Hail, hail, the gang’s all here…
Four teeth found in a cave–and we have yet another “mysterious human relative,” National Geographic has reported (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/04/ancient-teeth-hint-at-mysterious-human-relative/).
“Many human species once walked the earth,” we are told, including whoever once had those four teeth, supposedly 200,000 years old. How do we know they’re that old? Honest answer: we don’t, really. It’s almost as problematic as dating ancient stone tools.
Hey, maybe this whoever-he-was is related to the Denisovans, a whole batch of people who supposedly branched off from the Neanderthals some 400,000 years ago. Our vast fund of knowledge about the Denisovans, according to National Geographic, consists of “three molars, a pinky, and a skull fragment.” Who could ask for more?
The problem with identifying these fossils, we read, is due to a lot of interbreeding going on, way back when, among the plethora of human species around at the time. I hope we all know that a pug and a schnauzer can interbreed and produce unusual-looking puppies: but despite how different the parents look from one another, they’re still dogs. If they were different species, they either couldn’t interbreed at all or, if they could, their offspring would be sterile, like mules.
So if all these folks were successfully interbreeding–and that was only a speculation–then that means they all belonged to the same species. Humans.
The first paratroopers had a motto, “It’s foolish but it’s fun.” Paleoanthropologists might want to borrow it.