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By now, the big picture of humanity's origins is pretty clear. Modern humans evolved in Africa over 100,000 years ago, but they took tens of thousands of years to leave the continent. Once they did, they rapidly spread across Asia and Australia, mating with some of the pre-modern (read: archaic) humans along the way.

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Mysterious structures found deep inside a French cave are the work of Neanderthal builders who lived in the region more than 100,000 years before modern humans set foot in Europe.

The extraordinary constructions are made from nearly 400 stalagmites that have been yanked from the ground and stacked on top of one another to produce rudimentary walls on the damp cave floor.

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The new fossils – from an adult male and two infant Australopithecus afarensis – suggest that this hominid species lived far eastward beyond the Great Rift Valley and much farther than previously thought. 

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Anthropologists have proposed that the Neanderthals may have been done in by terrible epidemics or an inability to adapt to climate changes of the era, but Stanford researchers now suggest culture wars of a sort might have spelled the end.

The team, led by biologist Marcus Feldman, came to their conclusion after creating mathematical models that demonstrated that it wasn't necessary for the humans to outnumber the locals in order to prevail. A smaller band of humans with a more highly developed level of culture could eventually push out the Neanderthals, the models showed. 


#HumanEvolution   #science  

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The fossil record is compelling evidence that points to the dawn of man in eastern Africa. Now that we have advanced DNA sequencing capabilities, what else can technology tell us about evolution and human migration?

In July of 1959, a remarkable discovery was made in the Olduvai Gorge of northern Tanzania, along the fertile Great Rift Valley of East Africa. Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey (the husband and wife paleoanthropology team) were excavating this area because earlier work by geologist Hans Reck indicated possible hominid fossils. The Olduvai Gorge is the site of an ancient lake that once teemed with life followed by an era of erosion that exposed fossils in a “layer cake of evolution”.

That fateful morning Louis Leakey fell ill and stayed at camp. Mary Leakey spotted an unusual rock jutting out from the ground which proved to be a fossilized jaw bone with teeth. Excavation revealed the cranium of what she named “Nutcracker Man”, a 1.75 million year old ancestor of the first humans. This was one of many discoveries that support the theory of humans originating from Africa. It is also an example of a major contribution by a female scientist. Dr. Mary Leakey continued her husband’s work when he died in 1972. 


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In Neanderthals, facial bone deposits continue into the teenage years, whereas in humans (Homo sapiens), bone removal during childhood leads to a flatter face, the researchers found. 

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A stark demonstration of the dramatic changes that have swept through the science of human evolution will be revealed this week at London’s Natural History Museum. A wall of skulls has been built at the entrance of its new human evolution gallery, graphically showing how our understanding of our seven-million-year journey from ancient apeman ancestors to Homo sapiens has been transformed in recent years.

In just over a decade an unprecedented number of new species have been uncovered by palaeontologists, from the Hobbit man of Flores to the Denisovan cavemen of Siberia. Most will be displayed on the wall of skulls. 

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Abstract

Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis’ unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. 

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ลอยกระทง วัดสายไหม กทม.
Loy Krathong Day in Wat Saimai Bangkok Thailand. 
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25/11/58
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Scientists found a well-preserved fossilized Homo erectus skull in east China which is estimated to be 150,000 to 412,000 years old. The discovery sheds light in the study of man's evolution and dispersal thousands of years ago.

The fossil was unearthed by a team from the Institute of Vertebrae Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, at the Hualongdong archeological site in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province. The team started the exploration in the heritage site in 2006. 

#HumanEvolution   #HomoErectus   #China  
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