Stone workshop suggests hominids in Central Vietnam 800,000 years ago

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Stone tools from Gia Lai. Source: Viet Nam Net 20160707

Stone tools estimated to be around 700,000-800,000 years old in Central Vietnam suggest the presence of hominids during the Paleolithic.

Stone tools from Gia Lai. Source: Viet Nam Net 20160707

Stone tools from Gia Lai. Source: Viet Nam Net 20160707

Discovery about ancient workshop stirs archeological community
Vietnam Net, 07 July 2016

The team of archaeologists from the Novosibirsk Institute of Archaeology & Ethnology belonging to the Russian Federal Science Academy and the Institute of Archaeology and Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences made the discovery about the existence of a production workshop of Vietnamese primitive men.

Dr Nguyen Gia Doi, Deputy Director of the Institute of Archaeology, said the exact name of the relic site is an early paleolithic relic with fossil tektite samples believed to be aged 770,000-800,000 years and stone artifacts such as hand axes.

This means that the upper course of the Ba River in An Khe was the place for people 700,000 years ago. This s the oldest appearance of humans and civilization ever recorded in Vietnamese territory.

Full story here.

Homo erectus and zigzags

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Homo erectus engraving

Earlier this month an amazing discovery was noted about the zigzag lines found on a piece of shell from Trinil, Indonesia, which suggest that they were made by our ancestors Homo erectus and in turn suggests that these hominids were capable of abstract thought. The discovery was announced in Nature.

Homo erectus engraving

Homo erectus engraving

Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving
Nature, doi:10.1038/nature13962

Oldest ever engraving discovered on 500,000-year-old shell
Science Daily, 03 December 2014

Shell ‘art’ made 300,000 years before humans evolved
New Scientist, 03 December 2014

Etchings on a 500,000-year-old shell appear to have been made by human ancestor
Science, 03 December 2014

Shells Engraved by Homo erectus Found in Museum Collection
Archaeology.org, 03 December 2014

World’s Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag
National Geographic, 03 December 2014

Homo erectus may have doodled on shellfish
ABC News, 04 December 2014

Oldest engraving rewrites view of human history
AFP, via Bangkok Post 04 December 2014

ANU archaeologist helps discover earliest human engravings
Sydney Morning Herald

World’s oldest engraving discovered
Australian Geographic, 04 December 2014

Australian Archaeologist Dr Stephen Munro Discovers Earliest Human Engravings Discovered On 400,000-Year-Old Fossilised Shell
International Business Times, 05 December 2014

Another Ancient Discovery For Indonesia, and Human History
Wall Street Journal, 09 December 2014
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New hobbit study supports island dwarfism

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A new study based on CT scans of the hobbit skulls suggest that homo erectus may possibly have been an ancestor to homo floresiensis, and supports the theory that the reduction in size may have come about due to island dwarfism.

Homo floresiensis, The Conversation 20130211

Homo floresiensis, The Conversation 20130211

Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications
Daisuke Kubo, Reiko T. Kono and Yousuke Kaifu
Proc. R. Soc. B 2013 280, 20130338, published 17 April 2013
doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0338

The Real ‘Hobbit’ Had Larger Brain Than Thought
LiveScience, 16 April 2013

Hobbit Humans Had Big Brains
Discovery News, 16 April 2013

Researchers find ‘hobbit human’ had an orange-sized brain – and may have evolved from the first human species to walk fully upright
Daily Mail, 16 April 2013

Study backs ‘hobbit’ island dwarfism theory
BBC News, 17 April 2013

Brain size points to origins of ‘hobbit’
ABC Science, 17 April 2013

The origin of “hobbits” is revealed: study
The Korea Herald, 17 April 2013

Researchers back claim that Flores ‘hobbits’ grew smaller as they evolved
AFP, 17 April 2013

Hobbit’s Brain Size Holds Clues About Its Ancestor
National Geographic News, 18 April 2013
Read More

Small skull, huge controversy

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c. 23 April 2007 (Research|Penn State) Research|Penn State, an online magazine by the Pennsylvana State University has an interesting feature-length article on Dr Bob Eckhart, who leads the charge in debunking the Hobbit myth. While SEAArch has covered plenty in the news about homo floresiensis, this article presents an in-depth look at the arguments against the Hobbit theory and is worth a read for anyone following the story.

Small skull, huge controversy

In October 2004, while working in his lab, Bob Eckhardt heard a report on National Public Radio: A team of archaeologists had unearthed bones of a three-foot-tall humanlike creature on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Based on the shape and size of the skull and other skeletal remains, the archaeologists, led by Michael J. Morwood of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, claimed they had discovered a new species of human.

The diminutive biped had a cranium no larger than a chimpanzee’s, yet its bones had been found along with abundant stone tools. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal in the same stratum, along with luminescence dating of surrounding sediments, implied that the skeleton was only 18,000 years old. Considering other earlier archaeological finds on Flores, Morwood and his colleagues concluded that a new human species had evolved from a preceding population of Homo erectus that had been isolated for over 840,000 years on Flores, in the archipelago between Asia and Australia.

Eckhardt, a professor of developmental genetics and evolutionary morphology in Penn State’s department of kinesiology, added it up. Three feet tall. A tiny brain. Complex stone tools. Evolved in complete isolation in 40,000 generations. He says: “It just didn’t ring true.”

Eckhardt read the scientific papers, published in the British journal Nature, setting forth the findings and conclusions of Morwood’s group. “A lot of things didn’t make sense,” he says. “For instance, the overall height seemed to be off. I took the long-bone measurements from the paper and plugged them into standard regression formulas.” Where Morwood and colleagues estimated an overall height of 1.06 meters for their specimen, Eckhardt came up with figures ranging from 1.15 to 1.33 meters, with an average of 1.25 meters—more than seven inches taller than Morwood’s estimate. Eckhardt also wondered about the proximity of the small cranium to sophisticated stone tools, including points, perforators, blades, and microblades. Over a century of research by anthropologists has established a rough correlation between an increasing brain size and advances in stone-tool technology. The kinds of tools described in the Nature article matched those made elsewhere by Homo sapiens. Says Eckhardt, “It seemed very unlikely that a human with a chimp-sized brain would have invented such tools independently and in total isolation.”

Reverse evolution theory about the Johor Bigfoot

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30 June 2006 (New Straits Times) – More news on the Johor Bigfoot, with a paleontology scientist conjuecturing that the Johor Bigfoot may have been/be a homo erectus who has undergone reverse evolution. It seems to me at this point that the news is still too sensational, as the conjecture is remains what it is: a conjecture, and nothing conclusive has been made. Stay tuned for this saga to unfold!

Reverse evolution theory about the Johor Bigfoot

The Johor Bigfoot could be a Homo erectus that had undergone “reverse evolution”.

Sean Ang, a scientist from Kuala Lumpur who had analysed the prehistoric Perak Man excavated by Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1994, said based on evidence compiled about the creature by biodiversity researcher Vincent Chow, he thought the creature might have been in existence for more than 65,000 years.

“I concur with Chow’s findings that this could be an unknown species that went through reverse evolution to end up as a less intelligent creature than Peking Man, who could use fire and tools.

Old tools shed light on hobbit origins

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1 June 2006 (Nature) – Stone tool finds beside hobbit suggest that they inherited tool-making tradition from homo erectus predecessors.

Old tools shed light on hobbit origins

The latest twist in the tale suggests that these one-metre-tall hominids, with a brain the size of a grapefruit, were the final members of a tool-making tradition stretching back more than 800,000 years.

… a separate line of evidence points to H. floresiensis as a tool-maker. More than 500 stone blades found on Flores and dated to more than 700,000 years ago seem to have been made in the same way — by striking stones to chip off large flakes — as the more recent blades found with the hobbits.

Java Man's First Tools

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21 Apr 2006 (Science) -Preliminary report on new findings on the Java Man that will put associated tool findings as one of the oldest outside of Africa.

Java Man’s First Tools

In 1998, Widianto found stone flakes in the 800,000-year-old Grenzbank layer at Sangiran, whose well-plumbed sediments reach back 2 million years. Then in September 2004, his team struck gold in a layer dated by extrapolation from the rocks around it to 1.2 million years ago. Over 2 months, they unearthed 220 flakes–several centimeters long, primarily made of chalcedony, and ranging in color from beige to blood red–in a 3-by-3-meter section of sand deposited by an ancient river.


Related Books:
Java Man by G. H. Curtis
Java Man by R. Levin, G. H. Curtis, C. Swisher
Java Man: How Two Geologists Changed Our Understanding of Human Evolution by R. Levin, G. H. Curtis, C. Swisher