Evolution and humans; review of fossil interpretation (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, September 19, 2015, 14:11 (1063 days ago) @ David Turell

A long review of all the controversy in trying to interpret the fossil record leading to H. sapiens:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/09/humans-arent-so-special-after-all-the-fuzzy-evol...

Conclusion of the article:

"As each new discovery turns up, it becomes more abundantly clear that the history of our species has not been simple. The evolution of humans and human-like forms has been “a series of experiments in how to be human running in parallel,” said Stringer. Most of them failed. Only one led to Homo erectus, the likely ancestor of Neanderthals and our own species.

"The emerging picture shows “the fuzziness of defining what is human,” said Stringer. “Are we defining them by toolmaking, small jaws and teeth, bipedalism, larger brains?” The fuzzy beginnings of the genus Homo make it clear that defining the difference between us and our closest relatives is a complex problem: we share our bipedalism, our abstract thought, and possibly even our capacity for toolmaking with other species, and it's not even all that clear where the boundaries of fossil species lie.

“'The calendar of events that only the fossil and archaeological records can provide presents a more complicated story than the Darwinian one,” said Kimbel. “It means that the pattern of acquisition of unique human characteristics was a more complicated affair. And it's all the more fascinating and important for that.'”


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