About That Settled Stuff


There’s not much left of this person who lived and died in a cave on the slopes of Israel’s Mt. Carmel between 177,000 and 194,000 years ago. All that remains is the left half of an upper jaw, with some fragments of palate, cheekbone, and the floor of the nasal cavity still attached, along with a complete set of upper left teeth. But those fragments of bone mean that modern humans probably found their way to southwest Asia about 40,000 to 50,000 years earlier than fossil evidence previously suggested.

For early humans, the Levant was the gateway to everything beyond Africa. When the newly discovered fossil human, dubbed Misliya-1, and its companions arrived in the area, they would have found themselves living alongside Neanderthals. Both species were living in spaces once occupied by Homo erectus, an early human ancestor that had reached southern Eurasia by 1.75 million years ago. Understanding which species lived here—and when—is crucial to reconstructing the story of our ancestors’ expansion.

(There’s a photo heading the linked article. I’m by no means a trained paleontologist, but I know enough to recognize human teeth and skull structures when I see them.)

Yes, this is new. The old “settled science” had our ancestors wandering into the Middle East and then seemingly sprinting into Europe just in time to displace the Neanderthals and make wonderful cave paintings. There are several blank spots in the fossil record to include the very early examples of Homo Sapiens, so along with this discovery you can expect to eventually find that we arose quite a bit earlier than is currently thought.

Why am I bringing this up?

Just to reassure you that when some blue-haired harpies starts screaming at you about global warming, it’s acceptable to laugh in their faces with very little chance of being wrong. And don’t forget that their parents went on about global cooling with the same fervor in the 70’s.

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