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Early Humans Lived in China 1.7 Million Years Ago

An extinct species of tool-making humans apparently occupied a vast area in China as early as 1.7 million years ago, researchers say.

The human lineage evolved in Africa, with now-extinct species of humans dispersing away from their origin continent more than a million years before modern humans did. Scientists would like to learn more about when and where humans went to better understand what drove human evolution.

Researchers investigated the Nihewan Basin, which lies in a mountainous region about 90 miles (150 kilometers) west of Beijing. It holds more than 60 sites from the Stone Age, with thousands of stone tools found there since 1972 — relatively simple types, such as stone flakes altogether known as the Oldowan. Researchers suspect these artifacts belonged to Homo erectus, "thought to be ancestral to Homo sapiens," Hong Ao, a paleomagnetist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xi'an, told LiveScience. [Photos: New Human Ancestors from Kenya]

The exact age of these sites was long uncertain. To find out, Ao and his colleagues analyzed the earth above, below and in which stone tools at the Shangshazui site in the Nihewan Basin were found. The tools in question were stone blades potentially used for cutting or scraping.

http://www.livescience.com/38917-early-humans-lived-in-china...



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Agriculture is a lot of work

The agriculture debate below is about economic decisions - cost benefit analysis.

Hunters and gatherers by hour work far less than farmers and most other 'civilized' professions. It was/is, as mentioned, a more leisurely life. Permanent residence made little sense due to seasonal migrations and growth. However, the daily goal of survival by all members of the group prevented specialization.

Prehistory humans did not live among dense enough populations to warrant agriculture and the labor that goes with it. It wouldn't make economic sense to do more work to survive. As population density increased agriculture made more sense, as well as the government that oversaw the protection of established borders and the social solutions to managing the goods and services of the community. Then, with less than 50% of the population dedicated to mass food production the other half is able to specialize for other economics endeavors and hobbies.

They work far less and feed

They work far less and feed far fewer people. No highly populated, large, successful civilizations ate a diet where the staple was anything other than the starches. Rice, potatos, corn, wheat, barly, rye, oats, beans, peas, and lentils.

Now america has moved from that into refined oily fried starches, poultry, meat, eggs, milk. artificial food additives etc. and we now have a very obese and chronically ill nation.

Throughout the suspected prehistoric years (some think we've been around a loooooong time) I would find it very hard to believe that there weren't many very large civilizations that did not use agriculture as they expanded and contracted with natural disasters, droughts, and conflict.

I'm mostly curious about when and if there was another time in the history of the human species that engine or gun combustion/explosions or electricity played some role in at some point before our preserved documented history. I tend to figure that it did. It is one of my favorite questions about human history and there are some archaeological scientists who say so.

Those were not humans, early or otherwise.

Did you see that skull? Besides, what happened to the genetic testing that showed "mitochondrial Eve" coming from SE Africa about 120K ago?

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Early hominid would be more accurate.

-

Free includes debt-free!

Hominini apparently works too :)

Not a surprise

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has studied the natural world. Chimps have frequently been found to use the environment around them to fashion tools. And if chimps can do it, it is only logical that homo erectus, the predecessor to homo sapien could use tools to at least the same degree, if not much greater.

Evidence: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/animals/mammals-an...

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

GoodSamaritan's picture

More evidence

that chimps are just really short people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCwOnq2C2vA

Yep, it's only logical that Homo Erectus could use tools to at least the same degree as chimps.

Examples of Homo Erectus include: Eoanthropus Dawsoni, Hesperopithecus Haroldcookii, Sinanthropus Pekinensis, Pithecanthropus, and Zinjanthropus. I'll leave it to the reader to research these heralds of man's ascent from slime.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

I didnt know they made a show

I didnt know they made a show about your mom, thanks for sharing the video, shes looking as good as ever!

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

GoodSamaritan's picture

My children had better comebacks

when they were 12.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

Junk science

Have you ever seen so much blind speculation presented as truth in one article. Look at the number of times they say this may have happened, or potentially this happened, all because THEY FOUND A SHARP EDGED STONE!

Pathetic.

Educate yourself

How ignorant.

Scientists almost always state the degree of certainty they have with for each claim that they make, along with backing evidence. That is why science works, because they depend on others to criticize them and to improve on previous discoveries instead of holding on to false beliefs due to tradition.

On the other hand, theologians constantly make claims of 100% certainty even in their most clear cut bullshit claims, even for events thousands of years ago for which there is no surviving evidence.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

That's Nothing

We've got early humans living in America right now.

GoodSamaritan's picture

So I'm supposed to believe

that tool-making humans existed 1.7 million years ago but they didn't figure out until 1.69 million years later that plants grow from seeds? Really?

I'd love to hear a rational explanation as to how agriculture, both incredibly obvious and far superior to hunting and gathering as a means of food production, went entirely undiscovered for virtually all of this imagined 1.7 million years of human history.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

Other possibilities

You are using a fallacy called an "Appeal to Ignorance". Just because one idea might not make sense to you, you can't assume that yours is correct.

There are more explanations than "aliens" or "evolution" or "god did it".
Perhaps humans didn't begin planting crops until they had to - once the population of an area reached a certain limit and they could not be nomadic anymore.
Perhaps it began in one location much earlier, and other parts of the world it wasn't practical. There are still tribes in Africa and South America that don't use agriculture.
Perhaps early humans harvested grains grown naturally, and only when they began to live in small civilizations did they need to keep the grains in one place.

And really, eating grains has caused our brains to shrink and caused evolutionary changes that aren't exactly beneficial. So, damn those early farmers!

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

Why would you find that so incredible?

Men lived in small tribes for most of human history, hunting and gathering. As long as that produced sufficient levels of food, there was no incentive to acquire food by the very, very hard work of agriculture. This is the low hanging fruit principle, i.e., we just take what is easiest first and leave the rest for later. Why would a species trade lives of relative leisure for lives of long hours of drudgery when it was not necessary? Look at other species that primarily live by hunting. They lounge around and sleep much of the time, hunting only when the time is ripe and their bellies demand to be fed.

The human population has until the last 400 years grown at a very low rate. Whenever the beginning, whether it was 1.7 million years ago or just 1 million years ago, it took 99.9% that time for the world population to reach the 3/4 of a billion 400 years ago.

Agriculture began about 10,000 years ago, which made it possible to support larger populations. Had it been invented earlier, the rate of population growth would have increased earlier. Had the way to extract and use fossil fuels been discovered earlier than 400 years ago, the exponential, unsustainable explosion in population would have happened earlier.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

Things changed

People had to resort to farming in the middle east when the game animals almost died out because of over-hunting and climate change.

Ĵīɣȩ Ɖåđşŏń

"Fully half the quotations found on the internet are either mis-attributed, or outright fabrications." - Abraham Lincoln

GoodSamaritan's picture

Thanks for the chuckle

So you think that mining flint with bare hands, carving it with hammerstones, and hunting dangerous game on a daily basis is a life of "relative leisure".

Evolutionary presuppositions always lead to bizarre conclusions.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

I have a feeling humans are

I have a feeling humans are older than we think, and that there have been advanced civilizations before our recorded history that came and went. When Government gets their way, dark ages are sure to follow. Some have been known to swollow entire cultures and destroy all of their accumulated knowledge, leaving behind only bones.

But even if it did take that long for agriculture to arise would you be suprised? Most primitive people probably through plants bloomed only when the village shamman made sacrifices to the nature gods. To look further into the matter was probably an offense against the gods. Religeon is the scurge of intellect.

Infact groups like the "Illuminati" arose because intellectuals wanted to be able to practice science among their peers and share ideas without fear of being burned at the stake by religeous psychopaths.

GoodSamaritan's picture

I agree with you at least on one point

"I have a feeling...there have been advanced civilizations before our recorded history that came and went."

But I would say they existed between Creation and the Flood.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

fyi

I don't downvote much unless it's an attitude or closed-mindedness issue (in this case, mostly the former). Figured I'd let you know because I see people getting angry about being downvoted who don't understand why.

It's not that I agree or disagree with you (I wouldn't downvote solely because I disagree with someone), but rather because of the statement "I'd love to hear a rational explanation as to how agriculture, both incredibly obvious and far superior to hunting and gathering as a means of food production, went entirely undiscovered for virtually all of this imagined 1.7 million years of human history."

Far superior and incredibly obvious? If it's so obvious to an early human(pre-human?), call me stupid because I don't see what would be so obvious about it. Keep in mind, your argument can't really use anything from thousands/millions of years of hindsight because they clearly didn't have that.

GoodSamaritan's picture

I downvote for inanity

And believing that putting seeds in the ground is an obscure and complex method of obtaining food is inane.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

Uh, what?

Who said "putting seeds in the ground is an obscure and complex method of obtaining food?" Because I sure didn't

GoodSamaritan's picture

I don't see in context any other interpretation

for "...I don't see what would be so obvious about it."

If the fact that plants grow from seeds in the ground isn't obvious, I'm not sure what is. I suppose water being wet and the sun shining are a bit more obvious.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

A simple & rational explanation

Tool use is actually much simpler then agriculture and animal husbandry and has been demonstrated by many animals.

Tool use capability has been independently demonstrated by animals such as:

1. Chimpanzees - Stone tools, spears, straws to eat ants
2. Crows (some of the smartest, check them out on youtube)
3. Orangutans - whistles from leaves
4. Dolphins - widely recognized intelligence second only to homo sapiens
5. Elephants
6. Octopuses
7. Sea otters
8. etc. etc. etc

I could go on and on. So here is your rational explanations, tool use is much easier to recognize as beneficial to a particular individual (human or not) as it is a function of the NOW (for example, chimps using sticks to lure out ants so they could eat them).

On the other hand, farming takes much more foresight, understanding that planting seeds now could potentially yield food 3-12 months from now takes far more understanding of the natural processes around us.

I hope this helps clarify the differences between use of tools and learned skills such as farming.

Edit: Fixed a typo

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

GoodSamaritan's picture

Simple, yes... rational, not so much

Simple, because it ignores reality.

Try mining flint manually and fashioning it by hand into weapons suitable for taking down and processing dangerous game (I'd love to see a chimp or dolphin try that). Then, put your life and the lives of family and friends in constant danger by getting up close and personal on a regular basis with animals that can shred or stomp you to mush in a heartbeat.

Yeah, that sounds so much easier and safer than putting seeds in the ground.

The labor, knowledge, skills and time required to manufacture tools suitable for survival through hunting and gathering belie the notion that primitive man was incapable of long-range planning and execution - the very same set of abilities that would enable an easier and safer lifestyle through farming.

Once again it is clear that the phantasm of evolutionary theory is deleterious to critical thinking.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

This is the problem with

This is the problem with creationism. You refuse to frame your reasoning from the mindset of a hunter gatherer, you only see the world as it is today, and attempt to incorporate the knowledge that we have today into the actions of a prehistoric nomad living in the plains of Africa.

Keep in mind, there is ZERO knowledge at this time about farming of any plants. All you have learned to this point was perhaps a tip to find a sharp rock on the ground and how to find rabbit burrows. You family is hungry, you have 2 kids that need to be fed NOW.

Now you are going to tell this hunter that he needs to go find some seeds, put them in the ground, wait 12 months, gather the plants, save enough for another planting and use the rest for food?

You know what he will do? He is going to take that rock he found, hit you over the head with it, and feed you to his kids? Why? Because there is no books and critical thinking back then. It is kill or be killed. Eat or starve.

AAANNNDDD......

Not to mention that humans and other primates originated from Africa, a notoriously bad land for farming. Inconsistent rains, extreme droughts and unpredictable climate is not conductive for the development of farm lands, especially by those who do not even know what farming is.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

GoodSamaritan's picture

Argumentum Ad Speculum

Your first paragraph exemplifies the fallacy of Hasty Generalization.

Your second and further paragraphs exemplify the fallacy of Begging the Question.

You have presented a list of speculations and unproven assumptions as fact.

It would be better to argue from what is known and not what is wished. For example, if I say that no one has ever demonstrated specific (useful) order arising from random processes, or that there is no known chemical pathway for life to arise from non-life, these are statements of fact and, however inconvenient, should be addressed with facts and not speculations about what might or might not have happened millions or billions of years ago (those long ages themselves being unproven assertions).

BTW, I enjoy growing pumpkins. They're ready in less than four months. Most vegetables can be sown and harvested in two to three months. In addition, it's possible to feed thousands of people from food grown on a single acre. Farming isn't rocket science and no books are required to see that plants grow from seeds. It will be difficult to convince me that the life of a nomadic hunter-gatherer is simpler, safer, and easier than planting seeds or herding animals.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

Here again you provide no

Here again you provide no factual evidence to back your claims. You claim you have facts, but in reality all you have is claims, not facts.

No order from chaos? Fractals are the most natural display of order arising from chaos, existing in everything from river formations, plant growth, ice crystallization, cellular biology and on and on.... There are plenty of other examples of seemingly natural chemical processes that combine to create complex systems that have the appearance of design (weather patterns, gravitational interaction of the planetary bodies in our system, snow flakes). At least scientists are willing to admit when they don't understand something, unlike the majority of you dimwitted creationism preachers.

Growing pumpkins? You are an idiot right, how much water does growing pumpkins demand? Now extrapolate that to nomadic Africa with sporadic rains and a general lack of a water utilities infrastructure that you enjoy at home. Ever tried growing vegetables in the bone-dry 95+ degree weather of a Savannah?

Not to mention that the majority of modern day vegetables have been selectively bred for the last 5-10 thousand years in order to maximize yield. The vast majority of plants that we use for food today would not survive in the wild anymore.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

GoodSamaritan's picture

Argumentum Ad Hominem

You continue with fallacious arguments.

Fractals are pretty and snow flakes are nice,
Try making creatures from weather and ice

Apparently you don't understand the difference between specific order and useless order. Hopefully my little poem makes the point clearer.

As for Africa, it was lush with vegetation only a couple thousand years ago and you have no idea what it was like a million years ago.

Try again.

Ron Paul - Honorary Founding Father

I, and thousands of

I, and thousands of scientists who have devoted their life to study life on earth have no idea, but clearly you do right? Hahaha, thanks for the laugh!

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison