The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack by Ian Tattersall

 Books, Human Ancestors, paleoanthropology  Comments Off on The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack by Ian Tattersall
Aug 312017
 

 The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack: and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution 
by Ian Tatersall

For those interested in unknown primates, the subject of paleoanthropology should be a subject of great interest.  After all, sasquatches came from some lineage in the paleoanthropological family tree, so the more we learn about our ancient ancestory, the more we learn about sasquatches and the other undiscovered hominoids.  It is with this focus that I eagerly devoured Tattersall’s 2015 book,  The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack: and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution.  

The book’s author, Ian Tattersall, is the Curator Emeritus in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Though he started his schooling specializing in lemurs, his life’s journey has twisted and turned enough to find himself in a prominent and influential position well-earned through experience and publication.

The book is a chronological tale of the history of paleoanthropology, its major players, and their specific discoveries from Aristotle and the other Greek anatomists through to the most active players in the field in 2015.  Significantly, this includes the discovery of Homo floresiensis, though much more work has been done on those fossil hominins since the publication of the book.  Credit must be given to Tattersall for his acknowledgment that these Floresian “Hobbits” were strangely archaic in morphology, and begging for a closer look, even back when he was writing the book.  

I found the book’s story to be a fascinating one, and hugely pertinent to sasquatch studies.  Since sasquatches are real animals, they, like humans, have ancestors represented in the fossil record.  Much can be learned about sasquatches simply by studying those bipedal hominins that came before them (and the same can be said about humans, which is why paleoanthropology is such an important and interesting science).  

Much of the book shows how some stubborn ideas became ingrained into the scientific paradigms of the day.  One such idea repeatedly mentioned in the book is the “One Species Hypothesis,” which in paleoanthropology means that there can only be one “human-type” animal existing in an area at a time.  The newer type would move in and drive the previous, more archaic species to extinction.  For example, it was thought for decades that neanderthals were the direct predecessor to modern humans, and that when we came on the scene, we made the neanderthals go extinct.  We now know this is not exactly true (though our arrival may have played a role in driving them to extinction), and that neanderthals were a distinct side branch on the evolutionary tree rather than our predecessor, but this example does illustrate the ill-fated idea of the “One Species Hypothesis.”  

Tattersall shows how the Single Species Hypothesis is no longer thought to be true, so he notes that numerous species of pre-human hominins lived concurrently on the planet, and indeed in the same areas at the same time.  Curiously, he states unequivocally, more than once in the book that humans are the only hominin left alive on the planet.  I guess I can’t blame him, but he is sure in for a surprise!

For anyone interested in the sasquatch subject who loves the science behind mystery, I fully recommend this book.  The overview of paleoanthropology is succinct and enlightening.  The scientific language is digestible, not putting too many of the terms far above the head of the reader.  Tattersall’s writing style is fully accessible to most scientifically-literate readers and laymen alike.  

To purchase this book, click this link, or on the picture of the book cover above.  

Disclaimer: This page was made possible by a partnership from Amazon Associates who grants me a small commission on what you buy through the links. But, all opinions and reviews are my own, and these products wouldn’t be featured if I didn’t think it could help you be a better bigfooter.  

More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers

 Anthropology, Asia, Human Ancestors  Comments Off on More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers
Feb 102017
 

Signs of a tsunami? Ancient tools from the island of Sulawesi show that human ancestors island-hopped around Southeast Asia, perhaps illuminating the origins of the ancient tiny humans called hobbits. – Photo by Erick Setiabudi

A new article published in Nature details the latest developments in the study of mysterious stone tools discovered on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.  The makers of these tools remains unknown and is pondered in a previous blog article on this site.  

This discovery is pertinent to the study of bigfoot for several reasons.  First of all, at least three species of unknown hominoids are reported throughout Indonesia.  One fits the description of the orang pendek on Sumatra which can be speculated to be a type of bipedal orangutan.  The other is more manlike, but smaller, and is referred to as the ebu gogo on the island of Flores.  This form is probably a relict form of Homo floresiensis.  The last of the three commonly reported forms fits the description of the North American sasquatch, and is in fact present in the folklore of Sulawesi where the tools were found.  

While it is unlikely that the larger, sasquatch-like form is responsible for these tools, the study of pre-modern humans and our relatives should always be encouraged.  It is within this framework that the sasquatch will eventually be recognized by science.  Though paleoanthropology is a newer science, it will certainly help provide a foundation for the subject of bigfoot and other unknown hominoids in the near future.  

For interested readers, the best book (by far) to detail the possible unknown hominoids found in the folklore of Southeast Asia is Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective by Gregory Forth.  It is detailed, scientific, and open-minded while remaining skeptical.  For any serious student of wildmen in that part of the world, I cannot recommend this book enough.  

 

Archaeologists dug deep in Sulawesi, excavating 10 meters down. Photo by Dida Yurnaldi

Ancient tools may shed light on the mysterious ‘hobbit’

The “hobbit” had neighbors. Back in 2004, researchers announced the discovery of this tiny, ancient human, which apparently hunted dwarf elephants with stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores 18,000 years ago. Its discoverers called the 1-meter-tall creature Homo floresiensis, but skeptics wondered whether it was just a stunted modern human. In the years since, researchers have debunked many of the “sick hobbit” hypotheses. Yet scientists have continued to wonder where the species came from.

Now, an international team originally led by the hobbit discoverer reports stone tools, dated to 118,000 to 194,000 years ago, from another Indonesian island, Sulawesi, likely made by another archaic human—or possibly by other hobbits. “It shows that on another island we have evidence of a second archaic early human,” says paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was not involved with the work. The discovery makes the original hobbit claim appear more plausible, he says, by suggesting that human ancestors may have island-hopped more often than had been thought.

After international debate over the hobbit’s origins, co-discoverer Michael Morwood—then an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia—set out to search other islands from which the tiny humans may have come. Java—more than 800 kilometers west of Flores but with a chain of islands in between—was already known to be the ancient home of the human ancestor H. erectus, a globe-trotting species that dates as far back as 1.7 million years ago. But Morwood instead set out for Sulawesi, 400 kilometers to the north, because powerful ocean currents sweep southward from this island toward Flores. Researchers had already found some simple stone tools on Sulawesi, but they couldn’t date the artifacts because they were found on the ground rather than buried with datable minerals.  

Click this link to read the rest of the article.

Oct 012013
 
Comparison of the skeletons of three bipedal mammals:
an Egyptian jerboa, an eastern gray kangaroo and a human.
(Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Austin)

This sounds like a no-brainer, but the scientific debate has lingered for almost 90 years.  Finally, the relationship between the foramen magnum (the hole at the base of your skull through which the brain stem transmits) and bipedalism has been proven beyond doubt.

This is important to us bigfooters in regards to future cranial discoveries of apes, and particularly hominids and our ancestors.  As we learn more about bigfoots, humans, and our relationship on the primate family tree, we need to know where the big hairy guys belong.  Are they hominids?  Are they Silvapithecus offshoots?  Are they something else entirely?  Only by learning about our ancestors can we shed any light onto these mysteries.  Certainly, chief among the concerns about possible ancestory would be bipedalism.

Anthropologists Confirm Link Between Cranial Anatomy and Two-Legged Walking
Sep. 26, 2013 — Anthropology researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have confirmed a direct link between upright two-legged (bipedal) walking and the position of the foramen magnum, a hole in the base of the skull that transmits the spinal cord.

Jan 092011
 

Whenever an article is published about human ancestors, I always read it with my bigfoot goggles on, meaning  that I look for connections to sasquatches. I strongly suspect that bigfoots are humans’ closest living relatives (although I leave plenty of room for other hypothetical species of bigfoot-like critters from other parts of the world), and if this is true it makes sense that we can learn about sasquatches by learning about humans.

Right now, bonobos and chimps hold the title of our closest cousins.  Since chimpanzees and humans share nearly 96% of their DNA sequence, it should be expected that sasquatches would be right in that ballpark too, if not even closer in relation.

The following article caught my eye, not only because of the human ancestor connection, but also because it mentions cross-breeding.  The anthropological community (which you are a part of if you’re interested in apes, humans, sasquatches, and the connections between them) will be hearing a lot more about cross-breeding in the coming years, so start brushing up on it now.

A molar tooth of a Denisova, a group of early humans
who lived in central Asia about 40,000 years ago.



NEANDERTHAL RELATIVE
BRED WITH HUMANS

A previously unknown Siberian group, the Denisovans,
left fingerprints in some humans’ DNA.

Content provided by Laura Sanders, Science News



Neanderthals need to make room for a new kid sister in the early human family.  


By sequencing the full genome of a girl’s fossil finger bone found in a Siberian cave, researchers conclude that there must have been a closely related sister group of Neanderthals living in central Asia about 40,000 years ago. The data also show that, like Neanderthals, the mysterious group interbred with modern humans, in this case leaving behind a genetic fingerprint in modern-day Melanesians of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Island, nearly 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) from where the fossil was found.


The new genetic information, reported Dec. 23 in Nature, underscores the fluidity of human evolution and hints that even more groups are waiting to be uncovered [emphasis added by Cliff], says paleoanthropologist Milford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “We’re just scraping the outside of what’s probably a much more complex picture.”


Read the rest of the article here.