The australopithicine "Little Foot," has been dated as 3.3 Ma (based on magnetic stratigraphy) and ~4 Ma (based on cosmogenic dating). However, a new study using the U-Pb system dates the cave deposits as 2.2 million years old. This is said to be â€œsurprisingly recent and contemporaneous with tool-using Homo speciesâ€. The significance is that a big time gap has opened up between Australopithecenes in different parts of Africa: â€œThis suggests the earliest hominids arrived in South Africa 2 million to 4 million years after they arose in eastern or central Africa.â€ Instead of being treated as a source of information on human evolution, the fossil remains must now be located in the sidelines. There is something implicit within Darwinism that predicts a â€œtree of lifeâ€ with an evolving lineage â€“ but the fossil record continues to resist shoehorning to fit this prediction. The best researchers appear to be able to do is to hunt for our ancestors as they hide behind a bush!
U-Pb Isotopic Age of the StW 573 Hominid from Sterkfontein, South Africa
Joanne Walker, Robert A. Cliff, and Alfred G. Latham
Science 314, 8 December 2006: 1592-1594.
Sterkfontein cave, South Africa, has yielded an australopith skeleton, StW 573, whose completeness has excited great interest in paleoanthropology. StW 573, or "Little Foot," was found 25 meters below the surface in the Silberberg Grotto. 238U-206Pb measurements on speleothems immediately above and below the fossil remains, corrected for initial 234U disequilibrium, yield ages of 2.17 Â± 0.17 million years ago (Ma) and 2.24 (+0.09, -0.07) Ma, respectively, indicating an age for StW 573 of close to 2.2 Ma. This age is in contrast to an age of ~3.3 Ma suggested by magnetochronology and ages of ~4 Ma based on 10Be and 26Al, but it is compatible with a faunal age range of 4 to 2 Ma.
See also: Gibbons, A., Little Foot Not So Ancient, ScienceNOW Daily News, 7 December 2006.
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