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back to article Creepy skull find proves Man penetrated Asia 60,000 years ago

Bone-bothering boffins have stumbled across an ancient skull in a Laos cave that puts modern human migration through Southeast Asia 20,000 years sooner than previously thought. Ancient skull found in cave in northern Laos The oldest human skull to be found in Asia, estimated at around 63,000 years old, was found in a cave in …

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Silver badge
Holmes

"Creepy skull find?"

Stop it with the "creepy". This makes you vaguely sound like some left-wing organization trying to fan undirected anger.

> 20,000 years sooner than previously thought

The Galactica arrived earlier?

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Headmaster

Re: "Creepy skull find?"

Please remember that Helo and Athena's daughter is the "mitocondrial eve" and she died about 200,000 years ago.

I mean, why do people bother to go to school if they don't even teach the basic stuff?

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Thumb Up

Galactica?

I think you mean the B-Ark!

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Flame

this must be BS since we KNOW the world is only 6000 years old

Taxi......

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Anonymous Coward

Instead, now we know that the skull was wondering around on its own for 12-20 *thousand* years, probably in water for some time, before it was buried it in the dirt it was found in. I'd say its incredibly well preserved!

Its a good job we don't use geological strata to date things, otherwise we'd be completely wrong on the dating.

We also know that we have "modern man" for at least 60k years. On the plus side, we've been through an ice age and then climate warming before and survived. On the minus side, we don't seem to evolve in response to changes in the environment. Hmm, can that be right? Completely changed environments and no evolution? I thought that was the whole point of evolution!

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Boffin

There is a theory (and it has some merit) that modern humans are extremely good at adapting to a wide range environments and that is why we have succesfully populated almost the entire planet. Therefore, no need to evolve to cope with climate change: we are already adaptable as we are. What is it about us which makes us so good at adapting? Big brain. When small-brained early humans evolved to become big-brained modern humans, *that* was the only evolution that was necessary to allow us to cope with all the climate and location changes we've experienced since.

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Boffin

Nah, evolution isn't like that all the time.

We have evolved, after the 'thumb' helped us the main evolution was to brain power, usage and size. that has allowed us to think our way through things and not muslce our way. So body mass has dropped and even the strongest man today is 10% less muscled than ancient women, we just don't need it when we have tools.

Not all evolution is things like extra limbs or armour and 60k years in evolution terms is small fry. Sharks haven't evolved in millions of years, so adaptation is subjectve to a species and it's evnironment, Why change if you don't need to. Humans change our envinronment to our needs, not adapt to it. Or we move to environments we like, just like millions of other species who migrate

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" Completely changed environments and no evolution?"

really? so white men and black men arent better suited to cold and heat? i would says its pretty good evolution actually. especially when i went to kenya and it was 40C and the natives were wearing wooley hats and coats!

i think we dont need to evolve physically due to our intellect. we can adapt to our surroundings with clothing and fire and we can eat a massive variety of foods.

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Facepalm

Lyssenko is alive?

"On the minus side, we don't seem to evolve in response to changes in the environment."

That thinking is wrong. Must be all that superhero shit in the movies.

"Evolving in response to the environment" means lots of people dying left and right before they have children due to environmental pressure but the remaining people fuck around more to keep the numbers up.

You would know if that was happening. It's when you suddenly notice that "The Road" feel.

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Anonymous Coward

"no need to evolve to cope with climate change"

Well that's lucky because the timescales are way off. Also, this is the first time I've ever heard such an idea mooted. Did you make it up?

Or are you saying that we don't need to do anything proactive about climate change because we'll adapt? If so, adaption isn't magic; we adapt by doing something about it.

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jai
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wtf

the headline : "...penetrated Asia 60,000 years ago"

paragraph 2 : "...estimated at around 63,000 years old..."

paragraph 6 : "... at least 60,000 years ago."

paragraph 7 : "...around 63,000 years old."

ok, enough, we get that it was 63,000 years old!

and yet, only once in paragraph 1 do you mention the important and interesting fact about this story, that 60k is "20,000 years sooner than previously thought."

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"Creepy skull find proves Man penetrated Asia 60,000 years ago"

Has Asia accused him of rape?

Will Creepy skull man be extradited to Sweden?

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Pint

No but...

...apparently he leaked all over her wiki!!

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was he was doing some 'penetration testing' with his joystick?

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No, but the met have already arrested several people in connection with the case.

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Joke

Unlikely, they knew what they were doing when they started playing the migration game.

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How did they know where to dig?

"Radiocarbon dating and luminescence techniques dated the soil above, below and around the skull, which was found nearly 2.5m below the surface of the cave."

How did they know where to dig? One would think that the odds against finding such a relic are astronomical, or that the ground is heavily freighted with them - which it obviously isn't..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How did they know where to dig?

There is a good chance that the cave had been used more than once so it's not like they just stumbled onto a cave, pointed to a spot, and said "hey let's dig right here".

More likely, they have been excavating the entire cave... inch by inch, going back through layers of history - like they've done at the Meadowfcroft Rockshelter

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Re: How did they know where to dig?

"More likely, they have been excavating the entire cave... inch by inch, going back through layers of history"

Well, given that they have stated that the cave was not used as a residence and nothing else was found there then what you are suggesting is that they spent years sifting through dirt while finding zilch.

If they were doing that without some sort of reason then that would make them a persistent bunch, yes?

Boffin 1: <digs> <sifts>

Boffin 2: "Got anything?"

Boffin 1: "Nope, just more dirt"

Boffin 2: "OK, let's do it again"

<years pass>

Boffin 1: <digs> <sifts>

Boffin 2: "Got anything?"

Boffin 1: "Nope. Oh, hold on, what's this. Oh look, it's a skull!"

Boffin 2: Cool! <grabs skull, proceeds to do bad Hamlet impression> "Alas poor Yorick . . ."

On another note, if this happened in Australia certain parties would at this very moment be all-a-lather over these "insensitive" white people who had "desecrated an ancient burial site" and caused "pain and mental anguish for all his/her descendants" yadda yadd yadda . . .

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Re: How did they know where to dig?

Yes, that is pretty much exactly how such archaeology goes. It's not something you get into for instant results - you can be lucky sometimes but most of the time it really is scrabbling around in the dirt with nothing much to show for it.

...other than a stinking hang-over of course. The work is so dull, that evenings aren't often wasted.

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So that's where it went!

Damn Tardis door flew open and my paperweight got sucked out...

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they were there

"We now have the fossil evidence to prove that they were there long before we thought they were there."

Well, at least one of them.

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"Suggesting ... that the body washed into the cave at some point."

Over twelve thousand years ?

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Re: "Suggesting ... that the body washed into the cave at some point."

i bet it swam

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FAIL

Scroticus Canis

Skull 63K years old, soil 46-51K years old. So skull was knocking about for 12-17 thousand years before being fortuitously "washed into the cave" complete with intact teeth? Very likely - NOT!

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AB

Re: Scroticus Canis

Perhaps the skull was washed into the cave, and further dirt was then laid down in the cave by further water/wind/other means.

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Re: Scroticus Canis

> Perhaps the skull was washed into the cave, and further dirt was then laid down in the cave by further water/wind/other means.

Possible, but the soil above and below it was different. It calls into question the whole technique of dating things by what is around them. Won't that wreak havoc? Assuming a uniform increase in error, if they are 46% out (43k-63k) over a few thousand years, wouldn't the margin for error when you get to millions of years be too large to use the technique at all?

Even without an increase in error, the fact that the artifact can be divorced from its immediate surroundings brings up serious questions regarding traditional dating techniques and assumptions about the association between items found together. In recent forensic science/law we have "circumstantial evidence." When its much older and the evidence slimmer, we (or at least popular reporting) call it "proof."

Call me a skeptic, but I think that's odd.

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Bronze badge

The body washed in ....

.... or it was some poor fool who was the object of a 'snipe hunt'.

"Guys? Hey guys? How long do I have to sit in this cave with this sack and lantern? Hello? Anyone there?"

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Meh

Don't get Asia wrong...

she didn't mind getting penetrated. But not the next morning when she was picking the scorpions off her gluteus maximus for breakfast.

She wanted the dude to take an AIDS test. But he didn't want to wait 63,000 years for the clinic to open.

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Anonymous Coward

"Bone bothering boffins"

Hey, some boffins have wives and girlfriends, you know.

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Re: "Bone bothering boffins"

I keep mine under the patio

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Bone bothering boffins"

"I keep mine under the patio"

Like Fred West!

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Anonymous Coward

20000 year run of Hamlet maybe?

Alas Poor Yorick? nah, lets bury him. He's been dead 20000 years.

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Thumb Up

Bone-bothering boffins

Skull-searching scientists

Just off to watch Time Team again!

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