Archive for December 1st, 2005

“Homo Erectus” never existed!

Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 01 2005

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 well defined 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 {SIC}. …..

“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.)
Definitional” quotes from s8int.com

From Science Frontiers
© 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Giant Water Scorpion Walked on Land

Giants in Those Days, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 01 2005

By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 30 November 2005

Tracks found in Scotland look to be from an ancient water scorpion as big as a kitchen table. If the analysis is right, it is the first evidence of the creature coming ashore.

The scorpion, a six-legged thing called Hibbertopterus, was about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide. It is long since extinct.

Researchers already knew Hibbertopterus existed from fossils, but they’ve debated whether it ever came on land.

The tracks, found by Martin Whyte of the University of Sheffield, cover nearly 20 feet of ground. They reveal a lumbering, jerky motion, Whyte explains in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature.

Slow and jerky

Crescent-shape scarps were left by the outer limbs, inner markings were made by a double-keeled belly, and a central groove was carved by its tail.

“The slow, stilted progression, together with the dragging of the posterior, indicates that the animal was not buoyant and that it was probably moving out of water,” Whyte says.

No other known arthropod could have left the marks, the geologist concludes. The tracks indicate Hibbertopterus could survive out of water at least briefly, he said.

“Their gills would probably have functioned in air as long as they remained wet,” Whyte told LiveScience. “However I doubt if they would ever have been able to become fully adapted to life on land.”

Scary but benign

Hibbertopterus would have looked frightening could we go back in time and confront one, but it was not equipped to attack large animals.

“I think the animal would certainly have been fearsome in aspect whether you met it in or out of the water,” Whyte said. “However the evidence of its feeding apparatus suggests that it had two anterior limbs specialized for sweeping through water and capturing small organisms.”

Hibbertopterus and its relatives were the last surviving water scorpions, all having died out about 250 million years ago.

Very distant cousins have survived to modern times, however. The closest living relatives are land scorpions, king crabs and horseshoe crabs, Whyte said. “The latter are marine animals but do penetrate far up rivers and do at times come out of water onto sandy beaches.”