Early man evolved, evolutionary scientists assure us. But it’s not clear what is evolving more: our ancestors, or the tales told about them. One thing that is clear is that everything you were taught in school is wrong. That matches the loose definition of evolution (change over time).
What he said of a sediba baby: Lee Berger continues to milk his Australopithecus sediba fossils for all the press they can deliver, and now he has a whopper: skin so soft on baby sediba bones. According to New Scientist, baby Seddy and his mom may have been mummified by falling into a pool without oxygen in a South African cave. (For other speculative plots, see the article.) “If the bone coating does turn out to be skin, it will be the first discovery of soft tissue from an ancient hominin,” reporters Catherine Brahic and Rowan Hooper wrote. Ancient is right; on the evolutionary timeline, the fossil is nearly 2 million years old. That’s not all: “Hair might be present, proteins such as keratin and even DNA might be extracted from the tissue, allowing us to dig even deeper into our history, and determine exactly how this species evolved, or even mated with other hominid species.”
Curlers and razors were not found yet, but Berger and team reassure us progress is being made despite the upset applecart: “Together, the two impressive fossils are calling into question the history of our species, and offering never-seen-before insights into how our very early ancestors lived.” So even though the discovery calls into question what we were told before, Brahic and Hooper were sure we are right on the verge of determining exactly how our alleged ancestors lived and hybridized with other species. The bones, though, are an “an odd mix of structures similar to ones seen in chimpanzees, australopithecines and even Homo erectus.” Which other hominid would they want to go dating with? No worries, mate. This is a spiritual experience. A little palm reading gave them the chills:
It is strangely moving to hold it, knowing that this is an exact replica of a hand of one of our most ancient relatives. The bones looked frail and slight lying on the black felt, but fit snugly on my palm, knuckles lining up to knuckles … This woman, who died 1.9 million years ago after falling down a watering hole in what is now South Africa, had hands remarkably similar to mine….
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