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There are again several contributions to the Out of Africa question. According to Argue and the comment by Trueman H. floresiensis seems to have split from the tree earlier than H. erectus. Argue sees the Dmanisi specimens nearer to ergaster and habilis as to the erectus-rhodesiensis-sapiens group. Mgeladze reports the Dmanisi toolkit as Oldowan, i.e. older than most erectus inventories. So did erectus arise in Asia?
Trueman (commentary on Argue) places the Dmanisi specimens right next to sapiens. Ruxton doubts any clade before H. erectus to have had the thermoregulatory adaptations for endurance running in open savannah. As these won’t have arisen outside the subtropics this is an argument for an African origin. I was not convinced by the arguments inside the article but in a personal communication Dr. Wilkinson added, the anatomy of legs and pelvises in australopithecines also speaks against running (see also Pickering). Gibbons quotes opinions doubting that any species before erectus rightfully belong to the genus Homo. The Ungar article cited there is nowhere to be found, but an older one of his already shows only erectus to have moved to a wider range of food. So was it Africa?
Following Reichholf I tend to see running and meat consumption to have come before brain enhancement, so a pre-erectus exodus might be entirely possible.
Here’s the link to this week’s complete list.
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