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Fossil footprints challenge established theories

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Fossil footprints challenge established theories
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VisakiUser avatarPosts: 776Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Fossil footprints challenge established theories

Fossil footprints challenge established theories of human evolution

Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa – with ape-like feet.


This must mean evolution is completely false. Right? RIGHT?

But seriously: I always have hard time with these "Huge reveal" kinda finds, partly because I don't have the expertise to analyze it in context. I suppose I'll just wait for a few years and see what the experts say.
Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:49 pm
SparhafocPosts: 1529Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Fossil footprints challenge established theories

I always have hard time with these "Huge reveal" kinda finds, partly because I don't have the expertise to analyze it in context. I suppose I'll just wait for a few years and see what the experts say.


Aye, this is a tough one.

For clarity, these tracks were discovered in 2002, and other papers have been written on them, but the jury's still out. On the one hand (scuse pun), a couple of the tracks look very similar to a human, on the other, many of the tracks bear no resemblance at all. It's hard to know without exhaustive details whether those few human-like tracks justify the conclusion.

However, it's important to get some context here. There were definitely basal hominins wandering about Africa at this time, and had been for a couple of million years. Sahelanthropus tchadensis, for example, has been partly described based on very incomplete fossils with no postcranial fossils found. Interestingly, around 5.6 million years ago, the Mediterranean nearly completely dried out after being cut off from the Atlantic by regional uplift in the Strait of Gibraltar. Evidence suggests it remained dry for around 200,000 years which would mean it would be open to colonization by plants and animals in fairly short order, and they'd have quite some time to become established. Typically, such events result in dramatic evolution, where some selection pressures are relaxed. So there's definitely a plausible idea here that some ancient hominin expanded out of Africa into a newly burgeoning Mediterranean environment, and its anatomical evolution happens to resemble later human footprints.

But, it's waaaay too early to know, and it's vital that the data here is made available to other palaeoanthropologists to review, because as all but science-deniers know, science operates by falsifying hypotheses, not by validating them.
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
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Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:44 pm
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