Fossils unearthed in a limestone cavern part of a previously unknown human species that roamed the island about 50,000 years ago
It is called: Homo luzonensis
And here’s the requisite Carl Zimmer article in the NY Times:
I may lose my “chemist” card for this, but this is a lot more interesting that discovering a new element
OK, I may regret this, but when I came across this quote form the NY Times article:
“The more fossils that people pull out of the ground, the more we realize that the variation that was present in the past far exceeds what we see in us today,” said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Canada, who was not involved in the new discovery.
it kinda sounded to me like Behe’s “devolution” in a sense. How would someone naive to population genetics understand this?
Is it that, through a number of mutations over a relatively short amount of time, we got an “exuberant burst of strange forms”, as the article puts it, and then over time natural selection and genetic drift did there thing to “pick the winner” (yay us!) ?
It would seem that selection occurred at the species level since the various Homo species we are finding appear to have gone extinct (e.g. Homo naledi, Homo floresiensis). Islands can also foster surprising evolutionary adaptations, such as dwarf elephants and large reptiles.
I don’t think we can answer that question. Extinction can have many causes, most of which have nothing to do with “devolution” (which isn’t really thing at all).
John Hawk’s thoughts:
I’m a paleontologist and I’d rather find a new element I think lol
Like a frog?
Jk, I know why they named it that.
I remembered reading about a year ago, an article on “speciation reversal” in ravens and thought a similar scenario might be in play for the hominins. I just did a google search and found a very interesting article from Jerry Coyne.
Apparently, he has already mulled over these questions.
It may be, with the Holarctic and California lineages, that they simply didn’t diverge genetically enough to produce reproductive barriers as a byproduct. That’s what happened to Homo sapiens : our own geographic isolates in Polynesia, Australia, and the New World weren’t separated long enough from the rest of the species to become new species of humans.
Well that is likely true in some senses, but I’m not sure that is the right model.
Most Homo did not interbreed with Sapiens.
Those that did only contribute a small amount of DNA to us.
Sapien morphology has stayed constant through interbreeding.
For this reasons it seems more like replacement, either interbreeding at the margins.
Paleontologist Ken Ham on the Homo luzonensis discovery:
And now EVN weights in on new human found in Philippines:
It’s the same old mantra of “scientists don’t know all of the answers, therefore scientists don’t know anything.”