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Old 04-05-2010, 07:56 PM   #1
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Default Fossil finger points to new human species

Fossil finger points to new human species
DNA analysis reveals lost relative from 40,000 years ago.
Rex Dalton
Published online 24 March 2010 | Nature 464, 472-473 (2010) | doi:10

Fossil finger points to new human species : Nature News
excerpt from above:
In the summer of 2008, Russian researchers dug up a sliver of human finger bone from an isolated Siberian cave. The team stored it away for later testing, assuming that the nondescript fragment came from one of the Neanderthals who left a welter of tools in the cave between 30,000 and 48,000 years ago. Nothing about the bone shard seemed extraordinary...
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:53 PM   #2
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"With the data in hand, you cannot claim the discovery of a new species," says Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist and director of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen.
I believe mainstream anthropologists would say that there has been one single human species since the late pliocene. Australopithecines (the earliest hominids) are sometimes interpreted as diverse species sometimes as separate genera. On the other hand some anthropologists think all of the variability in australopithecine populations can be explained as sexual dimorphism which probably was quite extreme at that time.

You would need a whole lot more fingers to make that interpretation.

A 'species' is supposed to refer to a unit of population whose members can produce fertile offspring. That this finger represents a whole population of humans that did not interbreed with Neandertals at the same location and time seems highly unlikely.
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