[meteorite-list] Heidelbergensis-Zhamanshin dates

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 22:53:35 -0600
Message-ID: <030c01c82a68$24dd7e00$4b29e146_at_ATARIENGINE>

Hi, E.P., List,

EP Wrote:
> Right now, I feel like the book is going
> to do very well, right after it kills me.

    For writers, poets, painters, and the like,
to use an elegant phrase coined by the late
Dylan Thomas: "Death is like the Good
Housekeeping Seal of Approval for us..."

    He made the remark in a New York interview
and I'm pretty sure he was drunk on his ass
when he said it (well, OK, that was most of the

    I mean, the late Dylan Thomas would know,
wouldn't he? I would think so.

    Moving right along, Mr. Heidelbergensis is
a species that has often been proposed for the
dubious honor of "being submerged," or "sunk,"
as some toxonomists call it, meaning that there
is considerable doubt that Mr. H. is worthy of
being set up as a unique and individual species
of the genus homo all on his own.

    Of course, most of the doubters of Mr. H.
live a lot further away from Heidelberg than Andi
does! There is a homo sapies process going on
here. Say you are a homo sapiens paleoanthropologist
and you find an archaic homo who is not a sap.
Are you going to look like more of a hot shot if
your new homo specimen is a unique species or
just another archaic man?

    Well, naturally, there is more prestige in a
discovering a unique species than saying "I found
another archaic hominid, nothing special"? So,
every digger claims his group of specimens as a
SPECIES. Some toxonomists (the ones who dig
and find mostly) are SPLITTERS (as they're
called) and some toxonomists (the ones that sit
home and synthesize) are LUMPERS. If you left
taxonomy to field workers, we'd end with North
New Jersey Man and South New Jersey Man
as separate species... and some guy that claims
Central New Jersey Man is a separate species!

The books are littered with specious species that
likely only exist in the brains of their "discoverers."
There are even cases of groups of individuals that
are found together in one location in "family" groups
that are so radically different that other diggers say
they're two species while their discoverer says they're
one very dimorphic species... Never ask a Man to
study Man -- we're too close to the problems.

Now, I'm not saying Mr. H. is not his own "Man,"
but this sort of thing is a major problem in the field. I
take no stand on Mr. H. and his family relations. Cousin
H. can have Thanksgiving Dinner with me, just like one
of the family...

Personally, I believe that archaic man, like modern man,
was one continuously variable, inter-breeding species.
In Modern Man, 85 percent of all human genetic
variation exists within human populations, whereas
about only 15 percent of variation exists between
populations. I think if we had genes for the archaics,
we'd find the same sort of thing, great variety despite
being essentially a single genetic branching pool.

That's my heresy, and I'm sticking to it.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: "E.P. Grondine" <epgrondine at yahoo.com>
To: "Andreas Gren" <info at meteoritenhaus.de>;
<meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 9:23 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Heidelbergensis-Zhamanshin dates

Andi -

Yes, Andi, time runs in one direction.

One problem is in taxonomy, as I point out in footnote

"While some would lump Homo heidelbergensis with
erectus, my intent here is solely to point out certain
catastrophes which most certainly affected the
evolution of modern man. Although this is another area
under intense study and debate, my guess is that all
erectus descendants were still able to interbreed by
this time, and likely continued to be able to do so
for some time afterwards."

Another problem lies with samples. You must remember
that just because no earlier Heidelbergensis has been
found, that does not mean that an earlier date did not
occur. Excavations in China and Russia, including
especially the coastal areas, have been "limited" in
recent decades. H.'s documented range, if you accept
that Heidelbergensis was distinct from Erectus,
indicates an earlier time.

The important point here is that regardless of
taxonomy, erectus or heidelbergensis, man is around
and hunting probiscidonts (ancient elephants - hope I
spelled that right) with spears at the time of the
Zhamanshinite impact, and that massive impact occurs
in the middle of his range.

As a bonus consolation to you, there are mistakes in
my book, and I find them irritating. Some are due to
what was known at the time. In particular I used an
end paleo date (8,350 BCE) for the holocene start
impacts, now known at 10,900 BCE.

The 8,350 BCE discontinuity most likely reflects yet
another impact. Also, information on Savanah River
ethnography has only recently become available.

There are several other errors, but one that really
irritates me is that the term "Nodena" was redefined
by the anthropologists to apply to another type of
pottery rather than the sandy fabric ware I was
seeking to note.

I tried to make my book as easy to understand as I
could, but it is not for everyone. It would have been
nice to have had an editorial staff, and graphics arts
dept, and distributor. I didn't have those. It also
would have helped if I had not had a stroke, and a
pack of insane people to deal with - but I did. I just
hope I didn't blow the scaling laws too bad.

You might find this hard to believe, but some people
think my book is a great book. I'm sorry you're not
one of them. My offer to you stands, donate your copy
to a university, send me the letter, and I'll send you
what you paid.

You know, there was a lot of material about Native
Americas and meteorites that I wanted to write up, but
instead we had that big discussion about Hibben.

Right now, I feel like the book is going to do very
well, right after it kills me.

E.P. Grondine
Man and Impact in the Americas

--- Andreas Gren <info at meteoritenhaus.de> wrote:

> Hi E.P.
> So you agree Zhamanshinite is around 900 000 years
> old,at the actual point of science.
> And Hidelbergensis is 500 000 -600 000 years old,
> also at the actual point of science. If you like,
count Homo antecessor to Heidelbergensis, so you
> would reach maximum age for Heidelbergensis of 800
> 000 years, still 100 000 years after the
Zhamanshinite event.
> So how can a species be split, that not exist at the
> time of the event?.
> Time is going just in one direction.
> Andi

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Received on Sun 18 Nov 2007 11:53:35 PM PST

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