Re: DISCOVER/Neanderthal/Homo Sap.

H. M. Hubey (
4 Sep 1995 18:09:59 -0400 (Bearcat) writes:

>The date when Homo erectus spread out of Africa has been
>pushed back to two million years or so. If Neanderthal is

Yes, and the "beginning of language" has also been
pushed back about as far according to some, and makes
sense (See Evolution of Human Languages, Edited by
Murray Gell-Mann and Hawkins).

>the descendant early Homo erectus colonizers, and Cro Magnon
>the descendant of Homo erectus who remained in Africa, surely
>that would be enough time isolated from one another for such
>speciation to occur that they would not produce viable offspring.

Well, now that we've come this far, I don't see any
reason to say "surely that would be enough time.."
without more thinking along these lines. That's the reason
I started this.

So now we've got it down to whether it was long enough
or not. We don't have any reliable method of extracting the
DNA and then making decision on the basis of that.

On the other hand, we do [at least according to some who've
become quite vocal about this] have evidence [in the fossil
record] that there are transitional types between the so
called modern types and the Neandertals.

Now the whole problem boils down to whether these "transitional
type skeletons/skull_pieces" are really transitional and
why or why not?

Recalling what was shown on the TV show, I was convinced that
the transitional types existed from the shapes of the
skulls, and apparently so are Trinkhaus and Wolpoff and
probably others. All I can guess is that these fossil bits
are not widely available. It would be a good idea to
make models of these from plastic or something and
distribute them to schools.

Despite all the rhetoric, use of Latin names (like lawyers :-))
and claims of performing great scientific research it boils
down in the end to looking at some shapes with the naked
human eye and then making/reaching some decision as to
whether some skulls resemble each other more or less
or some other thing along this line of thought.

And if it went mathematical (or even overboard on measurement
or arithmetic) some illiterate bunches would start making
fun of things like "0.132 inchess bigger" etc when in fact
they are doing the same thing without even using numbers
and then hiding the fact that they are eyeballing things
while claiming to be doing science.


Regards, Mark