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Science

Modern Humans Bred With Evolutionary Predecessors In Africa 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-you-doin dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Based on a new analysis of old skulls, it now appears that modern humans may have interbred with some earlier hominid species, suggesting that human evolution took a more complex path than previously thought. The study opines that modern humans lived side by side with the older species. Paleontologists disagree over the meaning of the findings, or whether they have any substantial significance at all."
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Modern Humans Bred With Evolutionary Predecessors In Africa

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  • by suso (153703) * on Friday September 16, 2011 @02:56PM (#37423168) Homepage Journal

    Reminds me so much of this comic [smbc-comics.com]

    • Of course modern humans inbred with evolutionary predecessors. If they didn't, they wouldn't exist!

  • A single fossil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:06PM (#37423252)

    How do they draw this conclusion from a single fossil? Couldn't it have been a deformed human? There are still humans born with the occasional pre-humanoid traits, like tails.

    • How do they draw this conclusion from a single fossil? Couldn't it have been a deformed human? There are still humans born with the occasional pre-humanoid traits, like tails.

      I was wondering that myself

      • by maxume (22995)

        If they interbred and the genes persist in the present day population, all it means is that the definition of human that excluded the 'other' species was wrong (or at least it calls the usefulness of that definition into question).

        Anyway, it is a tautology that a species interbred with it's evolutionary predecessors.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Anyway, it is a tautology that a species interbred with it's evolutionary predecessors.

          Ahh, but not that "modern man" did so with prehistoric predecessors. I'm interested in hearing that "modern" applies to anything prior to, oh, 0 BCE.

          • by maxume (22995)

            That's likely just parochialism on your part, they lacked our absurd numbers and fantastic machines, but that's pretty much the entire difference.

          • by clarkcox3 (194009)
            "modern man" = "homo sapiens"; we were around long before 1 BC.
          • "modern man" refers to the species H. Sapiens, which has been around for almost 200,000 years, and has been developing tools and technology for about 50,000 years. While there have been pronounced differences in things like height over the last 50,000 years (or even the last 1,000 years), those are mostly due to improved nutrition and medicine, not changes to the genetic structure or the development of a new species. Assuming you're fertile and could travel in time, you could have a child with a human from

    • Read the Rarity of Fossils section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil#Trace_fossils [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:A single fossil (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bob-taro (996889) on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:55PM (#37423784)

      How do they draw this conclusion from a single fossil? Couldn't it have been a deformed human? There are still humans born with the occasional pre-humanoid traits, like tails.

      FTA:

      But palaeontologists are not all agreed on precisely what the new analysis is telling us - or, indeed, whether it is telling us anything definitive at all.

      "I do not think that these findings add anything new to our view," said Prof Clive Finlayson, director of the Gibraltar Museum, who was not connected to the study.

      Please don't mod me informative just for quoting the original article.

      • There's been an avalanche of research published in the last year or so regarding these types of things, with a lot more scientific backing than the little bit I read in this article.

        In one of many articles on the topic, this one raised a whole new series of questions about our ancestry:

        Scientists unveil a newly-discovered, ancient human ancestor [io9.com]

        Or check out these that all relate to different areas of genetic research, most empirical, one modeled, all relating supporting information about homo sapiens (that'

        • Only on Slashdot can a copypasta from TFA be modded "Informative" whilst intelligent and well-researched replies get ignored by the mods...

          • by Gr8Apes (679165)

            It's a slashdot thing - the first to post gets the mod points, then the mods short attention spans go elsewhere.

            Perhaps there should be a minimum time before mod points can be used within a posting, maybe 1 or 2 hours?

            • by tepples (727027)
              Which would give the vandals and spammers 60 to 120 minutes of their crap being visible.
              • by Gr8Apes (679165)

                I actually thought about this, and perhaps the solution is to not allow more than 1 point in escalation per 10 minutes or something. So only 1 point shows in the first 10 minutes, and then you don't have an option to raise it until the next 10 minute window

                That addresses getting rid of the spammers/trolls, while still limiting the upward motion of postings.

    • by mspohr (589790)
      This article is about skull morphology but it follows on some very interesting genetic studies which show that all modern humans (except those from Africa) have Neanderthal genes which where picked up when modern humans moved through Europe about 30,000 years ago. They've been able to sequence Neanderthal genes and find these in modern humans from all continents except Africa.

      Interestingly, and probably not surprising since modern Africans did not migrate through Europe, modern Africans don't have any N

      • by Xaedalus (1192463)
        And wouldn't that just set the white sheeters on fire. "Hey you! Yeah You. Greatest defender of the white race! For one, you're our worst example, and two, you're hating representatives of the only TRUE human bloodline there is? How's that for kicks, MUTANT!"
        • by harley78 (746436)
          A mutant that conquers it's environment and has increased fecundity(disregard localized suckling o' gov't teet) generally wins out. Most "white sheeters" probably think the Earth is 7k years old, so they wont even read this study anyways.
    • How do they draw this conclusion from a single fossil? Couldn't it have been a deformed human? There are still humans born with the occasional pre-humanoid traits, like tails.

      Actually, they have two skulls, which look alike. One odd skull could conceivably be an aberration, but when you have two that look alike, that's strong evidence that you're looking at the average for that population, not the outliers.

      The skulls fall completely outside the range of variation seen in modern Homo sapiens, and are abo

  • by Empiric (675968) on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:09PM (#37423304)
    ...the thought processes of such cultural collisions.

    I imagine something like this, but the interaction would have been very interesting...

    When you see your likeness, you are pleased. But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear!

    --Darwin, um, yeah... Darwin, to get past the more-reflexive mods
  • Similar hypotheses have been suggested based on genetic evidence which suggested that humans and neanderthals interbred. See http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2010/may/first-genetic-code-of-neanderthal-reveals-inbreeding66724.html [nhm.ac.uk]. In both cases, the work has been done by Chris Stringer who seems to focus a lot on this hypothesis. Stringer is a very respected anthropologist who was responsible for formulating a lot of the now accepted ideas about how homonids spread from Africa in successive waves of mig
  • by Jmc23 (2353706) on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:17PM (#37423414) Journal
    Human males are well known to basically try and fuck anything in sight that has a vagina, a large portion of things that don't, and even some things that aren't even alive.

    Something tells me nerdy scientists aren't the best equipped for this field of study.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Human females have been known to fuck any vegetable or plant matter shaped like a long cylinder, in-sight. Are Human Females not included in "nerdy scientists"? Why be so sexist as to imply nerdy scientists are only males?

      Something tells me that Slashdot isn't the best equipped for taking your engendered bias.

    • Some common sense! Just reading the headline thought well hell ya...

      I remember reading Neanderthal's and our ancestors lived together with no inbreeding and thought ya right.

  • Impossible! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:19PM (#37423434)

    I refuse to believe liberals and conservatives can interbreed. If there was a resulting hybrid offspring it would most certainly be sterile. There is a chance that one of the two known species of Homo Sapiens could interbred with the last remaining members of the Homo Centris sub species allowing extremist DNA to slowly migrate between the species. I haven't seen anything in Nature on the subject so I have my doubts.

    • by Bob-taro (996889)

      I refuse to believe liberals and conservatives can interbreed. If there was a resulting hybrid offspring it would most certainly be sterile.

      Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver

      • by hrvatska (790627)

        I refuse to believe liberals and conservatives can interbreed. If there was a resulting hybrid offspring it would most certainly be sterile.

        Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver

        It has not yet been determined if their offspring are sterile.

      • I refuse to believe liberals and conservatives can interbreed. If there was a resulting hybrid offspring it would most certainly be sterile.

        Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver

        lol. I think the weirdest paring is James Carville and Mary Matalin - political consultants for the opposing parties. Amazing, shocking, and inspiring all at the same time.

        • maybe there are similarities that are related to having the same career, even though they work in that career for competing organizations

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver

        That was an attempt to breed bulletproof Kennedys.

  • Ever seen pics of Jane Goodall's kids?
  • Doesn't this prove that previously believed-to-be-extinct species of humans aren't extinct at all? They're Grandma?
  • Here is a blog post on a related topic http://goo.gl/K3dDG [goo.gl]. We already have genetic proof of interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans (more common in specific asian populations). There are also suggestions that all of this mixing is a lot more complicated than we ever thought and not even subject to single periods of time. Personally I find the fact that we are actually a mix of old divergent species really exciting and our genome is really a big twisted mystery just asking to be unraveled to find
  • Didn't these guys watch the last episode of the updated BSG?
    • by siride (974284)

      I'm surprised this was the only comment about BSG. My first thought was "they finally found evidence for cylons!"

  • by joeyspqr (629639) on Friday September 16, 2011 @03:48PM (#37423730)
    ... did they download copyrighted music to set the mood for their interspecies lovemaking?
  • That explains how Cane and Abel had kids. When Adam and Even only had 2 sons.

    So other then evolving from Monkeys we are inter-species hybrid of Monkeys. You know I think that is irreverent enough to get the evangelical christian nuts to support some elements of evolution. Vs accepting that we are descendants of a human monkey hybrid.

    • That explains how Cane and Abel had kids. When Adam and Even only had 2 sons.

      Well, or else there is Lilith [wikipedia.org].

    • That explains how Cane and Abel had kids. When Adam and Even only had 2 sons.

      Dude -- you are not helping. Adam and Eve had *a lot* more children than two sons. At least twice that many offspring, in fact, because Genesis 4:25 states Adam fathered "sons and daughters," and a third son, Seth [wikipedia.org], is mentioned explicitly by name in both Genesis and Chronicles. And then there is the question of Lilith [wikipedia.org] which weakens the exclusivity of the Adam/Eve relationship. If you are going to be snarky about the Christian nuts, at least be responsible enough to do the research first -- all you are

  • This reminds me of back in grade school when we'd have a section on genetic traits. There was always one kid who couldn't possibly have inherited all of his/her traits from both parents. (Eye color, hair color, blood type, etc.)

    • This reminds me of back in grade school when we'd have a section on genetic traits. There was always one kid who couldn't possibly have inherited all of his/her traits from both parents. (Eye color, hair color, blood type, etc.)

      While I realize that this probably wasn't in the curriculum at the grade school level... have you ever heard of recessive or double recessive genes? Red hair is a double recessive, blonde his a recessive. You could have inherited the red gene from one parent, the blonde from the other, and have blonde hair, even though your parents both have black hair (which is a dominant genetic trait). Curly hair is another recessive dealing with hair... your parents could both have straight hair (also dominant), and you

    • This reminds me of back in grade school when we'd have a section on genetic traits. There was always one kid who couldn't possibly have inherited all of his/her traits from both parents. (Eye color, hair color, blood type, etc.)

      Ummm...what? You are describing a phenotypic effect that is explained by allele dominance [wikipedia.org], not hybridization.

  • Humans from recorded history kept companions such as dogs and cats as pets.
    This shows clear signs that they both shared beds and food with the animals so they most likely chose them as mates.

    Also this giant "M" golden arch unearthed deems that they worshiped ancient Deity such as Ronald McDonald, a clown with face paint. Even more interesting is a giant purple god of consumption, labeled 'grimace'. Statues of this 'God of consumption' are found throughout the world proving that Grimace was worshiped on all

  • Interbreeding, so simple a caveman can do it.

  • Perverts!

  • Africa was a business trip.

    Honest.
  • if the two groups can interbreed and produce viable offspring that are fertile...are they really two different species? I'm sure the definition of a species can have some gray area, but I thought this was one of the defining features of the definition.

    • by rish87 (2460742)
      in the classical sense yes, but the more we learn about everything science, the more we realize labeling ANYTHING in the universe and placing everything in nice little separate buckets is a totally artificial and unrealistic goal. We keep finding species that are really bizarre and hard to categorize-even using genetics, or astronomical 'bodies' that don't quite fit into the nice little labels we give 'planets' and 'moons' and whatnot. Think about it as more of a "guideline" than an absolute.
  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:01PM (#37424780) Homepage
    That's whom we get our erections from.
  • in the series finale to Battlestar Galactica?
  • Modern humans and evolutionary predecessors... How did that funding proposal go? "I want to build a time machine to get it on with a proto-human"
  • trace their ancestry to Neanderthals been already established?

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