Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On the Fringe of Palaeoanthropology

According to a story in UPI, Jeffrey Schwartz and John Grehan have produced a study suggesting that humans bear a closer relationship to orang-utans than to chimpanzees.The report notes:
Fossil evidence shows striking anatomical similarities between humans and orangs, including enamel molars, similar hairlines and shoulder blades, and even the ability to smile with lips closed, Jeffrey H. Schwartz and John Grehan, director of science at the Buffalo Museum, say in the Journal of Biogeography.

Even our skulls and eyebrow bone structure more closely resemble the orangutan's than the chimp's or gorilla's dramatically ridged eyebrows, they say.

This will be a hard sell, considering that there is fossil evidence suggesting that the orang cranial morphology has been in place for at least 10 million years in the form of GSP15000. That isn't the only problem:

But defenders of the chimp theory produced genome evidence indicating chimps have a more than 98 percent genetic similarity with humans.

This compares with a 97 percent similarity with the gorilla and only 96 similarity with the orangutan genome, they say.

"As far as I know -- and I know Jeff well, and we are friends -- he and John Grehan are the only two scientists on the whole planet who subscribe to this red-ape hypothesis," Todd Disotell, an anthropologist with New York University's Center for the Study of Human Origins, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think he is utterly, factually wrong."

Gotta hand it to them for trying to shake things up. And, yes, they probably are wrong.

Now playing: John Coltrane - Giant Steps
via FoxyTunes

No comments:

Post a Comment