Crazy Anthropology / Homo Skull Evolution YIKES!

sc007b1256 physiognomythe-science-of-observation-in-homoeopathy-way-49-638 physiognomythe-science-of-observation-in-homoeopathy-way-60-638 neuro-ch-1-past-present-futureupload-36-638 microcephaly ippa-cambodia-talk-lb1-mandible-4-638 head-image3This “stuff” is popular everywhere today!
Papers published previously (1999 and 2007) which to my knowledge have yet to be noticed by pop-sci culture. The “fadism” that governs media exposure fails to popularize any information that does not yield sensational headlines, and yet, the information within the study may be sensational: think of the implications published below!
 
Anat Rec. 1999 Dec 15;257(6):217-24.

Comparing frontal cranial profiles in archaic and modern homo by morphometric analysis. (1999)

 

Abstract: Archaic and modern human frontal bones are known to be quite distinct externally, by both conventional visual and metric evaluation. Internally this area of the skull has been considerably less well-studied. Here we present results from a comparison of interior, as well as exterior, frontal bone profiles from CT scans of five mid-Pleistocene and Neanderthal crania and 16 modern humans. Analysis was by a new morphometric method, Procrustes analysis of semi-landmarks, that permits the statistical comparison of curves between landmarks. As expected, we found substantial external differences between archaic and modern samples, differences that are mainly confined to the region around the brow ridge. However, in the inner median-sagittal profile, the shape remained remarkably stable over all 21 specimens. This implies that no significant alteration in this region has taken place over a period of a half-million years or more of evolution, even as considerable external change occurred within the hominid clade spanning several species. This confirms that the forms of the inner and outer aspects of the human frontal bone are determined by entirely independent factors, and further indicates unexpected stability in anterior brain morphology over the period during which modern human cognitive capacities emerged. Anat Rec (New Anat): 257:217-224, 1999.

This non-conforming development of internal and external human frontal bone evolution puts a really big kink into the insistence by anthropologists that intelligence can be “read by” looking at external artefacts like “brow ridges” – an assumption left over from PHRENOLOGY! 

The “ghostly” but active roots of modern anthropology! Concepts of human value, character and superiority are “encoded” in skull morphology. pracphren zr4gmhttbpxsnnipf7j3iixxxl4j3hpexhjnof_p3ymrypkwj94qgrtdb3sbc6ky

 
Homo. 2007;58(1):1-12. Epub 2007 Jan 22.

The size of scalable brain components in the human evolutionary lineage: with a comment on the paradox of Homo floresiensis. (2007)

Conroy GC1, Smith RJ. Author information1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University Medical School, St Louis, MO 63110, USA. conroyg@pcg.wustl.edu

 

Abstract: The discovery of a diminutive, small-brained hominin skeleton (LB1) from the Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia, seems to present a paradox concerning the interpretation of overall brain size in an evolutionary context. This specimen forms the holotype of a purportedly new hominin species, Homo floresiensis. As inferred from the archaeological record, it has been suggested that this species of Homo, existing as recently as 12,000 years ago, engaged in sophisticated cultural behaviors with an adult brain size equivalent to that seen in modern chimpanzees and one that in modern humans would be defined as “high degree microcephaly” and “always associated with idiocy”. The alternative explanation for these behaviors at the observed brain size would require that H. floresiensis deviate from existing patterns of primate brain scaling at either a macroscopic or microscopic level. Here we develop predictive equations and confidence intervals for estimating the size of various brain components in the human evolutionary lineage by calculating scaling relationships among overall brain size and 11 components of the primate brain using phylogenetically independent contrasts (PIC) methods. Using these equations, paleoanthropologists can: (a) estimate brain component size (and confidence intervals) for any primate in the fossil record if overall brain size is known; and (b) calculate some reasonable outside limits as to how far species-specific departures from allometric constraints (i.e., brain “reorganization”) can be taken in assessing human brain evolution. We conclude that if the original assessment of LB1 is correct, i.e., that it samples a population from a new species of Homo, H. floresiensis, that was capable of Homo sapiens-like cultural attributes (fire, blade manufacturing, etc.), while having a chimpanzee-sized brain, then we are faced with the paradox that 1 cm(3) of H. floresiensis brain could not be functionally equivalent to 1cm(3) of a modern human or modern chimpanzee brain.

How quickly the popular articles re: Homo floriensis vanished from the “news”. Could it be that this non-conforming Homo presents too many challenges to the contemporary and traditional assumption about the cultural trajectory that is the foundation of Western evolutionary science? IE, Dumb ancestral hominids are triumphantly “replaced” (exterminated) due to (God-given) “superior” white European brain capacity, (revealed by bulging forehead – a cartoon version of evolution) thus justifying Western Culture’s predation on the “rest of the world”.

PMID: 17240374

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For a history of phrenology and related racist pseudo-science:

Racial Typology and the Pseudosciences in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

An excellent wordpress site:

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 Homo floresiensis Distinct Human Species, Says New Research

http://www.science-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/science-homo-floriensis-01226.html

A study led by Dr Katerina Harvati from Tübingen University, Germany, suggests the small-brained Indonesian hominin was a distinct species of human, rather than Homo sapiens suffering from a developmental disorder.

This is a map of Indonesia, the green circle shows the island of Flores. The inset shows facial approximation of LB1, female Homo floresiensis (Susan Hayes / Australian Archaeological Association)

This is a map of Indonesia, the green circle shows the island of Flores. The inset shows facial approximation of LB1, female Homo floresiensis (Susan Hayes / Australian Archaeological Association)

“LB1 was an adult of about 30, probably female. She was only about 3.3 feet (1 m) in height with a very small brain size of 417 cc. Since the discovery, researchers have clashed over whether LB1 really does represent a species of its own, a descendant of Homo erectus or a pathological form of Homo sapiens.”

Common sense check: If Homo floriensis were a rare pathological-genetically-disabled Modern human group, how the Hell would they have “engaged in sophisticated cultural behaviors” and survived intensive inbreeding for several Thousand Years? The DUH! factor is astounding… reason plays little-to-no part in anthropology.

“The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious,” Dr Harvati and her colleagues wrote in a paper reporting the findings in the open-access journal PLoS ONE. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly (an abnormally small head, which is usually associated with neurodevelopmental delay and mental retardation;  cretinism (a usually congenital abnormal condition marked by physical stunting and mental retardation and caused by severe thyroid deficiency—called also infantile myxedema); and Laron syndrome (Primary insensitivity or resistance to the effects of growth hormone. It is a common cause of dwarfism -)

Dr Harvati’s team compared the LB1 skull to skulls of healthy modern humans, humans with microcephaly and other pathological conditions, archaic Homo using methods of 3D geometric morphometrics. The methods use 3D coordinates of cranial surface anatomical landmarks, computer imaging and multivariate statistical analysis to achieve a detailed analysis of shape. (Phrenology again – shape = “real euro-human vs. subhuman”)  

“This is the most comprehensive study to date to simultaneously evaluate the two competing hypotheses about the status of Homo floresiensis.” The scientists found that the LB1 skull shows greater affinities to the fossil Homo sample than to pathological modern humans. Although some superficial similarities were found between LB1 and skulls of modern humans with pathologies, additional features linked LB1 exclusively with fossil Homo.

Analyses of data show that LB1 is “clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. (Therefore ancestral “extinct” Homo were “mentally retarded”? What does this obsession with projecting modern domesticated social human morphology and “problems” onto other species have to do with reality? Species have / had the characteristics “proper and functional” to their time and place in nature!) However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus,” the authors wrote.

Dr Harvati and colleagues said: “our findings provide the most comprehensive evidence to date linking the Homo floresiensis skull with extinct fossil human species rather than with pathological modern humans. Our study therefore refutes the hypothesis that this specimen represents a modern human with a pathological condition, such as microcephaly.”

Bibliographic information: Baab KL, McNulty KP, Harvati K. 2013. Homo floresiensis Contextualized: A Geometric Morphometric Comparative Analysis of Fossil and Pathological Human Samples. PLoS ONE 8 (7): e69119; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069119

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