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Anthropological Problems: Origin of Human Beings

The article Our True Dawn by Catherine Brahic describes the challenges that appear to modern scientists while trying to trace our relatives. The author also describes the difference in methods used by scientists. For geneticists to determine the period of splitting humans from apes means to specify exactly the time when their DNAs became different. Paleontologists in their turn just search for the fossil remains to determine their age and nature.

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The author also describes the method geneticists can use in order to determine when split between human and apes occurred, but there is one catch in it as to get the answer they should know the tempo of the mutation and it is impossible without knowing the date of split. Trying to get it around, geneticists decided to take orangutans as an example as the period of their split from our lineage is known. Having made the analysis, they managed to come to conclusion that split occurred between 4 or 6 million years ago.

However, paleontologists did not appreciate this result as the number was hard to believe because the earliest hominine from Africa was dated only 3.85 million years. Skeptically met was even the 5 to 6-million-years split as there are some fossils of that period which obtain peculiarities of human being. Moreover, history seems to prove the ideas of fossil hunters as researchers can observe the change in genomes in real time.

Discovery of three remains called Ardi, Orrorin and Toumai had to prove the theory, however, they turned out to have human characteristics. Though, according to the molecular clock, it was too early. The article ends with the thoughts about split between human and Neanderthals, stating the fact of difference in the dates, which were determined with the help of molecular clock.

The second article called First of Our Kind by Kate Wong also cogitates about the nature and origin of human beings. At the beginning of the work she states that climate made the great influence on the development of our ancestors. Warm weather favored appearance of new grasslands and in order to move on big plain surfaces hominids had to have long and strong legs and skilled arms in order to create tools to cultivate these grasslands.

The great importance of the Malapa Fossils is also underlined in the article. Their unicity and importance lie in the fact, that they can propose quite different point of view on the order in which new Homo traits appeared. However, not only the change in the perception of general features can be made, but also on some deeper levels, like evolutional fractal too. The author also describes the notion of mosaicism, which should be taken as a lesson to the paleoanthropologists.

The idea of interpreting bones not found together as belonging to absolutely different creatures is meant. Kate Wong introduces Bergers interpretation of fossils, which differs from the one, accepted by paleoanthropologists, Berger claims, that A. sediba should be taken as the root of Homo and all researches should be directed in this way. However, traditional scientist W. Kimbell doubts this fact, referring to the great number of incongruities and problems with dates and geography.

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In the end of the article the author underlines the fact that the works and researches connected with Malapa Fossils have just begun, as Berger, the main scientist working with them, is obviously planning to spend all his life working with these fossils and trying to reveal some new facts. Having more than three dozen places to find them he is planning a lot of work to do.

Works Cited

Brahic, C. “Our True Down.” Scientific American. 24 Nov. 2012: 34-37. Print.

Wong, K. “First of Our Kind.” New Scientist Magazine. 2012: 30-39. Print.

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