The Pit of Bones
December 6, 2013 10:40 PM   Subscribe

A cautionary note to people who want to talk about human evolution: Phenotype ≠ Genotype. You'd think, given that biologists and taxonomists have been struggling with the implications of this for decades, that others interested in evolution wouldn't be so taken aback when conclusions based on the shape of the bones turn out to be misleading.
posted by belarius at 12:41 AM on December 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

> This is just clumsy time traveling bandits failing to properly dispose bodies, is all.

"Scientists have identified the 400,000-year-old bones as belonging to Maurice Standish, a 12-year old boy who is paradoxically still alive and living in Devonshire. 'There can be no doubt,' said forensic investigators. 'Maurice died a long time ago, his body unceremoniously dumped in a mass grave. From this, we must also conclude that until such time as he decouples from our timestream, he is necessarily impossible to kill by any other means.' Plans are already on the drawing board to arm the stocky 12-year-old and deploy him to some of the world's most troubled hotspots."
posted by belarius at 1:12 AM on December 7, 2013 [62 favorites]

Does this contradict the Toba catastrophe theory? Enquiring Mitochondria want to know. [Seriously, biologists?]
posted by vapidave at 1:52 AM on December 7, 2013

They could probably figure out ancient human origins a lot quicker if they just went to South Boston and did a flow chart of who owes who money.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:58 AM on December 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

24,000-Year-Old Boy Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians (NYT). The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises for anthropologists.
posted by stbalbach at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Good explanation here
posted by acrasis at 9:02 AM on December 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

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