Thursday, July 8, 2010

Early Hominids in Britain More Than 800,000 Years Ago

Well, this article is not the best written in the world, leaving more questions than it answers.  It is also incredibly misleading and scientifically irresponsible to refer to whatever beings these researchers think they found  evidence of as "humans." There were no humans more than 800,000 years ago - no beings even remotely close to being a human.  By the way - that photo in the article - the man is holding up a petrified piece of poop - not a tool.  Duh!  Not exactly encouraging. 


Early humans [not humans, hominids] ventured farther north than thought
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writer Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press Writer – Wed Jul 7, 7:04 pm ET
LONDON – Ancient man (not man - hominids) ventured into northern Europe far earlier than previously thought, settling on England's east coast more than 800,000 years ago, scientists said.

It had been assumed that humans (not humans - hominids) — thought to have emerged from Africa around 1.75 million years ago (whatever emerged from Africa 1.75 million years ago was NOT human) — kept mostly to relatively warm tropical forests, steppes and Mediterranean areas as they spread across Eurasia.

But the discovery of a collection of flint tools some 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of London shows that quite early on man (not humans - hominids covered in fur who would do just fine in the "cold") braved colder climes.

"What we found really undermines traditional views about how humans (not humans - hominids) spread and reacted to climate change," said Simon Parfitt, a University College London researcher. "It just shows how little we know about the movement (of hominids) out of Africa."

About 75 flint tools have been found at the site near Happisburgh, a seaside hamlet in Norfolk, Parfitt and colleagues report in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. (No explanation was given as to how these flint pieces were identified as 'tools.') (Just to be clear - what the man is holding in the photo, above, from the article, is petrified hyena poop, as identified in the slide show accompanying the article.)

(The photo, above, shows actual pieces of flint identified by these researchers as "fragments of tools."  I can definitely see that these look nothing like the piece of petrified hyena poop.) 

The researchers dated the artifacts to somewhere between 866,000 to 814,000 years ago or 970,000 to 936,000 years ago. That's at least 100,000 years before the earliest known date for British settlement (notice use of the loaded term "settlement" - implying it was humans; but these were not humans, and whatever "settled" in Britain 100,000 years later weren't humans, either), in nearby Pakefield.

Exactly what kind of humans (not humans - hominids) made these tools is unknown. (Not actually established by discussion of any evidence that these WERE tools. Did hominids use tools 800,000 years ago?).

"It is impossible to guess who those people (not people - hominids) were without fossil evidence," said Eric Delson, an anthropologist at Lehman College of the City University of New York, who was not involved in the research. (So these researchers just assume, with no actual evidence, that these animals were people. Now THAT is a leap in logic I just do not buy!)

Mammoths and saber-toothed cats roamed the area at that time, and the River Thames flowed into the sea there — about 150 kilometers (90 miles) to the north of where its mouth is today. The climate was a little colder than now, at least during the winter.

The Natural History Museum's Chris Stringer, another of the paper's authors, said living in such an environment would have been challenging. Thick forests meant a poor supply of edible plants and dispersed prey. In the winter, there would be less daylight for hunting and foraging. Then, of course, there was the cold.

"For humans (not humans, hominids) that have not long emerged from the tropic and the subtropics, that is something," Stringer said. "There's always been the view that that the cold was holding them back."

But the find suggests that it didn't. So how did these humans (not humans - hominids) adapt? The researchers said the mix of a tidal river, marshes and coastline at the site might have helped, providing seaweed, tubers, and shellfish when prey was scarce. (What "prey?" What, exactly, did hominids eat?)

"We could imagine these people (not people - hominids) exploiting the slow-flowing banks of the Thames, just as today," Stringer said.

Co-author Nick Ashton, with the British Museum in London, said there was still considerable uncertainty about how they adapted.

"Have they got effective clothing? (they didn't need clothing - they were covered in fur) Have they got effective shelters? (sleep in trees) Have they got controlled use of fire?" he said, adding that the find "provides more questions than answers." (What - not even evidence of fire??? Ohmygoddess, LOL! I'm sorry - I keep visualizing a monkey with a book of matches...)

Delson said that the discovery helped complete Europe's patchy prehistoric record. (Oh, that is rich!)

"We don't know much (you said it, Mister), but we're increasing our knowledge of the earliest phases of what went on in Europe," he said. "It's one more piece of the puzzle."

Stringer, meanwhile, said he hoped more discoveries could be made along the coastline. He noted that he had already seen the chronology of human (not human - hominids) habitation in Britain pushed back, and then pushed back again.

"Now I'm thinking: 'Who knows, can we go back even further?'" (Further back to what - the very first ape? The very first single-celled creature that slimed away in the primordeal soup? LOL!)

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