Meganthropus palaeojavanicus – The Early Years of Palaeoanthropological Research (1942 – 1955)

Meganthropus palaeojavanicus (from the Ancient Greek, meaning Ancient Java’s Great Human) is a redundant genus and species that was first formally introduced by Gustav vonKoenigswald (1902 – 1982) in 1950. The genus once referred to a set of fossils found on the island of Java in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s and 1980’s. The Javan fossils are now attributed to the hominin Homo erectus that lived from 1.9 million years ago to 300,000 years ago and had a range from Africa to Eurasia.

vonKoenigswald’s Meganthropus palaeojavanicus

von_Koenigswald
Gustav Heinrich Ralph vonKoenigswald (1902 – 1982)

On the 15th of January 1942, the Director of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands Indies, W. C. B. Koolhoven wrote a letter to anatomist and palaeoanthropologist, Franz Weidenreich informing him that vonKoenigswald wishes the 1939 and 1941 to be attributed to a new genus and species of ape called M. palaeojavanicus. In 1945, Weidenreich referred to it as “vonKoenigswald’s Meganthropus palaeojavanicus”. Held in the Senckenberg Forschungsinstitute und Naturmuseum, an unpublished 1949 scientific paper written by vonKoenigswald proposes that Sangiran 1a,  It was not until 1950, the vonKoenigswald committed his new genus and species to print in a formal introduction. As the sixth decade of the 20th century developed, consensus shifted towards H. erectus as the taxonomic appellation of the Javan fossils.

“Meganthropus” Fossils

The following are a list of fossils that were taxonomically assigned to Meganthropus, but have now been officially assigned to H. erectus

Franz Weidenreich
Franz Weidenreich (1873 – 1948)

Sangiran 6a

Kromopawiro (a team member) discovered the fossil adult mandible fragment “near Glagahombo, north of Sangiran” not far from where another cranium was uncovered in 1939 and south of Sangiran 4’s location. Weidenreich described the 1.6 million year old fossil in 1945, in which he pointed out the size of the mandible and the primitive premolar morphology as evidence to support the application of a new genus and species – M. palaeojavanicus. This conclusion was revised in 1989, when Kramer concluded that the size was within the size range of H. erectus.

Sangiran 7

Dating to between 1.51 and 1.6 million years of age, Sangiran 7 (comprising 54 teeth) was recovered from 1937 to 1941. Fred Grine analysed some of the teeth in 1984, but it would be a decade later before he revised his earlier conclusion that they were hominin. As a result, three teeth FS 67, 72 and 83 were re-attributed to Pongo sp.

Wilfrid Le Gros Clark (1895 – 1971)

Sangiran 8

Uncovered in 1952, Sangiran 8 comprises fragment of mandible, with some teeth roots intact and a complete third molar crown. This individual is interpreted to have died in the jaws of a crocodile, based upon the scare marks on the fossil. The fossil was first described in 1953 by P. Marks concluding it lay outside the size range of H. erectus. In 1955, Le Gros Clark concluded that the fossil was within the range of H. erectus and that has remained the official attribution for Sangiran 8 ever since.

Sangiran 27

This partial adult cranium was first found in 1978 near Sangiran village, north of the River Chemoro and it was found as construction was underway on a new dam. The skull was found in the upper levels of the Sangiran Formation dating to between 1.66 and 1.58 million years of age. The fossil was described by Teuku Jacob in 1980, in which he attributed it to Meganthropus but was taxonomically revised in 2008 for reasons similar to the taxonomic revision of Sangiran 8. Indriati and Anton (2008) also noted that hyper-robust features of the fossil reflects earlier representatives of H. erectus.

Modern Uses of Meganthropus

Though taxonomically and scientifically redundant, Meganthropus is used by pseudoscientific Creationists as evidence for the Nephilim, giants that lived before Noah’s flood, referenced from an Iron Age manuscript called the “Book of Enoch”.

Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre (1624) – Giovanni Lanfranco (1582 – 1647)

A trickle of scientific papers and posters have been published and presented over the decades, claiming evidence for Meganthropus. Authors have suggest that Sangiran 5 is evidence of the existence of an older, “more robust morph”, with pongo-like characteristics. Suggesting that a Gigantopithecus-like counterpart lived in island South-East Asia. The most recent appearance of support for Meganthropus was at the 83rd annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in 2014, a team of scientists led by Clement Zanolli presented a poster on their analysis of a fossil mandible fragment code named Arjuna 9. They suggested that teeth had enamel thickness and dental tissue proportions that differed from those seen in H. erectus. The statistical analysis of the enamel-dentine junction also seemed to support an attribution to Pongo sp. The fact remains, no evidence exists to support classifying the Javan fossils as Meganthropus.

17 thoughts on “Meganthropus palaeojavanicus – The Early Years of Palaeoanthropological Research (1942 – 1955)

  1. First you say that Meganthropus is only used in modern times by Creationists, then you say that Arjuna 9 was described by scientists. So are these scientists creationists?
    I think not.
    From the description you have provided alone anyone with common sense can tell that a large, basal subspecies or “ethnic” group of homo erectus must have lived on Java between 1.6 million and 700 k ago.
    And you don’t even bother to mention the double sagittal crests on several of the specimens or the tooth size, which is only rivaled by Denisovans and the Red deer Cave people.
    No one believes Creationist, not even the majority of Christians. Why do people tell lies that hurt science in an effort to debunk them?
    There were species of Heidelberg that were 7 foot tall on average. there were probably species of homo erectus that were really big too.
    It’s a fact.
    Don’t try to change it just because you don’t like that some people call them Nephilim.
    The world is still a lot older than 5000 years and the process of evolution is still evident in the fossil record.

    1. Hello Joseph. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive criticism. I will now respond. Please note, that I leave the modern usage of the term to the end of the article. The majority of the article is about how the term came into existence and it’s torturous use to the present day. I do feel you are unnecessarily jumping to conclusions. Early palaeoanthropologists had a habit of naming anything they saw. Today, palaeoanthropologists spend less time arguing over names and more time on more important questions. Nowhere, do I suggest von-Keonigswald was a creationist. I have not investigated his personally held beliefs, so I’m not qualified to comment. The idea of subspecies in hominin evolution is not a generally accepted position. The last time a new hominin subspecies was proposed scientifically in 2003 by Timothy D. White’s team – Homo sapiens idaltu – but we have barely seen this in the scientific literature since then. That’s a sure sign, so self-respecting palaeoanthropologist would accept such a taxonomic appellation.

      The “Red Deer People” was first described in 1979 and Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales headed a re-analysis of the specimens . To start, the majority of palaeoanthropologists find Curnoe very odd. In 2010, he published a paper in an obscure journal claiming that one of the South African skulls is a new species of human – Homo gautengensis – in conversations with skilled palaeoanthropologists in the aftermath of the publication, I got the impression that, that paper hurt the reliability of Curnoe. So, he is a troublesome character. He attempted and failed to give a new species status to the Red Deer People, so he resorted to using public media to his advantage, by ensuring that the catchy “Red Deer People” would flood broadsheets and tabloids. It worked and unfortunately confused many of my friends who did not know the nuances of the paper published.

      With regard to Denisova, all we have is are two teeth and a phalanx. This is why we do not have Homo denisova. Archaeogenetics is powerful, but not powerful enough to name a new species. No palaeoanthropologist would think it worthwhile to compare Denisova, the RD people and the javan hominins to eachother. Where do I start here…………….Dating. They all date to different points in the Pleistocene. Not to mention the sites from which these fossils came are notoriously difficult to date.

      You make a slight error, saying Sagittal crests, you mean sagittal keels. The double sagittal keel was first described in 1991 (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02435533#page-1) and applied to Sangiran 31. There was no evidence of double sagittal keeling on any of the other hominins. Not that it makes much difference, in the long run, due to the fact this is mere human variation.

      It is very unfair to characterise my article as lies that hurt science. This article for starters is not a mega-hit, written by a pulitzer prize winning author. It is a public science article that hopefully enlighens about the world of palaeoanthropology.

      I was horrified to read the Wikipedia article on Meganthropus to find it poorly written and confusing and unscientific. This article was an attempt to counter that.

      No palaeoanthropologist would ever suggest that the Mauer Mandible came from a 7ft tall human. You cannot gauge body size by mandible’s alone. As far as speculation is concerned, the Mauer Mandible (often attributed to Homo heidelbergensis) belonged to your average sized human around 5ft 6″.

      Homo erectus IS a species. There is no such thing as species of Homo erectus. I recommend this book (http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/books/the-complete-world-of-human-evolution-softcover-second-edition) to help you refresh and update your flawed understanding of hominin evolution.

      Some historians suggest that the Nephilim was inspired by the fossil record. So, fossil mammoth have been found all over the world. These finds may have inspired the Cyclops and the Nephilim. Using religion was a handy yet flawed method to explain these discoveries away.

      After reading your entire comment, it appears you need to read a little deeper, but I find the last few lines comforting.

      Thanks ever so much for offering your constructive criticism to this article. I hope I have given you an adequate response. Please do follow and don’t forget to share this article as far as you can. Thanks again. Your contribution is always appreciated.

      1. Charles, I appreciate your very thorough explanation. . However, I disagree that my view is flawed. I understand that it is no longer academic or politically correct to put hominids in a subspecies, and that is a major problem for the field. There are many subspecies of white tailed deer, subspecies of zebra with varying chromosome numbers. But no subspecies for hominids, despite how different we are from idaltu? Why do humans get special pleading? There is absolutely no way that Red Deer Cave people came solely from homo sapien sapiens. There is absolutely no way that anything less than an archaic hominid with several several hundred thousand years of evolution separate from our own could have evolved those archaic traits. Floresiensis can not have evolved from anything else but a very early member of homo, along a separate lineage from our own. Only gorillas, Bili apes, and Paranthropus have sagittal keel. If two specimens in Java have sagittal keels and all the rest of homo doesn’t, it most likely means that those Javan specimens evolved straight from an advanced austro and not erectus, which don’t have sagittal keels. The “meganthropus” skull we’re discussing is bigger than a paranthropus, bigger than a human, bigger than a Bili ape, and bigger than a gorilla and if he was no taller than them then he had the biggest head of any primate known to science. We only have teeth and jaws of Giganthopithecus, but it’s prerfectly acceptable for scientists to agree on him being 10 to 12 feet tall. But meganthropus is a human and it might excite the dumb creationists so let’s not apply the same science to it. Several prominent scientists have said that there were populations of heidelberg that avergaed near 7 foot tall, and I cannot imagine what you would find so fantastic about that. The chinese have recently reported a find of the ancestors of the Qang avergaing 7 feet tall, and there’s good evidence that the Anaste in America were that tall too. No big deal and totally expected by anyone with common sense who realizes that height between separate genomes varied widely before the melting pot of the agricultural revolution, when 90% of Y haplogroups were exterminated or went extinct due to environmental pressures (and the genetic evidence suggests the former). The idea that mammoths and elephants inspired legends of giants is devoid of common sense, because man has been killing and skinning elephants since the Upper Paleolithic and knew very well what their bones looked like. One laughable thing I recently read was that the Tutsi were once reported to be 7 foot tall, but a more scientific assessment was done AFTER THE BANTU INVASION that found that they were only around 6 foot on average. Well duh. Don’t scientists know that Bantu were short? Don’t they know what happens when one tribe takes over another? The colonists of georgia claimed that the Yamacraw stood 6’6 on average, and that Tomochichi was over 7 foot, while the women averaged 5’2. There’s only one way that kind of sexual dimporphism can exists in a population of homo sapiens- you kill the short Yuchi men and keep the short yuchi women after a few generations they would have returned to normal man/woman height ratios. The reason I think some attitudes hurt science is because 50% of people believe in ancient aliens, and it’s not their fault. We see elongated skulls, red deer cave skulls, massive cro-magnon bones, little people with austro/ardi wrists who lived only 50k ago. Palu hominids who look even stranger…but scientists try to tell us that they are all just HSS from an African mother 180k ago. You might be able to create a theory for Palau hominids reverting back to suite of erectus, soloensis, and floresiensis traits in only 2000 years while Andaman Islanders stayed the same for 20 to 60 thousand, but only book worms will believe you- those with common sense and street smarts with experience observing things in the real world are going to reject it on instinct and probability and look for answers elsewhere that make some kind of sense. We have found one chimp fossil in what-. 3 to 6 million years of chimp evolution? It’s a partial tooth. It stands to reason, then, that we have very little of the puzzle. I can’t think of any other reason for academia to insist that Palau is from HSS alone except for their insistence that only HSS was around by 5000 years ago. What gives them the omniscience to think this? Of course more hominids were around for a lot longer than we have bones for! That’s just common sense.

      2. I love your persistence. Let me give you some of my thoughts on your comment.

        It is not politically correct to refer to subspecies, because there is simply no point to it. I had an argument with some palaeoanthropologists about the fact that subspecies named nearly everyday across the planet. I was informed that this is because, we can closely watch the genus species interact with eachother and most importantly, we have undeniable evidence that we are witnessing a new species. You cannot do that with the fossil record. I think it is also important to point out that taxonomy is not as important in human evolutionary research today as it was in the 1900’s. In the late 1942 – 1947, a group of renowned biologists developed the “Modern Evolutionary Synthesis” which really brought to an end the peculiar era of name species and subspecies. From then on, all of the species you mentioned, including Meganthropus were consigned to the bin and all the specimens were collapsed into Homo erectus. This was a massive and doubtless refreshing cleanup of hominin evolutionary research. Taxonomy in hominin evolutionary research is a communicative tool at best and at worst a distraction. We learn nothing of substance when we indulge in subspecies naming. Simply put “Humans love sex” is all that it tells us.

        Gorillas separated from our lineage around 12 million years ago. Paranthropus separate from our lineage around 3 million years ago. Homoplasy is are work here in reference to the sagittal cresting. They are not closely related, though they share one pronounced feature. I need you to read up on Homoplasy. This will help you understand the flaws of your argument in the first paragraph.

        We have known since 1947 that the fossil hominins of Java are all Homo erectus (https://www.academia.edu/12399305/Dental_features_of_Meganthropus_Sangiran_6_and_some_implications_for_hominid_phylogeny?auto=download)

        I’m with you on Gigantopithecus but don’t tell me that one or two of the Javan hominins are giants. They are Homo erectus, plain and simple.

        I curious to know why you are so ridiculously obsessed with the height of hominins. I have said all I want to say on that topic. I have nothing more to add. The so-called ‘discoveries’ of giants in China and America does not feature in peer-reviewed journals. Therefore, it is not worth my time or energy.

        Now as your paragraph progresses, I find you are making flawed claims that have absolutely no basis in science. I’m referring to your melting pot analogy. That happened everywhere. The farming revolution is just one of many millions of melting pots that have existed over the past 6 million years. You cannot link a gene with height. No geneticists would ever suggest such a thing. It is vitally important that you read PEER-REVIEWED journals and not fringe/forbidden genetics blogs.

        The pygmy elephant of Crete was discovered and brought back to England to be put on display at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. A century previously, stories abounded that there were giants found on Crete. The Greek epic poems were inspired by these discoveries throughout the greek landscape and islands. Remember these are people who have never seen an Elephant in there lives. So, how can they possibly have known. The Cyclops is one such explanation that made sense to those ancient peoples.

        Science is hurt by the minority who are given huge megaphones on places like the History channel, in order to cash in on sensation. You at considerable length about the Palu hominid. It took me a while to realise that you were talking about the Palau Homo sapiens. It turns out that the concretions on the skull misled Lee Berger and his team. He quickly abandoned the project when it was discovered that it was not more than another variant of Indonesian. Though regrettably, he did indulge in a pop science documentary that unfortunately grossly misled the public. Again the result of pathetic sensation.

        We have to date no evidence of Chimpanzee evolution at all. We can only look to the genes for that. There was an “archaeology site”, where Chimpanzees pounded nuts on anvils in Nigeria around 4000 years ago. Some have suggested that Ardipithecus ramidus was probably an early offshoot of the Chimpanzee lineage 4.4 million years ago, but that is it as far as evidence is concerned for the evolution of the chimpanzee.

        I think in summary, this comment of yours ranks as quite possibly the worst I’ve seen in the context of our discussion. I have begun to repeat myself on a number of different occasions. I shall not do that any more.

        Thanks again for your comment, though it does need serious revision.

      3. To clarify about the elongated skulls I mentioned. If you read what most scientists say about them, you get the impression that people woke up one day all over the world 5,500 years ago and said “Hey! Let’s warp our babies’ heads today for no good reason!” I guess they communicated it to each other by way of psychic powers or Sheldrake’s morphic field? And now they’ve found one in that shape in Korea with no signs whatever of artificial elongating. Well…we’ve got plenty of dolicephalic skulls in the fossil record they could have been partially descended from and who they might have been emulating. The Shanidar neanderthals were even once thought to have practiced head-binding, but now we know they were naturally like that. No surprise, because India seems to exude long skulled hybrids through most of the paleolithic.. We know that a hominid that split off from our line 1.2 million years ago was assimilated by homo sapiens in SE Asia 37 thousand years and has since spread microcephalin d to 70% of the planet, and that SE Asian hominids had elongated skulls. Where you see elongated skulls 5500 years ago after the last rapid sea rise, you also find a suite of common lithics, according to Oppenheimer, Wilhelm, and Paul Kekai Manansala. How could it be any easier to connect the dots?
        Instead, the mainstream says, “Nothing to see here, move along,” and so the public flips on Ancient Aliens because they have the common sense to know that there is an answer. I find it frustrating.

      4. Let’s see what I can do to correct your view on hominin evolution.

        Ok, so I’m convinced that you need to take a course in Hominin evolution and entirely forget all you know now.

        No anatomist will ever mention the pseudoscientific term dolicocephalic. It is a term that is consigned to history. It is NOT used today in the Anatomy laboratories.

        You need to stop reading fringe biology blog posts and read peer-reviewed journal articles. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

        Not only are you obsessed with height, you are obsessed with shape. The Shanidar hominins do not exhibit shaping – both natural or artificial. They are just representatives of a species of hominin called Homo neanderthalensis.

        I lament the quality of this comment. It is so confused and appears to prove nothing.

        Thanks again for your comment, but I recommend some vital changes.

    1. Hello Joseph, thanks for your constructive criticism. I would like to respond. Any scientific journal, does not support one hypothesis over another. Think of a peer-reviewed journal as a regulated platform to get your hypothesis out into the scientific sphere. While the Journal of Human Evolution did publish your above mentioned article in December of 1983, not only is the article 33 years old and it’s subject, a rarity, but the Journal did not support or reject it. Thanks for commenting. Please do follow and share my articles with your friends and colleagues. Your support is greatly appreciated.

      1. I understand, but would like to say that 33 years is only out of date if a follow up study has been done that destroys the findings utterly. It looks to me very much like the skull has been ignored since then.
        T clarify about the 7 foot heidelbergs, it wasn’t a comment on a single skull. “According to Lee R. Berger of the University of Witwatersrand, numerous fossil bones indicate some populations of heidelbergensis were “giants” routinely over 2.13 m (7 ft) tall and inhabited South Africa between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago.” This can be found in these three papers

        Burger, Lee (November 2007). “Our Story: Human Ancestor Fossils”. The Naked Scientists.
        ^ Jump up to: a b “Homo heidelbergensis essay”. Institute of Human Origins. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
        Jump up ^ “Scientists Determine Height of Homo Heidelbergensis”. Sci-News. June 6, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2015.

        As far as there being no “species” of homo erectus…the terminology has been so jumbled up it’s hard to communicate with.
        If I say “species of homo” then I’m including Homo habilis, rudolphensis, gautengensis, flores, archaics, neanderthals, sapiens (and austro garhi according to some). I mean only hominids that have been called erectus and ergaster in the past, without glaring austro traits like those of habilis, modjokertensis, meganthropus, georgicus and the hobbit, and I think those populations made up more than two distinct genomic populations and possessed very different traits from one another. They possessed the second OAS1 brain gene duplication and not just the first, may have possessed the third already, and we find their traces in a part of the Denisovan genome, in Denisovan-like introgression in Papuans, in the Denisovan-like genes of homo antecessor, in Microcephalin D, and in African archaic introgression…all of these point to a split 1.2 million years ago. That was when the various subspecies of advanced erectus were assimilating the subspecies of early homo. I think it’s important to differentiate them, but the PC police have screwed that up so you that you can only refer to single fossil specimens by numbers and letters that are impossible to remember.
        Maybe we won’t hurt any extinct hominids feelings now, or anyone who might have their introgression.

      2. Thanks again for your detailed comment. It’s always a pleasure to discuss this with you. I have to respond.

        Ignoring an article is also another way of discrediting a hypothesis. When Curnoe published his article in 2010 on Homo gautengensis no papers came out in the aftermath to counter it. This was simply because Darren Curnoe did not understand the correct process to diagnose a new species. It would have been a colossal waste of time to engage in debate with Curnoe. Besides, there were more important discoveries being announced that year – Australopithecus sediba.

        Now, I just need to nip this at the root. You are engaging in wild speculation regarding the height of hominins. I know this will be tough for you to even consider, but I urge you to forget all you know about hominin height and read this paper on how palaeoanthropologists guesstimate hominin size and stature:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23522822.

        Now as for the sources you give. The Lee Berger interview is not a good source. I’m horrified that Lee Berger, a renowned palaeoanthropologist said those things. Thankfully, he would not be allowed to say those things in a peer-reviewed journal. The journal reference I gave above, illustrates that. The second article you cited for me also says pretty much the same thing. Homo neanderthalensis an offshoot of Homo heidelbergensis is on average 160cm tall. Homo heidelbergensis averaged around 177cm. The book is closed on that one. When you debate with palaeoanthropologists make sure you cite a peer-reviewed journal article and not a popular science blog or interview. Your third source is not good either, but it does include the original article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248411002193.

        Yes, the genus Homo is a collection of numerous species of human that lived from about 2.8 million years ago to the present day. There is no confusion here. It seems the unreliable sources you are reading are confusing you. Again, I cannot stress this enough: A little less of the pop science and more of the peer-reviewed journals.

        Your understanding of human evolution is very complex. On one hand you spout fantastical claims about 7 foot tall hominins and on the other hand you reference proper scientific questions. Here I’m referring to the Australopithecus habilis debate. This is the first time I see you reaching a good level of debate. There are some who think Homo habilis should be lumped into Australopithecus. The fact is there is not enough of Homo habilis to make an informed decision. Since we have found no more specimens, the species has become a stagnant. In frustration some just lump it into Australopithecus. I’m on Bernard Wood’s side however. He points out that we should just leave Homo habilis alone, until we have more of it to make an informed decision.

        Now, for a long time, I wanted to argue that Homo ergaster is a legitimate species, but I’m a lone voice among a tiny group of palaeoanthropologists who think that. The acceptable way and the way I have adopted is: East African Homo erectus or Asian Homo erectus. Richard Leakey is also of the same opinion. So, I’ve all but abandoned Homo ergaster.

        “modjokertensis, meganthropus”: As I have said previously, no palaeoanthropologist references these two. I need to correct you on an error you made above. “Modjokertensis” is a disused species name. “Meganthropus” is a disused Genus name. The former name you mentioned, referred to the Modjokerto Child which was named Pithecanthropus modjokertensis but is now securely placed in Homo erectus. So, forget those two names ever existed, they are no longer used and are consigned to history.

        You mentioned the hobbit. Ok, where do I begin….Well, in 2004 an Indo-Australian team of archaeologists discovered two hominin individuals at Liang Bua, on the island of Flores Indonesia. Here, no palaeoanthropologist has any problem with calling them Homo floresiensis. When you debate with me, do not refer to them as the hobbit. They may share similarities with the mythical character from Tolkien Universe, but they are not hobbits. They are part of a species of human called Homo floresiensis.

        Homo georgicus no longer exists. The Georgian team of palaeoanthropologists now call the Dmanisi hominins, Homo erectus ergaster, georgicus. This goes against my assertion that subspecies in human evolution is just an illustration of minute variation and is unecessary. The georgian team went to an ultra-extreme level, which puzzled many palaeoanthropologists. Fred Spoor, formerly of the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, and now of University College London, pointed out that the team incorrectly diagnosed the Dmanisi hominin. They should not have done that. Simply put, it is just a variation of Homo erectus, odd though it is, given the Homo habilis like stature.

        Ok, so I’ve some bad news regarding your understanding of archaeogenetics. I’m afraid you are very confused. Let me clear things up for you. Firstly, palaeogeneticists don’t ever refer to the fossil record to compare and contrast their results. This is due, and rightly so, to the fact they are not experts in the palaeontology of hominins. Modern day genetic’s is a minefield of assumptions and generalisations. The molecular clock is guesswork and mitochondrial DNA only informs us of part of a very blurred picture. It was only last September that Nuclear DNA in fossils was successfully extracted.

        Now, you go on at length about introgression which is fine, but is it not simpler to say “Humans love sex”. That is essentially what you are saying and yes, it does NOT give you reason to name new subspecies. To diagnose a subspecies you have to go to the office of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature at the South Kensington Museum and present physical evidence that you have found a new species. You simply cannot do this with genetics. Why did you think the archaeogeneticists stopped short of naming the Denisova Hominin as a new species. The answer is simple: They cannot do it. You need fossils to do that.

        Think about it. Imagine you live much further on into the future and you excavate the ancient city of Beijing, if you were another Darren Curnoe you would argue that these ancient people should be given a separate subspecies – Homo sapiens beijingensis. Yes, it looks ridiculous, but that’s probably because it is. So, if you wish to be respected in a debate with a palaeoanthropologist and not look like the fringe crowd, then reference subspecies less and ensure you separate your thoughts on genetics from those of the fossil record. The two are not compatible when you get down to detailed levels.

        As always, keep your thought coming. I delight in helping you see hominin evolution in a clearer light. Thanks again.

  2. A simpler way to put all this:
    Scientist must understand that if the NBA were isolated with the NWBA for a period of several thousand years in a place of moderate temperature and terrain, then it would likely create an ethnic group that was well above 6 foot tall on average. In 500,000 years and lots of population isolation, the laws of probability grant that tall people must have been stuck together at least once. Early cro-magnons were several inches taller on average than late cro-magnons, and some populations of african “heidelberg” were taller than even they were. So why do scientists think that any population with an average height that’s higher than modern is some kind of fantasy? 70% of Y haplogroups went extinct during the agricultural revolution. That’s when the many took over the few and killed their men. They took over all kinds of forest people, the tall tribes and the short tribes, and then staple food malnutrition shrank them down some more, and we’re only now recovering due to modern tech. Over the past 3 million years, there have always been two types of hominids in every ecological zone- a gracile one and a robust one, a short one and a tall one, one with big canines and one with flatter teeth, each presumably exploiting a slightly different niche. The only thing that changed that was the abandonment of those niches somewhere at the end of the ice age..

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Again it grossly misinformed using words that sound vaguely scientific. You have set the bar really very low with this one. I’m afraid you should read my essay of comments on your previous contribution. Here, you say so much and yet you say nothing.

  3. One last comment on this subject…if I were a 5’4 natufian tending my garden with my rotten teeth and my frail wheat-sick bones, and a group of robust 6’6 hunter gatherers rolled up on me and took my wife…I’d call that a giant attack.
    The Chinese are claiming 7 1/2 feet tall on average for their recent Sichuan finds dated to less than 5k ago, and there were groups in China at that time that averaged 5’4 among males..

    1. I’m grateful for your comments, but they are so representative of fringe science and sensation, that I’ve lost the will to debate. Thanks again. If you need any more information, please do read my previous comments.

  4. Keerthi says:

    Thank-you so much for a fascinating read, both for the article and the comments responses. I have to say you are a natural explainer. Although you gave the comments by Prehistoric Fiction Writer short shrift, I am glad you gave in depth responses as the arguments presented were instructive to lay-men such as myself. I will follow you on Facebook for sure.

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