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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.

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HOME > Tanoro's Blog  >  The meaning of "human"
The meaning of "human"
Posted by: Tanoro - Jan 12, 2015 3:28pm

A fascinating paper was released in Nature in November and the science noobs are already getting it wrong. The writers over at Ancient-origins.net have demonstrated a discrepancy in their understanding of basic biology.

far more significant was the finding that they also mated with a mystery species from Asia – one that is neither human nor Neanderthal.

Hold on there, big guy. A small correction is needed here. If someone tried to understand this as it is worded, some might start thinking ancient humans were successfully producing offspring with cows or something nutty like that. The way biology marks barriers between species is by whether or not they can interbreed and produce viable offspring. To suggest breeding had occurred is to suggest they are the same species. They may be different breeds of hominids, but the same species nonetheless. That means the mystery species being discussed in the paper was certainly human, by definition, and so are Neanderthals.

It is not a stretch to assume ancient homo sapiens bred with some homo neanderthalensis as they are both in the taxonomic family of Hominidae (humans), which is also true for Denisovans. What this paper is saying is that ancient Hominidae did not consist of only homo sapiens, neanderthalensis, and Denisovans. There is another one we've only just began to notice, but not yet named. This discovery will shed more light on just how mankind developed into what we are today and, perhaps, what happened to our fellow hominids who didn't make it.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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