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Thread: The Evolutionary Relationships and Age of Homo Naledi: An Assessment Using Dated Bayesian Phylogenetic Methods

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    The Evolutionary Relationships and Age of Homo Naledi: An Assessment Using Dated Bayesian Phylogenetic Methods

    Homo naledi could be anywhere in genus Homo. Looks like a hybrid between an advanced hominin and a small brained semi-australopithecine such as Homo habilis or Homo sediba (its Homo not Australopithecus).

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...416300100?np=y


    Homo naledi is a recently discovered species of fossil hominin from South Africa. A considerable amount is already known about H. naledi but some important questions remain unanswered. Here we report a study that addressed two of them: “Where does H. naledi fit in the hominin evolutionary tree?” and “How old is it?” We used a large supermatrix of craniodental characters for both early and late hominin species and Bayesian phylogenetic techniques to carry out three analyses. First, we performed a dated Bayesian analysis to generate estimates of the evolutionary relationships of fossil hominins including H. naledi. Then we employed Bayes factor tests to compare the strength of support for hypotheses about the relationships of H. naledi suggested by the best-estimate trees. Lastly, we carried out a resampling analysis to assess the accuracy of the age estimate for H. naledi yielded by the dated Bayesian analysis. The analyses strongly supported the hypothesis that H. naledi forms a clade with the other Homo species and Australopithecus sediba. The analyses were more ambiguous regarding the position of H. naledi within the (Homo, Au. sediba) clade. A number of hypotheses were rejected, but several others were not. Based on the available craniodental data, Homo antecessor, Asian Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis, Homo sapiens, and Au. sediba could all be the sister taxon of H. naledi. According to the dated Bayesian analysis, the most likely age for H. naledi is 912 ka. This age estimate was supported by the resampling analysis. Our findings have a number of implications. Most notably, they support the assignment of the new specimens to Homo, cast doubt on the claim that H. naledi is simply a variant of H. erectus, and suggest H. naledi is younger than has been previously proposed.

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    This fossil is a zero. The reason it does not count is there is no dating. It can fit in anywhere because there is no dating. People shouldn't even waste time talking about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    This fossil is a zero. The reason it does not count is there is no dating. It can fit in anywhere because there is no dating. People shouldn't even waste time talking about it.
    I don't think that's fair, given the state of preservation. Its just the mosaic of features is odd at any time depth, similar with the hobbits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    I don't think that's fair, given the state of preservation. Its just the mosaic of features is odd at any time depth, similar with the hobbits.
    It is zero in terms of human phylogeny. You are right about the anatomy but without dates it could simply be a modern version of an African bigfoot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    It is zero in terms of human phylogeny. You are right about the anatomy but without dates it could simply be a modern version of an African bigfoot.
    It looks like the ancestry of Homo naledi was reticulated. But that doesn't mean "zero in terms of human phylogeny". Its just extremely confusing to contemplate, even more than Homo floresiensis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    It looks like the ancestry of Homo naledi was reticulated. But that doesn't mean "zero in terms of human phylogeny". Its just extremely confusing to contemplate, even more than Homo floresiensis.
    It may be reticulated and that may have some value in explaining human evolution IF IT COULD be shown to have happened.

    You seem to be wanting to date using anatomical means which is an illusion and discredited since at least Piltdown. You can't compare the H. floresiensis material to the naledi material because the former have dates and the later do not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    It may be reticulated and that may have some value in explaining human evolution IF IT COULD be shown to have happened.

    You seem to be wanting to date using anatomical means which is an illusion and discredited since at least Piltdown. You can't compare the H. floresiensis material to the naledi material because the former have dates and the later do not.
    I don't want to assign a date by anatomical means, just concerned the anatomy looks too much like another Piltdown. Preservation demonstrates this was a real population not chimaeras of hominin remains in some cave, however.

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    The only way an approximation might work is to find a fossil which is almost identical and date that.

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