Early Humans Evolved in Ecosystems Unlike Any Found Today

Early Humans Evolved in Ecosystems Unlike Any Found Today

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To understand the environmental pressures that shaped human evolution, scientists must first piece together the details of the ancient plant and animal communities that our fossil ancestors lived in over the past seven million years. Because putting together the puzzle of millions-of-years-old ecosystems is a difficult task, many studies have reconstructed the environments by drawing analogies with present-day African ecosystems , such as the Serengeti.

A study led by a University of Utah scientist calls into question such approaches and suggests that the vast majority of human evolution occurred in ecosystems unlike any found today. The paper was published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

To test for differences between modern and ancient environments, the researchers analyzed a dataset of more than 200 present-day African mammal communities and more than 100 fossil communities spanning the past seven million years in eastern Africa, a time period encompassing all of human evolution . They found that prior to 700,000 years ago mammal communities looked far different from those today.

For example, fossil communities supported a greater diversity of megaherbivores, species over 2,000 pounds, such as elephants. Likewise, the dietary structure of fossil communities frequently departed from those seen today, with patterns of grass and leaf eating species fluctuating in abundance.

Megaherbivores of the African grassland affect the ecosystem. (Pixabay / )

Around one million years ago, fossil communities began transitioning to a more modern makeup, which the authors suggest is the likely the outcome of long-term grassland expansion coupled with arid climate pulses. The new paper adds to growing evidence that scientists need to critically reevaluate our understanding of the ancient ecosystems in which early humans evolved.

"For a long time, our field has been trying to pin down how environmental changes influenced human evolution, but we've got to be able to reconstruct past environments right in the first place," said lead author Tyler Faith, Curator of Archaeology at the Natural History Museum of Utah and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the university.

"If we continue to reconstruct ancient environments on the basis of modern African ecosystems, we are likely missing an entire realm of possibilities in how past ecosystems functioned. Our study invites our fellow researchers to think more critically about that."

Linking Changes in Mammal Communities to Ecosystem Functions

Eastern Africa is a boon for mammal fossils, making it an ideal region to piece together ancient ecosystems over the past seven million years. With their extensive database of both ancient and modern mammal communities, the researchers focused on three traits: diet, body size, and digestive strategy.

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Africa has many mammal fossils, which assist researchers in studying ancient ecosystems. (Dallas Krentzel / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

For all of these traits, they found that the makeup of ancient herbivore communities differed significantly from those of today. This is key, as herbivores directly shape the structure of ecosystems in ways that impact a wide variety of animal and plant species.

"Large herbivores aren't just passive parts of an ecosystem, we know that they can shape the landscape. They're eating the plants, and the biggest ones are knocking down trees or trampling soils, which collectively influences vegetation structure, fire regimes, nutrient cycling, and impacts other organisms, including humans," said Faith.

For example, modern African ecosystems are dominated by ruminants -- relatives of cows and antelopes that have four compartments in their stomachs to thoroughly break down food. Non-ruminants equipped with simple stomachs are comparatively rare, with at most eight species coexisting in the same area today.

African ecosystems are dominated by ruminants such as the African buffalo. (Archaeodontosaurus / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

“Non-ruminants, including relatives of elephants, zebras, hippos, rhinos, and pigs, are like digestive conveyor belts,” said Faith. They eat larger quantities of plants to make up for their inefficient digestion. In contrast to the present-day pattern, eastern African fossil records document landscapes rich in non-ruminant communities, with dozens of species co-existing within the same area.

Fossil and modern communities were also vastly different in terms of body sizes. The fossil records document lots more megaherbivores than their modern counterparts. A steady decline of megaherbivores began 4.5 million years ago until they represented a more modern distribution 700,000 years ago.

What is the impact of these eating machines all living together in the same places, when it's not the case today?

"These ancient herbivore communities were probably consuming far more vegetation, which means less fuel for wildfires. Because fire is an important part of modern ecosystems in Africa and favors grasslands over woodlands, it's going to fundamentally alter how things are working at the level of entire ecosystems, starting with the plant communities," adds John Rowan, co-author and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Paleontologists have been aware of that, but until now, no one's really tried to measure just how different the past was compared to the present."

Drying Climate and Grasslands Drive a Shift

What drove shifts in mammal communities over the past seven million years? One of the most well-documented changes is the expansion of grasslands throughout the past four million years. Many of the fossil megaherbivores preferred wooded environments, whereas ruminants thrive in the wide-open savannas that dominate parts of eastern Africa today. The fossil record of herbivores closely follows the shifting environments, with changes in the representation of these groups tracking long-term grassland expansion.

Around one million years ago, fossils show a shift in mammal community dietary structure that grassland expansion alone fails to explain. The non-ruminants that had dominated eastern African ecosystems fell into a sharp decline.

This corresponds to marine dust records suggesting the region experienced pulses of climate drying that would have hit non-ruminants especially hard because they depend on reliable access to surface water, meaning that many species may have disappeared alongside the rivers and lakes they depended on. Additionally, the conveyor belt eating strategy of non-ruminants relies on accessing abundant vegetation, which would have declined during periods of drought.

Many species depended on water sources that were part of their ancient ecosystem. (NPS / )

Looking Forward

The authors do not fault previous researchers for relying so heavily on analogies with present-day African ecosystems, emphasizing that a study of this scope has only recently become possible.

"Paleontology has hit a big data era," said Faith. Co-author and Colorado State University Assistant Professor Andrew Du added, "With the assembly of large, comprehensive datasets, we can now ask important questions that are fundamentally different from those asked in the past. We can investigate larger-scale patterns and dynamics that undoubtedly influenced the course of human evolution."

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Humans Evolved Among Unusual Beasts

Gazing at the African savanna can feel like traveling back in time. Many of the animals that still roam these grasslands today – from lions to giraffes – lived alongside our human predecessors and relatives in the recent past. Films and pop culture only intensify the imagery, making it feel as if these ecosystems are hold overs from a more ancient time. But that’s an illusion. As new research by Natural History Museum of Utah Curator of Archaeology Tyler Faith shows, our early human ancestors and relatives evolved along very different communities of large animals.

The new study, published in PNAS, follows years of research on how scientists reconstruct prehistoric environments. “I spent much of the last few years writing a book on reconstructing ancient environments from fossil animal remains,” Faith says, and during that work it became clear that researchers have long used modern animal communities to infer what the past was like. The trouble is that this approach can obscure how the past was different than our modern time. “I work primarily in Africa,” Faith says, “so this problem got me thinking about how ancient African ecosystems might have differed from those we see today.”

To understand how ecosystems in Africa have changed over the past seven million years – the timeframe in which the first humans evolved and proliferated – Faith and colleagues looked at 305 different communities of herbivorous mammals, both modern and ancient. What they found is that mammal communities in the past weren’t just like those of today. Ancient humans originated and evolved against a significantly different backdrop.

“The acacia-dotted grassland teeming with herds of wildebeest, gazelles, and zebras frequently comes to mind when asked to picture an African ecosystem,” Faith says, “but this is relatively new when we’re thinking in terms of the vast timescales of human evolution.” Prior to 700,000 years ago, for example, animal communities in Africa included many more large herbivores – those weighing more than 1,000 kilograms. During a stretch of time called the Pliocene, between 5.3 and 2.5 million years ago, Faith notes, “there were several proboscidean species living side by side, including gomphotheres, deinotheres, and other members of the elephant family.” More than that, there would be far fewer antelope. Instead you would see more species of horses, hippos, pigs, and giraffes on the landscape.

Such differences go deep. "A key issue is that large herbivores aren't just passive parts of the ecosystem," Faith says. "They can alter the landscape around them by eating the plants, trampling soils, and toppling trees." These influences - particularly of large animals categorized as megaherbivores - affect how susceptible a landscape is to fire, how nutrients are cycled through the environment, and what plants grow where. "The implication," Faith says, "is that these unusual herbivore communities are signaling past ecosystems that functioned unlike any today and the presence of ancient habitats lacking modern analogs."

What, then, created the mammal communities we see in Africa today? Climate holds the key. “Beginning around 1 million years ago, Earth’s climate shifted to a phase of extremely high-amplitude climate fluctuations—the sort of fluctuations that translate to massive ice sheets covering much of the northern hemisphere,” Faith says. In Africa, this meant conditions got drier more often and with more intensity. This was bad news for animals like the giant elephants, horses, and giraffes, Faith notes, given that these animals are much more dependent on water sources than mammals like antelope that can take up moisture from their food. A drier climate put pressure on many of the unusual mammals while allowing species we think of as common today, like antelope, to expand.

With this growing ecological understanding in place, we can better perceive our own origins. Seeing early humans against an essentially modern African backdrop would lead us to misinterpret our past. Instead, the research conduced by Faith and colleagues is allowing to understand how strange our past could be. “We are hoping that the studies will push our field to more seriously consider the ecological and evolutionary implications of the fact that our ancestors evolved in ecosystems far removed from anything we know today,” Faith says, which in turn raises questions about the role of environmental shifts in our history. To understand the present, and even the future, we must understand the past.

Riley Black is the author of Skeleton Keys, My Beloved Brontosaurus, Prehistoric Predators, and a science writer for the Natural History Museum of Utah, a part of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and the place of humans within it. In addition to housing outstanding exhibits for the public, NHMU is a research museum. Learn more.

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Hominins Originated in Africa from Ape Ancestors Unlike Any Living Species, Study Suggests

Understanding the origins of the human lineage (hominins) requires reconstructing the morphology, behavior, and environment of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. In new research, paleoanthropologists from the American Museum of Natural History and elsewhere looked at the major discoveries in this area since Charles Darwin’s works and concluded that the morphology of fossil apes was varied and that it is likely that the last shared ape ancestor had its own set of traits, different from those of modern humans and modern apes.

The last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans represents the starting point of human and chimpanzee evolution. Image credit: Christopher M. Smith.

Humans diverged from apes — specifically, the chimpanzee lineage (genus Pan) — at some point between 9.3 and 6.5 million years ago, and habitual bipedalism evolved early in hominins.

To understand hominin origins, paleoanthropologists aim to reconstruct the physical characteristics, behavior, and environment of the last common ancestor of humans and chimps.

“In The Descent of Man in 1871, Charles Darwin speculated that humans originated in Africa from an ancestor different from any living species. However, he remained cautious given the scarcity of fossils at the time,” said Dr. Sergio Almécija, a researcher in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“150 years later, possible hominins have been found in eastern and central Africa, and some claim even in Europe.”

“In addition, more than 50 fossil ape genera are now documented across Africa and Eurasia.”

“However, many of these fossils show mosaic combinations of features that do not match expectations for ancient representatives of the modern ape and human lineages.”

“As a consequence, there is no scientific consensus on the evolutionary role played by these fossil apes.”

The evolutionary history of apes and humans is largely incomplete: whereas the phylogenetic relationships among living species can be retrieved using genetic data, the position of most extinct species remains contentious surprisingly, complete-enough fossils that can be attributed to the gorilla and chimpanzee lineages remain to be discovered assuming different positions of available fossil apes — or ignoring them owing to uncertainty — markedly affects reconstructions of key ancestral nodes, such as that of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. Image credit: Almécija et al., doi: 10.1126/science.abb4363.

There are two major approaches to resolving the human origins problem:

(i) ‘top-down,’ which relies on analysis of living apes, especially chimpanzees

(ii) and ‘bottom-up,’ which puts importance on the larger tree of mostly extinct apes.

For example, some scientists assume that hominins originated from a chimp-like knuckle-walking ancestor.

Others argue that the human lineage originated from an ancestor more closely resembling, in some features, some of the strange Miocene apes.

In reviewing the studies surrounding these diverging approaches, Dr. Almécija and his colleagues discuss the limitations of relying exclusively on one of these opposing approaches to the hominin origins problem.

‘Top-down’ studies sometimes ignore the reality that living apes are just the survivors of a much larger, and now mostly extinct, group.

On the other hand, studies based on the ‘bottom-up’ approach are prone to giving individual fossil apes an important evolutionary role that fits a preexisting narrative.

Overall, the researchers found that most stories of human origins are not compatible with the fossils that they have today.

“Living ape species are specialized species, relicts of a much larger group of now extinct apes,” said Dr. Ashley Hammond, an assistant curator in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“When we consider all evidence, it is clear that a human evolutionary story based on the few ape species currently alive is missing much of the bigger picture.”

“The unique and sometimes unexpected features and combinations of features observed among fossil apes, which often differ from those of living apes, are necessary to untangle which features hominins inherited from our ape ancestors and which are unique to our lineage,” added Dr. Kelsey Pugh, a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Anthropology and the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Living apes alone offer insufficient evidence. Current disparate theories regarding ape and human evolution would be much more informed if, together with early hominins and living apes, Miocene apes were also included in the equation,” Dr. Almécija said.

“In other words, fossil apes are essential to reconstruct the ‘starting point’ from which humans and chimpanzees evolved.”

Human evolution occurred in ecosystems vastly different than those found today, suggest researchers

(Natural News) A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that humans emerged from ecosystems that were markedly different from those inhabited by modern humans.

Researchers from the University of Utah, the University of Massachusetts , Amherst (UMass Amherst) and Colorado State University examined fossil records of mammal communities dating back as far as seven million years. They found that there was a much greater diversity of mammalian megaherbivores back then.

These giant mammals, those species weighing over 2,000 pounds such as elephants, are considered “ecosystem engineers” that shaped the environment in ways that affected several species.

“[This] implies that the vast majority of early human evolution transpired in the context of ecosystems that functioned unlike any known today,” wrote the researchers.


Human evolution from its first separation from the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees is characterized by a number of morphological, developmental, physiological, and behavioral changes. The most significant of these adaptations are bipedalism, increased brain size, lengthened ontogeny (gestation and infancy), and decreased sexual dimorphism. The relationship between these changes is the subject of ongoing debate. [9] [ page needed ] Other significant morphological changes included the evolution of a power and precision grip, a change first occurring in H. erectus. [10]

Bipedalism Edit

Bipedalism is the basic adaptation of the hominid and is considered the main cause behind a suite of skeletal changes shared by all bipedal hominids. The earliest hominin, of presumably primitive bipedalism, is considered to be either Sahelanthropus [11] or Orrorin, both of which arose some 6 to 7 million years ago. The non-bipedal knuckle-walkers, the gorillas and chimpanzees, diverged from the hominin line over a period covering the same time, so either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin may be our last shared ancestor. Ardipithecus, a full biped, arose approximately 5.6 million years ago. [12]

The early bipeds eventually evolved into the australopithecines and still later into the genus Homo. There are several theories of the adaptation value of bipedalism. It is possible that bipedalism was favored because it freed the hands for reaching and carrying food, saved energy during locomotion, [13] enabled long-distance running and hunting, provided an enhanced field of vision, and helped avoid hyperthermia by reducing the surface area exposed to direct sun features all advantageous for thriving in the new savanna and woodland environment created as a result of the East African Rift Valley uplift versus the previous closed forest habitat. [14] [13] [15] A 2007 study provides support for the hypothesis that walking on two legs, or bipedalism, evolved because it used less energy than quadrupedal knuckle-walking. [16] [17] However, recent studies suggest that bipedality without the ability to use fire would not have allowed global dispersal. [18] This change in gait saw a lengthening of the legs proportionately when compared to the length of the arms, which were shortened through the removal of the need for brachiation. Another change is the shape of the big toe. Recent studies suggest that australopithecines still lived part of the time in trees as a result of maintaining a grasping big toe. This was progressively lost in habilines.

Anatomically, the evolution of bipedalism has been accompanied by a large number of skeletal changes, not just to the legs and pelvis, but also to the vertebral column, feet and ankles, and skull. [19] The femur evolved into a slightly more angular position to move the center of gravity toward the geometric center of the body. The knee and ankle joints became increasingly robust to better support increased weight. To support the increased weight on each vertebra in the upright position, the human vertebral column became S-shaped and the lumbar vertebrae became shorter and wider. In the feet the big toe moved into alignment with the other toes to help in forward locomotion. The arms and forearms shortened relative to the legs making it easier to run. The foramen magnum migrated under the skull and more anterior. [20]

The most significant changes occurred in the pelvic region, where the long downward facing iliac blade was shortened and widened as a requirement for keeping the center of gravity stable while walking [21] bipedal hominids have a shorter but broader, bowl-like pelvis due to this. A drawback is that the birth canal of bipedal apes is smaller than in knuckle-walking apes, though there has been a widening of it in comparison to that of australopithecine and modern humans, permitting the passage of newborns due to the increase in cranial size but this is limited to the upper portion, since further increase can hinder normal bipedal movement. [22]

The shortening of the pelvis and smaller birth canal evolved as a requirement for bipedalism and had significant effects on the process of human birth which is much more difficult in modern humans than in other primates. During human birth, because of the variation in size of the pelvic region, the fetal head must be in a transverse position (compared to the mother) during entry into the birth canal and rotate about 90 degrees upon exit. [23] The smaller birth canal became a limiting factor to brain size increases in early humans and prompted a shorter gestation period leading to the relative immaturity of human offspring, who are unable to walk much before 12 months and have greater neoteny, compared to other primates, who are mobile at a much earlier age. [15] The increased brain growth after birth and the increased dependency of children on mothers had a major effect upon the female reproductive cycle, [24] and the more frequent appearance of alloparenting in humans when compared with other hominids. [25] Delayed human sexual maturity also led to the evolution of menopause with one explanation providing that elderly women could better pass on their genes by taking care of their daughter's offspring, as compared to having more children of their own. [26]

Encephalization Edit

The human species eventually developed a much larger brain than that of other primates—typically 1,330 cm 3 (81 cu in) in modern humans, nearly three times the size of a chimpanzee or gorilla brain. [27] After a period of stasis with Australopithecus anamensis and Ardipithecus, species which had smaller brains as a result of their bipedal locomotion, [28] the pattern of encephalization started with Homo habilis, whose 600 cm 3 (37 cu in) brain was slightly larger than that of chimpanzees. This evolution continued in Homo erectus with 800–1,100 cm 3 (49–67 cu in), and reached a maximum in Neanderthals with 1,200–1,900 cm 3 (73–116 cu in), larger even than modern Homo sapiens. This brain increase manifested during postnatal brain growth, far exceeding that of other apes (heterochrony). It also allowed for extended periods of social learning and language acquisition in juvenile humans, beginning as much as 2 million years ago.

Furthermore, the changes in the structure of human brains may be even more significant than the increase in size. [29] [30] [31] [32]

The temporal lobes, which contain centers for language processing, have increased disproportionately, as has the prefrontal cortex, which has been related to complex decision-making and moderating social behavior. [27] Encephalization has been tied to increased meat and starches in the diet, [33] [34] [35] and the development of cooking, [36] and it has been proposed that intelligence increased as a response to an increased necessity for solving social problems as human society became more complex. [37] Changes in skull morphology, such as smaller mandibles and mandible muscle attachments, allowed more room for the brain to grow. [38]

The increase in volume of the neocortex also included a rapid increase in size of the cerebellum. Its function has traditionally been associated with balance and fine motor control, but more recently with speech and cognition. The great apes, including hominids, had a more pronounced cerebellum relative to the neocortex than other primates. It has been suggested that because of its function of sensory-motor control and learning complex muscular actions, the cerebellum may have underpinned human technological adaptations, including the preconditions of speech. [39] [40] [41] [42]

The immediate survival advantage of encephalization is difficult to discern, as the major brain changes from Homo erectus to Homo heidelbergensis were not accompanied by major changes in technology. It has been suggested that the changes were mainly social and behavioural, including increased empathic abilities, [43] [44] increases in size of social groups, [45] [46] [47] and increased behavioural plasticity. [48] Encephalization may be due to a dependency on calorie-dense, difficult-to-acquire food. [49]

Sexual dimorphism Edit

The reduced degree of sexual dimorphism in humans is visible primarily in the reduction of the male canine tooth relative to other ape species (except gibbons) and reduced brow ridges and general robustness of males. Another important physiological change related to sexuality in humans was the evolution of hidden estrus. Humans are the only hominoids in which the female is fertile year round and in which no special signals of fertility are produced by the body (such as genital swelling or overt changes in proceptivity during estrus). [50]

Nonetheless, humans retain a degree of sexual dimorphism in the distribution of body hair and subcutaneous fat, and in the overall size, males being around 15% larger than females. [51] These changes taken together have been interpreted as a result of an increased emphasis on pair bonding as a possible solution to the requirement for increased parental investment due to the prolonged infancy of offspring. [52]

Ulnar opposition Edit

The ulnar opposition—the contact between the thumb and the tip of the little finger of the same hand—is unique to the genus Homo, [53] including Neanderthals, the Sima de los Huesos hominins and anatomically modern humans. [54] [55] In other primates, the thumb is short and unable to touch the little finger. [54] The ulnar opposition facilitates the precision grip and power grip of the human hand, underlying all the skilled manipulations.

Other changes Edit

A number of other changes have also characterized the evolution of humans, among them an increased importance on vision rather than smell a longer juvenile developmental period and higher infant dependency a smaller gut faster basal metabolism [56] loss of body hair evolution of sweat glands a change in the shape of the dental arcade from being u-shaped to being parabolic development of a chin (found in Homo sapiens alone) development of styloid processes and the development of a descended larynx.

1. Homo Sapiens

Most hominid species that existed on Earth became extinct during climatic changes but Homo sapiens survived and became the ancestors of modern humans. Homo sapiens lived together, hunted food, and evolved to such an extent that they could cope with the climatic changes that occurred. Besides hunting, they discovered how to propagate certain plants and how to breed animals, which changed history forever. Soon they learned to produce more food, and ate a variety of animals and plants. Their control over fire and their tendency to live in larger groups also led to the creation of better shelters.

Scientists have found various fossils that support strong evidence of Homo sapiens. The oldest known fossils were discovered in Herto, Ethiopia. Researchers from the University of California found the skulls of two adults and a child, who lived around 160,000 to 40,000 years before modern times.

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85 thoughts on &ldquoThe 7 Homo Species Close to Present Humans That Existed on the Earth&rdquo

You left out Homo Naledi. Scientists are learning new information about us as a species each day, so nothing is written in stone.

Homo Naledi is an incredible find with regard to our understanding of technology usage by early human species. This find does suggest a much early use of controlled fire than previously evidenced.

There is currently still debate as to whether it is actually a new species, or simply a phenotypic variation.

This is due to our anthropologists typically falling into one of two groups, “lumpers” and “splitters”. Lumpers tend to assume greater variation within a species, while splitters are more prone to think that a sample with trait differences is a new species.

The primary anthropologist for the Naledi find tends toward the “splitter” end of the spectrum.

We shall see, though, in time. :)

Would not interbreeding between species account for more variation, and therefore more species evolution,) than simple evolutionary process would allow or account for?

The definition of species says that two species can’t breed to create fertile offspring, so they can’t vary this way. That’s why they are different species so they can’t breed. Some species can, like donkeys and horses creating mules, but keep in mind that species like mules can’t have children of their own, so you can’t evolve in that way.

To Some Guy. True what you say. But what’s missing in your point is the incomprehensible element of time. And perhaps the imperfect perfection of nature, not to mention the Universe as it evolves. I say incomprehensible element of time because first, hundreds of millions of years are far beyond any of us to meaningfully comprehend. And even within our human framework of time, there’s an elusive relativity where, for example, waiting at a stoplight can sometimes seem almost longer than a blissful week of vacation that just blew past. It’s why we need clocks as reference for our daily activity, or positions of the sun and stars for a bigger reference of time’s passage. But its under the long passages of time, generally millions of years, for a species to evolve from one to another. They don’t just suddenly spring forth. You can argue whether that’s always millions of years for a new species to evolve, or some other length – it varies depending on the species, lifespans, and environmental conditions presented. But it mostly doesn’t happen overnight, over a lifetime, or even over many generations. However, the process is ceaseless and ongoing as a river. There are rapids and there are quiet pools. Even eddies where the water circles back. Evolution proceeds similarly. As for time, we can generally only grasp time by measuring it that’s why we’ve corralled it’s infinite capacity into digestible units of minutes, hours, years, and so on as measured by sundials, clocks, calendars and other such instruments. These tools help us make sense of what is basically relentless, and they also help connect us to the infinite cosmos upon which our systems of time are roughly based. We also feel time by experience. What arises from all this limitation is the tendency to package evolution in a step by step process as opposed to a never-ending, organically moving process that sometimes rests and sometimes explodes along the vast journey and unfolding scale of time. So, yes there have to be crumb trails between species, individuals that lead a path toward a more successful solution that we can define as a species. What we forget sometimes is that evolution is still happening even as we make our distinctions and definitions.

so what about the 6-9% matching dna in sapiens and neanderthals? How did that get there if they are different species and cant breed?

Also if you check the first link in the Homo sapiens section it says oldest fossil of modern humans, meaning we are Homo sapiens.

it doesn’t make any sense homo or what is stupid scientist don’t believe In God existence , so because the creation of God is a mystery to them. they are thinking with their canal thought.. if you believe you come from ape is up to you

I find it ironic how due to your ‘book’ the bible gets proven to be a load of crap every year and how yet it is the author of the article who is the blind one, enjoy your Ponzi scheme called religion.

Science and the Bible are not wholly in contradiction of each other.

The contradiction is when someone takes a parable and tries to claim it is literal.

Don’t start that weak connection. The Bible is a story told by old men and has been edited many times with many chapters taken out and in over hundreds of years. Long after Jesus lived. The Bible is a story. It is not a History book or a Science book. Stop trying to justifying Evolution with the stories of Jesus which are mostly inaccurate anyway.

Because never in recorded history has there ever been an instance of a Jewish person giving anything to anyone for free…. Boom!

Why does it not make sense ?
The creation of god is not a mystery , man invented him/her/it. Different people invented different gods. but every religion thinks they are right and the others are wrong . Use some common sense, Even if god did exist statistically chances are you have picked the wrong fan club/religion.

Some simple basic questions . Why did god make the other planets ? failed attempts at an earth ? Why not mentioned in any religious text ? If god made us and the sun why did he make the sun give us skin cancer and other health problems ? A mistake or on purpose ? Why did he invent tobacco ? he knew what we would do with it / Why make poisonous foods ? why make animals with better eyesight / hearing/ speed/ strength/recovery abilities etc than us ? we are meant to be the chosen ? etc etc etc so many simple questions the religious ignore/ choose not to see.

No one says we come from apes , we come from same start . But hey Id have no problem coming from an ape !!

Why is a God needed ? i’m happy without one .

God was needed to help us make sense of the unfathamable.It is said only though faith can You know God.I think math proves the existance of God.As for the other questions: How about life is like a bowl of cherry’s.It amazing that people have been talking to God for years and still doubt his existance.If someone told You they had a invisable friend would you believe them.Why not. They might.Can you prove they don’t?What makes You so sure?I have seen ghosts.But what did I actually see is it a reflection A holographic recording afigimant of my imagination.Something else.Five people were there four saw the ghost One did not.Same room same time Why?is there a God? Yes How do I know?I have talked with Him Was he something other than God?He seemed nice.So unless I have reason not to believe well I will just take it at face value and not sweat the small stuff.

Wrong. The religion of old, is the politics of new. Religion is politics. Even in uncontacted societies, resides a “shaman” of sorts, that dictates the ebbs & flow of societal affairs. That’s why the last pope to resign said, “I can’t do this anymore. IF there is a god, I cannot go to hell for lying. There is no Jesus. Jesus was created by the Roman Empire, as a political scheme, in the 1st century AD to unite the Mediterranean world.” Boom! Straight from “The Church”…the very first “Christian” organized group, before all the denominations were created, perverting the Catholic beliefs even further to suit their own needs. King James removed over 20 books from the original biblical text, since they denoted that men and women should be seen as equals. During that time in history, that simply was not acceptable women had a place, designated by men and were not equal. King James even added the last line of the bible which states “adding unto or removing from these texts, will remove your name from the book of life” to prevent questioning by the people it’s ‘God’s’ word. Wars for the last millennia have all been fought in the name of a “god”…the beliefs which stem from the society’s religion, involved in the war. Catholicism took the idea of baptism (submersion) and made it a “sprinkle” of water so that the legions of soldiers could be baptized under the new religion very quickly. Today’s ‘Homo Sapien’ is a cross-breed between all the sub-species of ‘man.’ No matter how many times you breed two white sheep, who’ve all been derived from white sheep, will you never result in another variation without genetic mutation without stimuli from external sources (ie gamma radiation). Man, is like dogs. They all belong to the canine family (man from the Homo family), but they are all different species. You can see traits from each of the “extinct” homo species still evident today in ill-named “homo sapiens” (aka species mutts). Skin color, size (if not dietary), shape, hair color, eye color, aversion to certain foods, thought processes (genetically middle eastern species of man are typically more aggressive (they’ve been fighting each other like pitt-bulls for over 3000 years without actual cause)), whereas sub-African species are typically more docile (ie Ubuntu tribes). A blind study was performed internationally, which found regardless of the current society in which an individual resides, each race does, in fact, have particular cognitive differences in how reasoning is handled and remained the same across international borders by “race”. It was even evidenced in particular races that had similarities to other races’ ‘thought patterns’, when asked if these individuals had any ties to the other race in their familial background. More than 90% of the time, relation and ties to other races could be identified. The RH- factor is derived from Homo Capensis sub-species (which had elongated heads and were very similar in appearance though, to modern man, moreso than homo erectus or neanderthal.) Although some of the species could not breed without their offspring being sterile. It can still be seen today when an RH+ mother is pregnant with a child bearing the RH- factor. Typically when this happens, the mother’s body will try rejecting the baby, often resulting in miscarriage or toxemia during birth (My mother is RH+ and I am RH-) RH stands for Rhesus Factor, like the monkey. The fact that there are 49 groups of actual RH factors, indicates the merging of various sub-species across the board throughout history.

At last, someone who thinks as I. I firmly believe that the many so called, ancient “Homo” skulls found in Africa are Not related to us humans, but are merely apes, gorillas, and other creatures who have died out due to change of environment. I believe the Anthropology “Industry” is self perpetuating, to keep these professors and other reseachers in high paid jobs, and receive grants from the governments, so they continually have to “Discover” the origin history of man. From the evidence at hand, I would say that the actual Humans, are the Homo Erectus/Neanderthal/Heidelbergenis peoples, who conquered fire, could hunt, build shelters and live in caves, and could survive in the cold regions. ALL humans, except the Negro Black Africans, are from these early “Europeans”. The facial reconstruction of many of these early skulls, could quite easily be transported to Australia, and you would find natives peoples who look the same…even now. There is NO Homo Sapien Sapien, We are ALL still the direct descendants of those Erectus-Neanderthal etc peoples. Except the black Africans. This rubbish about having 1 or 2% Neanderthal DNA, means nothing, same as saying man is 99.5% Chimpanzee. We are 98% Whale too. The current direct peoples, who look Exactly as Homo Sapiens did 300,000 years ago….other than having darker skin (early Homos in Europe would have been fair skinned), are the Australian Indigenous peoples… they still look like ancient Homos, because they are. (they have been isolated, and did not mix with other Homos for 100,000+ years). We are all just variants of Homo Erectus/Neanderthals.

Was it Voltaire that said, If God did not exist, then he would have to be invented. One should always remember, especially the youth of today, and they should have it stamped in indelible ink, somewhere on their anatomy, then they can remind themselves of the fact every waking moment of their only too short lives. yes with the passage of time comparing a human lifetime compared to the evolution of a species, its like a spit in a bucket. The unexamined life, is one not worth living. Thank you Mr Socrates. Now there is a fine example of a 3,270 year old Homo Sapien. Do any of you guys have any thoughts on the Lionman German cave find, from 40,000 Cro Magnon man, the imagery, now is it a lion or Homo Neaderthalensis, there is a resemblence, we all know that Lions would not not be around in our future for quite a long time.

God… The big why, how, what, when, who. Why is there religion, to explain the unknown perhaps. How did we become who we are as humans, as far as I can tell humans are the odd species living on “earth”. What is the reason for humanity on “earth”. When is this “God” ever going to reveal itself to the modern world. Who is the “missing link”, because it’s not a what. These questions are the Basse of all mythology, from the first cave art to ston engravings and the writing’s of the modern religious movements. Now I’m not saying there isn’t a “God”, I’m saying that what God is to us we are to the app. That’s just a stab in the dark explainable understanding as not to be offensive.
Let’s begin at the beginning of the book, the first book. When the creator said ” let there be light”. Now if you believe that is when the burning ball of radiation we call the sun was formed then I’d say incorrect. And I’ll explain in the most basic way I can, what is light? Is space dark or is it just me that looks up at a black sky at night. Light is and will always be energy, the energy that is produced by our sun filtered by the atmosphere is “the light”. So in this example, no, the sun wasn’t made when light was said to be, it was our atmosphere. Now that we’re all on the same page, some punn intended. This energy we call light is necessary for life to be. From the first ADOM on the EAVE of time was essentially the first life on Earth. Now we get to billions of years ago and explained how this happened, well in the beginning of this planets evolution, this could have been a intended design or fate that a burning ball of metal colliding with a Frozen ball of gaseous mass and a chemical reaction accorded to create the atmosphere. Fact/hypothesis. So this level of evolutionary thinking hasn’t been around for long. How to explain it to the lament human of the past, God. Like a trump card, it was God. But to the modern thinker it was science that said what could have happened with backing as to the events of creating the atmosphere aka the light.
Let’s jump ahead to the ice age, life was thriving the one moment of unexpected disaster hit, probably the tail end of that Frozen ball if gas decided to join the party on earth. I’m sure humans weren’t around, because if we were than it took a long time to make the wheel and a pointed stick for that matter. Just let our thinkers go crazy and this actually happened, when the tail end joined us the building blocks ( primordial ozz) for mammals has arrived. By random or planned creation of this world’s evolution has changed. Just a guess, but it’s believable.. now. So here this planet is a incubator for evolutionary development. Skipping ahead to 1.9 ish MILLION YEAS AGO modern human scientist dug and found human like animals, and more to follow. I think there’s 8, one may be a minute evolutionary change and not it’s own species. None of these are us, not sure as how long modern man has truly been here but the first historical evidence is about 250,000 years ago but they weren’t alone or really us but close 0.12% different in dna. Then like the rain these pre human beings all vanished and a new Mammal that stud on two legs with no connection to the 8 appears. Uuuummmm what, no trace of us before 50 thousand years ago, crazy to believe.
So who is the missing link, who gives a futt. O yeah the smart ones that told the story of God’s and goddess. Then we said nope that’s not true, but I like the story so I’ll tell it over here a different way and say that what you have been told is wrong. Y’all following me so far. Good. So have we decided bunked God, nope. Who created the HSS modern man that just appeared, duah the creator. But is it god, well to the first gene spliced homo sapiens they were. And mythology is factual in a sense as over time the verbal teaching got twisted just a smidge.
Let’s now get to the really interesting stuff. What is matter? DNA ,microorganisms, dirt, salt, water everything is made of molecules.true? Yes. What are molecules made of, protons and electrons and neutrons. And we discovered those are made of even smaller element tool things called quark’s. And those are held together by….. Energy… The light that binds the spark of life. This energy that we all are made of is unique to everyone, like fingerprints. And when the body says that it’s done this energy is released, sometimes it fades to nothing and on rare events the energy that leaves the dead vessel stays together and drifts into the sky. Is that life after this, and is that the missing piece of modern human existing on this planet. Because the creator herself design it to be. We will all find out the reality of life after one day. So is there a god, I’m absolutely sure of her being there, is the religious beliefs fact …
F no, but they keep people from become horrible by fear of hell… And is there something else we may finally understand. All life is energy and the light is where this began. So think on that

You cant talk about the bible to someone who has never read it. It would be like trying to talk about mathematical principals with someone who doesn’t know how to count.

A lot of good questions. This could simply be a learning lesson here on earth with natural and spiritual actions and re-actions. Anyway asking those question and answering them aren’t possible as we are extremely limited as this entire question in itself proves.

But in short there are only so many “core” religions. Judaism, christianity, and muslims have a similar background.

the other 2 are more of mindsets than religions hindu and buddhism.

Makes more since that God created the universe than us getting lucky 1,000,000,000,000 times in a row to be a perfect distance from the sun, with a perfect orbit, tilt, etc…

Ignorance is bliss my friend and you are a shining example of such. Faith answers the question “Why?” things are which can conveniently answered with anything you choose to fabricate as faux fact or superstition. Science on the other hand answers the question “how?” which requires research, experiment and reproducible outcomes transforming hypotheses (educated guesses) with theory (proven fact). Evolution is not a hypothesis. It is a fact. You are sadly ignorant to think otherwise. I do not blame you. One of a few things are true for you. Firstly, you may lack the capacity of understanding science. Secondly, you may refute science due to religious indoctrination and/or fear of death. Thirdly, you may just have a lazy mind that would rather just absorb information by being told “things” as being true instead of having a mind trained to understand how processes work and investigating and corroborating these findings with other reliable sources which automatically exclude superstitious sources based on religion which is based on books written largely, by illiterate people who lived thousands of years ago, and still believed the earth was flat among other ludicrous notions. If it comforts you though and doesn’t hurt anyone else then I will not criticize your lifestyle choices.

When I said written by a largely illiterate people I was not referring to the authors so much as the consumers of said written material because they relied on more literate people to proliferate information by word of mouth which is like the modern version of the game “telephone”. Add a few thousand years to that game and see how much the story has changed.

Again someone trying to make sense of the bible without actually reading it. What compels you to argue about something you are so sure does not exist? Maybe it is the fear that it really does exist and you are totally missing out. Why not just read the bible? Are you scared it will change your life? Even though you claim it is a fake.

Odd that you persist in claiming that. For some time it has been my understanding that in many cases, certainly in my own, the doubts begin to creep in once people actually begin to read the thing.
Certainly it has been my experience that I have met very few Christians as familiar with what’s actually in the bible as me (and none that have read it cover to cover as have I and several atheists I’ve met.)
If you’re honestly interested in informing yourself try googling the following:
1) “U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey”-(Pew Center)
2) “In US, atheists know religion better than believers” (The Christian Science Monitor)
3) “Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians”
(Atlantic Monthly)
To anyone “without a dog in the fight” reading the above would provide convincing evidence that the quickest path to doubting the Bible’s content is to read the thing.

What makes you thing people that don’t believe in god, haven’t read the bible? I have read the bible, cover to cover at least 5 times, which is a large part of the reason I do not believe in it. I have read all the other religious books I could find as well, and also don’t believe in them. Why don’t you just read the Vedas? Why don’t you believe in Thor?

So to believe in God means to believe in whoever you heard about Him from. Isnt it the same with science? Someone set the parameters named the names and told someone else what something is. Its all personal belief. Humans all have the same number of dna strands or whatever they are pushing. How do you know? Have you counted every single humans dna? Its all personal belief. Science is a religion. Believe what you want.

Yes my friend. Science, just like religion, is something we hear from someone else. Except that we see tangible positive results from science: from curing disease to landing on the moon. However, what we hear from religious people not only make zero logical sense but has not resulted in a single positive thing. It has only caused killings and division among people throughout the history.

So religion hasn’t resulted in a single positive thing? Science has given us cures to diseases, and landed us on the moon? I myself am not a religious person, I am agnostic, but you seem to be only pointing out half of the truth about “science” here, while condemning in it’s entirety “religion.” The same science that sent man to the moon was also used to create missiles that have killed tens of thousands of people. The same science that was used to cure diseases has also been used to weaponize it. Like ebola, smallpox, and weaponized forms of HUN1 and other flu viruses for example. Hitler got his scientists to use eugenics to try and eradicate people he felt were undesirable, or less than. The fact of the matter is that science has done just as much evil in the world as it has done good. Religion, on a personal level, for some have helped them get over things like addiction, depression, or have helped them to better their marriage or relationships with family and friends. To those people “religion” did something good for them. So, “religion” has been used, or perverted, to meet the wicked ends of certain peoples, and so has science. It is always better to look at the whole picture, than to squint or close ones eye just to make the picture fit a certain world view.

You don’t have to be this aggressive in your response. I learnt from my late devout wife that faith will come to your rescue at your dying bed. While my scientist uncle died in denial and anger.
A concept of combining God and science will definitely ease off our confusion
I struggle with the idea of God but I surrender to the concept when I look up and can’t visualize infinity

The very existence of God is paradoxical. May I quote the greek philosopher Epicurus’, “Epicurean paradox”.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Please respect everyone’s belief. Either you’re a jew, Christian, Muslim, Atheist or whatever makes you feel better about yourself and how a man came about, we all came from the main source.

“Muslims” believe the people that were born from Prophet Adam formed the eighth generation of humans. For example Sheikh Saduq narrates a Imam Sadiq (as) in his book Khisal in which the Imam says: “When Allah (GOD, swt) created the earth, he created seven worlds in it (and made each one extinct) none of those worlds [generations] were of Prophet Adam’s generation. Allah created all of them from the earth’s crust and brought them one after another, and created a world for each one after the other, until He created Prophet Adam and ramified his generation from him.

It’s amazing how 1400 years ago people knew there were other generations and how we just getting to know it now. So holly books and scripture’s are right and can’t deny the scientific facts about them. Specially the Quran where every scientific refrence in it was proven to be 100% correct up to today.

Unfortunately we can not and should not respect beliefs because if we do, we can not talk freely about history. In other words, respect would constitute a form of censorship.
Imagine for a second, if we were to respect the old communists, we could not talk about Stalin’s crimes. If we had to respect Mohammad, we could never talk about the 33 wars that he led.
If we respect the fascists, we can never talk about Hitler and so on.
No part of history belongs to any particular group. Mohammad, Moses, Jesus,… and so on do NOT belong to anybody. They are historical people and belong to history. We should respect individuals not belief system. That is why we have the freedom of speech and we can discus communism, fascism, and all religions without censorship.
If god did exist, he/she would never, ever put his thoughts in any book and send it down to us. The books and profits that are debated to this day.
If there was a god, he/she would never even have to communicate with us. He would create us such that no communication was necessary.
Think for a second how absurd it is to think god would send down a messenger with a book to lead us to salvation.
God would not need to do that and would not care at all about what we do or believe.

I respect other peoples right to their opinion. I don’t believe the bible in the literal sense but a group of stories that are that old and are still around holds some weight. I also don’t believe we came from a pool of goop. That is saying something living was made from something not living and to date that has proved impossible. There are just to many holes in that theory. In my opinion currently scientist have 5 pages of a 1000 page novel so I just don’t believe they have the story figured out. But in my research what is apparent to me is there simply has to be some form of intelligent design. The odds of all those things coming together without some form of help is impossible. I do think things can and do evolve but I have room for God too.

“If there was a god, he/she would never even have to communicate with us. He would create us such that no communication was necessary.”

How can you know what God would do and how and what God would create?

The ego of the human mind often thinks, delusionally, it has figured everything out, how the world should be, how life should be, etc. while it is a simple-minded child of the universe. This would be like a spider trying to tell me how to solve a math problem.

My sense is that God, the Great Spirit, source, etc. eventually needs to be experienced to be truly believed. When I experienced the eternal love and grace and compassion of God in my presence during meditation, I deeply believed because I experienced it to be Truth.

I do not have to respect your beliefs, they are ridiculous, however I respect your right to believe what ever you chose. islam is not science. It is BS, again believe what you want. allah is a moon god. koran is rubbish. This debate is about the origins of homo sapiens and has not a thing to do with your moronic cult beliefs. Why even post that crap here?

The same as there are different varieties of dogs, horses, cattle, cats, etc there were also several varieties of humans. The different varieties of animals vary in aggression and intelligence pit bulls are aggressive, herding dogs and poodles are considered exceptionally smart and excel at agility classes. I am sure the same applied to the different human species otherwise we should have the same physical characteristics and IQ’s which we don’t. Some humans are better athletes, others excel in Quantum Physics. We are different from each other due to the various lines of human species that have bred into our families. We are just animals that exist near or at the top of the intelligence ladder.

Superbly expressed. My conclusions too – except I believe in many different forms of intelligence as demonstrated by different animal species. These are not higher or lower, just different. We are all one.

Homo Sapiens is believed to be our direct ancestor, with the addition of some genetic crossover.

We are Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Still the same species, but with enough variation to be considered a different subspecies.

Much like wolves and dogs. Canis Lupis is the Grey (or Timber) Wolf, while Canis Lupis Familiaris would refer to domestic dogs.

Just as dogs are wolves, but wolves aren’t really dogs we are Homo Sapiens, but they were not precisely us.

I saw a doco that suggest that homo spiens breed with neanderthals, it makes up 3-6% of our DNA expect for black Africans, who don’t have this, they suggested this help make white people white and so forth, this kinda making black Africans pure homo sapiens

Very doubtful that we bred with Neanderthals. The amount of shared genes points to a shared fairly recent progenitor which happens to be true, in that our last progenitor species was about a million years ago, which isn’t really very long. But we do not share each other’s Y or MT haplogroup so no sign of actual parents in each other’s species. Also the shared genes some scientists point to have to do mostly with cold weather, so looks like typical species distribution might account for what genes ending being retained by some Homo Sapiens. Many Africans do in fact share some of these genes though less than Europeans.

Well it is fact that the Neanderthals and Homo spiens intermingeld and slowly became what we are today. There is today a totally different species living with us today. Called the Basque group. Whom only dates back upto 40 thousand years and not further. They have a completely different blood type then any human and are not compatible with our blood.

I appreciate being able to read others inputs and opinions, but iam at a little confused as to this article and the suggestion that we intermingled with Neandrathols. This article states that Neandrathols existed between 350,000 to 600,000 years ago. And Homo Sapiens from as early as 160,000 years ago. This means that Neandrathols were extinct 200,000 years before we ever existed.

I think that the Neanderthals mated with other hominid species (e.g. Cro Magnum) of which there were several different branches living at the same time. The results of these `crosses` produced a variety of new sub-species which over time arrived at Homo Sapiens.
This would explain why most of the world`s population contain a very small amount of the Neanderthal DNA

I agree its very doubtful, because this article states that Neandrathols were extinct 20,000 years before Home Sapiens ever existed.

Oh my, you’re not THE Dr. Susan Solomon of NOAA are you?
If so, have you any plans to respond to Dr K Sienicki’s appraisal* of your claims regarding the effect of the weather upon RF Scott’s second expedition?

*Captain Scott Icy Deceits and Untold Realities–Open Academic Press

Religion has always acted as a distraction to science and has always impeded human progress.
There is not a single sentence in Koran or bible or … that has not been proven wrong by science.
People out of desperate needs that stem from material profit or mental weakness try desperately to interoperate holy books to align them with science.
But just think about it for a second, if god did exist, there would be no chance that he would:

1) Create so many different religions.
2) Communicate with us in the most ridiculous way by writing his thoughts in these books for which meanings are debated to this day and send them down by profits that in many cases were murdered.
3) Even cared about what we do or don’t.

Having to respect other people’s ideas is a form of censorship and is contrary to freedom of speech. We should respect human beings not ideas.

You know I actually agree with you. People get so entangled in their religious beliefs that they often don’t see, or look away from facts that they are presented with. We need to be able to look at things objectively as well as subjectively. Mathematics seems to tell us that our entire dimension is finite and it follows patterns. If it was truly infinite than mathematics wouldn’t exist because math is a pattern that occurs the same way every time. That’s how we’re able to mathmaticaly predict the probability of a certain thing happening. inside of this sub infinite dimension we have reasoned that there are 2 “gods.” the first god is responsible for basic matter, no symmetry or design is responsible for it’s shape. Crude. The first god would seem to be the fundamental laws of our dimension. The second god is responsible for matter with mathematical symmetry and beauty ex: nature. Since we, homo sapiens sapiens, are symmetrical and mathematically beautiful we came from the second god. The origin of the second god would seem to be “the tree of organic life” or “mother nature” however you want to look at it. Now that we can see things a little clearer we should also be able to see that our species is polluting mother nature. We’re loosing species at a rate not seen since the last major natural disaster. In other words we are killing our God. This Earth is a biosphere of life forms that are all related genetically if you go back far enough. This is our family tree and it needs to be protected, not destroyed. I hope that I was able to bring a little light to the subject.

Its so refreshing to hear the few others that exist that actually comprehend and not just pretend and believe the best opinion almighty under various labels.

You know if you count us then it would be 8 or more but here this there’s no more of Homo sapiens right so then they went extinct so we are the last species in the homo tribe exempt a new race called humans. But our skills are greed power selfish chaos destruction and laziness. But there is two species of humans there skills are love care trust freedom smart and friendship.

God is the ultimate believe it or not. Science it just full of guessings, it is not so sure about anything. The archaeologists are the problems of scientific research. And please those of you who try to compare Mohammed to Jesus, should stop that immediately because there’s a very great gap between the two. There is no perfection on the earth not because there is no God, it’s because you have the freedom to whatever you want to do and enjoy the consequences for it.
If you do good, you reap good and if you do bad things you reap bad. Let’s take for instance the depletion of the ozone layer by human activities like fumes from home, cars, factories, rockets, Bush burning etc. Until we minimise our deadly activities we will continue to get cancers, not because there’s no God but it’s because we’re are aware of our destruction to the ozone layer buh we still choose to do it. Christianity is the best way to moral life try considering one. Science is just funny. It can’t even explain some common things like evolution. Every time it is guessing ” about”

Well if science is wrong you are full well allowed to prove it wrong. So please if you have facts please provide them so we can update our books. Faith is a feeling and not a fact so make sure you don’t use your beliefs to prove what is factual.

Not a hundred percent believer, but you say “Faith is a feeling” and feeling comes with one of our 7 senses”Touch”! we see paranormal activities which use our sight sense, this says that holy books are right about other livings among us. we heard about such existence from before us which uses the hearing sense, do we smell or taste this phenomenon so-called God? Yes! I smell it every day and yes I taste it, I taste the joy it brings into my life when I walk as he/she/it asked me to… As I said I’m not a 100% believer but I am walking my path from darkness to its light. Meanwhile, education is amazing too!

Eddie… i agree I too think science is funny, but personally I think religion has got to be the funniest of them all. Definitely the most confused.. Now I do believe in God, and through focused and extensive research from multi-cultural religions or so called mythology. Brother, what I have come to understand is that their is alot of forgot about, lost or misunderstood translation of God and the beginning. However one thing I do know is there is much in common with each ancient text,scripts,songs,psalms, of, the Bhagavad-Gita, Homer(odyssey), Gilgamesh , the bible Old testament kjv, ancient Egyptian poetry , Greek mythology, even the songs of thoughts and poetry of Early China is that, we they all share same basic idea or thought of God and the beginning, but just a little bit differently translated to around about 5000 confused misunderstood ethnical groups around the world. Christians got a really weird view I think but overall we all have the same God and really I dont see how that is confusing.?

Looking at the picture of Homo sapiens, it looks nothing like us. Why have we not evolved or been given a different species name. What characteristic exist to distinguish one species from another in the same genus type. We are bigger, smarter, less hairy, don’t use that thing it is holding, have advanced society much farther than that version did. So why are we still Homo sapiens?

Yes I agree. Still considered Homo sapiens mixed with up to 15% Neanderthal, except real Africans 0% Neanderthal. Basque not homo Sapien or Neanderthal different blood altogether?

What is so frustrating are these artist’s renditions. The do this in the Hall of Man at the American Museum of Natural History. When matched with the ACTUAL FOSSILS, any logical person immediately is suspect (I’ve been there enough times to know…plus, you hear the comments)

If you are going to show the artist’s renditions, then AT LEAST show all the fossilized evidence (or link to it, and not some minuscule picture that cannot be viewed) as well, for every made up picture.

When you view the actual fossilized evidence, it is plain to see that a LOT more research needs to be done! There is not a lot of evidence for many of these Genus Homo artist’s renditions as we are led to believe. If the science is valid, let it stand on it’s own.

Take the modern dog. Can you imagine what these artist’s would come up with if they had 20 skulls fragments from different breeds of dogs, i.e. bulldog, doberman, pug, etc.

Show the evidence…leave the make believe renditions for the movies.
Unless this is designed to fool people. If so, well, that would be a pity.

Be careful of who you are. When you think of consuming someone’s body in flesh and blood in a religious manner that the is Homo Antecessor gene or trait that brainwashing you.

so how many other subhumans are there in total?

`subhumans` or sub-species of humans?

the only person that needs to get their facts straight is you, there is no point in this article when they state what you claimed of humans “changed” species, what all of the species listed are different species, that is what the word species indicates, none of them evolved from eachother, there all separate, get your facts straight, and a dictionary so you can look up words like species that you seem to not under stand.

I think the writer may have intended to say SUB -species, of which there were several living at the same period in history. They interbred freely and the best adapted survived to form a new type of humanid.

I believe in god and science. I believe a lot of what they say about evolution to a point we are still evolving today and some of what is taught in the Bible isn’t correct. Take for instance when Cain killed able he stated paraphrasing when he was kicked out of the garden of eden he stated that what if someone was to kill me and god said he’d forbid that and he took a wife. People said it was his sister when if you follow the lineage it states when Adam and Eve had other children 800 or so years later. So that shows that there were other beings. Think about it there were dinosaurs so why couldn’t there have other types of people. There are different types of monkeys . Adam and Eve were created in God’s image so I think there were a group of people that were his choosen people.

Eugene Dubois is a fake… Java man has long been discredited. I agree with Gordon, this is all rubbish. Read forbidden Archeology, it gives detailed accounts of modern man and his tools going back millions of years. It also points out no species just becomes another species.

This site provides fascinating scientific facts in a clear, concise way for free to anyone with internet access. It makes no claim that anyone knows exactly what any of these species looked like. They have stated pretty clearly what they do know based on where bones were found and what those bones look like (ie. height, weight, shape). Most of the comments are about God and religion. I find it disappointing that the site is being used as a platform for personal opinions that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the site. Anyway, I thank the writers for providing this info for free. I had not realized just how much more is known today than when I was in school just a few decades ago.

I agree.
So many comments drift of into a discussion of whether such a thing as a god exists. What on earth has that to do with the discussions about the development of the human species ?

I would like for you to sit down, listen to a debate between Christopher Hitchens and whomever you might choose. If he cannot change your mind, no one can. And no one should waste time on trying, for it will surely not be worth it.

Pretty sure investigative journalist and atheist-turned-Christian Lee Stroebel could hold his own against just about anyone. He went into the field to prove that God does NOT exist. He interviewed everyone he could that he thought would discredit a creator. They all proved HIM wrong. He became a believer in God because he could not refute the evidence (mostly scientific) that was presented to him.

I’m not nearly as smart as he is, and my memory is not as great as it used to be before I had children to take care of, so I don’t remember all the details. But I suggest you look up his books, most especially The Case for a Creator. Modern scientists are proving that science and religion do not have to be mutually exclusive. I myself plan to look up this Christopher Hitchens you mention, as I really do enjoy reading all sides of a debate.

Also, which do you think would be the best in the end: living as though God were real and dying to find out He’s not, or living as if God is NOT real, and dying to find out He is?

Tasha, that question depends on what behaviors you do on earth, in the provable here and now, and what you do to others, related to your beliefs. We are all connected and bound together here on earth, whether God is real or not, so we should act like it and treat each other with compassion and make sure we are all treated with dignity, respect, and given equitable resources to make our best go at life. Personally, I find that Science, while a bit pretentious, tends to hold less people down and do less violence than Religion – Science by definition has to be tested and re-tested and is allowed to change as we know more. Regardless, we are all intemingling everything within our total human experience, even when we think we’re not, and basically everyone is just doing and believing what makes the most sense to them for their own survival and the survival if those they love.

This is where I must interject. It’s been interesting reading all the previous ideas. But I havea few issues.
What kind of a God would have chosen people? That certainly excludes some people. So HE prefers SOME people? So some people haven’t got a chance. And what kind of an insecure God would make a commandment that said “Thou shall have no other God before me”. That certainly sounds like a humas quality. And as for myself, I don’t need a commandment that says, “Thuo shall not kill or lie or any of the other”. I have a spirit that knows right from wrong. So if I had no commandment I would kill? Don’t think so. It’s too easy for Christians to blame bad things they do on Saten. We have the will to do good or not. I was raised in a Christian home, but as I have grown up, I gave up on the Christian doctrines. They talk a lot but I don’t see much action. In my opinion, religion is definitely set up to devide us!

In the OT there was chosen people, simply because the all people chose to reject God. His intent for a “chosen” people was to: 1. show those people about His plan for all people, making them an example. 2. The commandment was again, to remind the people to pay attention to Him more than what He can do for them.

“Your spirit” knowing right from wrong, is subjective at best. There are some people groups who kill for survival, they steal for survival, and lie to stay alive. Their “spirit” has trained to do right to avoid wrong. Your spirit has been trained by those who taught you “right from wrong”. That old Bible says that as well. Romans 1 helps the real truth of that hypothesis. It’s been written in your heart aka your “spirit”.

I will admit there are several Christians who haven’t taken the time to study their beliefs enough to defend it, even against themselves. I totally agree with your position about action-less “Christians”. There are tons of things set up to divide us, we have got to make up our minds to not be.

Remember this: “I have chosen to love, for hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” -Christian, social activist who was lead by his spirit, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Religion ( a belief in one or more Gods) was surely invented by man to explain phenomena BEFORE the age of Science. It was developed in order to come to terms with the human environment. Early hominids worshipped different `Gods` through fear and lack of understanding, trying to placate them by making sacrifices to them. Stories, myths and legends grew up about them. These were passed on verbally through the generations. As mankind progressed and developed a written language so the stories became more intricate and were recorded as a kind of `truth` and wisdom. The various forms of `Bible` came into being.
As humans began to find explanations using observation and experimentation, together with the more highly developed brains capacity for reason, so came the age of Science.

Good article and useful scientific information. The information is easily understood. I do have doubts about Rudolfensis, not enough evidence yet to support it as a hominid.
Amazing how much variety there is to the features of current humans (Homo Sapiens).
Homo sapiens seems to evolve towards physically attractive traits.

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” Albert Einstein

I have a question for anyone who is privy to the answer or willing to answer to the best of their ability. If we, as Homo Sapiens, are most closely related to Homo Neanderthals, why is the timeline not congruent to this relationship? By this, I mean, Homo Neanderthals were believed to exist around 600,000 to 350,000 years ago while Homo Floresiensis were believed to live 95,000 to 17,000 years ago. If we more closely related to Homo Neanderthals then why did Homo Floresiensis exist more closer to our current time period. For the record, I am not a science person per se. I am in education and was doing research for something and came across this website and became very interested. Thanks so much!

Where does Cro-Magnon man fit in?

They were an ethnic group of Homo sapien, like the ones now.

i just have to say is the ice age ended 10,000 years ago at the end hhuman came to europe but Neanderthals were there Neanderthals then go extinct tell the end of the ice age and alot of whites like me myself have this blood so there is proof that Neanderthals did not go extinct till around 10,000 i am 5% Neanderthals

This may help clarify a little.
Homo sapiens didn`t interbreed with Neanderthals as they WERE extinct long before. What happened was that Neanderthals bred with other forms of hominids which co-existed ( there being several sub-species alive at the same time). These new sub-species also interbred which ,over time, arrived at us (homo sapiens sapiens). This explains the time problem AND why we carry such a diluted percentage of Neanderthal DNA

Dialing back, Someone I think “Terry” said whites have evolved more than Africans. Well I am white and if we (whites) have mixed blood of a (sub human) in us like the neanderthals that means we stepped backwards in evolution. There is no gain in that. Also, whites only became white, 8 thousand years ago in Europe. These new found DNA projects prove the Africans are pure Homo sapiens and are indeed modern man. Very interesting how many showed violent actions towards them in the last 300 years only to prove otherwise. Only to show we are the sub humans, and it is still alive in us.

You can’t evolve backwards. Whites may not be pure homo sapiens . . . So what?

That would mean homo sapiens are not the leading species and not the most populated homo- on earth.

I don’t see your point to anything.

Some people actually turned this article into a religious topic. I am not sure if humanity is ready to accept that religious beliefs, although all people should be respected for whatever there faith, but reality is there is no higher power, no God or devil etc, we are born to live and die. That’s it. No afterlife or whatever. Too bad though. But true. Science does have its drawbacks lol

First off I am an atheist but I have read and studied the Bible for a number of years. That being said the debate between god and evolution is in my view is a waste of time because the Bible gives no indication in scientific terms as to HOW he created the human species, the universe or anything in it. If there is a god maybe he created the human species through evolution. Maybe specifics were left out because mankind wasn’t ready for that amount of scientific knowledge at the time. We just don’t know. Therefore the options are wide open. The two trains of thought can exist together when people stop focusing on what separates them.
Denying scientific information found in a world that is believed to be created by a god is in a sense denying that gods ability to think and act beyond the followers capability to understand.
Science makes mistakes but it makes the greatest efforts to correct its errors. Which unfortunately cannot be said for the religions of the world.

The world isn’t flat, the earth isn’t the center of the universe, fossils have been found and the world isn’t 6000 years old. Possibilities are endless as our knowledge of our world and the universe increasingly grows but we will only get that knowledge through science.

For me, Yes/And thinking is much more helpful than Either/Or thinking. Maybe whichever way we tend has more to do with our basic personality and our unique set of human experiences than anything else…

What role does Cro-Magnon play and how do they differentiate from the other more modern Humans? Although we originated all from Africa as Humans we are not similar (if you’re a European) to the Negroids and Mongloids

To “Some guy on the Internet” on inter-species breeding: Depends on how close the DNA is – in chromosome count etc. A Fox cannot breed with canines – as their DNA chromo count is so different. However, wolves CAN easily breed with coyote (which are of the same genus [canids] – but distinct species) and we call them ‘hybrids’ (not mixes as in the case of domestic dogs and wolves – as the domestic dog is really a watered down wolf). Coywolfs CAN reproduce – and we see large migration of these – even into cities now. There was a great deal of environmental pressure for this ‘interbreeding’ since the wolf was viciously killed off to near extinction in the U.S. The mule/horse sterile blend is not indicative of all inter species hybrids.
Homonids are the same GENUS. And, certainly the Neanderthal and Sapien could have intermixed and possibly Denovisan (though, overlapping isn’t well known), as they were so similar.

To Katlin, Gary, Matt, Eddie et all on God’s involvement.

The bigger question is what truly selected the Sapien out? – How did it survive over the other hominids? There is mounting evidence that there was advanced technologies well before the Sapien evolved to its present creature and that there may have been some ‘genetic’ selection and engineering even. There is also considerable evidence that religions are testaments to advanced technological beings — documenting their role over eons – But, that does not mean that one has to abandon their belief systems, hope or compassion – as regardless of how the ‘energies’ pan out — they is no doubt of greater beings than us and some may just as well be our ‘Gods’ who were compassionate and loving and advocates of our evolution. But, that the desirable traits just weren’t there in some former hominids and others were casualties of climate – although, I would argue that Homo Sapien Sapien does not display the most desirable traits at times. But, that prefrontal cortex and temperol poles of the brain will keep on developing and our brains will consist more and more of the ‘logic’ (more than the average 27% of processing strength today – with great variation among individuals) that we need to get past the local & global tribalism that is still strong in us when challenged (is a survival function – but can just go too far at times).

Oh yah – there is only ONE RACE – the human race. There are some ‘varieties’ of sapiens due to evolving with their environments (ie sun exposure, vit D production dictated skin color and other examples).

Nicholas :
The answer is plain and easy there are two species, Floresiensis belonging to the other (but we can not say “not human” besause then we fall in phylosophical debate) Neanderthal being the hybrid between the two species.

How Evolving Traits Helped Humans Survive Unstable World

Three different human species may have walked the Earth at the dawn of the human lineage, dividing up their environment in slightly different ways, and the ancestors of modern humans may have survived because oftraits such as large brains that helped them adapt to unstable, shifting landscapes, researchers say.

Moreover, the defining features of the human lineage may not have evolved together gradually at once, but piecemeal in stages over millions of years, scientists added.

Modern humans, Homo sapiens, are the only living members of the human lineage, the genus Homo, which is thought to have arisen in Africa more than 2 million years ago. Many now-extinct human species were thought to once roam the planet, such as Homo erectus, the first to regularly keep the tools it made. [Gallery: See Photos of Humans' Closest Ancestor]

Many traits unique to the human lineage were long thought to have originated between 2.4 million and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. These include a large brain and body, long legs, reduced differences between the sexes, increased meat-eating, prolonged maturation periods, increased social cooperation and tool making.

However, recent fossil evidence suggests these traits did not arise together as a single package. Instead, key human features evolved piecemeal at separate times, with some emerging substantially earlier and some later than previously thought. For instance, recent findings suggest long legs, a feature once considered unique to humans, developed in earlier ancestors, the genus Australopithecus, between 3 million and 4 million years ago, and stone tools about 2.6 million years old may predate the origin of Homo.

A dynamic birthplace

Scientists have long suggested that human evolution was linked to the onset of global cooling and the spread of a stable or progressively arid savanna grasslands in Africa. However, recent studies hint that early Homo may have evolved in a far more diverse environment, with the birthplace of humanity dominated from 2.5 million to 1.5 million years ago by an unstable climate, shifting intensity of annual wet and dry seasons, and varied landscapes.

This changeable landscape may have driven the human lineage to embrace versatility. An increase in average brain size is seen with the rise of Homo, which probably improved talents for thinking and socializing. That in turn explains the increased presence of tools that accompany early human fossils.

"Unstable climate conditions favored the evolution of the roots of human flexibility in our ancestors," study co-author Richard Potts, a paleoanthropologist and curator of anthropology and director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. "The narrative of human evolution that arises from our analyses stresses the importance of adaptability to changing environments, rather than adaptation to any one environment, in the early success of the genus Homo."

At the same time, early Homo saw incisor and molar teeth growing smaller, and chemical analysis of fossils hints that early Homo shifted to a more diverse diet that included more meat and tough plants. This diversity in diet and the extra calories it could provide, together with tool use and social cooperation, might help explain the increase in average body size seen with early Homo.

"Taken together, these data suggest that species of early Homo were more flexible in their dietary choices than other species,"study co-author Leslie Aiello, a paleoanthropologist and president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York,said in a statement. "Their flexible diet &mdash probably containing meat &mdash was aided by stone tool-assisted foraging that allowed our ancestors to exploit a range of resources."

Three early human species?

The researchers suggest these dynamic environments favored evolutionary diversity. Based on fossil evidence, they suggest maybe three distinct species of early Homo coexisted and overlapped geographically in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.5 million years ago. [See Photos of Amazing Human Ancestor Fossils]

"Evolution is a complicated bush, not a straight line," Aiello told Live Science. "There were many species of early human in the time period between about 2.4 million and 1.5 million years ago."

The scientists can tell these species apart "based on differences in the shape of their skulls, especially their face and jaws," lead study author Susan Antón, a paleoanthropologist at New York University,said in a statement. "The differences in their skulls suggest early Homo divvied up the environment, each utilizing a slightly different strategy to survive."

These early human species include Homo erectus, the most likely ancestors of Homo sapiens. The researchers currently dub the other two species the 1470 group, traditionally classified as Homo rudolfensis, which had a relatively tall, flat face, and the 1813 group, traditionally classified as Homo habilis, which had a more primitive face, whose roof of the mouth was more rounded toward the back of the head. (The 1470 and 1813 groups get their names from the numbers assigned key fossils defining each lineage.)

Early Homo erectus was 20 percent bigger in brain and 15 percent larger in body than both 1470 and 1813 groups. "Homo erectus was the species that we think had the evolutionary adaptability for the changing environments of the time, and because of this was the species that thrived while the others ultimately went to extinction," Aiello said.

Fossil skulls suggest human brains grew larger and more complex between 200,000 and 800,000 years ago. At the same time, the level of diversity and innovation of human tools increased, and signs of cooperative food-sharing are seen around hearths and shelters, developments that would help the human lineage survive uncertain environments. Ultimately, human flexibility was likely essential to Homo expanding out of Africa, with Homo erectus reaching what is now the nation of Georgia starting about 1.8 million years ago.

Fossils and archaeological finds dating between 2.5 million and 1.5 million years ago that scientists could discover in the future might help shed light on the evolution of early Homo. In the meantime, to learn more about human evolution, scientists can do more research on the biology of modern humans and other living animals. This will help develop and test models involving the intricate relationships between brain and body size, diet, mortality and other factors "to help us interpret the fossil and archaeological evidence that we now have," Aiello said.

The scientists detailed this research online today (July 3) in the journal Science.