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Sat, 06 Mar 2021
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How many early human species existed on Earth?

The skulls of various human species
© Shutterstock
The skulls of various human species.
We Homo sapiens didn't used to be alone. Long ago, there was a lot more human diversity; Homo sapiens lived alongside an estimated eight now-extinct species of human about 300,000 years ago. As recently as 15,000 years ago, we were sharing caves with another human species known as the Denisovans. And fossilized remains indicate an even higher number of early human species once populated Earth before our species came along.

"We have one human species right now, and historically, that's really weird," said Nick Longrich, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. "Not that far back, we weren't that special, but now we're the only ones left."

So, how many early human species were there?

When it comes to figuring out exactly how many distinct species of humans existed, it gets complicated pretty quickly, especially because researchers keep unearthing new fossils that end up being totally separate and previously unknown species.

"The number is mounting, and it'll vary depending on whom you talk to," said John Stewart, an evolutionary paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. Some researchers argue that the species known as Homo erectus is in fact made up of several different species, including Homo georgicus and Homo ergaster.

"It's all about the definition of a species and the degree to which you accept variation within a species," Stewart told Live Science. "It can become a slightly irritating and pedantic discussion, because everyone wants an answer. But the truth is that it really does depend."

Join us on a journey through human history and explore how evolution and ingenuity shaped us. From the first branches of the Homo family tree to the astonishing achievements our species are capable of today, "The Story of Humans" will reveal how harnessing fire and crafting tools shaped our future, how we triumphed over our Neanderthal relatives, how the invention of agriculture changed history and how the human brain developed.

Blue Planet

Burial practices point to an interconnected early Medieval Europe

castle
© Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain
Early Medieval Europe is frequently viewed as a time of cultural stagnation, often given the misnomer of the 'Dark Ages'. However, analysis has revealed new ideas could spread rapidly as communities were interconnected, creating a surprisingly unified culture in Europe.

Dr. Emma Brownlee, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, examined how a key change in Western European burial practices spread across the continent faster than previously believed — between the 6th — 8th centuries AD, burying people with regionally specific grave goods was largely abandoned in favor of a more standardized, unfurnished burial.

"Almost everyone from the eighth century onwards is buried very simply in a plain grave, with no accompanying objects, and this is a change that has been observed right across western Europe," said Dr. Brownlee.

Comment: Could it be that this change reflects the widespread adoption of new religious beliefs that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire? Also check out SOTT radio's:


Archaeology

Rare 5,000-year-old crystal dagger found in prehistoric Iberian gravesite

crystal dagger grave spain

The stunning dagger was designed to fit an ivory handle (pictured). Experts say it probably belonged to a person of wealth, as the materials were available in places far from this part of Spain
Ancient tools that once belonged to prehistoric civilizations have been found all over the world, but a discovery in Spain is unlike those traditionally made of stone or flint.

A team excavating the megalithic tomb of Montelirio tholos in 2007 through 2010 uncovered a dagger formed from rock crystal that experts say is the 'most technically sophisticated' ever to be uncovered in Prehistoric Iberia and would have taken enormous skill to carve.

The artifact, which is about 5,000 years old, is nearly 8.5 inches long and was found along with 10 arrowheads, four blades and a core for making weapons, all of which were rock crystal.

Info

Learning the Star Knowledge of First Australians

Gugurmin in the Sky
© Emu: Scott Towney; Landscape: Peter Leiverdink
Gugurmin, the emu in the sky in Wiradjuri traditions. This emu artwork by Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney now features on a $1 coin through the Royal Australian Mint.
What comes to mind when you think of an "astronomer"? Perhaps a scientist peering through a telescope, contemplating the origins of the Universe? Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

These days, a vast majority of professional astronomers spend their time behind computers instead. Modern telescopes are computer-controlled and hooked up to an array of high-precision instruments used to record vast quantities of high-precision data, far beyond the capabilities of the human eye. Astronomy is an exciting job, but only about 10,000 people work as professional astronomers today.

The work of an astronomer is one of the oldest skilled professions in the world. In ancient times, people observed the Sun, Moon and stars to navigate across land and sea, to understand the cycles of nature, and to predict seasonal changes, weather patterns, and the behaviour of plants and animals. This science is something that First Australians developed long ago. Knowledge of the stars is also used as a guide for informing traditional Law, social behaviours, kinship systems, and marriage classes - a practice that continues today.

Some of this knowledge is known communally, but the role of astronomer is usually the responsibility of highly knowledgeable individuals who observe the rising and setting of particular stars throughout the year, and keep track of the motions of the Sun, the phases of the Moon, and movements of the planets. "Indigenous astronomy" is more than the star knowledge of Indigenous people: it is the First Astronomy - the science of the stars that existed before, and independently of, the development of Western science.

The body of knowledge developed and maintained by traditional astronomers is rich and complex. Every single object in the night sky has a name, a meaning, and a link to the land. This body of knowledge is committed to memory through a powerful and enduring system of oral tradition. This utilises the power of story, song and dance to teach new generations, who memorise the information using the "method of loci". This technique involves associating a memory or bit of information to a place or object, such as a feature in the land or sky. This is why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people talk about the importance of the stars and maintaining a close connection to Country. Laws, kinship and travel routes are all encoded in the stars. This idea is encapsulated in the title of Warwick Thornton's 2017 film about the Southern Cross, We Don't Need a Map - it's already there, in the stars.

Chalkboard

Ancient indigenous New Mexican community knew how to sustainably coexist with wildfire - even during climate shifts

california
© Christopher Roos
Wildfires are the enemy when they threaten homes in California and elsewhere. But a new study led by SMU suggests that people living in fire-prone places can learn to manage fire as an ally to prevent dangerous blazes, just like people who lived nearly 1,000 years ago.

"We shouldn't be asking how to avoid fire and smoke," said SMU anthropologist and lead author Christopher Roos. "We should ask ourselves what kind of fire and smoke do we want to coexist with."

An interdisciplinary team of scientists published a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences documenting centuries of fire management by Native American farmers. The team included scientists from SMU, the University of Arizona, Harvard University, Simon Fraser University, the US Geological Survey, Baylor University, the University of Illinois, and the University of South Florida.

Comment: Surely there is a lot to be learnt from indigenous communities with a history of thriving in the landscape in question, but, then again, that controlled burn are effective in reducing wildfires is well known. What is new are the ideologically driven environmental regulations imposed upon these regions by bureaucrats that evidently know nothing about the very land they claim to wish to save:


Bad Guys

Looking Through An Adversary's Eyes: A KGB Agent's Prophecy

marx engels lenin stalin mao
Human beings have a weakness: It is easy for us to see others' problems, but not our own problems. Actually, most of us are nearly blind to our own problems.

However, if we examine how our enemies look at us, some insights may be revealed.

For many people right now, the aftertaste of the 2020 presidential election is bitter. They feel that something is very wrong with our country. But what is it?

For current events, it may be useful to look through the eyes of an adversary that many thought had been vanquished: the USSR in the 20th century

The Prophecy of a KGB Agent

I came across a YouTube video of a 1985 interview of Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB agent who defected to the West in 1970.

The interview is about the Soviet Union's strategy to subvert the United States. It is eye-opening and I wish to share a quote here first:
"Marxism-Leninism ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism and American patriotism ... The demoralization process in the United States is basically completed already ... Most of it is done by Americans to Americans thanks to lack of moral standards.

As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures. Even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him concentration camp he will refuse to believe it until he is going to receive a kick in his fat bottom. When the military boot crashes him, then he will understand, but not before that. That's the tragic of the situation of demoralization."
It is scary to watch the video. (More video here and here.)

Comment: It's not just communism (or Marxism/Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism); it's a whole group of ideologies founded on the same simplistic, utopian ideas propagating a pseudo-reality that can only be enforced by the harshest authoritarianism. Communism always leads to authoritarianism because it is a pipe dream - its vision of the world and the future has no basis in objective reality. The same goes for the new "communist" fad ideology: critical social justice theory. It's just as likely to fail, which means it's just as likely to lead inexorably to some form of totalitarianism.


Sherlock

The origins of America's secret police

rock hewn church
© pxhere.com
When will the American people realise that the biggest threat to American freedom is not from without but from within its very own walls, where it has been prominently residing for the last 112 years...
"Know Thyself,
Nothing to Excess,
Surety Brings Ruin"

- inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi
Many are aware of the Apollo at Delphi inscription and associate it as words of wisdom, after all, the Temple at Delphi was at the center of global intelligence. Kings, emperors, statesmen, generals from all quarters of the ancient world would travel to the Temple with a very generous payment in gold in hopes that the wisdom of the great god Apollo would be bestowed on them and give strength and power to their particular cause.

Nuke

Maurice Strong and the roots of the Great Reset agenda

Maurice Strong
© AP Images
First Exec. Dir. UNEP Maurice Strong
According to such Great Reset luminaries as Bill Gates, Prince Charles, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Carney, and the World Economic Forum's Klaus Schwab, humanity is expected to solve the dual threat of COVID and global warming in one revolutionary sweeping reform.

We plebeians have been told that all we have to do to restart the economy is rewire everything about our behaviour, value, finance, and ethics in order to decarbonize civilization under a new world regime of central bankers and new green digital currencies as outlined by the World Economic Forum's Green Horizon Summit from Nov 9-10, 2020. It was at this event that keynote speaker Mark Carney announced that the total net zero transition represents "the greatest commercial opportunity of our time."

Under this global reform, we are told that the financial system must be re-wired to fund windmill farms, biofuels and solar panels using green bonds, green finance indices, and green digital currencies. The fact that these energy sources not only raise the costs of electricity while abysmally reducing the powers of production of nations does not seem to bother any of these apparent WEF alphas of capitalism extolling the virtues of our green post COVID order.

Pharoah

'Book of the Dead' scroll found in burial shaft in Egypt

Book of the Dead Scroll
© Egyptian Antiquities Ministry
A 13-foot-long (4 meters) copy of chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead was found in the burial shafts. The name of the papyrus's owner Pwkhaef is written on it. The Book of the Dead helped guide the deceased through the afterlife.
A funerary temple belonging to Queen Nearit has been discovered in the ancient Egyptian burial ground Saqqara next to the pyramid of her husband, pharaoh Teti, who ruled Egypt from around 2323 B.C. to 2291 B.C., the Egyptian antiquities ministry said in a statement.

Made of stone, the temple has three mud-brick warehouses on its southeastern side that held offerings made to the queen and her husband.

Near the pyramid, the team of Egyptian archaeologists also found a series of burial shafts containing the remains of people who lived during the 18th and 19th dynasties of Egypt (1550 B.C. - 1186 B.C.), the ministry said in the statement, which was released Jan. 16. These burials were likely part of a Teti-worshipping cult that formed after the pharaoh's death. The cult seems to have remained active for more than a millennium, with people wanting to be buried near the pharaoh's pyramid. So far, the team has uncovered more than 50 wooden coffins in these shafts, along with a wide array of objects.

Blue Planet

Stone Age plaque with realistic animal engravings unearthed in cave in Spain

stone age plaque
© Josep Curto, Real Press
The 11,700 thousand-year-old archaeological piece that was found by archaeologists.
Experts in Spain are perplexed by a mysterious Stone Age plaque with engravings of animals on it.

The plaque, believed to be over 11,700 years old, was discovered during the excavation process at the Coves del Fem archeologic dig site last summer.

"The team had been working at the site last summer to repair the damage caused by the floods," said Professor Raquel Pique Huerta, department of Prehistory at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Coves del Fem is a cave located in the municipality of Ulldemolins, in the eastern Spanish province of Tarragona, in the Catalonia region.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: