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Author Topic:   Leakey vs Johanson
Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 17 (10458)
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


Currently I am translating a book by Richard Leakey. One of the first things to be obvious is that Leakey has a bias; he does not consider any australopithecines to be directly ancestral to Homo sapiens. I can't help but feel that he may be wrong, however he cites studies of their middle ear, posture, rib cage, etc. to back up his position.
On the other hand, Donald Johanson, discoverer of Lucy, seems to be on the opposite camp, by holding that australopithecines did become humans. However I must tell you (embarrassedly) that I haven't read much from him, much less his views against Leakey.
Leakey pointed that there should be another Homo species which gave rise to Homo habilis, which he thought could not have descended from australopithecines. This is maybe his weak point for no such fossil have been found.
Does anybody know more about this?

Replies to this message:
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Andor
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 17 (10874)
06-03-2002 9:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


I think Leakey changed his opinion on the matter some time ago.
I believe his wife (Meave ?) has discovered some very important Australopithecus fossils.
[This message has been edited by Andor, 06-03-2002]

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Percy
Member
Posts: 21268
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 3 of 17 (10960)
06-04-2002 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


This is just my opinion, of course, but I believe that no matter how good the research, given the incomplete nature of the fossil record there will never be any deterministic way to differeniate sibling and cousin species from ancestor species. Hence we'll never know for certain the human evolutionary path.
The analyses we're provided are based upon the fossils we have found, because after all we can't analyze what we don't have. But like the drunk looking for his contact lens under the lamplight because the light is better there, they analyze the fossils they have because they can do no more, even though this effort is perhaps doomed due to lack of fossils either still buried unfound in the ground, or perhaps not even preserved in any way at all. There is no guarantee that a fossil record will be made of a species.
In the end this reduces the matter to one of opinion, which is why many hominid paleontologists are not on speaking terms with each other.
--Percy

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Andor
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 17 (10971)
06-04-2002 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
06-04-2002 10:33 AM


Agree Percy.
I think what you say is applicable in general to Paleontology, but being Paleoanthropology about "us", has even more subjective components in the interpretation of the known data.
They should limit to the results of cladistic examinations, but in this case the temptation of building possible scenarios and phylogenies seems too big.
Speculation about ourselves, our ancestors, has a fascinating attraction, and probably is impossible not to cede. But it should ever be well emphasized that it is only that: speculation
[This message has been edited by Andor, 06-04-2002]

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The General
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 17 (47955)
07-30-2003 3:25 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


Leakey vs Johnson
Perhaps I can shed some light on the issue.
First, it is important to remember that there are two Leakey's. The first was Louis Leakey who believed that the Australopithecus was an ansestor to modern humans. He believed this because tools were found beside the Ausralopithecus as he assumed that "Australo" was the toolmaker. That Austalo possessed mainly ape-like features did not become an issue for Louis Leakey. Approximately thirteen years later, Louis' son Richard Leakey discover fossils of a creature virtually identical to modern humans, underneath the fossils of Australo. This is significant because it showed them to be older than Ausralo, and it was this new discovery who likely was responisble for the tools. Richard later wrote that this discovery shattered his belief in evolution.
This could be where his bias comes from. From the fact that he discovered old human fossils, much older than the Ausralopithecus who was thought to be evidence for an ape to man transition.
Interestingly the name Austalopichecus, I read, mean southern ape, and that is likely what it was.
The General

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17369
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 6 of 17 (47961)
07-30-2003 4:02 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by The General
07-30-2003 3:25 AM


Re: Leakey vs Johnson
Perhaps you can provide some references for your claims about Richard Leakey. I'm not aware of any fossils "virtually identical" to modern humans predating the Australopithecines.

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fighterspirt
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 17 (48376)
08-02-2003 3:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


Currently I am translating a book by Richard Leakey. One of the first things to be obvious is that Leakey has a bias; he does not consider any australopithecines to be directly ancestral to Homo sapiens. I can't help but feel that he may be wrong, however he cites studies of their middle ear, posture, rib cage, etc. to back up his position.
On the other hand, Donald Johanson, discoverer of Lucy, seems to be on the opposite camp, by holding that australopithecines did become humans. However I must tell you (embarrassedly) that I haven't read much from him, much less his views against Leakey.
Leakey pointed that there should be another Homo species which gave rise to Homo habilis, which he thought could not have descended from australopithecines. This is maybe his weak point for no such fossil have been found.
Does anybody know more about this?
-----------------------------------------------
The question still arises today. Due to the missing link in Human evolution, there is no substantial evidence that the australopithecus can have actually 'arisen' homosapiens.
I think that the main reason for this argument today is the 'respread' of the homosapiens, as they travelled again from Africa to other continents after the Homo Erectus had already travelled. If the Homoerectus (a direct descendant of the australopithecus) did not evovle into homosapiens there, then the australopithecus is not a direct descendant.
Just a few ideas.

This message is a reply to:
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JustinC
Member (Idle past 4278 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 8 of 17 (48405)
08-02-2003 5:46 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by The General
07-30-2003 3:25 AM


quote:
Perhaps I can shed some light on the issue
With misinformation?
quote:
First, it is important to remember that there are two Leakey's. The first was Louis Leakey who believed that the Australopithecus was an ansestor to modern humans. He believed this because tools were found beside the Ausralopithecus as he assumed that "Australo" was the toolmaker. That Austalo possessed mainly ape-like features did not become an issue for Louis Leakey. Approximately thirteen years later, Louis' son Richard Leakey discover fossils of a creature virtually identical to modern humans, underneath the fossils of Australo.
First off there are more than just two Leaky's significant to the field. You left out Mary, Meave, and I think atleast one more. I used to read alot of paleoanthropology, so this is to the best of my recollection. The Australopithecines Louis found were the 'robust' Australopithecines (boise, robustus, aethopicus) and were not considered human ancestors for some time. The youngest fossils found were, if i remember, 1.1 million years old. So they would be contemporaries of several Homo lineages.
[EDIT] Also, Louis never thought that the robust australopithecines were the tool makers. In fact, he was adamantly opposed to the idea. Probably because of his bias towards the "Homo the toolmaker" idea.
So which fossils are you referring to that are virtually identical to modern humans, Homo rudolfensis, habilis, ergaster, or erectus? Are you referring to the Turkana (Narioktome) boy? If so, it is not virtually identical to modern humans as you claim, and if you are referring to habilis or rudolfensis then you are horribly mistaken.
quote:
This is significant because it showed them to be older than Ausralo, and it was this new discovery who likely was responisble for the tools. Richard later wrote that this discovery shattered his belief in evolution.
Are you seriously trying to tell me that Richard Leakey does not accept evolution? Have you ever read any of his books? Origins Reconsidered would be a good start.
quote:
From the fact that he discovered old human fossils, much older than the Ausralopithecus who was thought to be evidence for an ape to man transition.
Interestingly the name Austalopichecus, I read, mean southern ape, and that is likely what it was.
The General
Remember Australopithecus refers to alot of species. The robust Australopithecines (Paranthropus as they are sometimes called) were not thought of as human ancestors for some time. The gracile and robust Australopithecines,though, are still evidence for human evolution since they show organisms which share modern ape and modern human characteristics. Do you think its one big coincidence that we are the only apes (not sure the dichotomy is warranted between human and ape)today that are bipedal, and then we find fossil bipedal apes in the record? Were these made 6000 years ago to purposely mislead us?
And as for your last point, it probably was a southern ape. I'd say we are apes. How would you define ape?
JustinC
[This message has been edited by JustinCy, 08-02-2003]

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DC85
Member (Idle past 616 days)
Posts: 876
From: Richmond, Virginia USA
Joined: 05-06-2003


Message 9 of 17 (48459)
08-03-2003 1:00 PM


I don't see how you can say either... to me it says this is the ancestor or a relative to the ancestor. I don't know how you can say for sure it is or isn't

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JustinC
Member (Idle past 4278 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 10 of 17 (48671)
08-04-2003 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by DC85
08-03-2003 1:00 PM


quote:
I don't see how you can say either... to me it says this is the ancestor or a relative to the ancestor. I don't know how you can say for sure it is or isn't
What are you referring to here? I think the robust australopitecines are clearly not are ancestors, albeit a relative, due to their huge saggital crest and all around facial structure. As for some other cases, it is hard to tell and as of right now there is no absolute way to know. When we get a more accurate fossil record for the period, I do think it will be able to say this species or that species is an ancestor with a good degree of certainty.
JustinC

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MarkAustin
Member (Idle past 3249 days)
Posts: 122
From: London., UK
Joined: 05-23-2003


Message 11 of 17 (50680)
08-15-2003 5:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


Leakey vs Johanson
quote:
Currently I am translating a book by Richard Leakey. One of the first things to be obvious is that Leakey has a bias; he does not consider any australopithecines to be directly ancestral to Homo sapiens. I can't help but feel that he may be wrong, however he cites studies of their middle ear, posture, rib cage, etc. to back up his position.
I believe that Louis Leakey (Richard Leakey's father) did believe that human origins were much farther back than then believed, and that thus Australopithecus could not be ancestral. Richard Leakey may well initially have supported that position.
Since then, Australopithecus species have been found in earlier strata (back to c4 million years ago), and no Homo fossils below c2million.
Since then, Richard Leakey certainly accepts the standard view. He does have some detailed objections, and does not fully accept the current lineages.
However, in his book "Origins Reconsidered", 1992 (BTW the "Reconsidered" bit is refering to an earlier book "Origins", not Evolution) in Chapter 7, he includes 5 possible lineages consistent with the fossil evidence.
All have aferensis as an ancester, 4 have africanus.
All have robustus and bosei as cousins.
His view is basically that the hominids split from the chimpanzee line c7.5 million years ago when a period of global cooling split up the forests: the chimps ancestor stayed in the woods, the hominids ancester went to (or was trapped in) the new plains. Bipedalism developed at this point.
The next split was c2.6 million years ago when the climate started to dry out, and the lineages split again. The Australophecus' maintained the largely vegetarion diet, but adapted to cope with the harder grain seed: hence the robust forms, while the ancestors of homo became hunters.

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cutiemk
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 17 (84062)
02-06-2004 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by The General
07-30-2003 3:25 AM


Re: Leakey vs Johnson
Sorry, as I see this post is very old, but I felt I must respond and note that the fossils found by Richard Leakey have since been found to be much younger than first suspected, and therefore not older than austrolapithecene.

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Phobos
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 17 (115831)
06-16-2004 5:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
05-28-2002 6:28 AM


Does the recent discovery of Kenyanthropus platyops by Maeve Leakey play into this? When discovered it was thought to be a possible alternative ancestry to the Genus Homo instead of the Australopithocines. I don't know the current status of K. platyops.

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kofh2u
Member (Idle past 3254 days)
Posts: 1162
From: phila., PA
Joined: 04-05-2004


Message 14 of 17 (115854)
06-16-2004 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by MarkAustin
08-15-2003 5:52 PM


Re: Leakey vs Johanson
yes. what you say fits well with hte passages found in Genesis which tells us of two two lines of evolution, one through Cain and the other eth. Both meet at Lamech again, and here you speak of one phase of that development:
Gen. 4:18 And unto Enoch, (Australopithecus afarensis), was born Irad (a species concurrent with Australopithecus boisei): and Irad begat Mehujael (species concurrent with Australopithecus robustus): and Mehujael begat Methusael (Homo ergaster, an Early Homo erectus): and Methusael begat Lamech (a Homo antecessor).

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wj
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 17 (115863)
06-16-2004 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by kofh2u
06-16-2004 6:36 PM


Re: Leakey vs Johanson
This is a parody of biblical interpetation, isn't it?

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