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272 comments

Been there, done that. (2)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165695)

This has been brought up ("challenged") before and some believe it, some don't. What's so different this time around?

Re:Been there, done that. (3, Insightful)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165845)

You are right this doesn't look like any real news.

The article is really written in a very unscientific way, for example this statement:
What the scientific society thinks doesn't usually change all that fast, the hypothesis first has to be verified and tested etc.
But then again in this kind of archeology this thing with verifying and testing hypothesis can be a bit difficult even though they try as they best can, but trying to figure out how humans evolved through evolution is imho as much guesswork as it is science with what we have of evidence so far.

Re:Been there, done that. (4, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166143)

Man evolved from dirt when dinosaurs ate coconuts. It says so in the bible.

Re:Been there, done that. (0, Offtopic)

bytesex (112972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166675)

I thought your post was funny, unfortunately, the selection list folded too quickly and instead of 'funny', I moderated you 'overrated'. So by way of repairing that, I react (so that my moderation goes to waste), and I say: MOD PARENT UP !

Re:Been there, done that. (-1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167375)

Ooh now I have 3 shiny coloured balls next to your name. Funny how some people find the bible so irrelevant but keep feeling the need to refer to it..

Re:Been there, done that. (2, Informative)

ivano (584883) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167867)

People quote the Bible like we quote Shakespeare. Beautiful words about the world we live in. Now if you're stupid enough to think it's a historical document then you're on your own.

Re:Been there, done that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165909)

Yes, only now they are convinced there was no obelisk.

Um...Ockham's Razor? (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165915)

This has been brought up ("challenged") before and some believe it, some don't. What's so different this time around?
TFA - "But that is a much more complex proposition," Professor Spoor explained, "the easiest way to interpret these fossils is that there was an ancestral species that gave rise to both of them somewhere between two and three million years ago."

That's from the guy who was offering the idea that later species still "could have" come from the earlier(and co-existent) species. Apparently the principle of the Razor made him admit that it was more likely that one didn't evolve from either, but rather that they both evolved from some common ancestral species. Please don't make me explain why the latter assumes less causes.

Science isn't about belief. It's about weighing the evidence. Now the evidence is very strong in one direction.

Re:Been there, done that. (2, Informative)

torrentami (853516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167933)

Actually, this is the prevailing theory of human evolution today. This article is merely throwing another rock on the pile. Check out Mapping Human History [amazon.com] by Steve Olsen (2002).

All lies (2, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165733)

I know the truth [youtube.com].

Re:All lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165983)

How did I automatically know what that link was?

BS (5, Insightful)

dynamo (6127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165739)

It doesn't "challenge" that view at all. Evolution is mutation plus competition, you need the competition part. Of course they co-existed, as must have all consecutive evolution stages in every being's evolution.

Re:BS (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165805)

Indeed. Coexistence of divergent species is fairly common. Coexistence in no solid way rules out one species evolving from another. The reasoning used is not clear.
       

That's what I don't understand in TFA. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165817)

It talks about "their own distinct ecological niches". Given that we are omnivores, how different could their "ecological niche" have been and still support something that was almost human?

Humans and other primates have shared the same areas ever since there were humans. Yet we have only recently started wiping out other primates. And it isn't because we are competing with them for the food sources. We wipe out their environment, food sources and all.

So there thing about "Eventually, one would have out-competed the other." doesn't sound right. "Eventually", maybe. But to say that any conclusions can be derived simply because it had not happened in X years ... that's dumb.

Re:That's what I don't understand in TFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166043)

Humans and other primates have shared the same areas ever since there were humans. Yet we have only recently started wiping out other primates.
War for resources is at least as old as history, and the generally accepted view is that we were responsible for the extinction of the Neanderthals.

Re:That's what I don't understand in TFA. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166237)

I agree with everything but the Neanderthals. Modern thinking is suggesting that they just integrated and their feature blended in or was absorbed into modern humans. I don't see any problems with that either.

Re:That's what I don't understand in TFA. (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167991)

Modern thinking is suggesting that they just integrated and their feature blended in
If by modern you mean the 1980s.

Re:That's what I don't understand in TFA. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166319)

Human history tends to indicate we do a bit more than just compete with them for food sources. The reality is, we likely turned the opposition into food sources or at the very least, actively prevented them from exploiting food sources with in our territories.

P) Vengeance although a somewhat undesirable human characteristic was still very likely influential in the evolution of humans and their societies and in the extinction of competing species.

Fuck Barry Bonds in his watermelon-sized dome... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166181)

And fuck politicians who waste breath congratulating this bogus cheater instead of passing meaningful legislation. No wonder both Congress' and the President's approval ratings are in the crapper. Medicare is headed for over a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, and these jokers want to pack more people onto the Titanic, so to speak. But back to baseball... Barry Bonds is by far not the only cheater in baseball, but he is the poster-boy of the generation that shit all over our beloved American pastime. Fuck the media for even acknowledging this sorry event. If I were Hank Aaron I would choke Bonds and force-feed him his own severed, 'roid-shrunken weenie. It's no wonder that Bonds hails from a city that prides itself on wallowing in moral relativism.

Re:Fuck Barry Bonds in his watermelon-sized dome.. (-1, Offtopic)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168017)

Meaningful legislation... on baseball? Seriously, and I mean this in the nicest non-trolliest way possible: get a fucking life.

Why not demand meaningful legislation to prevent plot inconsistencies in comic books while we're at it... goddamned Spiderman and his thousand slightly different origins.

Anyway, steroids didn't make Barry Bonds any better at being able to see a 90 mph fast ball, or move his hands quickly and expertly enough to hit the ball once he does. Steroids don't help him maintain one of the most extreme diet and excercise regimens in professional sports. Steroids didn't get Barry Bonds his place in the Big Leagues or his record setting contract (the accusations of steroid use all begin well after both events).

You don't know that he couldn't have done this without steroids, and you don't know that Hank Aaron didn't use anything either; steroids were around back then, players were using, everyone knows this, and usually the explanation for why none looked quite so massive is the same explanation as why the pitching and running were slower, and why "steroids" referred only to a handful of expensive and difficult to acquire compounds... we've made massive advances in both training technique and in steroid technology. Baseball players have always used anything that would give them any sort of advantage over the competition, it's the nature of professional sports, where huge money is at stake and even the "worst" players are so good it could make your head spin. I'm not saying that Hank Aaron used steroids, or anything else for that matter, I'm just saying that we have no way of knowing either way, and that hating Barry Bonds for "stealing" his record by using unfair steroids is spurious and foolish at best.

[/ot response]

Re:BS (3, Informative)

elyons (934748) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166299)

Indeed, it is called sympatric speciation. One of the two central concepts on how species arise. The other is allopartic speciation. They different in that the former happens at the same place at the same time. The latter requires some form of geographic isolation, like a river valley. No reason to think that the lineage leading to humans wasn't subjected to this kind of speciation.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166363)

Shutupshutup! The Creationists had it right all along, and Science PROVES IT! :P

Re:BS (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166659)

Really? I thought evolution is more intelligently designed! Like: from tomorrow, each egg will hatch a chicken, not a lizard. (eh, i agree with you, if that wasn't obvious)

Re:BS (4, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166821)

Evolution is mutation plus competition...

I know this wasn't the point of your post, but this is a pet peeve of mine. There's mutation, competition, and cooperation, both inter and intra species. We'd be screwed without mitochondria. We'd be screwed without each other. Nonzero sum, mutually beneficial relationships (cooperation) affect evolution, just like the zero sum (competition) ones.

Carry on. :)

Yeah, without Mitochondria... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166975)

...we wouldn't have the Force!

Re:BS (2, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166983)

Just read the Metro version of this story: 'African find upsets theory of evolution'.

My guess is that there was a third species, Homo Stupidus that evolved into journalists.

Re:BS (1)

Lariat (809245) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167727)

If you'd RTFA, you'd know that the article is well aware of what evolution is. The problem, as they see it, is that if they were competing directly with each other, it's difficult to understand how they survived together for so long, a problem better solved by placing them in different ecological niches.

As an addendum, I really, really hate the term "mutation." While the word itself isn't inaccurate, it's connotations are. It tends to conjure up images of hopeful monsters, which isn't what evolution is. It's probably best to follow Darwin's lead and call it "variation in a species."

Modern time example. (3, Insightful)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167847)


It doesn't "challenge" that view at all. Evolution is mutation plus competition, you need the competition part. Of course they co-existed, as must have all consecutive evolution stages in every being's evolution.

Exactly my thoughts.

Think about this, archaeological and genetic evidence points to modern humans having left Africa 50000-100000 years ago. Modern humans are only about 200.000 years old as a species and yet, the Scanvinavians already have lighter skin full facial beards and some other biological features which make them distinct from those who didn't leave Africa.

We could say that the scandivavians "evolved" from the Africans to suit the cold climate, nonetheless the two are still co-habiting almost everywhere in the world.

The time period which the article states as a "proof" is 500.000 years long. Just imagine how the scandinavians, ot the inuits might look after 450.000 years if there was no communication between the two groups.

Cain and Abel (3, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20168005)

This kind of thing always makes me wonder about the origin of tales that probably come to us from pre-history -- stuff like the Cain and Abel story. I can't help thinking that, at one time, these stories might have told of some much more important historical event than one brother killing another, and that, slowly, over time, they've been watered down into something that everyone understood in their current context -- one guy killing another.

Well... (3, Insightful)

maelfius (592856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165773)

After glancing over the TFA it appears that it is shown that the two species simply existed together and one eventually out-competed the other. What isn't definitively shown as not being the case is that the Evolutionary chain didn't also occur with a net result of both species existing at once. An overlap could be caused because both species in different areas (even locals) were well suited for the environment. I guess I could just want to be argumentative after a long day of meetings with the subspecies PHB which is probably more akin to the chimpanzee than anything vaguely human ... in fact I'm sure of that last statement, PHBs are NOT human. Everything has to be black and white -- nothing can be grey in science. The truth is that science is all grey and we want to see in black and white.

Homo Mormonus (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165779)

If erectus was very sexually dimorphic [sex size diff] it may have had multiple mates at a time. This differs from the more monogamous nature of modern humans, indicating that Homo erectus was not as human-like as once thought.

Polygomy is and was fairly common in humans.
     

Re:Homo Mormonus (4, Interesting)

maelfius (592856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165833)

Monogamous nature of human mating interaction is almost exclusively due to societal changes -- mostly control reasons (from what I can see). However, humans do tend to have a stronger attachment to those they mate with than some other species out there do. Perhaps more akin to the mate-for-life (or close to it) mentality -- whether or not this is supported by actions and/or society (divorce rate is high etc), but there is the definite attachment in many cases. I should stop posting, and where are my damn mod points to mod you funny for the title.

Re:Homo Mormonus (5, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166001)

> Polygamy is and was fairly common in humans.

Can you get that in writing? Like, from a real anthropologist?

And then send it to my wife?

Re:Homo Mormonus (4, Informative)

dave1g (680091) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166003)

Modern humans are dimorphic as well. Not to the extent as many other species but, for example, male brains are slightly larger, even accounting for their larger body size vs female.
This suggests that throughout humans and their ancestors have been moderately polygynous.

My source being The Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mating_Mind [wikipedia.org]

Re:Homo Mormonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167099)

Heh heh heh he said "Erectus"

Re:Homo Mormonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167401)

One, it's polygamy. Two, which part of more is guiving you problems?

Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20165851)

this challenges the view that the upright humans evolved from the tool users.
Indeed, everyone knows that humans evolved from the tools.

I'm not sure I see the problem (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165873)

First, the article makes it clear that the two hominids didn't compete. They operated in different environments and ate different food. Even when primates do operate in similar realms, they can coexist for millions of years - as humans have with chimps and gorillas. The relatively peaceful coexistence of humans and Neanderthals is also well documented. They simply ignored each other. It is also suspected - but unproven - in the case of Homo Florensis. Besides which, even when replacement occurs, it's going to occur slowly. Populations grow exponentially, but only over a vast timeframe. It isn't overnight. The multiple migration theory also suggests that multiple hominid types co-existed, or there wouldn't be distinct populations migrating. (In fact, the mere existence of the theory shows some paleontologists have always believed in multiple co-existing branches.)

Re:I'm not sure I see the problem (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166059)

Other great apes were evolved for primarily eating fruit (orangutang), veggies (gorillas), or a more mixed diet (chimps). I'd say that human ancestors didn't take to the flatlands all that great but were actually well adapted to rivers and for the style of fishing known as noodling. (Paddle-like foot shape, thinned out body hair, improved hand dexterity, downturned nose, these seem better adapted for mucking in water than walking around on some grassland.) Afterall, in comparison to the great apes we're related to, humans are the only ones that can swim worth a damn. Crocodiles as a competing apex preditor would be a lot more predictable for pre-tool hominid primates than any lion, jaguar, or hyena. (Easy enough to get out of the water when crocs are around, but good luck outrunning one of those large cats.) Also there's likely more protein to be had from fish than any small grassland type creature that could be caught until toolmaking became more mainstream.

Now if only an actual anthropologist would pick up on that idea...

Re:I'm not sure I see the problem (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166419)

I have read that before. Well something close to it anyways. They didn't use it to explain why humans were different but more to why we likely won't find a link or th common ancestor in which we all split. The hypothesized that our common ancestor was along those lines you mentioned and we stuck to it in early times only to branch outwards once water levels started rising and falling rapidly. Sort of like the wet seasons in Africa desserts.

I wish I could remember the girls name. She had some interesting points that what you says would almost be the same or compliment hers.

Re:I'm not sure I see the problem (4, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167503)

It is known as the Aquatic Ape Theory. [wikipedia.org] The mainstream anthropological view is that it is not correct. I still think most objections would disappear if you postulate partially aquatic near fresh water lakes instead of 100% aquatic life in salt water. But still, intriguing as it is, and as much as I would like to believe it is correct, the AAH (they have demoted it from theory to hypothesis) is not the current mainstream view.

Re:I'm not sure I see the problem (2, Informative)

Lariat (809245) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167901)

I think they have, actually. Of course, Desmond Morris (zoologist, rather than anthropologist) entertained the idea in the widely read
  • The Naked Ape
, but there's been other work in the same vein. At the end of the day, it's not entertained seriously because it's simply not credible--it doesn't hold up to serious criticism. You might start with http://www.aquaticape.org/ [aquaticape.org]

tool users? (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165945)

What is with the obsession with tools? Plenty of animals use tools. Humans aren't unique in that respect.

There is a saying amongst psychologists that at some point, each must come up with a reason why humans are fundamentally different from the other animals, only for someone to eventually prove them wrong.

Re:tool users? (3, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166233)

Technically, there are examples of animals using tools. The chimp using the stick to get at termites is the commonly cited one. They even show an ability to select the best stick to use, and modify it to some extent. However, there's a big difference between fishing out termites with a stick, or using a leg bone as a cudgel to challenge a competing tribe for domination of a watering hole, and making things like hand axes, shovels, or bowls. Humans make tools that require many complex steps, most tool users in nature just pick things up off the ground. It's not a binary situation; humans and animals are all on a continuum of technical skill and complexity. Relative distance is what distinguishes us.

Re:tool users? (2, Informative)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166323)

Crows have been observed to construct tools [nationalgeographic.com] as well. In fact, they fashion more complex tools than chimps. They've learned different designs by copying other birds, and they pass their tool-building knowledge down through the generations.

Tool construction and use is not a uniquely human trait, it's not even unique to primates.

Re:tool users? (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166551)

It's not an obsession; it just happened to be the one of the many distinguishing traits of the species that was used to name it. The summary calling homo habilis the "tool users" and homo erectus the "upright humans" is because that is what the latin names of the species translate or allude to.

Re:tool users? (4, Insightful)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167037)

>There is a saying amongst psychologists that at some point, each must come up with a reason why humans are fundamentally different from the other animals, only for someone to eventually prove them wrong.

I accept your challenge!

"Humans are fundamentally different from other animals, because we can travel into space using only tools we built."

Re:tool users? (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167073)

"Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man-for precisely the same reason."

H2G2 -- Douglas Adams

Re: tool users? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167187)

There is a saying amongst psychologists that at some point, each must come up with a reason why humans are fundamentally different from the other animals, only for someone to eventually prove them wrong.
I accept your challenge!

"Humans are fundamentally different from other animals, because we can travel into space using only tools we built."
I can't.

Re:tool users? (1)

Lariat (809245) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167825)

For this to stand as a fundamental difference, it would need to be an entire process that other animals do not exhibit. The fundamental process is creative tool use in pursuit of a goal. We used to think this was really remarkable, until Jane Goodall showed us how wrong we were. Chimps, orangutans and bonobos are, of course, the usual examples of animals who do so, but it's not restricted to them. Elephants do it. So do seals. Other things once thought human hallmarks--like language, or even agriculture, have animal precursors. Even less admirable traits, like drug addiction, or propensity toward genocide, have non-human parallels. We are unique in the skill with which we preform all of these things, a debt owed to our tremendous capacity to learn by cumulative experience, but we are not unique in their possession.

Re:tool users? (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167855)

yeah but imagine traveling into space using tools others built! like all the bacteria on different space ships. Now that is a much better feat. :) so in that respect, the bacteria are much much better: no investment other than patience :)

We do science right! (4, Informative)

Webs 101 (798265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20165959)

When writing the binomial nomenclature of a species, you capitalize the genus but not the species. Therefore, the correct way to right this would be "Homo erectus" and "H. habilis".

Next, both species walked very much erect. The primary difference between them is the skull and brain.

The BBC got it right. there's no reason the submitter, or Slashdot, should not have gotten it right, too.

As to the science, the wisest words in TFA come from Professor Spoor (snicker):

"It's always possible that Homo habilis lived, let's say, 2.5 million years ago and then in another part of Africa, away from the Turkana basin, an isolated population evolved into Homo erectus."

After a sufficient amount of time to allow both species to develop different adaptations and lifestyles, Homo erectus could have then found its way to the Turkana basin.

Of course, that assumes the new skull really is H. erectus, which is dubious. Maybe it was an H. erectus ancestor, small like H. habilis but with an H. erectus-like brain.

Why yes, I do have a degree in physical anthropology. Thank you for asking.

Mod parent up +1 Snob (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166219)

or maybe +1 Pedantic

and what does that prove anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166111)

So perhaps their eras crossed, so what? So some time in the past some human branch spawned off and 'evolved', while meanwhile the original branch kept going for a while... That fact wouldn't change anything as far as evolution and human origins goes.

I wonder... (5, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166133)

...why monkeys aren't extinct. If it's survival of the fittest and we are clearly superior to monkeys, why are they still here? They should have died-out a long time ago!

Cohabitation, not just for monkeys (2, Interesting)

Slur (61510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166207)

I know you're joking, but let me reply seriously anyway.

In my theory of evolution, it's not so much that "the fittest survive," but that "those that fit survive." There's a feedback loop that occurs in the environment. Those that benefit themselves, others, and the environment as a whole tend to survive and evolve more readily than those that form an adversarial relationship to others and the environment.

Monkeys still exist because there have been - and remain - plenty of habitats that are beneficial to them, and they're very adaptable to new environments. Long after Humans have engineered all remaining environments into complete unsuitability, monkeys will likely still remain, because they manage to survive on just the detritus of our habitats. And being smaller, their energy needs are far less.

In the present case of "tool users" versus "upright walkers" other posts have been spot-on. They had little effect on one another and each adapted well to their given environment. And as the lined article points out just fine, tool use and upright walking were not mutually exclusive developments. It's hardly a big stretch for any being of a certain level of sentience to see the parallel between the hands at the ends of their arms and the tools in their hands. From the point of view of any being of reasonable sentience, they are both automatically objectified into things-to-be-used.

It has long been understood that evolution tends towards less specialization and more generalization as environments rapidly change and become more diverse and challenging, and as species range further. The necessity of mental abstraction and self-alienation will become more evident as we delve into our more recent evolution. (And from this will come insights into the need for our so-called "religious practices" that semi-moderate this alienation. But that's a topic for another day!)

Re:Cohabitation, not just for monkeys (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166255)

It has long been understood that evolution tends towards less specialization and more generalization as environments rapidly change and become more diverse and challenging, and as species range further. The necessity of mental abstraction and self-alienation will become more evident as we delve into our more recent evolution. (And from this will come insights into the need for our so-called "religious practices" that semi-moderate this alienation. But that's a topic for another day!)

No not really. phenotypes drift in all different directions and specialist sometimes out compete generalists. When the environment shifts, who ever can still survive continues. In rapidly shifting environs generalists are favored. Areas that border two non static environment types like a Jungle and a veld that grow and contract. Environments that are more stable tend to favor specialists.

Re:I wonder... (1)

cioxx (456323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166347)

...why monkeys aren't extinct. If it's survival of the fittest and we are clearly superior to monkeys, why are they still here? They should have died-out a long time ago!


Man (Homo sapiens) did not evolve from a "monkey." Modern humans and apes share a common ancestor (NOT a monkey) and apes are the closest genetic relatives humans have in the nature.

It's also wrong to say that humans are "clearly superior" to monkeys. The superiority is only measured by your reproductive success. By this measure, insects are superior to humans.

Before humans figured out how to make machines and rapidly destroy jungles and drive other animals from their habitats through environmental competition on a large scale, apes had been doing just fine. In this day and age this is not the case. In few decades some ape species would only appear in zoos or history books. So in this sense man is becoming "superior" to apes.

The theory of evolution is so elegant that you don't need complex language or constructs to describe and predict these types of things.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166421)

Because we need the monkeys to make monkey stew of course!

*smacks lips*

Re:I wonder... (3, Funny)

meglon (1001833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166925)

"....and we are clearly superior to monkeys...."

You obviously have not been keeping up on world events....

Re:I wonder... (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167033)

Taking this submitter's comment in another light, it's actually an astute critique of one of the news report's main arguments against direct descent.

News report: H. erectus and habilis couldn'tve lived side-by-side because one would outcompete the other.

Submitter: Monkeys live alongside species with superior intelligence, but they haven't been 'outcompeted'.

So I'd give subby +1, insightful.

Re:I wonder... (1)

pkphilip (6861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167207)

You raise an interesting point. Actually, it raises multiple interesting points.

About monkeys themselves - humans are not considered to have evolved from monkeys but the great apes. Specifically, chimpanzees are supposed to be our close ancestors.

http://www.unisci.com/stories/20013/0712011.htm [unisci.com]

The earliest chimpanzee fossils date from 500000 years ago near fossils of Homo erectus or Homo rhodensiensis. So it is considered that chimpanzees and Homo erectus were contemporaries.
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7917 [newscientist.com]

This raises the interesting question as to how chimpanzees have remain largely unchanged while humans have evolved from Homo heidelbergensis to Homo sapiens? Interestingly, Homo erectus and early modern humans (Homo sapiens) are considered to have been contemporaries atleast for a while since a finding of fossils in Java (considered Homo erectus) is dated as late as 50,000 years ago.

http://www.mnh.si.edu/anthro/humanorigins/ha/erec. html [si.edu]

Homo erectus had a brain capacity about 30% less than modern humans (1000cc vs 1300+ cc in homo sapiens) but they did not outlive even Chimpanzees in the same area. That raises a whole lot of questions about the theories which define why some species survive and some don't.

Re:I wonder... (2, Interesting)

deleveld (607488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167409)

I hardly think its a mystery why chimps havent evolved and we have. Chimps have remained unchanged while humans have evolved because we dont (and probably didnt) occupy the same niche. Chimps dont have the right kind of evolutionary pressure. Chimps seem to reproduce just fine from generation-on-generation without any important advantage of brain size. Humans with tiny brains dont reproduce well, hence the evolutionary pressure for (sufficient for good human reproduction) larger brain sizes.

Chimps seem to be successful in thier own niche and deviations from the existing plan dont help chimps reproduce. My guess is that early humans we unable to carve out thier own niche and we constantly pushed from thier niches by more specialized animals. We were then forced to specialize in being the animal to rapidly make use of whatever niches were available. In this context, intelligence is a definite advantage, hence the evolutionary pressure for larger brain size, cooperation, clothes, agriculture, etc, i.e. the things that make us different than chimps.

At least we know (5, Funny)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166147)

from the creationism museum that they lived with Velociraptors.

Re:At least we know (1)

GeoSanDiego (703197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166999)

I actually visited the creationism museum near San Diego.

The three things I learned that stuck with me:

1) Beams of light seemingly coming from millions of light years away that have been hitting the earth since the creation of the whole universe a few thousand years ago have not really been traveling that long (duh) but were merely created and put in place mid flight by God.

2) There were dinosaurs on Noah's ark.

3) Noah did not really have two of every species on the ark (I guess somebody calculated that the ark would not have been able to hold all of them), rather he had two of each "type". For example a pair of wolves would stand in for their species as well as dogs, dingos and coyotes, etc.

Re:At least we know (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167357)

Noah did not really have two of every species on the ark (I guess somebody calculated that the ark would not have been able to hold all of them), rather he had two of each "type". For example a pair of wolves would stand in for their species as well as dogs, dingos and coyotes, etc.


Do they explain how you get from wolf to chihuahua without some sort of evolution, either directed (as in selective breeding) or natural?

Re:At least we know (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167449)

Aren't all domestic dogs descended from wolves by selective breeding?

I've heard that some zoologists consider that speciation between wolves & dogs isn't quite complete yet.

Re:At least we know (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167505)

Noah did not really have two of every species on the ark (I guess somebody calculated that the ark would not have been able to hold all of them), rather he had two of each "type".
This is something I really don't understand. You can accept that the bible is true, and discount evidence to the contrary by saying 'God did it with magic,' and you have a fairly consistent set of beliefs. Alternatively, you can say 'much of the bible was written a long time ago by people who didn't know much,' and accept that bits that contradict observable evidence are just plain wrong, but continue to believe that it carries an important philosophical and ethical message (for example, don't crucify people, because it might turn out their dad is someone important). Again, you are left with a consistent set of beliefs. Once you start saying 'this bit of the bible is the literal truth, but this bit is made up,' where do you stop? Why couldn't a god capable of feeding 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread and flooding the entire world have twisted space a little so that two of every kind of animal could fit inside an ark? And if you're going to start placing arbitrary limits on the abilities of God, why bother with religion at all?

Ah ha! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166231)

Therefore, the Book of Genesis is literally true!

THE HOMOS ARE ERECT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166301)

THE HOMOS ARE ERECT

does that mean they don't work anymore?

NO, DAMNIT....

uhhh picalo....

JUST COME OVER HERE AND I'LL SHOW YOU WHAT IT MEANS, GOHAN!!!!

Still could have evolved (4, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20166327)

"Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis,"

I don't see why co-existence would discount evolving from Homo Habilis. Since after all if we really did evolve from primates, there would be no primates today under this logic.

It' still possible that some Homo Habilis evolved into Homo erectus while others remained homo habilis. Just as monkeys evolved into whatever became the H. Habilis, yet monkeys still exist.

Re:Still could have evolved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166565)

Primates is a term describing a group of species. As far as we can tell humans did not evolve from any of the currently extant primates, but rather we all share a common ancestor.

Evolution does take a while, so it seems feasible that just because H. erectus and H. habilis werent found within short time frames, doesnt mean one couldnt have been evolving from another (as other posters have pointed out).

Also the singular finding might get reinterpreted down the road. Perhaps one of them is in fact somewhere between H. erectus and H. habilis in evolutionary terms.

Trying to piece together human evolution is always interesting, but theres will always be a lot of speculation (which is part of the fun!)

Intelligent Design rules !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166531)

Damm you all !! I do not have an Ape Ancestor. I was created.

Re:Intelligent Design rules !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20166979)

Soon we shall prove the homo sapien-dinosaur sister species theory, and then the heathens shall bow before His glory.

rthis FP for GNAA... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167281)

the go0dwill

The Bible's side of the story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20167293)

Since this IS Slashdot, and neither the "alien theory" nor the Bible have been referred to, I'll start off with the Bible's side of the story...

  1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

3 Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. 5 The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

6 The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them."

8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

My own $0.02 (-1, Offtopic)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167527)

I'm in no way a biologist, but I have read a certain amount about attempts to simulate genetic evolutionary processes in order to produce artificial intelligence. I've also read Genesis, and tried to read the Origin of Species once. (Although most of that went over my head)

From the AI stuff I read, I got the impression that in order for the entire evolutionary process to occur at all, you need a pre-existing set of heuristics (the "genetic algorithm") that define what "evolutionary fitness" means for a given species.

Hence, a chicken-and-egg problem. Once you've got the GA, the whole process can go along just fine, working according to the rules of the GA. However, the burning question is, how did the GA itself get there? I've never heard of any scenario where a GA itself can evolve via an atheistic process, but if anyone knows of one, please share.

Thus, when I think about it at all, at least at the moment I'm inclined towards a hybrid theory of how we got here, which actually includes elements of both creationism and evolutionary thinking. My own perspective is that yes, evolution happens. We see the end products of it all the time, and yes, to a degree the process has been successfully simulated (with some interesting results) in the AI field.

However, where God steps into the picture for me in this context is as the provider of the initial GA, after which organisms can themselves take over the process from there. I'm not claiming (at least in this context) to have any definite idea of what God actually is or was, either...but I do think that there are at least a couple of areas, (such as the GA question) which atheistic evolutionary theory alone can't really account for.

The other thing I'd like to have an atheist tell me is how they believe water got here initially, and more specifically, why the water cycle starts on some planets and not on others. From what I was reading a while back, water actually initially gets produced in a closed-circuit chemical reaction, with the three elements, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Once it gets started, the loop can keep going as long as those three elements are all present; my question is, how did those three elements become present here on Earth, especially when oxygen in particular seems to be rare almost to the point of being entirely unique in the universe, from what I've seen?

Oh, and to get back on topic...Yes, of course Erectus and Habilis could co-exist simultaneously. The simultaneous co-existence of different sub-species, (or breeds, if you like) is the entire way in which the natural selection process can work. You don't need to know much about biology to know that. ;-)

Re:My own $0.02 (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167639)

Well while you're being all "logical" and such, maybe you can explain how "God" got here.

Root said let there be God, and there was God?

Re:My own $0.02 (4, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167745)

The other thing I'd like to have an atheist tell me is how they believe water got here initially, and more specifically, why the water cycle starts on some planets and not on others. From what I was reading a while back, water actually initially gets produced in a closed-circuit chemical reaction, with the three elements, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Once it gets started, the loop can keep going as long as those three elements are all present; my question is, how did those three elements become present here on Earth, especially when oxygen in particular seems to be rare almost to the point of being entirely unique in the universe, from what I've seen?

Hydrogen is by far the most abundant chemical element in the Universe. Helium is second. Oxygen is third. Carbon is fourth. None of these are in any way scarce; I have no idea where you got the notion that there was a shortage of oxygen in the Universe. As for water, the solar system is full of the stuff; water vapour is present in the atmosphere of Venus, water ice is present at the Martian poles, and the outer solar system is practically made of ice. The only thing that's unusual about Earth is the presence of liquid water.

Re:My own $0.02 (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167857)

For water to form, it requires the planet to have a certain temperature. This in turn requires the planet to be a certain distance from the Sun. We are at that distance, and hence funnily enough none of the other planets in our solar system are.

Around other stars, it is quite likely that if there are planets at the correct distance from the sun, then they water on them.

I don't know where you got the idea that it's extremely rare. We really don't know, but current estimates are that there should be millions of such planets just within our own small galaxy.

Where is your evidence? (1)

JochenBedersdorfer (945289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167915)

However, where God steps into the picture for me in this context is as the provider of the initial GA, after which organisms can themselves take over the process from there. I'm not claiming (at least in this context) to have any definite idea of what God actually is or was, either...but I do think that there are at least a couple of areas, (such as the GA question) which atheistic evolutionary theory alone can't really account for.
Under what evidence? Why can you assume that - even if we currently have no satisfying explanation for the initial spark for life - a supernatural being did it?
At least, scientist have some evidence that life emerged from simple chemical processes, but you, on the other side, have no frigging evidence at all for your point?

Just because theory A does not currently explain all phenomens, theory B (God did it) is automatically true. That is just ... nonsense.

what i wanna know (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20167909)

is when did homo erectus, habilis and the neanderthals give way to homo sapiens. There are different kinds of gorillas and monkeys and fishies and doggies and snakes. Why did only one type of homo-whatever survive? Or is that even the case? Are the different homo-whatevers genetically divergent enuff to not be able to cross impregnate? I havent read up on all the current theories so in traditional /. action i will not read any articles and wait for people to post the answers to me!
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