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September 11, 2011


This is "WILMA"... A National Geographic composite photo of a (it doesn't specify - I'd say a 20-something year old) Neanderthal woman, assembled and rendered from 43,000 year old bones:
We begin our journey in the origin of our species, pre-humans some 4.4 million years ago. These included a broad variety of hominids, like Australopithecus. Some fossils representing this early species of hominids date back to around 6 million years ago. Two particular discoveries should be noted. In 2009, a female, named ARDI, was introduced. Ardipithecus ramidus. She had a small brain, was 110 pounds, 47 inches tall - 3.9 feet. The face of "Ardi" did not project as much as those of modern apes, but was not as flat and massive as the later Australopithecus. As noted in the article by the Nation geographic Magazine, "Ardi ... shows an unexpected mix of advanced characteristics and of primitive traits seen in much older apes that were unlike chimps or gorillas. As such, the skeleton offers a window on what the last common ancestor of humans and living apes might have been like." ARDI:
And Many of us have probably heard about LUCY, discovered 3.2 million years ago, and once considered to be the "missing link" in our evolution. There isn't any longer a theory or discussion about a missing link, or links. Human evolution is described more like a tree these days, with branches of hominid species, some isolated, others interlinked, all that to go extinct while the whole of our ancestry merges with other branches, branches like a river and all it's tributaries. The first of the genus Homo appears in Africa 2.5 million years ago, and modern humans appear around 200,000 years ago. This was during a period of glaciation, the Riss Glacier in Europe, the Illionian Glacier in North America. A period of time when the earth was cooler and dry. From around 2 million years ago to around 50,000 years ago ancestors of homo must have been migrating/relocating to different parts of the world. I have heard that around 125,000 years ago modern humans made their way out of Africa. It would have been very dry, and it's theorized humans were able to traverse distances normally covered by water in North Africa. It is the beginning of the great deserts on earth. Neanderthals died out around 25,000 years ago. But 50,000 years ago an interesting blend of humans and human cousins populated the earth. In Western Europe it was the Neanderthals, in Asia were the Denisovans - WikiLink1,
" There is DNA evidence that the three groups, humans from Africa included, interacted together and mated, producing off-spring. According to scientist studying human DNA, our genetic make-up is due in part to up to 6% Denisovan, and 4% Neanderthal. According to the source of this news, this cross-breeding gave us a boost in immunity from disease, among other traits. "Sex with Cavemen Gave Humans an Immune Boost: Study". Seems there is no such thing as a pure "White Aryan Race". Next Time: What our 19th Century relatives knew about our evolutionary history, and why, Pres. nominee Rick Perry's views on the Origin of our Species is set from that age of our history.

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