Apr 8, 2021

Problems In Anthropology: Fragmentary Fossil Evidence, Rigidity In Science, Homo Erectus Lived Until Too Recently etc. (Where I Stand)

Background/Context:  Where We Are In Anthropology Today: Many Species Of Humans Existed Simultaneously & Occasionally Intermingled And Homo Erectus Traveled The World For Over 2 Million Years, Maybe As Far As America!

One thing that immediately impresses upon a person when they begin to study and observe the field of archaeology and paleontology is how few fossils observations are based on (something Graham Hancock also noticed, was surprised by it, and brilliantly outlined the problems in his book America Before). I have strongly argued against the skull assumptions people were making and mocked them on it, now such ideas are on Ted Talks (and even in the mainstream at least as far as neanderthals are concerned). So it feels like there is alot more science in the field there there was a decade ago. In this post I want to cover how dogmatic scientists can be given how little fossil evidence they actually have which should make them more open to possibilities and not less. 

Research paper: Possible hominin footprints from the late Miocene (c. 5.7 Ma) of Crete?

We describe late Miocene tetrapod footprints (tracks) from the Trachilos locality in western Crete (Greece), which show hominin-like characteristics. They occur in an emergent horizon within an otherwise marginal marine succession of Messinian age (latest Miocene), dated to approximately 5.7 Ma (million years), just prior to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. The tracks indicate that the trackmaker lacked claws, and was bipedal, plantigrade, pentadactyl and strongly entaxonic. The impression of the large and non-divergent first digit (hallux) has a narrow neck and bulbous asymmetrical distal pad. The lateral digit impressions become progressively smaller so that the digital region as a whole is strongly asymmetrical. A large, rounded ball impression is associated with the hallux. Morphometric analysis shows the footprints to have outlines that are distinct from modern non-hominin primates and resemble those of hominins. The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial. The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini, but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene hominins we must also entertain the possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.

This discovery is completely ignored by mainstream archaeology - indicating the rigidity to scientific exploration that academics have - when they should instead be celebrating the find as further proof of their theory (as I will explain in a bit);

Hominid Footprints on Crete Could Change Evolutionary Theory For Good

Gierlinski asked colleagues from Poland, Sweden, Greece, the US and the UK, among them Dr. Per Ahlberg, for their opinions on what he saw as human-like footprints that had somehow been made into a flat rock along the shore.

The team of experts came to the conclusion that indeed, the impressions had been made by ancient human ancestors 5.6 million years ago, making them by far the oldest footprints ever discovered in Europe.

They had been made during the Miocene era, at a time when the entire Mediterranean Sea had dried up. The scientific world was faced with the notion that these small footprints on the Greek island would now be the earliest-known human-like prints in the world — far older than the prints previously found in Africa, from Laetoli in Ethiopia, which were made 3.66 million years ago on a volcanic deposit there.

Ahlberg, from Sweden’s Uppsala University, and his collegue Matthew Robert Bennett, from Bournemouth University in the UK, took on the unenviable task of putting their names on the scientific paper that would be published regarding the discovery of the footprints.

Later, Ahlberg would describe what happened later as “six and a half years of sort of a living hell.” Their paper, published in the Proceedings of the Geologist Association, may be read by clicking here.

In an exclusive interview with Greek Reporter, Ahlberg was asked if there has been any further feedback — or blowback — since the 2017 publishing of the article, and if this discovery has been deliberately ignored and shunted aside since it may be politically incorrect or go against the “Africanist” theory of human origin.

“The short answer is that there has not been much of a response at all from the mainstream palaeoanthropological community. Of course you can never really know what goes on in the heads of other scientists, but I do rather think the story has been deliberately ignored because it doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative,” the member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences replies.

However, one key group of researchers, the scientist told Greek Reporter, have not ignored the startling findings of 2002. “Shortly after publication we made contact with Madelaine Böhme’s group at Tübingen and her colleagues in Bulgaria and Canada, who have been working on the scarce and fragmentary body fossil record of European Miocene hominins. The key animal on that side is Graecopithecus, known from a single lower jaw found near Athens and a tooth plus some other bits and pieces from Bulgaria.

“It is similar in age to the Trachilos footprints, perhaps marginally older. As you might guess, the Böhme team had great difficulty getting their work published as well, and met the same kind of hostility as we did.” These researchers were very impressed with the Trachilos team’s groundbreaking findings, and friendships were quickly established among the scientists.

Read more.

There is no reason for this recent discovery of footprints, older than any previously discovered, to be ignored by science. Hard science should always come first. They should instead be cherished as proof of a theory that humans learnt how to walk first and were very well traveled (next paragraph below) but instead there is silence, thus far, and I want to use this example to make a point. Science is made of people and people are often prideful, greedy, religious & dogmatic so science will reflect these human values. This is why scientists will often stick to their beliefs like a religion despite glaring scientific evidence that tells them their old beliefs are outdated and at the very least need to be put on pause till more evidence is in. One great example that I've covered on my blog is the example of Egyptologists defying unanimous geological analysis that the Sphinx has been eroded by water making it much older, in its original construction. That's an example of modern science becoming more like a religion and less like a scientific discipline. You can find alot more examples of scientists putting pet theories over hard scientific facts in the book The History Of Knowledge and it explains why science can be so slow moving when it comes to exploration and brand new discoveries (pride and greed).

Note that in the following video its pointed out that our fossil evidence is fragmentary and the oldest footprints till now was dated to 3.6 million years ago and led everyone in the field to believe that we walked before we got larger brains (which seems likely given the evidence); 

PBS Eons: When We First Walked -Fossilized footprints have proved that human ancestors were already striding across the landscape 3.6 million years ago. But who started them on that path? What species pioneered this style of locomotion? Who was the first to walk?

2:57 - Fossils are fragmentary; 

An example of an early biped being determined off a tiny bone in the foot. That how little skeletal evidence there is.

Notice how one bone in a foot was found which indicated the individual with that foot could walk upright. This is not that abnormal, apes walk even today, some more than others. What's interesting about this discovery is that it is automatically assumed that the only walking apelike person from that era was Australopithecus afarensis based on a few very fossils and zero complete skeletons.

It should be noted that no full foot, going that far back in time, has been found - as remains are fragmentary - so there is nothing to compare the footprints to. The assumption that these footprints belong to Australopithecus could be true but we don't know that for sure. Especially when you add the footprints found that mainstream archaeology is ignoring and the fact that Homo Erectus was found to be co-existing with Australopithecus 2 millions years ago. Why couldn't Homo Erectus be even longer lived? They seem to keep defying our assumptions of them.

Also note that the only reason these footprints are attributed to Australopithecus Afarensis is because those are the oldest skeletal remains we have found thus far and it fits the molecular clock model. Maybe they are. But we have no proof. We also know that, the molecular clock model is faulty as it requires the age of our species to know when the genetic mutations occur and how often. Add to that that the oldest fossils we have found - and that too very recently - show that Homo Erectus existed at the same time as these other species of humans who are seen as 'the first humans' almost and we are obviously not even close to finding the start of our species. There may very well have been another human species that long ago we haven't found yet, after-all, all we have found of some of our oldest homo erectus specimens are just fragments of bone and nothing else. 

One reason for the fragmentary fossil evidence, as Hancock pointed out, is the destruction of the ice ageAnother reason could be burial traditionsNeanderthals may have started the tradition of burial that we inherited from our interactions with them as the oldest burials even found have been Neanderthal. We also know that in India bodies are burned and in Tibet (who carry Denisovan genes for dealing with altitude), traditionally they would feed carcasses to vultures (could that be one of the oldest human traditions? It would be the easiest). You can find drawings of vultures carrying away heads in Catalhoyuk (who mixed burial with feeding the dead to scavengers) and even Gobekli Tepe. So burial may be a new recent development in human cultures which could be another factor to explain the fragmentary skeletal remains we have from which to develop our theories. What I believe to be inaccurate, is Graham Hancock's idea on how the big stone blocks were moved (psychically! Probably had too much Ayahuasca!). But I am investigating his theories. That means I'm trying to explain or explain away his or any other alternative theory to the mainstream that I find. I've already been exploring mainstream history and can prove Egyptologists will ignore hard science in favor of traditional theories like priests so I'm expecting to find alot of hogwash in the field. After Gobekli Tepe was found suddenly 'there was a cultural continuum' from which it became possible to say making big stone pillars is much older than Egypt. But it is important to emphasize that the evidence from the hard science of geology should have been enough to confirm the Sphinx is far older than Egypotogists hold. The fact that a cultural continuum was needed before hard science could be accepted, in my view, shows the field is dead as far as science is concerned. Now its basically a religion. 

Other fascinating problems lie with the assumption that Homo Erectus and diet changes over the millions of years produced our species but Homo Erectus was around till just over 100,000 years ago. Add to that the latest discovery of a "modern" human skeleton found going back 300,000 years. How can genetic mutation over millions of years from Homo Erectus create our species while Homo Erectus STILL exists and our species also existed with homo erectus still in existence? That's a big problem with the genetic mutation theory. I'm left wondering if there was just a genetic mutation that made humans with less brow ridges that eventually chose to separate themselves from the rest of the human population like some supremacist group. We have found humans with a variety of sizes for their brow ridges existing at the same time, so brow ridge size was alot more variable in the past. Of course, we may simply have not found our oldest skeletons yet. Maybe all of these species, including our "modern" one existed from the beginning as some academics are suggesting, which could still fit our lack of skeletal evidence combined with the lack of genetic verification of the main theories. A couple of decades ago humans were less than 30,000 years old with Neanderthals being an older species and Homo Erectus even older. Now we are a minimum of 300,000 years old and Neanderthals and Homo Erectus existed WITH us.

One thing we may have to consider is that several human groups existed at the time who couldn't mate and only one species that could mate survived if our current scientific theories are to hold. The interesting thing is we don't know if that species was Homo Erectus because they were around over 2 million years ago and 100,000 years ago. Clearly we are waiting on more genetic evidence to clear up the picture of ancient history and nothing else. Many theories in Anthropology appear to be random and even racist, for example Neanderthals have evolved from brutes to human when they should never have been called brutes in the first place as there was no evidence for such beliefs. Yet these false, unverified and even random beliefs define modern perception. What we know is that every scientific development using hard science seems to take human creativity further back in time. Given that even elephants can paint, that humans can be creative shouldn't be that big of a surprise. But it is! Everytime the larger brained (than us) Neanderthals are found to be more intelligent than previously assumed anthropologists are surprised and amazed. Its like watching the skull scene in Django Unchained (script).

Note: The idea that our species diverged from chimpanzees 5-7 million years ago, is a rough estimate based, probably, on incomplete data (such as why Homo Erectus didn't turn into us in Java and what that means for the "genetic mutation clock" theory, put another way if we can't determine a start to our species - dates change every few decades based on discoveries -  how can we be sure of our calibration of the molecular/genetic clock for humans? We can't), but here is the basic theory;

Svante Pääbo: DNA clues to our inner neanderthal - Sharing the results of a massive, worldwide study, geneticist Svante Pääbo shows the DNA proof that early humans mated with Neanderthals after we moved out of Africa. (Yes, many of us have Neanderthal DNA.) He also shows how a tiny bone from a baby finger was enough to identify a whole new humanoid species.

When our species is considered to have diverged from Chimpanzees given current molecular clock estimates;

I wanted to point out the problems in anthropology and their theories based on fragmentary evidence and generalized ideas that they tend to stick to with religious devotion and, to some degree, I think I have. 

These new series of posts are my own investigation into ancient history using a variety of evidence and theories that I intend to prove or disprove. The only difference is that I'm going as far back as I can and moving forward.

Antiquities Research

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