Diversity: Do “popular” social ideas influence research aimed at “proving” trendy topics in science?
Earliest humans had diverse range of body types, just as we do today (title is a bit misleading)
- March 26, 2015, University of Cambridge
- New research harnessing fragmentary fossils suggests our genus has come in different shapes and sizes since its origins over two million years ago, and adds weight to the idea that humans began to colonize Eurasia while still small and lightweight.
- “If someone asked you ‘are modern humans 6 foot tall and 70kg?’ you’d say ‘well some are, but many (most) people aren’t,’* and what we’re starting to show is that this diversification happened really early in human evolution,” said Stock.
*This is a welcome observation, But breathtakingly obvious! DUH! Buyer beware; this research is heavily “engineered” and actually doesn’t add anything new.
Human body has gone through four stages of evolution
- August 31, 2015, Binghamton University
- Research into 430,000-year-old fossils collected in northern Spain (Atapuerca) found that the evolution of the human body’s size and shape has gone through four main stages
- “This is really interesting since it suggests that the evolutionary process in our genus is largely characterized by stasis (i.e. little to no evolutionary change) in body form for most of our evolutionary history,” wrote Quam.
400,000-year-old fossils from Spain provide earliest genetic evidence of Neanderthals
Analysis of nuclear DNA from Sima de los Huesos hominins provides evidence of their relationship to Neanderthals
- March 15, 2016, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
- Previous analyses of the hominins from Sima de los Huesos in 2013 showed that their maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA was distantly related to Denisovans, extinct relatives of Neanderthals in Asia. This was unexpected since their skeletal remains carry Neanderthals-derived features. Researchers have since worked on sequencing nuclear DNA from fossils from the cave, a challenging task as the extremely old DNA is degraded to very short fragments. The results now show that the Sima de los Huesos hominins were indeed early Neanderthals.