jawbone and some other fragments and filled in the rest themselves. And then some black flash mob attacks again and the press, with this paleontological proof, can say that they were European therefore white.

  • Otto

    If we evolved into what we are today then we are still in a state of evolution meaning there would be the highly evolved and those in the first stages of this process if this is true then there still exists a Missing Link in the World today. I feel it is very easy to see who and what this Missing Link actually is, or am I off base in thinking this?

  • Browser

    Very interesting comments above!

    Especially after reading nos. 6 & 8, I’m particularly appalled by the politicization of science. and how they manage to bend it any way they wish… to serve their own purpose.

    I have to conclude that pop science is worse than no science at all.

  • Please Hep Me

    Here is a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the USA. Is there something they all have in common that I am missing I just can’t figure it out?

    01. Flint Michigan-53.27% Black

    02. Detroit-81.6% Black

    03. St Louis-51.2% Black

    04. New Haven, CT-37.36% Black

    05. Memphis, TN-62.6% Black

    06. Oakland CA-27.3% Black

    07. Little Rock, AK-42.1% Black

    08. Baltimore, MD-63.2% Black

    09. Rockford, IL 17.37% Black

    10. Stockton, CA-11.2% Black

  • Anonymous

    11 — Otto wrote at 11:54 AM on June 25:

    “If we evolved into what we are today then we are still in a state of evolution meaning there would be the highly evolved and those in the first stages of this process if this is true then there still exists a Missing Link in the World today. I feel it is very easy to see who and what this Missing Link actually is, or am I off base in thinking this?”

    I think that you are wrong in this idea because of the genetic tracing that has been done in the past ten years. It shows that intelligence developed in Asia and European groups while it did not in the Sub African populations. This is likely due to the populations in Europe and Asia needing to adapt to harsher climates. And as one poster noted, diffusion into non-African geographic regions occurred before the modern races took shape. This means that actual blacks did not ever migrate into Asia or Africa. So it is not likely that a missing link still exists as it would have once, although we have a wide spread of human evolution as it presently stands all around us now. However, because of the modern phenomena of transportation, negro genetics are spreading throughout the world and actually taking the whole backwards, not forwards. What remains to be seen is if an untainted enclave/reserve of European genes and Mongoloid genes will survive the modern epoch.

    Another post makes the observation that the races of humanity are really a collection of sub-species, but human conceit and religious motives have prevented us from seeing ourselves that way. One harmful aspect of this is the refusal to see the value of one breed and another, favoring the idea that evolution is being served by inter-breeding all the races. Science doesn’t really support that theory, which is really a politically driven argument based on Marxist ideals.

    Interesting – Recent discoveries are supporting that idea that Europeans have more Neanderthal genetics than previously thought. (NOTE: Last week CNN ran an article about some carving depicting a Mastodon or Mammoth on a piece of ivory was found in Florida. It’s art style resembles that found in Europe and common to Neanderthals. This shoots the Amerinds claim as first Americans to pieces). As technology and science improves, we will likely learn things that upset many PC theories. This is one reason why genetic research is not getting much press these days even though much is being discovered.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    Humans migrated out of Africa well over 1 million years ago. The question is, how long ago did the humans who are now non Africans leave Africa? I believe that it was well over 200,000 years ago. There could have been a lot of interbreeding.

  • Jeddermann.

    “What remains to be seen is if an untainted enclave/reserve of European genes and Mongoloid genes will survive the modern epoch”

    VERY prehistory whites remain in the Carpathian mountains. The Hutsul people for instance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutsuls. Left in the mountainous area to themselves they have a small chance of mixing with others, keeping their ethnicity intact as they have for thousands of years, and better off for it too?

    There are others like them as well?

  • fred

    Scientists estimate that humans and chimpanzees diverged over 6 million years ago. Scientists also estimate that humans and chimpanzees continued to interbreed for over a million years before they finally separated for good.

    So what does that have to do with this discussion? Simply that there have been numerous species and subspecies in our ancestry. New subspecies periodically arise and diverge a little before a few of them merge back in or die off. Modern humans didn’t arise in any single place and they didn’t separate at any specific time. It was a gradual process over a large area and extended period of time.

  • Duran Dahl

    The unfortunately surnamed Carlton Coon is worth reading before his writings get the “memory-hole” treatment.

    http://goo.gl/YDvaJ

    His contention that the black Race evolved significantly after the White Race is the only explanation that makes sense…so of course, it is rejected by the PC pablum that passes for “science” in these tragic days.

    “Let truth and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth to be put

    to the worse in a free and open encounter?” — John Milton

  • ghw

    17 — fred wrote at 2:42 AM on June 26:

    Scientists estimate that humans and chimpanzees diverged over 6 million years ago. Scientists also estimate that humans and chimpanzees continued to interbreed for over a million years before they finally separated for good.

    So what does that have to do with this discussion?

    ………………….

    Yes, I can see that it has a lot to do with our society’s on-going racial discussion… and our racial confusion.

    Marxist academicians teach us that race is nothing but a “social construct”.

    Religion reaches us that we all brothers, all God’s children.

    Politics teach us that we are all equal and the same under the skin.

    But are we? What makes Marxists, clergymen and politicians experts on evolution, biology, genetics?

    Certainly it takes no more than a moment’s thought to realize that somewhere in the past when these divergences into races and species occurred, they would have taken place gradually over an extended period of time before the races/species became fully distinct. It simply did not happen that yesterday we were interbreeding and today we are not because today we are a new species.

    Thus, it is clear when you look at present humanity that we are in the (incomplete) process of diverging into separate population groups which would become species. If left alone and geographically isolated for more thousands of years, this would have happened.

    Much of the world would not care. Most of humanity just wants to be left alone to live among their own kind.

    However, for ideological and political reasons in the West, the fashion today is to force us all back together again into a common gene pool of indistinguishable races.

    You can see this today in any advertisement where the favored “look” is sort of Latino, a hint of the Orient, a touch of Africa, perhaps a blond wig or highlights, and so forth. But nothing that’s clearly anything. This has become the Hollywood/Madison Avenue ideal. Thus, it’s being pushed on the West and all white countries.

  • Anonymous

    I juxtapose posts #02 and #09, above. My sense is that on most

    American campuses for the last two decades, any reservations about OoA voiced from the lectern would have amounted to “thinking dirty” and “talking dirty”??

  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Dear fellow Beeblebroxians can one of you enlighten me and perhaps other Beeblebroxians, did we as White folk walk out of Africa as White folk, leaving our Black brethren behind due to irreconcilable differences as now=White flight.

  • Anonymous

    I think the ultimate answer to questions of intelligence if not origin will be found in paleo climatology. The Sahara’s spread and decline, the glaciation periods emptying of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf basins and the rise of seasonality in the white precursor’s awareness.

    I don’t believe it’s entirely a condition of ‘big arrow points this way’ as there will always have been little, temporary, terrain channel openings. But what I think will shock people is that-

    1. Large populations, with joint/contiguous access to each

    other, do _not_ sponsor rapid mutation as there is too much

    LCD factor and not enough causative effect (succeed or die,

    right here and now) on what amounts to inbreeding isolates.

    Small groups get quashed by larger need-dynamics.

    Their ‘fitness’ be hanged.

    2. ‘Long Horizoning’ may be incidental or even derivative from

    some other event. Africa has had surprisingly temperate

    climes in certain eras and even the modern conception of a

    savannah like existence would have brought with it an

    understanding of periodic innundation vs. drought which

    would have both inhibited and perhaps driven migratory

    (learning new things from new vistas) impetus.

    In all likelihood, evolutionary change is going to be seen as flukish. Unless you have a LOT of reproductive isolates which receive the same benefit/challenge condition (volcano blows in Malaysia, what do you do?!); there will be only limited influence. Elitism as a genetic pathway to followon speciation in Eurasia requires an understanding of of period effective social models and constraint driven mutation effects (limited mate trading environment = HIGH percentage of mutation spread to counteract the deleterious effects of incest by inviting in ‘new blood’?) that we will likely never be able to do more than guess at.

  • convairXF92

    To Jeddermann (#16): Hutsuls do show a lot of influence from various neighboring cultures, particularly Magyar Hungarian and Romanian. Ukrainian movies like *Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors* and *Soul of Stone* show Hutsuls dancing Hungarian patterns to music with a strongly Romanian sound (lots of Lydian mode).

    Don’t count on these people being 100.0% white–the Mongols and Tatars did go through that area and control it for a while. My grandfather and his siblings, who were from a neighboring tribe, were quite dark.

    They do maintain their original culture strongly, and it purportedly is getting more and more popular to wear one’s embroidered clothes to formal events.

  • Anonymous

    20 — Zaphod Beeblebrox wrote at 2:28 AM on June 27:

    “Dear fellow Beeblebroxians can one of you enlighten me and perhaps other Beeblebroxians, did we as White folk walk out of Africa as White folk, leaving our Black brethren behind due to irreconcilable differences as now=White flight.”

    No. The science clearly shows that the modern races developed long after the migration out of Africa, which was not called Africa then, either. (Latin; Africa = without cold). It was just a place. But tribal warfare may well have been the reason for moving out. But climate changes, a drought, etc., are just as likely. The important point is that those leaving Africa evolved a higher IQ likely due to having to adapt to harsher climates. But there is the new information on Neanderthal mixing as well.

    Contrary to what one post earlier, isolation and light interbreeding is what developed the more recessive traits, not immersion of many for more mutations possible as with insects because of their high generational turnover. In mammals, the best traits are selected out as rarities that are then developed in isolated populations the way we found new domestic animal stock. The geography of Europe and Asia allowed for all the special sub-groups to develop because of isolation, not high numbers of generally evolving masses. The end of natural barriers are the doom for the most rare types.

    ON that note, today Iceland is reportedly being accepted into the EU. Can you imagine how quickly the Icelandic people will be history once that little country begins to accept EU quotas from Africa and Asia? Iceland is nervous about it, but forced due to their bank collapse in 2008. I call it murder, frank genocide.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone seen the cover of the latest edition of National Geographic? Another picture of a black Cleopatra on the cover.

    Supposedly the article will “didcover the truth” about Cleopatra.

    I doubt anyone will discover the truth about anything from National Geographic, just another liberal propaganda outlet.

    Evey historian agrees that she was a Macadonenian Greek, the direct descendant of Alexandar the Great’s haf brothe Ptolemy and one of their half sisters. The family continued the Egyptian custom of brother sister marriage and they were all descendants of Ptolemy and his wife.

    The family spoke Greek. Egypt became a colony of the Greek invaders. Cleopatra was the first member of the family to bother to learn the Egyptian language.

  • Pat

    Nos. 6 and 8 – I too saw this programme – typical BBC over the top political correctness. If we ever grow out of this phase, this programme alone could be used to show how blatant the brainwashing became. Am not going to bother with the second part. If it comes to the USA do not bother – protect your blood pressure.