Open Thread For May

Comment ye here, oh followers of the Earth Pig! Extra likes for all discussion of decorative tiles, homophobic Jamaican pop singers and yurts.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

318 thoughts on “Open Thread For May”

  1. There’s a British comedy show called Have I Got News for You, which is a humorous take on current news stories. The format is that they have two resident comedians as competing team leaders, and each show has a different guest quiz master and two guest comedian team members, one to go with each team leader.

    It’s generally pretty funny, but I have to question their judgement of appropriate guest ‘comedians’ in some cases. For one show they invited Nigel Farage, who was decidedly unfunny, except that everyone else on the show kept taking the piss out of him, but unfortunately only mildly. But he was just too nauseating to keep watching, so I switched it off after 15 minutes. What a truly vile little person he is; abominably rude and insulting to people who haven’t done anything to deserve it, for one thing.

    Like

    1. So, an European Trump, then? Why did people wait so long before throwing stuff at him? In Sweden we have practiced “tårtning” (throwing cream cakes into peoples faces) for a decade.

      Like

  2. A police station in Malmö has a lot of problems with rats, neither poison nor traps seem to work.
    I seem to recall that in victorian times, factories employed specimen of Felis Catus for this very purpose. A radical idea, I know, but maybe they should try it.

    Like

    1. 1. You need terriers for rats; they’re too big and fierce for cats.

      2. Rodents eat cat shit and get infested with Toxoplasma gondii which, like many parasites, has evolved an amazingly cunning strategy to spread itself. One of the effects it has on rodents is that it increases their desire to breed, so by getting in cats to control rodents, all you are doing is increasing the size of the rodent plague they are meant to control. Of course, not all cats carry Toxo, but a high % now do and it’s increasing.

      Terriers are the solution, and they don’t carry Toxo. Fox Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, they’re all pretty good at catching rats. They’re also hyperactive and a pain in the arse, but no one is perfect, and those are behavioural traits that contribute to their ability as rat catchers.

      Like

      1. They also catch and kill snakes.

        But as household pets they can be a real pest due to hyperactivity/over-exuberance – jump all over you and the furniture all the time, and they’re little bastards to take out for a walk. Straining on the leash all the time, no idea where they are going and no clue about how to get home again. You dare not let them off the leash because they will just race off in random directions and get irretrievably lost. Dumb. Compared to sheep dogs I have known, they are little morons of the dog world, but then kelpie sheep dogs can be astonishingly smart.

        Like

    2. Random factoid for today: the Province of Alberta in Canada has no rats (it has native pack rats and musk rats, but not the invasive species ironically called the Norwegian rat – ironic because it originated in northern China; I don’t know what the Norwegians did to deserve getting it named after them, except I recall that Norway was one of the areas particularly hard hit by the Black Death) – not one rat; zero; none. I don’t blame the rats – I wouldn’t want to live in Alberta either.

      Like

      1. I know some people who live in Alberta, some of whom are not originally from that province.

        There is some nice scenery in the mountains in the southwestern part of the province, e.g., Banff National Park (I have been there). And my impressions of Calgary from one brief visit there is that it’s not too bad for an inland Canadian city. I’ve never been to Edmonton, which I understand is more typical of North American cities. But the politics skews quite conservative: Alberta is to Canada what Texas is to the US, with an economy based on oil and cattle ranching. Living in the prairie anywhere outside of Calgary and Edmonton does not strike my fancy, and anything north of Edmonton is going to be extremely isolated (as well as subject to bursts of -40 degree cold). Edmonton is Canada’s northernmost major city, at about the same latitude as Manchester or Belfast in the UK, but with much wider temperature swings due to its inland location.

        Alberta would definitely not be my first choice of places to visit or live, but you can do a lot worse.

        Like

      2. This seems like a nice example of one species preventing newcomers from establishing themselves in the same ecological niche.
        Another example comedy from dentistry; if you have “good” bacteria in your mouth cavity it is hard for more destructive ones to establish themselves and make you toothless.
        .
        Re. Alberta and other praire provinces: The dry air has reduced the corrosion of unprotected iron, so a lot of really old cars and tractors were found there and later restored to mint condition.

        Like

      3. I understand why you would think that, Birger, but that is not the reason that Alberta has no invasive rats.

        Google “Alberta rats” to learn the real reasons. Long story short: the northern border is too cold for rats to survive, the western border is blocked by the Rocky Mountains, which rats are unable to cross, south of the southern border there is literally nothing for hundreds of kilometres, so nothing for rats to live on. The northern part of the eastern border is also too cold, just leaving the southern portion of the eastern border that rats can cross, and the authorities patrol that section vigilantly to identify rat infestations and eradicate them before they can spread. And keeping pet rats in Alberta is illegal.

        Like

  3. Manhattanhenge; Neil deGrasse Tyson just put a fun video on Youtube.
    It is “Memorial Day”, and it coincides with an astronomical alighnment in Manhattan that will confuse future archaeologists.

    Like

    1. There is a related phenomenon at MIT called MIThenge. The main corridor at MIT is several hundred meters long, and the setting sun aligns with the corridor on certain dates in November (around the US Thanksgiving holiday) and January. As with Manhattanhenge, the alignment is based on a nearby river: the Charles in the case of MIT, the Hudson in the case of Manhattan. It is possible that sea level rise will obscure this relationship, or even obliterate these sites.

      Most US street grids are aligned to cardinal directions. This is a byproduct of the surveying methods used to divide most of the US (particularly from Ohio westward, but also in Florida) into townships and sections, with 36 sections (each a square one statute mile on a side, about 2.6 km^2) comprising a township (a 6*6 arrangement of sections). Roads were built along section (and sometimes half- or quarter-section) boundaries, and became thoroughfares in areas that subsequently underwent suburban development–of course the north-south roads have to shift a bit east or west every 6 or 12 miles (10 or 20 km) to account for the curvature of the earth. The township was originally intended to be equivalent to a Swedish komun or a German gemeinde, and still is in some states. Townships also exist in the northeastern US (Pennsylvania to Maine), but in those states township boundaries need not align with cardinal directions or have square corners, since many of them existed before systematic surveys began further west.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I strongly approve of such aligned grid systems for streets, as they greatly facilitate way-finding. Unfortunately all of those straight roads are taken as encouragement by drivers to drive too fast, so then authorities feel the need to introduce “traffic calming” measures like speed bumps, round-abouts at intersections, unnecessary wiggly sections, etc. Speed bumps don’t make me feel calm at all, they drive me nuts. People driving very high performance cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis that have very small underside clearance have to slow to a crawl so they don’t bottom out on the bumps. With my current car I suffer the same problem to a lesser extent. You might well question the intelligence of someone who buys a car like a Ferrari or Lamborghini to drive in HK – the highest legal speed they can drive at anywhere in HK is 90 kph and that in only fairly short sections, and they are absolute pigs to drive in heavy traffic, not to mention being fiendishly uncomfortable to ride in.

      Unfortunately, most of HK’s topography does not lend itself to such grid systems, and unassisted way-finding here is consequently a bloody nightmare. Once I thought I knew my way home without checking the street maps and ended up circumnavigating the whole of Hong Kong Island just trying to get home. I also once drove through the cross-harbour tunnel from HK Island to Kowloon without intending to and had to find a way to turn around and drive back through it again to get home. This problem was been made infinitely worse by a proliferation of bizarrely complicated spaghetti junctions as the road authority desperately tries to keep pace with the growth of private car ownership in a territory that just doesn’t have the space to accommodate them all.

      If you want to invest in property in HK, your best bet is to buy a car parking space – guaranteed you can rent it out for a high return, no maintenance costs, and you are guaranteed to get a big capital gain if you sell it again a few years later. Often I leave my car at home and use public transport simply because there is nowhere to park the bloody thing anywhere near to where I want to go to. It now mostly serves as a free taxi service for my wife and/or daughter, where I drive them and drop them somewhere and then just drive home again. It definitely had a purpose when I was going in to the office every day, which was when I let my daughter talk me into buying it, but those days are gone now.

      Like

      1. Yes, street grids are great for wayfinding, especially when, as in many US cities, the streets are numbered or lettered, or have a systematic naming scheme. I grew up in such a place, with the numbering arranged such that the numbers changed by 10 if you went one mile east or west, and 16 if you went one mile north or south. (Other cities have different details but similar schemes). So I could easily figure out how far I was from my destination.

        There are cases where street grids are taken to unhealthy extremes. There are many blocks in San Francisco where the “street” consists of a staircase, or is interrupted by a staircase, because the city fathers insisted on imposing a grid on some rather hilly topography. The wiggles on the block of Lombard St. known as “Crooked Street” are there to make the grade shallow enough for cars to manage without endangering pedestrians at the bottom of that hill.

        Yes, a major downside of long straight streets is the speeding cars. That can be mitigated by making the streets narrow, but that solution is considered unthinkable in much of the US and Canada, and probably Australia as well.

        I also have the experience of living in places like Boston that do not have a citywide grid. Most European cities are like that as well–visitors from Europe generally report no difficulty navigating Boston’s streets, while those from west of the Hudson River typically do, because Boston conforms better to expectations of the former group than the latter. That’s in addition to Boston drivers’ reputation for an aggressive driving style–it is aggressive compared to most places in the US, but not especially aggressive by European (or Asian, for that matter) standards.

        Like

      2. Yeah, street narrowing is one of the suite of standard “traffic calming” measures that traffic engineers utilise. It is one of the measures used in both HK, and in suburban Australian streets which are not major through roads.

        Like

  4. Another video by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
    “Death by giant meteor ”
    NDGT is a brilliant science educator. He makes the subject simple enough to be understood, without dumbing it down.

    Like

  5. In OT (relevant for Christians and Jews alike) it is clearly stated that living things are only alive because Yaweh/El has inserted his spirit of life (“ruach”) into them.
    But today biologists have created an organism (maybe a bacteria, I do not recall the exact details) with a “minimalist genome” (less genes than a natural organism) and work is on the way to create the first organism with a completely synthetic genome. This conclusively proves life is a biological process, and you do not need ruach. You do not even need the lightning Dr. Frankenstein used. I think science journalists have failed to hammer home this point.

    Like

    1. Buddhists have a macabre but interesting mind experiment – if you take a person and start progressively amputating parts of him/her, at which point does he/she cease to be a person? That is the basis for their claim that there is no such thing as an individual human soul. You can extend that argument to any living organism. But that kind of makes a nonsense of them saying you shouldn’t stamp on cockroaches.

      Like

  6. There is an ex-muslim on Youtube that goes by the name “Christian Prince” and apparenly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of islamic scripture- when questioned about something he immediately finds the relevant quranic verse or hadith on internet, and he can read the original arabic so he is not dependent on english translations (important since some translations are deliberately watered down- the sun setting in a “muddy spring” might be altered to “setting in a sea”) .
    It is a delight to watch him at work taking apart nonsensical texts.
    Unfortunately, his spoken English is crappy, so you need a bit of patience.
    .
    Now, I would welcome a bit of Youtube films taking apart the various versions of evangelical stuff- such films exist but not in the numbers I would have expected. Since some of their beliefs (rapture, anyone?) are outright heresies from the viewpoint of older sects I would have thought more youtubers would have taken a wrecking ball to the theology . And snake handling is just lining up for the Darwin Award.

    Like

  7. There is apparently some Swedish pseudocelebrity named Jimmy Thim. I only found out about his existence because he just murdered a bloke with a shotgun, and the newspapers referred to him by name in the headline.
    If you see a celebrity, do not approach them, just call the police (the last line is stolen from The Simpsons).

    Like

  8. Anton Petrov at Youtube:
    “Scientists have discovered why our Moon has two very different sides” -a summary of discoveries by the recent Chinese rover etc.
    Apparently the Moon was hit by a Ceres-sized object. And the Moon itself was created by Earth colliding with a Mars-sized object. The early solar system was not a nice place to live in.

    Like

  9. WTF? Silvio Berlusconi is one of the new members of the EU parliament. But at 82, I hope he will not have the energy to create much chaos.
    .
    Today’s Dagens Nyheter has an article proving the increased influx of refugees in Sweden is not the cause of more reported rapes.
    .
    Re. sexuality – young people in USA, Britain, Japan and Sweden are having less sex.
    My theory; they spend all the time with social media, which arguably is more hygienic. The pathogens will be false memes and conspiracy theories instead of HIV.

    Like

    1. The thinking that things always move in a linear forward and upward progression is wrong.

      The current generation of people in their teens and 20s is less promiscuous than their parents’ generation. My personal theory is that the ‘golden age’ of f*cking around was the 1970s, when the birth control pill became widely and freely available, STDs of all kinds were fairly well under control and HIV had not yet emerged. That all changed when AIDS emerged, first coming to public attention among the gay male community in San Francisco in the very early 1980s, quickly followed by the news that it could be transmitted heterosexually. That had real a chilling effect. Plus other STDs are making a comeback – there is currently an outbreak of syphilis among Aboriginal communities in Queensland. Everyone thought syphilis was a thing of the past with the advent of penicillin. Nope.

      A similar sort of phenomenon is now happening with the retreat from globalisation, liberal democracy and moderate/centrist politics, and rise of populism, race supremacy and all of that, and a new cold war developing between the USA and China which is now being characterised by Whatsername as a cold war between civilisations/races that are alien to one another – you can bet she’s not the only person saying it, especially now she has stated it publicly. I don’t believe she is anywhere near smart enough to have thought that up by herself; not in the terms in which she stated it. ‘Caucasians’ vs Chinese is like a re-emergence of the old Yellow Peril meme of the 1920s and earlier, and something you would expect to hear from white supremacists, not an African American woman in the US State Department. And she did also push the idea of ‘integrity of nations’, which was just code for isolationism, meaning US isolationism, which is a reversion to pre-WWII US foreign policy.

      Things are suddenly looking pretty fraught for Australia, pulled between its biggest military ally and its biggest trading partner, and with the Asia/Pacific and East/South China Sea now looking like a potential military flashpoint.

      Like

    2. Soo… in the future half the population will be brownshirts and half the population will be clones of Beavis and Butt-head, living in a greenhouse Mad Max scenario.

      Like

    3. I don’t know who Beavis and Butt-head are, and I don’t think I want to know, so I can neither confirm nor deny your prognostication.

      Retreat from globalisation, isolationist foreign policies, rise of popularism and ultra-nationalism, and right wing extremism are no-brainers because they are already happening/have happened and, as we have heard from Dr Kiron Brainstrust Skinner, ‘national integrity’ is already being built into future US foreign policy. So, no crystal ball gazing by me required – it’s happening. Which way the pendulum swings from now on, who knows, but the American Left have fractured themselves, and to me at least, things really don’t look promising for the rapidly approaching 2020 election.

      One recent heartening development was that in the recent Australian federal election, there was no increased move towards popularist/extremist/xenophobic politicians and parties, and one particularly nasty neoNazi got booted out of office unceremoniously, and Moderates in both of the major parties have strengthened their positions (note: I count bona fide Socialists as ‘Moderates’ – the new leader of the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese (to rhyme with Spaghetti Bolognese), is from the Left faction of the party, but he still counts firmly as a Moderate in policy terms on my scale).

      But looking at the USA and Europe, Australia and New Zealand currently look like the odd ones out. Modi has just been re-elected by a landslide in India, so no need to guess which direction India will go in – increasing Hindu extremism and nationalism.

      Like

  10. In The Guardian:
    “Italy’s ruins; Heritage sites are being lost to negligence and looting “

    Like

    1. It would not be accurate to describe “Kookinelli” as being on the lunatic fringe. He’s hardcore crazy.

      At least one of the commenters pointed to the argument, such as it is, that supports his position. There is an exception to the prohibition on US states engaging in war without Congressional approval: if they are actually being invaded. Lots of people in Trumpistan think that immigrants, particularly those of non-European ancestry, really are an invading force. Any sane person would laugh that argument out of court, since the people attempting to enter the US are almost always unarmed. But these are crazy times.

      Like

    1. “what happens to regions that are destroyed by tsunamis” – That’s an easy question. People learn nothing from it and rebuild in the same areas. They have already rebuilt in Aceh, despite the clear evidence that devastating tsunamis affecting the area are cyclic, with a period of about 600 years.

      There is an obvious reason why they are cyclic. These tsunamis were caused by movement of the earth’s crust on subduction zones of tectonic plate boundaries. There is a lot of friction to overcome in order to get movement, so it takes time for sufficient stress to build up due to the tectonic plates attempting to move – when sufficient stress has developed to overcome the friction, then you get a sudden large movement.

      The 2004 tsunami was predictable, if people had paid attention to the geological and other evidence and thought about what it meant. When I delivered a lecture on it in HK in 2005, some in the audience laughed at me, as if what I had said was ridiculous. It wasn’t. [The people who laughed were English. No Chinese laughed. There is something to learn from that observation too.]

      Tsunamis caused by large submarine landslides are totally unpredictable. Tsunamis caused by large rockfalls from cliffs into the sea are pretty well unpredictable. Tsunamis caused by movement on subduction zones of tectonic plate boundaries are predictable, in terms of both timing and magnitude, to a near enough approximation, if people observe and map the evidence of past events.

      That tsunami that affected Sumatra in 1394 must also have affected all of the countries around the Indian Ocean that were affected by the 2004 tsunami. People in those countries should be looking for the evidence, and putting in place measures to deal with the tsunami that is sure to occur in about 600 years from now.

      But, as we see with sea level rise from climate change, people are not good at preparing for events that will happen beyond their own lifetimes. Arnold Schwarzenegger is exactly right on that. People should listen to what he said, because he knows what he is talking about.

      Like

      1. Likewise, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami turned out to be similar to one that happened about 1200 years previously. Japan has many “tsunami stones” providing warnings to seek high ground after an earthquake. After 2011 an urban legend developed that stones in the Tohoku region had been placed after the earlier tsunami, telling people not to build houses closer to shore than the stones, and that the stones pretty much separated areas of severe devastation from areas that suffered only minor damage. This is not quite the case, although there are some elements of truth to it: this story in Smithsonian magazine says most of the stones date from around 1896, and most are not so explicit, although one in the village of Aneyoshi in Tohoku actually does contain that specific warning.

        That same article also quotes a Japanese professor as saying that the memory fades in about three generations. That may be true in Japan, but as John says, that may be optimistic elsewhere.

        The Cascadia region in northwestern North America is another subduction zone that is overdue for an earthquake and tsunami. There were no European settlers in the area when the last one occurred in 1700–we know the date of that earthquake because Japanese records include the tsunami that earthquake produced. Depending on the location of the epicenter, Seattle and Vancouver may be at serious risk, and Victoria, being on an island off the coast, is even more vulnerable (Portland is far enough inland that they would likely be spared the tsunami, but they would still suffer earthquake damage).

        Like

      2. In the Cascadia region, there is lots of geological evidence (tsunami deposits which have been accurately dated using thermoluminescence), as well as Native American oral histories. The worrying thing is that as time goes on without an event, the risk from a bigger magnitude event progressively increases. (Ideally, what you want is lots of frequent small earthquakes, rather than a really big one every few hundred years or so.) I know school kids in Seattle do tsunami drills – they shelter under their desks for an imagined earthquake event, and then have evacuation routes for the tsunami event which will be presumed to follow. I don’t know about Vancouver – the Canadians are sometimes more lax/backward with a lot of this stuff than might be expected, because it depends on local and provincial authorities and how much on the ball they are for this stuff. But preparedness is one thing; recovery is another; people need to think about how a city like Seattle or Vancuver is going to recover with a lot of the buildings and infrastructure destroyed, and about lifeline services like water and food supplies, and medical services.

        After the 2004 tsunami, I talked to some Japanese engineers about various ways that Japanese communities had sought to instill awareness in communities. They have had some novel approaches, being the country most affected by tsunamis. One was that in the 19th Century, one insightful educator had tsunami awareness built in to the primary school curriculum, so they are something that all Japanese primary school kids learn about. That is the right group to target, the ‘tweeners’, i.e. the 10-12 year old age group, who are naturally disposed to learning about such things and what can be done to protect themselves and their families against them.

        But what went horribly wrong for the Japanese with the Tohoku earthquake was that communities became overly reliant on tsunami-resistant seawalls and presumed that preparedness was no longer required, and in that case the seawalls were not high enough. The single thing they got badly wrong with the Fukushima nuclear power plant was that they put the emergency power generators to keep the cooling systems running at too low elevation. If they had just put them at high enough elevation, at low additional cost, the power station would still have been inundated and damaged, but the meltdown would not have happened.

        Like

  11. A really major story that seems so far to have slipped largely under the radar is the African Swine Fever pandemic which is destroying the world’s pork farming, including in the world’s largest pork producer – China. All Chinese provinces are now infected, and it looks set to completely wipe out their pork production, which is huge. In a country where the only meat for human consumption that counts in terms of real numbers aside from chicken, that’s a cataclysmic event. It has potentially ominous consequences for where the Chinese are going to look to get their animal protein – the most obvious is that it will put hugely more pressure on capture fisheries, which are already under too much pressure.

    It hasn’t got into the USA or Australia yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Denmark I dunno – they’re pretty big on pork production.

    They’re working flat out to develop a vaccine, but there isn’t one yet, and no idea when they might succeed in developing one. The way things are going, pretty soon there won’t be any pigs to vaccinate. It would be ironic beyond belief if both domesticated and wild pigs became extinct.

    Like

    1. One consequence in trade war terms is that, with China’s whole pig population needing to be destroyed, which looks like a real prospect, they won’t be needing any American soybeans or other grains for pig feed.

      They won’t be needing any Australian barley either. They definitely will be needing Australian pork (as disgusting as it is), as long as ASF hasn’t got into Australia, but it’s a certainty that it will sooner or later. The Australian pig farmers are praying that a vaccine can be developed before that happens – if it is, there is a potential big windfall for them in selling pork to China until the Chinese can reestablish their pig herds, which could take a very long time, given how huge they are. And Vietnam – so far the Vietnamese have destroyed 1.2 million pigs, and they are small compared to China. The Chinese report having destroyed 1 million pigs so far, but the true number is assumed to be much greater.

      HK gets all of its fresh pork from the Mainland, so it looks like we won’t be eating pork chops any time soon. I’m not bothered; I’m happy enough now with milk, high protein whole grains, cheese and fish, and feeling fortunate that I am still lactose tolerant at my great advanced age.

      Like

      1. Yes, but the way Chinese astrology works, the Year of the Pig is not necessarily good for pigs (i.e. people born in a Year of the Pig) and could well be bad. Westerners never seem to get that – they think ‘their’ year will be good for them. Nope, it doesn’t work that way. (Well, of course, it doesn’t work at all because it’s astrology, but you know what I mean.)

        So far it’s been pretty damned awful for real pigs, that’s for sure, including 6,000 diseased pigs that were buried alive in a mass grave in the Mainland. Having been alerted to it, the government has now stepped in to stop desperate pig farmers from doing the same thing. Farm workers have reportedly been in tears as they have killed large numbers of diseased pigs, having raised the pigs from when they were new born piglets.

        Like

  12. ARCHAEOGENETICS AND PALAEOGENETICS OF THE BRITISH ISLES
    http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34890/

    “possible Near Eastern/North African ancestry in a Bell Beaker individual from northeastern England” – interesting but not shocking. She needs to fix her language – data is the plural of datum, not singular. It’s a PhD thesis after all. Can’t read the whole thing until 2021, and not sure I would bother anyway. I’m getting pretty bored with Europe. And India. Oh how bored I am with India.

    Like

  13. Razib Khan’s genetics + history blog is down. It seems to have been subjected to some kind of attack intended to take it down permanently. It won’t.

    Like

  14. Science May 30: An article about the migrations of pastoralists in the Rift Bailey and other parta of East Africa.
    Social barriers prevented intermarriage even though the different groups lived alongside each other for thousands of years.

    Like

  15. Australian wisdom:
    Finally a commencement address that is actually useful (the Jim Jeffries show)

    Like

  16. Jim Sits Down with North Korean Defectors – The Jim Jefferies Show

    The youngish lady defector is just brilliant.

    Like

  17. The best revenge is not to become like your enemy.
    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, book six.
    (but he wasn’t religious, so he must have been wrong)

    Like

    1. He was a wise man for his time and station in life. Pity he had the son that he did, and perplexing that, despite knowing what his son was like, he chose him to succeed him as Emperor.

      Like

  18. Archaic human remains from Hualongdong, China, and Middle Pleistocene human continuity and variation.
    https://www.pnas.org/content/116/20/9820

    I can’t read the whole paper, but from the Abstract: “Middle to Late Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia has remained controversial regarding the extent of morphological continuity through archaic humans and to modern humans.”

    So there you have it – Chinese paleoanthropologists persist in trying to prove that modern humans evolved in situ in China, while Chinese paleogenomicists simply point to the irrefutable evidence that modern Chinese have derived from a group of modern humans who migrated out of Africa. If modern humans did evolve in situ in China, they subsequently went extinct. The paper doesn’t demonstrate morphological continuity in archaic humans either – the pre-history of humans is full of instances of population replacements by incoming groups. It’s not coincidence that the list of contributing authors includes Erik Trinkaus.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. While I can’t read the above paper, some of the detail is helpfully given in a piece in the Archaeology News Network:
    https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/05/chinese-researchers-discover-300000.html#f38DBuOWwsFsHypg.97

    I got mildly excited when I looked at the looked at the illustration of different ‘types’ of ancient human fossils, and the thought dawned on me that skulls A and D and possibly E (and F?) could be the skulls of Denisovans. If they are fully fossilised, there is no way to test that, but I think it must be a possibility. But they have found some teeth which are obviously not fossilised, so it’s a matter of whether they will release those to Chinese geneticists to carry out assessments. Given the evident disagreement between the two groups, they might not. The last thing they will want is some prominent Chinese geneticists demonstrating that their theory doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s