17 October, 2017

Nonsense Theories That Hominids Originated In Europe: Nationalist Bombast Even In Science

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Citation: Fuss J, Spassov N, Begun D R, Böhme M (2017) Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177127.

The scientific community has reacted with disbelief, if not outright rejection of a thesis put out by four European researchers that hominid origin (the point at which early humans split from the apes) first emerged in Greece and Bulgaria. The conclusions are based on two sets of fossil findings from Greece and Bulgaria which the authors of a controversial paper, published on the Internet in May 2017, date to 7.2 million years ago. This contradicts the universally accepted view that the first hominids emerged 6.8 to 7.0 million years ago in Chad, Africa. If it is true it would stand what is now accepted as human evolution theory on its head. Is there reason to go along with the thesis? Before recounting what the scientific community says let me do a little simplification.

The terms hominoid, hominid, hominine and hominin, are used by palaeontologists (chaps who study fossils), to refer to apes, humans and ape ancestors, African apes and humans and the fourth is used to include our non-ape ancestors. The period of interest is called the Miocene, from about 23 million years ago to 5.3 million years ago when, in the opinion of these palaeontologist, the world was warmer and conducive to the type of evolution under examination. The accepted view is that our ancestors split from the chimpanzee in the late Miocene or early in the next geological epoch, the Pleistocene, and then into many lines of humanlike apes who were awarded jaw breaking names like autrolopithicus, homo habilis, homo erectus. These guys were bipedal, stood up straight, used stone tools, made fire and cooked food. All disappeared about half a million years ago leaving the ground clear for us, homo sapiens, everywhere, and in Europe for Neanderthals, who disappeared 30,000 years ago because we ate them.

Before that however some hominids ( homo erectus) took off on a jaunt, famously called Out of Africa 1 (OA-1), probably one-and-a-half million years ago, when they crawled out into Asia Minor, Europe and Asia as far as China – the famous Java Man and the infamous Peking Man. Remember that land masses and seas where differently conjoined at the time. Do not confuse OA-1 with OA-2 which was much later, maybe 80,000 thousand to 100,000 years ago when modern man, homo sapiens, who emerged in Africa 190,000 years ago, took a trip out of that continent and spread him/herself and his/her genes all over the longsuffering globe. I call Peking Man infamous because the Chinese are no less obnoxious than the rest of us in their nationalism. In my travels across China, and in translated historical and (pseudo)-scientific Chinese compendia, I have come across no end of claims that homo sapiens independently evolved in China into the Han Chinese and other East Asian races. How could the magnificent Chinese civilisation be the work of descendants of primitive black Africans? Perish the thought!

The controversial fossils
(a) from Greece; (b) from Bulgaria
(https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177127)

My Tamil masters in school, Vinasi and Satchi, despised each other, but they shared one narrow minded belief (in other ways they were wonderful people). They would have laid down their lives to prove that Tamil was the oldest language in India, and most particularly, older than Sanskrit. I don’t know the answer to this enigma, nor is anyone certain whether today’s Tamils are descendants of the Indus Valley civilisation people pushed south by Aryan invaders from the north and west. If so, maybe their language is very old. But the point I am making is that jaundice, prejudice and narrow nationalism is the common contagion of the human species which has failed to free itself from bigotry and the intolerance of identity consciousness. So cheer up Lanka, we are not alone.

Occidentalopithicus Greco-Bulgaris

For the duration of this essay let me use OG-B for the chap whose jawbone (mandible) and teeth are the subject of the research paper cited at the beginning. The specimens are not new, (a) was found more than fifty years ago (1944) and (b) too has been hanging around some museum but I don’t know for how long. See accompanying figure for (a) and (b). What is new in the paper is the more modern instrument used to re-examine the fossils. The gadget is a micro CT (computerised tomography) scanner. It’s a spanking new (well not so new, CT was introduced 20 years ago) way of using X-rays to peer into specimens from all angels and in all sorts of sections. Micro means that it does it on a very fine scale. That’s all I know and that’s enough for you.

What the researchers claim is that the study has shown up a range of affinities with previously known species of hominin that allows them to place their specimens very early in the split between Homo (our ancients) and Pan (chips and bonobos; the bonobo is sex crazed variant of the chip, previously called the pygmy chip, found in the forests of the Congo Basin). I daresay the researchers did a fine job on the technical (micro-CT) side, but the poor sods didn’t realise the criticism would be withering. To make an extravagant claim on the basis of flimsy jaw-bone evidence is like the Old Testament yarn (Judges 15) where Samson vanquishes 10,000 Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass – my father used to say: “More likely, the arse-bone of a Jew”.

The researchers claim that at the bottom of the figure, the split between chimp line and the
branch leading to humans, happened in Europe, and not in Africa as everyone else believes
[https://i.pinimg.com/736x/3c/ef/c8/3cefc8408cb375b63ef1427672e3fe1e–human-evolution-tree-human-evolution-timeline.jpg]

Let me give you a few samples of the criticism rebuffing the thesis. The first is Julien Benoit, a vertebrate palaeontologist and paleo-biologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

QUOTE

“Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence to support them. The African origin of humankind (hominine) is currently supported by two really important elements. Firstly, thousands of hominin fossils have been found on African soil since the first fossil African hominin, Australopithecus Africanus, was discovered in South Africa in 1924. Nearly a century of fossil findings has followed, chronicling the complete evolution of hominin on African soil. These fossils range from (specimens) which lived between six and seven million years ago in what is today Chad, to the earliest homo sapiens from east Africa”.

“Secondly, our closest ape relatives, the Chimpanzees and the Gorilla are also from Africa. Our last common ancestors lived somewhere between eight and 12 million years ago, which strongly suggests that the origin of humankind is deeply rooted in Africa. This leave little room for a putative European origin. Any study that counters this consensus would have to provide very strong evidence and perfect methodology to support its claim. In my opinion, this article doesn’t meet those criteria”.

“(Thirdly) the material isn’t well preserved. It consists mostly of a jaw with no complete teeth preserved. That’s a problem because the teeth’s anatomical characteristics are the most important element when classifying any primate, including humans”. 

END QUOTE

Benoit is a South African, so his rejection of the theory fits my rule of thumb that scientists are not devoid of nationalist impulses. On the other hand British newspapers like the Independent, Telegraph, and the Daily Mail and the once respectable New Scientist have not been shy to splash claims of OG-B origin of the genus homo. America’s Newsweek also gave prominence to what is but a minor storm in the global science teacup though American scientists have been sceptical. 

“For now, there is no way to know whether the jaws and teeth belonged to an ape with some hominid-like features or a hominid with some apelike features, my guess is the former” said paleo-anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University in Washington, DC. And Richard Potts who leads the Smithsonian’s human origins programme says “The idea that human ancestors with upright posture, bipedal walking and small canine teeth) first emerged in Europe has little to support it. They have little to back up their claim that an isolated place in southern Europe could have been home to an ancestor of the African hominin”. He criticized the researchers’ claim that the fossil’s canine root clearly indicates its status as an early hominin, arguing they did not have enough contextual evidence to draw conclusions from the single canine root. Anthropologist Susan Antón echoed “The long line of later hominins found in Africa suggests an African origin”.

A European origin of branching into the homo line has won traction only among European reporters. Unfortunately, every human culture and social class suffers from phoney identity hubris.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    It says, when they presented the Big bang theory, their thinking influenced and because the almighty created everything. So, big bang had that influences otherwise, big bang was not the only theory put forward and there are so many things can not be explained with the big bang theory. that is why they accuse Stephan Howkings as a Athiest. and Hawkings got of lot of hindu influence (remember even Einstein,a Jew, and Nietsche, A hard core catholic who both the father and the grand father were pastors, think positive about buddhism)….I think this theory is to satisfy the Ku-Klux clan who feel ashamed when scientists say that forefathers of the while supremacists are african apes and blacks………….. Buddhism accepts evolution. Yet it says, evolution is an extremely slow process. Habituation of earth is mostly carried out by aliens from neary by planets roating around stars.

    • 0
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      Hello Jimmy,
      How many important inventions were invented by Buddhists? Your kind of Buddhism does not encourage creative thinking.

      • 2
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        You Islamic infidel, how dare you say that Buddhism does not encourage creative thinking. Buddhism itself is the creative thinking of Buddha the supreme being in this universe. Compare this to your stupid Islam, which is clouding the brains of its followers with backward ideas and barbaric practices. Islam is the result of a mad man called Mohammed who suffered auditory hallucination. Can you name a single contribution made to the mankind by a Muslim. Whatever that Arab contributed was before they became Muslims. So stop your nonsense and worship Buddha.

        • 0
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          We dont worship trees or false teeth or have abiththiyas .
          Here is a list of Islamic astronomers and mathematicians only:
          Sind ibn Ali (?-864)
          Ali Qushji (1403-1474)
          Ahmad Khani (1650-1707)
          Ibrahim al-Fazari (?-777)
          Muhammad al-Fazari (?-796 or 806)
          Al-Khwarizmi, Mathematician (c. 780-c. 850)
          Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi (Albumasar) (787-886 CE).
          Al-Farghani (800/805-870)

          Are you satisfied ? Give a list of Buddhist mathematicians now

          • 1
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            Yusuf: Even if you worship teeth of Mohommad, it does not have any magical powers as he was a pedophile. Muslims can not be creative as they read only one book. YOu can not understand whether budhists are creative, becuse muslims are dumb.

            • 0
              1

              Dumb Jimmy,
              Buddhist mathematicians 0
              Buddhist scientists 0
              Dumb Buddhist Jimmy 01
              Pedophile in London buddhist vihara 01
              Pedophile in Mihintala vihara 01

              You want more?

          • 0
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            Yusuf: You have given a list of mathematicicians in the past. but, once Islam infested every where how many intellectuals you produced. None. See even in your list, for about one or two generations (777 – 864) you have produced. Only six. then another two for whole 300 years. Study buddhism and see how many intelletuals. Understand why Western physicists come to buddhist monks to learn & explain things about Quantum physics. Why meditation is becoming popular every where for human problems in the west. Your holy is fiction. you idiots think you all are the exactly correct ones because you are not allowed to study or invstigate beyond the book except reading it five times a day and bang your you know who.

            • 0
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              Buddhism came early than Islam. Therefore it is more primitive, just like the chimpanzee is more primitive than Neanderthal.
              How many canine teeth you have, Jimmy?

              • 1
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                You infidel wisdom comes from age, and so older religions are superior and it is those which gave way to newer religions. Islam is nothing but a carbon copy of Judeo-Christian teachings. This is what Sikhs say that theirs is the last prophet and so Sikhism is more modern than Islam. If Jimmy has canine teeth, you must be having porcine teeth. Teachings and practices in Islam is barbaric and stupid than Buddhism proving that you are an imbecile.

          • 1
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            You worship the black stone shaped like a male organ in Kabba. You worship hair and bones of Mohamed. It is better to worship Buddha rather than an unknown entity called Allah. These arbs mentioned are stupid fellows, who did not know that the figure zero exists, which is fundamental to mathematics.

            • 0
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              ” It is better to worship Buddha rather than an unknown entity called Allah.”
              Why do you worship a burnt ivory piece and all unknown Hindu gods? Why do you run after astrologers? Because you are primitive tribals.

            • 0
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              Al-Khwarizmi, Mathematician (c. 780-c. 850)
              You say this guy didn’t know zero? He invevented logarithms!
              How can he do that without zero? LOL.
              Tell me just one buddhist scientist who invented ANYTHING?
              No modern ones, ok.

      • 0
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        Yousuf, you marakkays who knows only killings know that. go bck to Saudi Arabia.

      • 0
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        Yusuf: It is too difficult for you marakkayas to comprehend. You know only Quran ?

  • 0
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    “These guys were bipedal, stood up straight, used stone tools, made fire and cooked food”
    use white vans and ……………….

  • 0
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    “All disappeared about half a million years ago”

    not all.

    strangely i have seen some of these going towards our parliament

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Evolution-tree.jpg

    my personal opinion is that the african theory will be debunked one day with fresh evidence.Common sense tells when i look at the features of the chinese and the nordic people in scandinavia they could not have evolved from africa.The chinese are right.They evolved from that region.Just because skeletons have been found in africa predating anything found in china we cannot come to the scientific conclusion that there would not have been skeletons earlier than that in china which would have been destroyed or even not found yet.Go by the looks.If a chinese calls himself harry you know he is chinese when you see his face.Features and colour and DNA cannot be changed though you can change most other things and call yourself whatever you want.

    • 0
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      Dear Shankar,

      I don’t think that what you say is “common sense” applies at all here. I don’t think that “unlearned guys” like (like you? and) me really understand the process of evolution or the time scale involved. I hope you get what I’m saying. If not, just tell me, and I shall try to explain.

      On the other hand, Prof. Kumar David is brilliant. He’s THE Renaissance Man, with an understanding of not just Science, but also of so many other Liberal Arts disciplines.

      For example to write as pithily as ” Neanderthals, who disappeared 30,000 years ago because we ate them.” is not easy. At one level it is hilarious, but it is also true, and interesting for the layman.

      Comparing what the two of you write makes me aware of how difficult it is for a Sinhalese and a Tamil to communicate. But, please, we must make the effort!

  • 0
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    Those paleontologists I don’t think have seen our Rilawas in Dambulla……..Otherwise they would have said those bones and teeth are from White Monkeys in Bulgaria and Greece…..I can understand their plight……..How can a full blown Gorilla mutate into a Trumpy. even in a several million years…………..Either way the LTTE Bishop in Srilanka wouldn’t be too impressed about Dr Kumra’s hypothesis…………..

  • 1
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    KASmaalam

    “Those paleontologists I don’t think have seen our Rilawas in Dambulla”

    We have seen 225 of them in the parliament, on TV, ………………………or some work for the media, state, .. and another 300,000 in uniform.

    If crocodile teeth is worshiped as being Buddha relic by Malavathu and Assgirias why cannot a full blown Gorilla mutate into a Trumpy?

    • 0
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      Dear Native………I don’t think you know much about mutation…… I think Buddha originated from Greek Stock, who reached Himalayas and established little enclaves, after chasing the Persians……Buddha’s features as depicted in old paintings and carvings show similarities with the Ptolomeys ‘ …….And nothing like your Hindians…..Also there were no smart Hindians then. either …

      • 1
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        KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

        “I don’t think you know much about mutation”

        I live with them and seen how they have been mutating back into Nyanzapithecus alesi.

        “I think Buddha originated from Greek Stock, who reached Himalayas and established little enclaves, after chasing the Persians……Buddha’s features as depicted in old paintings and carvings show similarities with the Ptolomeys ‘”

        You also believe in many things such as MR single handedly won the war, Zero was invented by Champika’s ancestors, Sinhala is the oldest language, Malawattu and Assgiria exist to protect Buddhism, ……………………………………

        Are you going to categorically state Buddha was Aryan and his descendants produced Hitler, Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala, Vijaya, MR, ………………… ?
        Read Prof Osmund Bopearachchi

        Contribution of Greeks to the Art and Culture of Bactria and India New Archaeological Evidence

        A review of C.I. Beckwith’s, Greek Buddha: Pyrrho’s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia,

        Graeco-Bactrian issues of later Indo-Greek king

        Contribution of Greeks to the Art and Culture of Bactria and India: New Archaeological Evidence

        ……
        …….
        ….
        Were you born stupid or learned to be stupid?

        • 0
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          Dear Native,……….Thanks for the References……… Still your Hindians have nothing to do with our Sinhala Buddhists…….And we want to keep it that way………I

          • 1
            0

            KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

            “Still your Hindians have nothing to do with our Sinhala Buddhists”

            True, all those Kallathonies from South India have mutated into Sinhala/Buddhists fascists.

            “And we want to keep it that way”

            You can keep it that way if you went back to South India.

  • 0
    0

    OMG! He writes about Nationalist Bombast in Science and makes a antisemitic racist joke, and on top of that attribute it to his deceased father. How low can you go?

    • 0
      0

      Wannihami,
      You dead-pan clot. Didn’t you know that 90% of all jokes are aimed at racial or religious stereotypes and politically correct bores like you? It must be you who wrote to the Colombo Municipal Council Sewage Department and demanded that manholes should be renamed ‘personholes”.

  • 0
    0

    Wannihami,
    You dead-pan clot. Didn’t you know that 90% of all jokes are aimed at racial or religious stereotypes and politically correct bores like you? It must be you who wrote to the Colombo Municipal Council Sewage Department and demanded that manholes should be renamed ‘personholes”.

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