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The Human Fossil Record, Part 1. The Nature of Transitional Fossils

The Human Fossil Record

In this series, James Kidder provides an intriguing study on transitional fossils and the evolutionary history of modern humans. He begins by discussing the fossil record, explaining how new forms are classified. He then explains the physically distinguishing trait of humankind—bipedalism. From the discovery of Ardipithecus, the earliest known hominin, to the australopithecines, the most prolific hominin, Kidder focuses on the discovery, the anatomy, and the interpretation of these ancestral remains.

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The Human Fossil Record, Part 1. The Nature of Transitional Fossils

The Human Fossil Record, Part 1. The Nature of Transitional Fossils

It has become an article of faith for those espousing both the young earth creation model and many who hold to the intelligent design model that transitional fossils do not exist and therefore evolution has not taken place.
January 01, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 2: Bipedality

The Human Fossil Record, Part 2: Bipedality

One of the most fruitful and exciting areas of research in palaeoanthropology is the search for the last common ancestor to the higher apes and humans.
January 05, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
233
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 3: The Discovery of Australopithecus

The Human Fossil Record, Part 3: The Discovery of Australopithecus

Raymond Dart could only conclude that, whatever this creature was, it walked upright and he took the unusual step of calling this new find Australopithecus africanus or “Southern Ape Man from Africa.”
February 10, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
4
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 4: Australopithecus Conquers the Landscape

The Human Fossil Record, Part 4: Australopithecus Conquers the Landscape

This individual was nicknamed “Lucy” after the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" which played in the camp during the analysis of the remains.
April 04, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
58
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 5: The Dispersal of the Australopithecines

The Human Fossil Record, Part 5: The Dispersal of the Australopithecines

The Piltdown forgery ranks as one of the best scientific hoaxes of all time. To this day, the identity of the forger remains unknown.
June 16, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
60
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 6: The Dispersal of the Australopithecines, Cont’d

The Human Fossil Record, Part 6: The Dispersal of the Australopithecines, Cont’d

It is tempting to look at these remains and think privately, “These are nothing but apes. What is the fuss?”
June 20, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
11
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 7: The Rise of Early Homo

The Human Fossil Record, Part 7: The Rise of Early Homo

In early Homo came a hominin with a larger, rounder cranium and evidence of clear stone tool production.
August 26, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
5
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 8: Evolution in Early Homo

The Human Fossil Record, Part 8: Evolution in Early Homo

So far, we have focused on early Homo remains in eastern Africa. Now we can turn our attention to the rest of the continent.
November 17, 2011 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
10
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 9: Out of Africa (The First Time)

The Human Fossil Record, Part 9: Out of Africa (The First Time)

The appearance of this hominin this far north and at such an early date is striking because it suggests that an early form of Homo had learned to migrate long distances.
April 12, 2012 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
16
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 10a: Homo erectus in Asia

The Human Fossil Record, Part 10a: Homo erectus in Asia

Up to this point, all human fossils had been found on the surface, eroding out of the side of a bank, or as a result of farming. It had not occurred to anyone to go looking for human ancestors.
July 28, 2012 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
29
 
The Human Fossil Record, Part 10b: Homo erectus in Asia, Cont’d

The Human Fossil Record, Part 10b: Homo erectus in Asia, Cont’d

The Zhoukoudian site in China boasted the single largest collection of Homo erectus fossils ever found at one site, as well as presenting one of the greatest mysteries in paleoanthropology.
July 29, 2012 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
39
 
The Rise of Archaic Homo sapiens

The Rise of Archaic Homo sapiens

Beginning around 600 to 700 thousand years ago, new hominin forms appear in the archaeological record, all having certain common characteristics distinct from Homo erectus. These were the first, still-archaic Homo sapiens.
January 21, 2013 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
24
 
Archaic Homo Sapiens in East Asia, Part 1

Archaic Homo Sapiens in East Asia, Part 1

Taken as a whole, these skulls clearly represent a transitional phase between Homo erectus and modern Homo sapiens, occupying the same general period of time as those from Europe and Africa, although it is harder to ascertain chronological dates for these finds.
May 28, 2013 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
2
 
Archaic Homo Sapiens in East Asia, Part 2

Archaic Homo Sapiens in East Asia, Part 2

The genetic link between archaics and moderns throughout Eurasia was further supported by the work of Green et al., who presented a genetic sequence of Neandertal DNA. Their results strongly suggested that Neandertals interbred with other archaic Homo sapiens populations in Eurasia and that, because of the presence of Neandertal DNA markers in modern Asian populations, there was continuity between archaic Homo sapiens and modern Homo sapiens in Europe and Asia.
May 29, 2013 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
25
 
The Rise of the Neandertals, Part 1

The Rise of the Neandertals, Part 1

The Neandertals reached the height of their culture during one of the coldest time periods in history: the Würm glaciation. This stage in the earth’s history began roughly 120,000 years ago and ended just before 10,000 years ago.
September 30, 2013 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
2
 
The Rise of the Neandertals, Part 2

The Rise of the Neandertals, Part 2

Another aspect of Neandertal existence that sheds some light on their situation is the considerable evidence that they buried their dead in ways that suggested an understanding, not just of death, but perhaps the significance of what death meant and how important life was.
October 01, 2013 
James Kidder 
Human Origins 
38
 
The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 1

The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 1

But where, exactly, did we come from? Is there evidence for the earliest modern humans in the Holy Land? Is there a sharp break between those that came before, and us? Was there a time when there were only two humans on the planet?
June 16, 2014 
James Kidder 
History of Life, Human Origins 
5
 
The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 2

The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 2

The amount of effort that has been placed on European palaeoanthropology in the last 200 years has resulted in a wealth of hominin material relating to the appearance of modern humans that is unparalleled in the rest of the Old World, so much so that it would be impossible to describe even half of the most important finds in this review.
June 23, 2014 
James Kidder 
History of Life, Human Origins 
6
 
The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 3

The Origin of Modern Humans: The Fossil Evidence, Part 3

One thing is clear from this survey: the earliest sites with modern human remains have been securely dated to greater than 150,000 years ago.
June 30, 2014 
James Kidder 
History of Life, Human Origins 
8