Before "Lucy" -- New Evidence Regarding the Course of Human Evolution

D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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"Lucy" was a partial skeleton discovered in Africa in 1974. She represented the "link", the intermediate ancestor between apes to humans that lived 3.2 million years ago -- which all figures into the course of human evolution.


Now I see in the news that a much older hominid has been discovered in Ethiopia, which scientist are calling "Ardi", who lived an estimated 4.4 million years ago, and that perhaps humans did not evolve from apes at all, but, rather, both apes and humans evolved from the same common ancestor.


I'm sure this sort of news is most distressing to evangelican christian Creationists (who insist we all evolved from a mythical Adam and Eve 6 to 10 thousand years ago -- from a Garden replete with a Tree of Knowledge and a talking snake), but I find it intellectually thrilling.


Before Lucy came Ardi, new earliest hominid found - Yahoo! News
 
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D_Dick_Dock_Doe

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"Lucy" was a partial skeleton discovered in Africa in 1974. She represented the "link", the intermediate ancestor between apes to humans that lived 3.2 million years ago -- which all figures into the course of human evolution.


Now I see in the news that a much older hominid has been discovered in Ethiopia, which scientist are calling "Ardi", who lived an estimated 4.4 million years ago, and that perhaps humans did not evolve from apes at all, but, rather, both apes and humans evolved from the same common ancestor.


I'm sure this sort of news is most distressing to evangelican christian Creationists (who insist we all evolved from a mythical Adam and Eve 6 to 10 thousand years ago -- from a Garden replete with a Tree of Knowledge and a talking snake), but I find it intellectually thrilling.


Before Lucy came Ardi, new earliest hominid found - Yahoo! News

I'm with you, dude. I find this EXTREMELY fascinating! What will be really interesting is how the "Creationists" try to "reason" their way out of this one...
 
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deleted213967

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I'm sure this sort of news is most distressing to evangelican christian Creationists

You wish!

You may want to browse "Answers in Genesis" for your reverse-enlightenment (and FREE entertainment).

For one, they question all the dating methods. They don't buy anything older than 6,000 years, period.
 

D_Dick_Dock_Doe

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You wish!

You may want to browse "Answers in Genesis" for your reverse-enlightenment (and FREE entertainment).

For one, they question all the dating methods. They don't buy anything older than 6,000 years, period.

LOL...that's a good point, Dom. It's a good thing the Flying Spaghetti Monster touched me with his noodley appendage so that I may find enlightenment! :rolleyes:
 

D_Kissimmee Coldsore

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Now I see in the news that a much older hominid has been discovered in Ethiopia, which scientist are calling "Ardi", who lived an estimated 4.4 million years ago, and that perhaps humans did not evolve from apes at all, but, rather, both apes and humans evolved from the same common ancestor.
You seem to have misunderstood evolution, Willtom. Two related species are always evolved from a common ancestor, not one directly from the other. DNA analysis of the great apes has a common ancestor of all 4 extant species, then lineage Pongo split and eventually resulted in orangutans. The other branch eventually split again and one line evolved into the family of Gorilla. Finally the other branch splits at the common ancestor to humans and chimpanzees, one line resulting in the family Pan and the other in Homo. So from a common ancestor roughly 8 million years ago (I think, that's from memory) we get 4 surviving great ape species. This newly described species is I believe from just after our line split with that of the Chimpanzees (Pan). If it was from just before that would make it an ancestor to both us and chimps, but not gorillas or orangutans. Another possibility, and actually very probable, is that it shares a common ancestor with us from after we split from chimps but is not a direct ancestor to us or of any living species and that its lineage ended in extinction, which is true for most species throughout history.
 
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D_Dick_Dock_Doe

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You seem to have misunderstood evolution. Two related creatures are always evolved from a common ancestor. DNA analysis of the great apes has a common ancestor of all 4 extant species, before the lineage Pongo split and eventually resulted in orangutans. The other branch eventually split and one line evolved into the family of Gorilla. Finally the other branch splits at the common ancestor to humans and chimpanzees, one line resulting in the family Pan and the other in Homo. So from a common ancestor roughly 8 million years ago (I think, that's from memory) we get 4 surviving great ape species. This newly described species is I believe from just after our line split with that of the Chimpanzees (Pan). If it is from before it would be an ancestor to both us and chimps, but not gorillas or orangutans but I believe that isn't the case.


Thanks for the explanation, chunder. I have been doing a lot of deeper reading on evolution, and MOST people don't truly understand the subject.
 

Phil Ayesho

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"Lucy" was a partial skeleton discovered in Africa in 1974. She represented the "link", the intermediate ancestor between apes to humans that lived 3.2 million years ago -- which all figures into the course of human evolution.


Now I see in the news that a much older hominid has been discovered in Ethiopia, which scientist are calling "Ardi", who lived an estimated 4.4 million years ago, and that perhaps humans did not evolve from apes at all, but, rather, both apes and humans evolved from the same common ancestor.

I don't know where you got this idea, but anthropologists have NEVER suggested that Man evolved from Apes.

They have, since Darwin, suggested that man and modern apes SHARE a common ancestor.

In point of fact... the whole issue is specious, because Human Beings are actually considered APES.
We are, genetically and morphologically, a species of ape.

And all species of modern ape share a common ancestor.
 

D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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Phil:

I admit that I am learning as I go along.


This is sort of interesting, too. A story dated 6 days ago.


Feathered fossils prove birds evolved from dinosaurs, say Chinese scientists

A new species of feathered dinosaurs provides hard evidence the prehistoric creatures evolved into birds, a group of Chinese scientists has claimed.


The team - lead by the man dubbed the 'real-life Indiana Jones' - say the fossils represent five different species from two different rock sequences in north-eastern China. All the species have feathers or feather-like structures.

The new finds are 'indisputably' older than archaeopteryx, the oldest known bird, which scientists claim provides exceptional evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Feathered fossils prove birds evolved from dinosaurs, say Chinese scientists | Mail Online

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I wonder if there is any chart or graph that somebody can link us to that shows a progression of the various evolutionary lines from the beginnings at the sea....?
 
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deleted213967

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In point of fact... the whole issue is specious, because Human Beings are actually considered APES.
We are, genetically and morphologically, a species of ape.

And all species of modern ape share a common ancestor.

In the early weeks of development, human and baboon embryos are hardly distinguishable.
 

D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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Same discovery as above. Different source.


Fossils radically alter ideas about the look of man's earliest ancestors

Analysis of a near-complete skeleton of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia changes scientists' thinking about the appearance and behavior of our distant forebears.

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There is a "Creation Museum" in Kentucky which presents a display of the beginnings of life as described in the Book of Genesis. There are several tableaux of Adam and Eve, of course. Adam and Eve peacefully co-existing with a Triceratops or Stegosaurus. Dinosaurs apparently lived with man -- though, according to many creationists, this happened less than 10,000 years ago.

The Kentucky Creation Museum has a tableau of a couple dinosaurs actually onboard Noah's Ark, though there are other Creationists that insist these dinosaurs were "too big" to fit onto the Ark and perished in the Flood.
 
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deleted213967

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There is a "Creation Museum" in Kentucky which presents a display of the beginnings of life as described in the Book of Genesis. There are several tableaux of Adam and Eve, of course. Adam and Eve peacefully co-existing with a Triceratops or Stegosaurus. Dinosaurs apparently lived with man -- though, according to many creationists, this happened less than 10,000 years ago.

Indeed, since there was no killing and therefore no meat-eating in that pre-Flood environment. One must wonder why those large "dragons" were "intelligently designed"
with flesh-tearing teeth and a carnivorous digestive system though... :rolleyes:

The Kentucky Creation Museum has a tableau of a couple dinosaurs actually onboard Noah's Ark, though there are other Creationists that insist these dinosaurs were "too big" to fit onto the Ark and perished in the Flood.

Creation "scientists" are more sophisticated. They maintain that there were fewer species of dragons/dinosaurs than claimed by mainstream scientists (maybe only 50 species): that's because our fossil records are replete with "duplicates".

According to them, 1 pair from every species of dragons/dinosaurs made it to the Ark. Regretfully they mostly perished after the Flood for various reasons (hunted, maladapted, ...). :rolleyes:
 

JustAsking

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Yes, this is always a very interesting subject. But besides the Creationists, journalists also contribute to the confusion about evolution. Journalists like to remain as willfully ignorant about this stuff as creationists do, but for a different reason.

New findings are coming in all the time from living species and the fossil record, and like all fields in science, the common understanding in the professional community is constantly being updated as a result of new information.

Journalists, however, like to imply that each new discovery they hear of is an exception rather than the rule because there is more drama that way and they can sell more articles. So they would be apt to report something like this as a big change in our conception of human evolution. A really bad journalist would have a headline that the Ardi finding "challenges our understanding about human evolution" or something like that.

One axiom of evolution is that any two organisms whether living or dead share a common ancestor, apes and humans included. You can say this about you and your brother and you can say this about you and the closest mosquito. The concept is the same, except the common ancestor in the second case was alive millions of years ago. What changes from time to time with new findings is how far back you need to go in time to where apes and humans branched from that common ancestor.

On the other hand, the Ardi finding is indeed a very big event but only because fossils are rare, not because it changes anything fundamental in our understanding of human evolution.

For a good read about the great tree of life, I recommend The Ancestors Tale, by Richard Dawkins, or his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth.
 
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deleted213967

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For a good read about the great tree of life, I recommend The Ancestors Tale, by Richard Dawkins, or his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth.

How noble of you, JustAsking, to recommend the work of a man who disagrees with you on another divinely important subject... :biggrin1:

If there is such a thing as biblical Heaven, I have no doubt you will be On The List.

Oddly, I find this discovery vaguely depressing. In a way, it shows that mankind sat on its (probably hairy) ass for even more millions of years, before finally pulling itself together.

Our rate of progress was stuck at zero (or less) for almost all of our history, only to suddenly soar, very exponentially, 1 historical second ago.


 

D_Kissimmee Coldsore

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Willtom, this is good but pretty small image:
http://www.evogeneao.com/images/Evolution_poster_lg.gif

This is blurry but it has pictures. I have this poster:
Flickr Photo Download: Tree of Life poster
It's important to note on that second one that the creatures at the bottom are equally far removed from the origin of life as those at the top like mankind, but the poster is anthro-centric (?) in that it's trying to also illustrate how far removed we are from each of the other creatures as well as give a general overview of relationships between species. The first is better at showing the overall picture as it has a time axis but still has the same issue, the part on the right explains it.
 
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D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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chunderwonder: That Tree of Life is amazing. Flickr Photo Download: Tree of Life poster



It kind of shows that evolution isn't only smooth steady progression, but happens in spurts and periods of (relative) rapidity.

Who knows? If we humans don't annihilate the planet, maybe in another 125 million years or so, it's possible that butterflies or penguins or bears could evolve into something greater than homo sapiens.
 

D_Kissimmee Coldsore

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I'd say the first one shows that more with the extinctions and Cambrian explosion marked (see how after extinctions others capitalise on niches and there are explosions of diversity). The second just shows the relationships really.

I think mankind has reached a level where it is less likely that we will go extinct, but then again viruses or a natural catastrophy could do the job. You're right that you can't predict evolution if we were to disappear. The apex species could come from so many branches of that 'tree'

EDIT: Found this on wikipedia, it's based on sequenced genomes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tree_of_life_SVG.svg
 
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