This document contains a summary of some articles along with commentary.

AVD Title: Was Israel the Birthplace of Modern Humans? ________ January 27

Summary: The Homo Sapiens was originally believed to have had its origins in Africa 200,000 years ago, but new remains show that humans were in Israel 500,000 years ago. These remains were excavated in Qesem Cave near the Rosh Ha ayin in 2000. The teeth s species have been verified through CT scans and x-rays, showing much similarity to the teeth found in Nazareth (which are 100,000 years old). Along with the teeth, archeologists have also found significant evidence for human activities such as flint tools and fire near the cave. Excavations will continue near the Qesem Cave to build more evidence for this hypothesis. This Science Daily article clearly has misconceptions. An article, reproduced by the same source over six months before notes that a DNA split between the Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens species is believed to have occurred 500,000 years not ago, but before originally expected. This puts this split at over 1,000,000 years ago, which is of course, quite a large difference. The discovery puts the latest date at 1,000,000 years ago, although the location is undetermined, while removing Israel from the high probability list . Since the article relating to Israel is more recent, more readers will read the article of course. Given Israel s current state and relations toward other countries, the author may or may not be attempting to make others respect Israel no matter what religion or lack of religion one practices (esp. since Israel has enemies everywhere, except for the United States and Europe). It certainly would be easy to try to deceive a population, considering the fact that Israel has said that it does not occupy the Gaza Strip, despite attempting to control all of its trade through customs by controlling its ocean and northern borders, along with its airspace (which is widely considered occupation of a territory). Qesem Cave article: Earlier Date article: I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment.

Was Israel the Birthplace of Modern Humans?
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2010) ² It has long been believed that modern humans emerged from the continent of Africa 200,000 years ago. Now Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago -- the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world.
The findings were discovered in the Qesem Cave, a pre-historic site located near Rosh Ha'ayin that was first excavated in 2000. Prof. Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, who run the excavations, and Prof. Israel Hershkowitz of the university's Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Sackler School of Medicine, together with an international team of scientists, performed a morphological analysis on eight human teeth found in the Qesem Cave. This analysis, which included CT scans and X-rays, indicates that the size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern humans. The teeth found in the Qesem Cave are very similar to other evidence of modern humans from Israel, dated to around 100,000 years ago, discovered in the Skhul Cave in the Carmel and Qafzeh Cave in the Lower Galilee near Nazareth. The results of the researchers' findings are being published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Reading the past Qesem Cave is dated to a period between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, and archaeologists working there believe that the findings indicate significant evolution in the behavior of ancient humans. This period of time was crucial in the history of humankind from cultural and biological perspectives. The teeth that are being studied indicate that these changes are apparently related to evolutionary changes taking place at that time. Prof. Gopher and Dr. Barkai noted that the findings related to the culture of those who dwelled in the Qesem Cave -- including the systematic production of flint blades; the regular use of fire; evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat; mining raw materials to produce flint tools from subsurface sources -- reinforce the hypothesis that this was, in fact, innovative and pioneering behavior that may correspond with the appearance of modern humans. An unprecedented discovery According to researchers, the discoveries made in the Qesem Cave may overturn the theory that modern humans originated on the continent of Africa. In recent years, archaeological evidence and human skeletons found in Spain and China also undermined this proposition, but the Qesem Cave findings because of their early age is an unprecedented discovery. Excavations at Qesem Cave continue and the researchers hope to uncover additional finds that will enable them to confirm the findings published up to now and to enhance our understanding of the evolution of humankind -- especially the emergence of modern man.

Separation Between Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens Might Have Occurred 500,000 Years Earlier, DNA from Teeth Suggests
ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) ² The separation of Neanderthal and Homo sapiens might have occurred at least one million years ago, more than 500.000 years earlier than previously believed, according to new DNA-based analyses.

A doctoral thesis conducted at the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana), associated with the University of Granada, analyzed the teeth of almost all species of hominids that have existed during the past 4 million years. Quantitative methods were employed, and they managed to identify Neanderthal features in ancient European populations. The main purpose of this research, whose author is Aida Gómez Robles, was to reconstruct the history of evolution of the human species using the information provided by the teeth, which are the most numerous and best preserved remains of the fossil record. To this purpose, a large sample of dental fossils from different sites in Africa, Asia and Europe was analyzed. The morphological differences of each dental class were assessed and the ability of each tooth to identify the species to which its owner belonged was analyzed. The researcher concluded that it is possible to correctly determine the species to which an isolated tooth belonged with a success rate ranging from 60% to 80%. Although these values are not very high, they increase as different dental classes from the same individual are added. That means that if several teeth from the same individual are analyzed, the probability of correctly identifying the species can reach 100%. Aida Gómez Robles explains that, from all the species of hominids currently known, "none of them has a probability higher than 5% to be the common ancestor of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Therefore, the common ancestor of this lineage is likely to have not been discovered yet." Computer Simulation What is innovative about this study is that computer simulation was employed to observe the effects of environmental changes on morphology of the teeth. Similar studies had been conducted on the evolution and development of different groups of mammals, but never on human evolution. Additionally, the research conducted at CENIEH and at the University of Granada is pioneering - together with recent studies based on the shape of the skull -- in using mathematical methods to make an estimation of the morphology of the teeth of common ancestors in the evolutionary tree of the human species. "However, in this study, only dental morphology was analyzed. The same methodology can be used to rebuild other parts of the skeleton of that species, which would provide other models that would serve as a reference for future comparative studies of new fossil finds." To carry out this study, Gómez Robles employed fossils from a number of archaeologicalpaleontological sites, such as that of the Gran Colina and the Sima de los Huesos, located in Atapuerca range (Burgos, Spain), and the site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. She also studied different fossil collections by visiting international institutions as the National Museum of Georgia, the Institute of Human Paleontology and the Museum of Mankind in Paris, the European Research Centre Tautavel (France), the Senckenberg Institute Frankfurt, the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and the Museum of Natural History in New York and Cleveland. The results of this research were disclosed in two articles published in Journal of Human Evolution (2007 and 2008), and they will also be thoroughly presented within a few months.

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