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back to article Chinese fossil analysis suggests new hominid species

Details on what could be a new species of human based in East Asia have been discovered by archeologists, and could alter our understanding of the spread of humanity across the planet. Scientists have published an open paper detailing the analysis of the remains of three individuals discovered at the Maludong (or Red Deer Cave …

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Bronze badge
Joke

DARTH VADER!!!

Top-left fossil in the photo. The story does tell us that he lived a long time ago, now we know how long. But how did he get here from a galaxy far away?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: DARTH VADER!!!

Worst case of helmet-head I've ever seen in my life!

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Windows

So, just how many more "Homo Sapiens *" have there been?

Besides us, we have Neanderthals, Floresiensis, Denisovans and now these guys. How many more "failed competitors" were there up until recent times? How many more are waiting to be found? And how much interbreeding was there (we already know about HSS interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans)?

Could the Americas have been populated *initially* by some other species, only to be displaced by a later wave of Homo Sapiens?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, just how many more "Homo Sapiens *" have there been?

Everyone wants a new species to keep the grant-money coming.

I reckon that if we dug up an English longbowman, scientists would take one look at the deformities and announce a new species. Thin data needs to be treated *very* cautiously.

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Re: So, just how many more "Homo Sapiens *" have there been?

I have to wonder whether the idea of the 'deformed' skeletons of longbow men is a bit of a myth. it's repeated a lot, but almost never with any sources, apart from a hazy memory of one skeleton from the Mary Rose, and one study of skeletons from Towton, which so far as i can see simply says the bones of one arm were thicker, which is a 'deformation', but not the quasimodo like image the word tends to conjure up.

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Anonymous Coward

"only to be displaced by a later wave of Homo Sapiens?"

...or maybe not?

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Anonymous Coward

Copy

Clearly a Chinese copy that didn't work as well as the real thing!

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Bronze badge

species

Does it annoy anyone else that they keep making such a big thing about this stuff ?

1. if 'we'/Neanderthal/hobbits/deer people interbred then we are not really a species are we (at least not by Dicky Dawkins main criteria).

2. If above is accepted, then we are amalgam of all the different types - just like different types of cows.

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Silver badge

Typo? (Re: species)

That should read:

"1. if 'we'/Neanderthal/hobbits/deer people interbred then we are really a single species, aren't we?"

At least according to Population Genetics. IMHO he traditional definitions 'species' are usually too vague to be useful in most contexts.

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Silver badge

Hmm

I wonder how big their tits were.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

Small. Which explains why they did not propagate successfully. Small tits in modern women is obviously a throwback.

Ps. I have not yet been able to fathom the fascination for large tits. Maybe I have a couple extra genes from the red deer people?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

Not so much the fascination with large tits - it's the fascination with tits period.

How many other mammals on this planet are there where the females sport developed mammaries when not caring for young?

(on the subject of fairness on this topic, we need pics please El Reg!)

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Happy

Re: Hmm

It's a display mechanism, like feathers on a peacock, big bottoms on a baboon, and muscles on the human male. In fact, I recall reading somewhere that human mammaries developed like they did to resemble buttocks.

Not very scientific in motivation, but .... hooray for evolution!

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I recall reading somewhere

It was probably in the Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. It was a great book.

Anyway, not sure about this being an unknown species, there are plenty of chinless wonders aping around today.

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Anonymous Coward

"to resemble buttocks"

...but only during very specific fashions for female foundation garments...

(think e.g. Hollywood ca. the 50s)

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Species?

There have been a lot of controversy over whether Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals could (and did) interbreed or not. The opinions range from "not possible" over "sterile offspring (like mules)" to "Some European human characteristics are inherited from interbreeding with Neanderthals".

Which is true I can't say. I'm inclined towards the "sterile offspring" theory, since AFAIK genetic analysis of Sapiens and Neanderthal DNA have not shown any difference in European, African and Asian DNA that could be explained by genetic material inherited from Neanderthals.

But it is equally obvious that speciation is a gradual process, so there will in the past have been differently-looking hominids that could interbreed so hybrids appeared. It is only when groups have been isoated long enough that interbreeding stops being possible. There are theories that state that early Sapiens at some point got nearly extinct, which reduced the gene pool sufficiently to prevent viable interbreeding with other hominids and that all present humans are descendants of this small group (which may have numbered only a few hundred individuals).

How this affects the possibility of the skeletons in question being a separate species or not, I can't say.

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Boffin

Re: Species?

re. your 2nd paragraph: Actually, no. The most recent genetic analyses DO show differences.

There are genetic markers present in everybody EXCEPT Africans that apparently came from Neanderthals and that account for about 2% to 4% of our genetic code (and because these markers are everywhere outside Africa, that interbreeding must have happened very soon after leaving Africa.

Similarly, there's good genetic evidence that the homo sapiens that reached Asia interbred with the Denisovians before continuing on through to south east Asia and the Australias.

And there's even emerging evidence that there might have been other archaic species still living in Africa after homo sapiens began its migration out, and that the homo sapiens left behind interbred with those species in the same way.

As for the rest, well, the concept of species is actually pretty vague and less useful once you accept the reality that populations evolve continuously across time and space.

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JDC
FAIL

Very appreciable chin

Get the feeling El Reg is reusing its pictures, as that top "artist's impression" is definitely no chinless wonder!

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Alien

Cool Article

Could they be linked with the hominids from New-Guinea?

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"including the frontal skull lobes found in modern humans but lacking an appreciable chin"

Homo Windsorus

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as said above...

3 samples do not make a real theory. imagine a bit of interbreeding now with 2 people with no chins (lots of regular humans are chinless wonders) - they would produce chinless wonders... but a new species they are not. how much variation is there in current human skeletons? loads... What about deformities? maybe they were all brothers & sisters?

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Indeed..

Which is why they are looking for DNA, which if found, should tell us more.

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Joke

this sh*t the life out of me

I thought I was looking in a mirror !

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