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No. 89: Sep-Oct 1993

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Homo erectus never existed!

Skulls of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens
(Left) Homo erectus skull. (Right) Homo sapiens skull. Are these markedly different skulls representative of two different species or merely variants of the same species?
The record of human evolution is littered with skeletons -- not only the legitimate bones of early hominids but also with discarded evolutionary charts and discredited taxons. A taxon is a welldefined biological classification, such as a phylum or species. We modern humans are given the label Homo sapiens. We are told with great assurance that we evolved from earlier hominids, such as Homo erectus and, perhaps, Homo nean derthalis. Homo erectus has long been a key feature of all those charts of human evolution decorating our textbooks. But this venerable taxon is getting fuzzier and fuzzier.

"Reappraisal by Cornell University paleontologists of a 200,000-year-old skull from India's Narmada River suggests that the fossil was probably a Home sapiens -- not a Homo erectus -- and marks another spot of the globe where humans may have evolved. .....

"The reappraisal of Narmada Man preceded the recently announced discovery of two Middle Pleistocene fossils from Yunxian, China, that seem to share the traits of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Kennedy would like to bury the taxon Homo erectus altogether, "Those who would like to keep the taxon see a 200,000year-old Narmada Man as a last gasp for Homo erectus," he said."

What will the anthropologists do now with all those skulls they labeled so confidently as Homo erectus? Actually, the possibility underscored by Narmada Man is that modern humans evolved almost simultaneously in several parts of the planet, not just in Africa.

(Anonymous; "Homo erectus Never Existed?" Geotimes, 37:11, October 1992.)

Reference. Human evolution and paleontological evidence are subjects covered in BHE in Biological Anomalies: Humans III. To order this catalog, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #89, SEP-OCT 1993. � 1993-2000 William R. Corliss