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Human evolution 4440th episode: Neanderthals n’ us were just ships passing in the night

In this episode, “Were Neandertals and Modern Humans Just Ships in the Night?”, Michael Balter (Science 9 May 2011) adds to the legends of the state of the, er, relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals:

Neandertals and modern humans were probably like passing strangers, Pinhasi says. “At this stage” of this ongoing research, he says, the results “do not support any major overlap between Neandertals and modern humans” much after 40,000 years ago, at which time Neandertals were probably going extinct. Pinhasi adds that “many of the very young dates, for example, from Gibraltar, are probably just wrong” due to contamination, mixing of archaeological layers, and other factors.Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, applauds the results: “These dates … strongly suggest that the hypothesis of a suggested overlap of 10,000 years between Neandertals and modern humans is falsified.”

But biologist Clive Finlayson, director of the Gibraltar Museum and leader of Neandertal excavations at this British territory at the southern tip of Spain, says that the late dates of 32,000 years that he and his team have found for Neandertal occupations in Gibraltar’s caves—which are not based on direct dating of fossils—are not challenged by the new findings. “This paper is a typical example of the speculative extrapolation that … archaeologists and anthropologists often do,” Finlayson says. “It does not mean that Neandertals did not survive elsewhere, especially in southern refugia.”

But couldn’t they all be wrong? Next episode TBA

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10 Responses to Human evolution 4440th episode: Neanderthals n’ us were just ships passing in the night

  1. Carmen “The Soap Opera Song”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdX2-pNEfmE

  2. This ‘serendipitously’ fits rather well:

    Primate Phylogenetics Challenge Darwin’s Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – Podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....2_00-07_00

  3. Perhaps a clarification-what is the indictment of evolutionary biology and/or support for ID here?

    It seems the sides accept that Humans and Neanderthals met and interbred 80,000 years ago. Modern humans later expanded. The question is whether the overlap between Neanderthals and Humans in that second phase was long or short.

    Considering the fight seems to be over 8,000 years or so of history, is this terrible?

    Or is this a continuing refinement of a scientific understanding of human history?

    I guess I don’t ‘get’ the original post.

  4. DrREC:

    “History” is often a very slippery term, especially when one is dealing with the reconstruction of a modelled deep past beyond actual record, which goes back about 5,000 years.

    Collins English Dictionary:

    history [?h?st?r? ?h?str?]
    n pl -ries
    1. (Historical Terms)
    a. a record or account, often chronological in approach, of past events, developments, etc.
    b. (as modifier) a history book a history play
    2. (Historical Terms) all that is preserved or remembered of the past, esp in written form
    3. (Historical Terms) the discipline of recording and interpreting past events involving human beings
    4. (Historical Terms) past events, esp when considered as an aggregate
    5. an event in the past, esp one that has been forgotten or reduced in importance their quarrel was just history
    6. the past, background, previous experiences, etc., of a thing or person the house had a strange history
    7. (Electronics & Computer Science / Telecommunications) Computing a stored list of the websites that a user has recently visited
    8. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a play that depicts or is based on historical events
    9. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a narrative relating the events of a character’s life the history of Joseph Andrews Abbreviation (for senses 1-3) hist
    [from Latin historia, from Greek: enquiry, from historein to narrate, from hist?r judge]

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    Let us, first and foremost, have the humility to recognise that we were not there in the deep past of origins [cultural, human, natural world], nor do we have clear and indisputable record from those who were. So, let us accept that our reconstructions are provisional and in some respects often un-checkable against the reality of the past of origins.

    In that context, in the original post, the common belief that we have in hand “knowledge” of the past as it was, is being revealed as an over-reach. A few weeks back, a similar item presented a sudden leap of 200 million years in the dating of flowering plants. Here we see how, when it suits a new narrative, the hitherto sacrosanct C-14 dating is suddenly dismissed as due to contamination. Coal samples are known to give C-14 dates, when they are supposedly well beyond the 10 half-life reasonable upper limit for such dating. Thirty or so years ago, an even worse case happened with the fossil KNM ER 1470. And more.

    Similarly, over the past 150 years, we have had a parade of supposed fossil ancestors and proposed trees of life that have at any one time been presented with an aura of great confidence, only to fall to further investigations. But, consistently, only when a new candidate is there to be presented with the same aura of great confidence.

    Let us heed Hooton’s classic caution:

    Put not your faith in reconstructions. Some anatomists model reconstructions of fossil skulls by building up the soft parts of the head and face upon a skull cast and thus produce a bust purporting to represent the appearance of the fossil man in life. When, however, we recall the fragmentary condition of most of the skulls, the faces usually being missing, we can readily see that even the reconstruction of the facial skeleton leaves room for a good deal of doubt as to details. To attempt to restore the soft parts is an even more hazardous undertaking. The lips, the eyes, the ears, and the nasal tip leave no clues on the underlying bony parts. You can, with equal facility, model on a Neanderthaloid skull the features of a chimpanzee or the lineaments of a philosopher. These alleged restorations of ancient types of man have very little, if any, scientific value and are likely only to mislead the public. [Earnest Albert Hooton, Up from the Ape (NY: Macmillan, 1946), p. 329.]

    In short, we need to recognise the limitations on our knowledge claims about the deep and unobserved, unrecorded past. And, we should not project such an air of confidence that we are apt to mislead the trusting public. (Especially, when — often from the same sources, e.g. Dawkins [for many years an endowed professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University] — we see in the name of science a commonplace resort to village atheist level selectively hyperskeptical well-poisoning rhetorical tactics presented in the name of science, and used to try to detach that same public from the Biblically rooted views they have traditionally held to.)

    GEM of TKI

  5. DrREC you state;

    ‘It seems the sides accept that Humans and Neanderthals met and interbred 80,000 years ago.’

    Man you really don’t keep up with this soap much do you????

    there is much disagreement within the scientific community from those who question just how much weight should be given to this new ‘genetic mixture’ evidence that was gathered in a fairly complex way. A complex way that appears to be ripe for error and misinterpretation:

    Q&A: Who is H. sapiens really, and how do we know? – March 2011
    Excerpt: If the error structures of the archaic DNA and one of the modern human DNA samples are similar to each other for one of many reasons, the ABBA-BABA test could report admixture when it did not in fact occur. Even a very small proportion of shared errors could cause a strong effect on the ABBA-BABA statistic. For example, small effects that we typically tend to ignore, such as shared contamination of reagents between the samples, could cause artifactual evidence of admixture.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/9/20

    Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans – May 2010
    Excerpt: “But the new analysis, which is based solely on genetics and statistical calculations, is more difficult to match with the archaeological record. There is much less archaeological evidence for an overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals at this time and place.,, Geneticists have been making increasingly valuable contributions to human prehistory, but their work depends heavily on complex mathematical statistics that make their arguments hard to follow. And the statistical insights, however informative, do not have the solidity of an archaeological fact.” They are basically saying, ‘Here are our data, you have to accept it.’ But the little part I can judge seems to me to be problematic, so I have to worry about the rest,” he said.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....rthal.html

  6. DrREC, as well I don’t think the evidence for human evolution is anywhere near as tidy as you seem to imply that it is!

    Descent of Mankind Theory: Disproved by Molecular Biology – Richard Deem PhD.
    Excerpt: Therefore, the most accurate date for the origin of modern humans indicate that the last common ancestor to modern humans must have existed less than 50,000 years ago.,,, The final blow to the idea that humans and Neanderthals interbred was found in a genetic analysis of their chromosomal DNA, published in 2006-2007. These results showed that none of the typical SNPs found in modern humans was present in Neanderthal Y-chromosome DNA.
    http://www.godandscience.org/e......html#note

    further notes:

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.
    Richard Lewontin – Harvard Zoologist
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9961

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.”
    Anthropologist Ian Tattersall
    (curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

    EVOLUTION FORGERIES – excerpts -
    Piltdown Man: An Orang-utan Jaw and a Human Skull!
    Nebraska Man: A Single Pig Tooth!
    Ota Benga: The African Native Put Into a Cage!

    “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction (of 1470/ Homo Rudolfensis) based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” Dr. Timothy Bromage
    http://www.geneticarchaeology......lieved.asp

    “these australopith specimens (Lucy) can be accommodated with the range of intraspecific variation of African apes”
    Nature 443 (9/2006), p.296

    Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic Evidence For Adam and Eve
    Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284482

    Icon Of Evolution – Ape To Man – The Ultimate Deception – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://vimeo.com/19080087

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’’ (Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Chimp chromosome creates puzzles – 2004
    Excerpt: However, the researchers were in for a surprise. Because chimps and humans appear broadly similar, some have assumed that most of the differences would occur in the large regions of DNA that do not appear to have any obvious function. But that was not the case. The researchers report in ‘Nature’ that many of the differences were within genes, the regions of DNA that code for proteins. 83% of the 231 genes compared had differences that affected the amino acid sequence of the protein they encoded. And 20% showed “significant structural changes”. In addition, there were nearly 68,000 regions that were either extra or missing between the two sequences, accounting for around 5% of the chromosome.,,, “we have seen a much higher percentage of change than people speculated.” The researchers also carried out some experiments to look at when and how strongly the genes are switched on. 20% of the genes showed significant differences in their pattern of activity.
    http://www.nature.com/news/199.....524-8.html

    Eighty percent of proteins are different between humans and chimpanzees; Gene; Volume 346, 14 February 2005:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15716009

  7. DrREC, I’m really interested in your evolutionary explanation (read rationalization) for why we would have 80% difference in proteins from chimps, especially since evolutionists cannot even account for minor switches in protein function!!!,,,

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    Severe Limits to Darwinian Evolution: – Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The immediate, obvious implication is that the 2009 results render problematic even pretty small changes in structure/function for all proteins — not just the ones he worked on.,,,Thanks to Thornton’s impressive work, we can now see that the limits to Darwinian evolution are more severe than even I had supposed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    etc..

    further note;

    As well DrREC, what the heck is up with this study???

    Kangaroo genes close to humans
    Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....P020081118

  8. BA77:
    I checked your Reuters link regarding the kangaroos. They also say that the results show hat kangaroos and humans share a common ancestor (about 150 million years ago). This work doesn´t seem to be a good cite to support your position, not sure why you bring this up.

  9. Indium, but alas Darwinism can explain anything. Thus even though they were completely surprised by the similarity, they were able to ‘mold’ parts of the evidence to arrive at their preconceived conclusion, all the while ignoring the rest of the evidence. The cite is a perfect example of the pseudo-scientific enterprise that neo-Darwinism is, in that no matter what the evidence says one can simply cherry pick what he evidence wants so as to support his theory.

  10. Like for instance Indium, to prove the point of the ‘cherry picking’ of Darwinists, why are the profound dissimilarities that reflect “significant structural changes” between chimps and man ignored, as if they had no significance, whereas the rest of the genetic evidence is ‘rearranged’ to reflect similarity??? In any other science, or even in a court of law, this type of handling of the evidence would be criminal!!! For instance, look how the authors of this following paper ‘throw out’ ORFan genes simply based on their preconceived bias. It would be hard to find a more biased and unfair example of practicing science!

    Human Gene Count Tumbles Again – 2008
    Excerpt: Scientists on the hunt for typical genes — that is, the ones that encode proteins — have traditionally set their sights on so-called open reading frames, which are long stretches of 300 or more nucleotides, or “letters” of DNA, bookended by genetic start and stop signals.,,,, The researchers considered genes to be valid if and only if similar sequences could be found in other mammals – namely, mouse and dog. Applying this technique to nearly 22,000 genes in the Ensembl gene catalog, the analysis revealed 1,177 “orphan” DNA sequences. These orphans looked like proteins because of their open reading frames, but were not found in either the mouse or dog genomes. Although this was strong evidence that the sequences were not true protein-coding genes, it was not quite convincing enough to justify their removal from the human gene catalogs. Two other scenarios could, in fact, explain their absence from other mammalian genomes. For instance, the genes could be unique among primates, new inventions that appeared after the divergence of mouse and dog ancestors from primate ancestors. Alternatively, the genes could have been more ancient creations — present in a common mammalian ancestor — that were lost in mouse and dog lineages yet retained in humans. If either of these possibilities were true, then the orphan genes should appear in other primate genomes, in addition to our own. To explore this, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161406.htm

    The sheer, and blatant, shoddiness of the science of the preceding study should give everyone who reads it severe pause whenever, in the future, someone tells them that genetic studies have proven evolution to be true.

    f/n;

    the ‘anomaly’ of unique ORFan genes is found in every new genome sequenced:

    Widespread ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson – video with references
    http://www.vimeo.com/17135166

    As well, completely contrary to evolutionary thought, these ‘new’ ORFan genes are found to be just as essential as ‘old’ genes for maintaining life:

    Age doesn’t matter: New genes are as essential as ancient ones – December 2010
    Excerpt: “A new gene is as essential as any other gene; the importance of a gene is independent of its age,” said Manyuan Long, PhD, Professor of Ecology & Evolution and senior author of the paper. “New genes are no longer just vinegar, they are now equally likely to be butter and bread. We were shocked.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142523.htm

    New genes in Drosophila quickly become essential. – December 2010
    Excerpt: The proportion of genes that are essential is similar in every evolutionary age group that we examined. Under constitutive silencing of these young essential genes, lethality was high in the pupal (later) stage and (but was) also found in the larval (early) stages.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....2.abstract

    I would like to reiterate that evolutionists cannot account for the origination of even one unique gene or protein, much less the over one thousand completely unique ORFan genes found distinctly imbedded within the 20,000 genes of the human genome:

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

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