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(KSL Salt Lake City)   Dragon Man, found in Harbin, China, latest entry into family of early humans. "We found our long-lost sister lineage"   (ksl.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Human, Human evolution, new fossil finds, human family tree, Homo sapiens, dragon man, Harbin skull, Chinese city of Harbin  
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1000 clicks; posted to STEM » on 27 Jun 2021 at 9:17 PM (47 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-06-28 12:39:43 PM  
4 votes:

TofuTheAlmighty: So they found a skull from a prehistoric hominid who had gigantism. And that makes a new lineage?

Those Chinese anthropologists have amazing PR flacks.


Basic concept in paleoanthropology: stuff is rarely preserved, so pathological individuals, who would by definition be rare, aren't your go-to explanation for stuff like this. The rarity of preservation means you are almost certainly finding remains of someone within the normal range of variation within their population.

Or, the odds of someone with gigantism being preserved and recovered are far, far smaller than the odds of this being a typical member if a different population.

The demarcation between species in the fossil record is a matter of contention. In my department, they were "lumpers" considering Neanderthals to be Homo sapiens neandertalis rather than Homo neandertalis. They largely felt that there was Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and possibly one other species, and then homo sapiens, with everyone else most likely subspecies of one of those four groups. But some publications would list a dozen different Homo species, which was the opposite end of the spectrum than my department. They were "splitters." My mentor was pretty open about it being a matter of opinion and philosophy rather than strictly science. You have to draw lines somewhere. Consider finding the remains of a chihuahua and then a Labrador. Based purely on skeletal material, would you consider them to be the same species?

There was also the feeling that biologically we are not the only species in our genus, that based on genetics the genus Pan should be folded into Homo. But the basic concept of the "Tree of Life" was to measure the distance between humans and other living organisms, an approach requiring us to be the only living member of our genus. This predates the concept of evolution and species were considered fixed, with humans holding special status and no species being our equal. Genetically chimps, bonobos and humans have less variation between species than there is between the species of Canis. If using genetic drift is the basis then either a lot of new classifications are added or a lot get collapsed.

So it is always proper to challenge whether a find like this merits its own species. In a case like this, though, doing so because of, say, potential gigantism is not really a valid challenge unless you are an expert and have carefully examined the remains. It takes years to do the measurements and comparisons to establish a new proposed Homo species, or Australopithecus or older human ancestor.
 
2021-06-27 8:14:56 PM  
3 votes:
Denisovians?

/Dragon sounds cool but he probably didn't have a breath weapon.
 
2021-06-27 9:57:57 PM  
1 vote:
So they found a skull from a prehistoric hominid who had gigantism. And that makes a new lineage?

Those Chinese anthropologists have amazing PR flacks.
 
2021-06-28 3:08:44 AM  
1 vote:
https://twitter.com/johnhawks/status/1408447011100233734

"The boring reason why we can't use the Homo longi name is technical. The research puts the Harbin skull together with the Dali skull, and Xinzhi Wu gave that the name Homo sapiens daliensis more than 40 years ago. So IF there's a species, it has to be H. daliensis."

"In case you wonder how close Harbin looks to Dali, here is Harbin on the left and Dali (which has some crushing to the maxilla) on the right. As Weidenreich might have said, they resemble each other as closely as one egg resembles another.
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-06-28 3:11:57 AM  
1 vote:
pbs.twimg.comView Full Size
 
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