Whats to come…

Hominid Photoshoot! 💀

I noticed I was missing the underside of the Moroccan skull, both H. naledi skulls, and one of the Neanderthal skulls. There are also a few that are out of order, I do not know how that happened, or how to fi it, it occurs in the iCloud album as well. Apologies!

I plan on adding them tomorrow, as well as a caption for each photo giving a glimpse of what information you will get when you watch our new featured video series that we are gearing up for!

I will add to this as I get more skulls, and I hope these 2D images of 3D printed Crania give you an idea of the skulls before us, of their shape and size, their morphology.
I know we have some awesome plans coming up, many interviews already with dates and times, projects with new and exciting Institutes globally. One thing we are very excited for is our upcoming video lecture series where we examine the crania, get introduced to the species as a whole, as well as that particular specimen and its place in the fossil record.

We will also compare the shape and features, also known as morphology between these proto-humans and our own species, H.sapiens, some of our primate relatives, and of course to each other.

I hope you are excited about this new venture, I do not have an exact start day, but the first video will come out ASAP.

A HUGE shoutout to Professor Jeremy DeSilva of Dartmouth for the generous contribution of nearly all the skills presented here.

STEM education is important, the world may literally depend on it, its good to see people who truly care and wish to see others succeed.

Anyone can view this shared album at:

The iCloud album will be kept more up to date, and you can add your own photos, if they follow the rules!

March of Progress? It’s time we had a serious talk.

Hello! Welcome to today’s lesson. It’s an important one! One that addresses years, decades of misinformation, and flawed thinking. 

Check this article out, and have your own discussion, read this on Academia.edu!

Yes, we are talking about the “March of Progress” image. I am sure that many of you are already cringing.

The March of Progress, properly called The Road to Homo Sapiens, is an illustration that presents 25 million years of human evolution. It was created for the Early Man volume of the Life Nature Library, published in 1965, and drawn by the artist Rudolph Zallinger.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_of_Progress

So many people, since then, have used this image to explain our origins, in both scientific, and layman ways. Even today, it is still the most recognized symbol of evolution in the world. No shade to The Leakey Foundation, whom I love, and donate to, but their logo is misleading even to what we now know about Hominid Evolution. 

So scientists started to think, they figured they needed a better way to artistically express the pattern of Human evolution. So we had “The Family Tree” analogy that was introduced. This made a lot more sense to scientists and seemed much more probable. 

This model has worked until recently and is probably still one of the most accepted versions by anthropologists. It does a good job, but not a perfect one and it leaves a great deal to be desired. So what is a good model? What should we be looking at when we want to see our direct hominin line? 

As more and more fossils however make their way back to the surface of the Earth for the first time in thousands, sometimes millions of years. The more we learn, the more we can figure out what the past ecology of the area (Africa) was during the Pleistocene. But even this, still left information to be desired. With so many new species being discovered at what seems to be an incredible rate, we have to re-think how each human species has related to one another in the last 7 million years. 

So what should we do? Is there a better model? Well, of course! Why else would we be here! In the last decade or so, (or maybe longer, it is not like I was around) a new term, and a new method of exploring and viewing our interconnectedness is called the Braided Stream. 

While the idea has been around for a while, and many models have been made, just the other day, Prof. Lee Berger published his graphic of the Braided Stream, and as a huge proponent for the idea of the Braided Stream, I hope he approves of this article. 

So what do we have here? In this image, we can easily depict that Human Evolution did not occur in a line or even a tree. But rather it intertwined with itself here and there, leading to dead ends, or lines of continuing evolution. We can see that species existed often in the same period, and even in the same places, where introgression occurred, 

What is Introgression? Well, let’s define that real quick before continuing, according to Oxford Dictionary, “the transfer of genetic information from one species to another as a result of hybridization between them and repeated backcrossing”. 

Thus, we can see not only genetically but morphologically how species shared features and evolutionary traits until we got some mixture that worked out better than any other and that’s how you get to where we are today! 

So you may be asking, why is this so important? Why must we change how not only scientists and professors understand our evolution, but the layman as well. For the first time in history, as of this date, more than 50% of United States citizens “believe” in evolution. However, that does not mean they understand it. They rely on us, the scientists to make sense of it all and translate it from gibberish to easy to follow and digestible information! 

The more we learn about our shared Human Origins, the more we will realize we are all one, we may come from different corners of the world, but we all come from Africa. We are all, Homo sapiens sapiens. Everything else, is well, extinct. We are the last ones left.

Science education and communication is the future of STEM and thus our future as well. While it might seem like a small and minor thing to correct, you have to start somewhere, and might as well start at the preverbal beginning, just as the March of Progress does. 

If you want to help spread the more correct version of the human phylogeny, then please, feel free to share this article, for I think it is a good place to start. 

We did not evolve from monkeys, are chimps, we evolved from Hominids. There was no “March of Progress”, but a braided stream that is ever flowing in and out of itself. Species living and dying, features appearing and disappearing in the fossil record. It’s time to acknowledge that Human Origins is not just a straight line, but twisted, elusive, and mysterious. 


Fossil Skulls!!!

Today we got a very awesome package delivered!

An amazing gift from Prof. Jeremy DeSilva of Dartmouth!

He was (and is willing in the future) to help us spread our Open Access SciComm!

Thanks to his contributions, we can start a new weekly video series, explaining and examining, comparing morphology, and learning about the species.

Take a look!!!

And even more to come!

Can’t wait to delve deep into the Human Past!

Hominin vs. Hominid by Professor Lee Berger

Viewpoint: Is It Time to Revise the System of Scientific Naming?

Shared with permission from Dr. Berger.

Lee R. Berger

First published for National Geographic News December 4, 2001 A team of researchers led by paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey sparked a controversy among evolutionary scientists and the press alike earlier this year when they announced the discovery of a new genus and species of ape-man. They named their find Kenyanthropus platyops, the "flat-faced man of Kenya." Ordinarily, the find itself would be enough to spark a flame of controversy in the heart of any follower of human origins research.

But this find also highlighted an ongoing debate within the scientific community over the adoption of a new system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms. The debate is not confined to ivory tower scientists. The fossil discovery was widely reported. The New York Times referred to the new genus as a hominid; National Geographic reported on the find as a hominin.

National Geographic subsequently received several hundred e-mails complaining about the poor editorial work of the staff that had clearly erred by replacing a "d" with an "n." But were they really wrong, and more important, does it really matter?

Linnaean Classification The taxonomic classification system devised by Linnaeus in 1758 is still used in modified form today. Animals are identified, in descending order, as belonging to a Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and finally, a Species. This classification system is based largely on the animal's physical characteristics: things that looked alike were placed together. In the Linnaean system, humans would be categorized first as Animalia; then Chordata because we have a backbone; Mammalia because we have hair and suckle our young; Primates because we share with apes, monkeys, and lemurs certain morphological characteristics; Hominidae because, among a few other criteria, we are separated from the other apes by being bipedal; Homo being our generic classification as human; and finally, sapiens, a species name meaning, rightly or wrongly, "wise." The Linnaean system also recognizes such groupings as superfamilies and sub-families. In the case of the human lineage, the most often recognized superfamily is the Hominoidea (hominoids), which includes all of the living apes.

It is from this point onward that most of the present human origins classification debate begins. The traditional view has been to recognize three families of hominoid: the Hylobatidae, the Hominidae, and the Pongidae. The Hylobatidae include the so-called lesser apes of Asia, the gibbons and siamangs. The Hominidae include living humans and typically fossil apes that possess a suite of characteristics such as bipedalism, reduced canine size, and increasing brain size such as the australopithecines.

The Pongidae include the remaining African great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees, and the Asian orangutan. New Molecular Evidence Modern-day genetic research is providing evidence that morphological distinctions are not necessarily proof of evolutionary relatedness. Recent evidence suggests that humans are in fact more closely related to the chimpanzee and bonobo than either species is to the gorilla. Chimps and humans share something like 98 percent of genes, indicating that we share a common ape ancestor.

Divergence times between the two groups based on a molecular clock suggest that the chimpanzee/human split occurred between five and seven million years ago. In turn, the African apes, including humans, are more closely related to each other than any are to the orangutan. In recognition of these and other genetic relationships, some argue that we must overhaul the present morphologically based classification system for one that is more representative of our true evolutionary relationships as evinced by our genes.

Reworking the Family Tree This is where the term hominin comes into play. Under the newclassification model, hominoids would remain a primate superfamily, as has always been the case. Under this hominoid umbrella would fall orangutans, gorillas, chimps, and humans, all in the Family Hominidae.

In recognition of their genetic divergence some 11 to 13 million years ago, the orangutans would be placed in the sub-family Ponginae and the African apes, including humans, would all be lumped together in the sub-family Homininae. The bipedal apes - all of the fossil species as well as living humans - would fall into the tribe Hominini (thus hominin). All of the fossil genera, such as Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Kenyanthropus, and Homo, would fall into this tribe.

A few evolutionary biologists want a more extreme classification, which would include humans and chimpanzees within the same genus, the genus Homo. Old Versus New So hominid or hominin? Is it just a matter of semantics that only purists should be worried about? The New York Times' use of "hominid" and National Geographic's use of "hominin" were both right in the broadest sense. In either the "old" or "new" classification system, hominid works, it just means different things. In the old system, hominid refers solely to the bipedal ape lineage. In the new classification system it refers to the broader grouping of all the great apes, which would by definition certainly include the new Kenyanthropus fossils.

The use of hominin by National Geographic is technically more correct in that it recognizes the relationship of Kenyanthropus to the other bipedal apes and distinguishes it from other living and fossil African apes which are not so closely related to us based on the molecular evidence we have to date. In the long run, hominin is likely to win out against the term hominid. It is more precise and recognizes the biological reality that moves beyond physical morphology. Do I like it? Well, I would never try to stand in the way of the advancement of science, but just try saying Hominidae, Homininae, Hominini three times fast in front of a first year Introduction to Anthropology class and you will have some sympathy for the scientist who clings to the term hominid for a few more years.

So, what's in a name? The classification debate is not just a debate for the purist; it cuts to the very core of our understanding of human's place in nature and our evolutionary relationships with our closest living relatives. All hominins are hominids, but not all hominids are hominins.”

Lee Berger.

Dragon Man!!! With Chris Stringer #21

Today, Seth and Chris Stringer, friend of the show, discuss something that is very new on the Paleoanthropological scene that you may have heard of recently!

Today, we will be discussing Dragon Man, or Homo longi! A recently announced new member of our species clade.

Prof. Stringer is actually a part of the team working on this beautiful and important cranium that holds so many secrets about where we came from!

Please Enjoy!

There is a lot to learn!

Thanks, Peeps

Seth Chagi

World of Paleoanthropology

Program Director

What’s a Hominid? What’s a Hominin? Is there a difference?

So! Today we are going to answer a very common question, and hopefully prevent any confusion going forward and to maybe educate. There are many people out there, including myself the other day, that gets them confused and, not by. intent, is giving out false information.

And we don’t want that! So lets get this straight once and for all.

What is a Hominid? What is a Hominin? Are they the same, different? How are you supposed to know?

It is sad, because this is a very important topic, that it is not talked about and explained more by formal schooling or just by looking things up.

So, lets make this simple! What is a Hominin:

A Hominin, is AMH (Anatomically Modern Humans), all and all of our extinct ancestors. So bipedal walking apes. All members of the Homo Genus, Australopithecus Genus, and Paranthropus Genus, belong to the Hominin family.

So then, what is a Hominid? Well that gets a little more confusing, most likely due to the fact that the usage of the word has changed in the last 100 years. Originally it was interchangeable with Hominin. There was no difference, they meant the same thing.

But more recently taxonomists have been categorizing it as such:

A Hominid is any Human, Human Ancestor, Cousin, and all of the Great Apes, and their ancestors etc. So when using the terms, Hominid is much more broad and includes many more species, where as Hominin is specifically for the Human Braided Stream.

I hope that was simple, and made sense! I hope this clears a few things up, and be sure to share around!

Its Always Time to Learn!

“Dragon Man” with Prof. Chris Stringer!!!

What do we have here?

A hominid skull no doubt! But….what species?

Large brow ridge….vaulted skull….Neanderthal? No….not quite. Erectus? No couldn’t be.

So what is this?

This is the #Harbin #Skull, found in the Dragon River region of Northeastern China before WW1. To keep it safe, the discoverer hid it in a well, on his death bed told his family where to find it.

And there it was, 84 years later!

So…why don’t we know what it is? Well…:there are a few reasons, and we could be looking at a whole new addition to the human lineage.

But I guess you will have to check out my chat with Chris Stringer, an expert, and collaborator with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Basically, an insider. And one of the few who can actually reveal some of these answers. Not much, as much of it is still under review. But some.

But check out what we have to talk about Monday the 15th.

We will post it on our website, YouTube, Twitter, and of course here on our Facebook Page!

#Homolongi #denisovan #neanderthal #paleoanthropology #chrisstringer


Share this around!

Top Lectures on Paleoanthropology!!!

Well! Since its been about a week since we came out with our Top Documentaries list, and so its time for a new one before we move on to our newer content!

This one was hard to make, there are just so, so many good lectures online, (Again these are all on YouTube for free and easy access-if it says not available in your country, copy and paste the name of the video into the YT search bar and it should come up that you can watch). There are just so many options from great individuals and institutions. From our friends of CARTA to our other close friends, those at The Leakey Foundation. But there are just so many more, so implore you to watch related videos and get even deeper into the subject!

But here is my list, of lectures that are interesting, and that will not bore you. (Hopefully) and is a great place to start learning the basics, from the experts, getting more involved with their work, and learning the talk of the trade.

Again, these are in no particular order, they are not listed from best to worst. They are just listed because I like them in general.

Please, Enjoy!

1.Human Evolution and Why It Matters: A Conversation with Leakey and Johanson

2.CARTA: The Origin of Us – Fossils of Modern Humans Interbreeding within and outside of Africa

3.CARTA: Bipedalism and Human Origins-Comparative Anatomy from Australopithecus to Gorillas

4. Origins of Genus Homo–Australopiths and Early Homo; Variation of Early Homo; Speciation of Homo

5.Prof Agustín Fuentes – What makes us human?

6. Our incredible origins: The astonishing tale of Homo naledi

7.WPT University Place: Discovering Homo Naledi

8.The New Revolution In HUMAN ORIGINS, Dr. Richard Leakey, Leakey Foundation

9.Explorer Lecture: Dr. Donald Johanson, “Cleveland, Lucy, and the Human Story”

10. Origins of Genus Homo: What Who When Where?; Early Body Form; Life History Patterns.

So there you go! Remember to Never Stop Learning! Explore all the other lectures and videos as well, there are so many good ones! We may make another list in a few weeks!

Happy Birthday Louis Leakey! August 7th!

Today, August 7th, is Louis S.B Leakeys Birthday! On this day we celebrate and commemorate the fantastical man that we know to be Louis Leakey.

The patriarch of the Fossil Hunting Dynasty, and inspiration for the foundation and continued research and exploration of The Leakey Foundation.

The man who started the great studies of the Great Apes, our closest relatives, including Jane Goodall, who’s studies continue, Diane Fossey, who unfortunately met an untimely and violent end, as well as Biruté Galdika.

Born on August 7, 1903 in Kabete, Kenya to a British family, Louis grew up learning how to play, survive and learn the ways of the African savannas.

He was educated at the University of Cambridge and began his archaeological research in East Africa in 1924; he was later aided by his second wife, the archaeologist Mary Douglas Leakey (née Nicol), and their sons.

He held various appointments at major British and American universities and was curator of the Coryndon Memorial Museum in Nairobi from 1945 to 1961.

The work of The Leakey Foundation is of great importance to modern man, as well as our future and our place in nature. The Leakey Foundation funds, and provides grants to early-career researchers, post-docs, and other paleoanthropologists! With your help, I am hoping we can raise a few hundred dollars to donate to this organization.

If you care about where we, as a species comes from, and where we are going, donate today, even $1 can be of great help. And if you can’t donate? Just share this post. Thank you, everyone. On behalf of Anthropologists everywhere!And a very happy birthday to Louis Leakey!

You can donate directly to The Leakey Foundation here:

If possible, it would be great if you can mentioned where you were referred from!

Thanks so much for the continued support and dedication! We are hoping to do so much going forward, and we are so excited to take you along with us!

Never Stop Learning!!!

Top Modern Paleoanthropology Documentaries on YouTube

With the great success of my other recent post, the Top Modern Paleoanthropology Books, I thought it would be cool, to extend this further. This week, we will be doing Top Documentaries, next week we will do Top Lectures, that one will be really hard to make!

So here we have Top Documentaries to watch! The links that will be provided work for the United States, and may not work in your country, but if you search for the name of the documentary that I will provide below, you should be able to find it, and enjoy it.

None of these documentaries are perfect, or explain everything. Some are even very specific. But all of them hold value and merit in their own right.

So when you have some spare time, if you are looking into learning the basics of Paleoanthropology, check out these documentaries below!

Once again, these are in no particular order, but I think they should all be watched, and enjoyed, then from there you can go off to related videos and channels and find so much more!

Education can be accessible if you know where to looK!

  1. The Dawn of Human History | Mankind: The Story of All of Us (S1, E1) | Full Episode | History
  2. NOVA Science Documentary – Dawn of Humanity
  3. Evolution Of Modern Humans Documentary 2017 FULL HD NEW
  4. BBC Origins of Us 1 of 3 – Bones HDTV – Dr Alice Roberts
  5. A Neanderthal Perspective on Human Origins – 2014
  6. Becoming Human First Steps HD
  7. BBC Planet of the Apemen Battle for Earth 1of2 Homo Erectus PDTV XviD AC3 MVGroup org
  8. The Oldest Human Ancestor Uncovered | First Human | Timeline
  9. Evolution Narrated by Liam Neeson(full documentary)HD

So there you go! Please go enjoy and learn! If you know of, or have other favorite documentaries that are open access, let us know by commenting below or emailing me at worldofpaleoanthropology@gmail.com!