Fossils Sparking Debates on Origin of Mankind

We have long debated the origin of mankind. Some believe in God’s creation of man in his own image, while others say that mankind evolved from another species. Now, new evidence found in South Africa has reignited questions about where modern humans come from, and what species we may have left behind.

Way back in 1947, Robert Broom and John T. Robinson discovered the fossils of an ancient pre-human now known as Mrs. Ples. At the time, many believed the skull, identified as part of Australopithecus africanus, to be around 2.1 to 2.6 million years old. Many also believed the genus Australopithecus to be the likely precursor to the genus homo, marking it as the evolutionary origin of mankind.

Now, though, a new study has thrown all of these beliefs out the window. Researchers published the new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In it, authors Darryl Granger and others posit that the skull date back to between 3.4 to 3.6 million years.

That’s almost a one-million-year difference. As such, this study’s discovery has thrown a wrench into the theories that Mrs. Ples and other skeletons that were dated similarly are the precursors to modern humankind.

What does it all mean?

Granger says the caves in South Africa where Mrs. Ples was discovered hold more Australopithecus fossils than anywhere in the world. The site, known as Sterkfontein Caves, is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Cradle of Humankind. The discoveries in the cave have been at the center of debates on the origin of mankind for over 70 years.

Now, though, this new evidence suggests the fossils found in South Africa are from the same time as renowned fossils like Lucy, which was found in Ethiopia back in 1974. Many long considered East Africa the most likely origin of mankind, where the earliest hominin that evolved into the Homo genus resided. So, this study simply adds more merit to those claims.

But, one thing Granger notes is that it is very difficult to date the fossils found in South Africa. But, he does say they are much older than originally thought. At the time the discovery of Mrs. Ples confused many. That’s because the fossil showed a skull more akin to a chimpanzee. Many believed that the brain had evolved at the same time that pre-humans began walking upright.

With Mrs. Ples now dating to a similar period as Lucy and others, though, it once more has scientists scratching their heads. We’ve long searched for the origin of mankind, and now, it seems that scientists will need to keep searching if they hope to find a more definitive answer to that lingering question.

Plane Nearly Crashes into Hot Air Balloon Mid-Air Before Landing

Pictures show the moment a plane was forced to dodge a hot air balloon that drifted into its path as it prepared for landing.

The pilot of the aircraft came across the unexpected object on their final approach to Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport in Brazil.

They were able to avoid hitting the unmanned balloon and landed up to 300 passengers onboard safely.

Passengers and plane spotters snapped the incident, showing just how close the two came on Sunday.

Speaking to local outlets, one person on flight 777-300 said ‘the balloon caught the attention of those onboard’.

Rafael Freitas, who took photos from the airport, added that ‘the Boeing 777 came in a little misaligned with the runway to avoid the balloon’.

‘When it had passed the balloon, it turned to correct its alignment’, he said.

It’s thought the balloon may have been used as part of a local festival.

In a statement sent to Doha News, a spokesperson for Qatar Airways said it ‘is aware of an event concerning one of its aircraft involving an unmanned balloon before landing in São Paulo on Sunday 3 July’.

They added: ‘The flight landed as normal and safety margins were maintained at all times.

‘The captain filed a report following the flight which is now being investigated by the Brazilian authorities.’

Blind Elderly Woman Mauled to Death as She Slept by Leopard

The 80-year-old woman had been asleep in her hut in Gujarat’s Amreli district when the leopard attacked, forest officials told The Tribune.

Villagers rushed to the scene after hearing the woman’s cries, however she succumbed to her injuries and died in the home.

The hut where the attack took place lies on the outskirts of Jabal village in Savarkundla Taluka, close by to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is well known for its Asiatic lions, leopards and antelopes.

It is not unheard of for predators to wander out of the sanctuary and into human settlements looking for food. Conflict between humans and wildlife has increased in recent years, as human settlements expand and encroach into habitats. Extreme weather events caused by climate change, such as drought, can also force wildlife into populated areas, as food and water becomes scarce.

Range Forest Officer Pratap Chaandu told the Tribune that efforts are underway to catch the animal.

Chaandu said that the victim’s daughter was in another hut at the time of the attack. He suspected that the leopard was hungry, on the lookout for prey.

Officials have set up two cages in the village in an attempt to lure the big cat.

“We have set up two cages to catch the leopard. We have also asked villagers to take extra care as the area is close to a forest,” the official said.

Leopards are skilled predators, however they do not usually attack humans out of the blue. It is not yet clear whether the leopard was emaciated, but previous, similar incidents have been put down to the animals’ desperation for food.

This is not the only leopard attack to occur in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, an 8 -year-old girl was killed by a leopard in the Dhumodi village of Trimbakeshwar Taluka in Nashik, the Times of India reported.

The girl had been playing outside on a farm near her home when the leopard attacked. The leopard pounced on her and dragged her away.

Forest officials found her body three hours later during a rescue mission

In June, a 9 -year-old boy was also killed in a leopard attack Nilwandi village of Dindori Taluka, the Times of India reported.

According to 2016 statistics there are nearly 1,400 leopards in the Gujarat region. Efforts to control the population have previously been initiated by officials, to ensure that conflict keeps to a minimum.

Huge Bar Fight Leaves Man with Eye ‘Hanging Out’

A massive bar fight sparked by a woman’s assault left two people injured, Ohio police said. Authorities are still looking for the man accused of assaulting the woman.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office responded to several 911 calls about ongoing fights at a bar in Lakeview, Ohio, on July 3, authorities said in an incident report. Callers reported that a person had been “beaten by a mob” and suffered serious injuries, including “what was described as his eye hanging out.”

A 26-year-old woman from Urbana, Ohio, told authorities that she was “romantically pursued” throughout the night by another male bar patron, according to the incident report. She said the man persisted even after she told him that she was not interested and that she “believes she said something that may have insulted” the man.

In response, he pushed her to the ground, the incident report said.

The woman told authorities she fought back in self defense only for the man to hit her again, according to the report.

Other bar patrons got involved, and the fight escalated as people tried to defend the woman and break up the fight, authorities said in their report.

The woman was left with “visible redness about her face, a small lump above her right eye and her legs and feet were covered with scratches, abrasions and parking lot gravel dust,” the incident report said.

Around the same time, another fight began outside the bar, according to the report. A man – who had been kicked out of the bar three separate times that night – shouted a racial slur, a witness reported to authorities.

A “mob of bar patrons” began beating a 25-year-old man from Lima, Ohio, authorities said. According to the report, deputies were uncertain if this man was the same one who was kicked out multiple times.

The attacked man was taken into a purple car and driven away, the incident report said. Soon after, a nearby deputy identified the car and stopped it.

The driver tried to flee on foot, but a deputy tackled the man to the ground. Still, he resisted, attempting to stash a plastic bag of Xanax under a nearby fence, authorities said in the report.

Looking in the passenger’s seat of the car, the deputy saw a shirtless man in swim trunks covered in blood. “His eye was heavily swollen and protruding,” the report said.

The man was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, deputies said. No further updates were released.

When deputies arrived at the bar, employees had broken up the fights and the man accused of assaulting the woman had fled, witnesses reported.

The female victim told authorities that she planned to press charges, and authorities said they will issue warrants for the arrest of the man accused of assault.

Lakeview is about 70 miles northwest of Columbus.

Carlos Santana Collapses on Stage During Show

Guitar legend Carlos Santana is recovering after he collapsed on stage during a concert near Detroit on Tuesday night.

The 74-year-old musician was performing at Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan, when he collapsed.

Photos and video posted to social media showed medics treating Santana on stage. He appeared to wave to the audience as he was wheeled away, which elicited cheers from those who remained at the venue.

Santana’s manager Michael Vrionis told CBS News in a statement that Santana had suffered “heat exhaustion and dehydration.”

He was taken to a nearby hospital for observation, where he was “doing well,” the statement read.

Santana’s Wednesday evening show in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, has been postponed, Vrionis said.

Santana is currently on his Miraculous Supernatural tour. 

18-Year-Old Dead After Fireworks Explode in His Face

A man is dead after a firework exploded in his face early Monday morning in Brooklyn Park.

Police responded to a park on the 9800 block of Fallgold Parkway North at around 1:30 a.m. to find an 18-year-old man with severe injuries to his hands and face.

They said he was holding a firework when it exploded in his face.

Police also said a friend tried to perform CPR on the man. He was later taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

Neighbors said they hear fireworks going off often from the park well into the night and into the early morning hours, especially around the Fourth of July holiday. 

Joe Tanner, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, said they’ve had many close calls in this park.

“We’ve had fires go off because of the different rockets they shoot in the air,” he said. “You’ve got them landing on your roof [and] in your grass [and] especially the last couple of years with it being so dry you’ve had grass fires that we’ve had to put out. The neighborhood dads kind of man their garden hoses as if they’re fire hoses. The outhouse — it’s a big plastic outhouse that was set on fire one year.”

Police say the mortar-type firework the man was holding is illegal in Minnesota.

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