It's all so chaotic
This is a new article about another discovery that pokes a huge hole in the human "family tree" many paleontologists have all mapped out for us. Apparently, grandma was great grandma's sister, said Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.
But what does this mean? It means we need to find another common ancestor, another missing link:
There remains some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.The eventual CYA conclusion is predictable and is stated quite bluntly by Bill Kimbel, the science director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University:
Overall what it paints for human evolution is a "chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us," Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.
That old evolutionary cartoon, while popular with the general public, is just too simple and keeps getting revised, said Bill Kimbel, who praised the latest findings. He is science director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and was not part of the Leakey team.
"The more we know, the more complex the story gets," he said. Scientists used to think Homo sapiens evolved from Neanderthals, he said. But now we know that both species lived during the same time period and that we did not come from Neanderthals.
All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.