Jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400000 years

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ImFree's picture
Jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400000 years

A fragment of jaw bone dating back 2.8 million years is evidence that the first humans evolved more than 400,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists reported Wednesday.


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cmallen's picture
Thanks, that site also led to

Thanks, that site also led to some other great articles.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Clearly Satan traveled back

Clearly Satan traveled back in time and planted those to trick you!

ThePragmatic's picture
This will be a dark century

This will be a dark century for creationism...

ImFree's picture
Every time scientists make a

Every time scientists make a discovery, they have more information to target future searches. I love it!

Mountainman's picture
I love how advances in the

I love how advances in the sciences eliminate more and more religious dogma!

cmallen's picture
Every time a fossil is found,

Every time a fossil is found, an angel loses its wings.

mysticrose's picture
That was really an amazing

That was really an amazing discovery!

bluesky's picture
How did they concluded it is

How did they concluded it is 400000 years old?

JAlexG's picture
It's actually 2.4 million

It's actually 2.8 million years old. It pushed the time of when lineage of homo sapiens first existed 400,000 years earlier than thought before.

bluesky's picture
I am new in this field. If

I am new in this field. If there are so many examples of evolution as true, please give me few, or at least one. I'll look into it, then we'll discuss. Thank you.

maberl's picture
WOW!!! now to debunk the

WOW!!! now to debunk the story of adam and eve would be a walk in the park........OR NOT =( =S

D_Trimijopulos's picture
The fact that along with

The fact that along with Australopithecines lived an early homo species was already known.


Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Thanks ImFree,

Thanks ImFree,

"The fossil bones are too fragmentary to give them a human species name. The jawbone could belong to Homo habilis, known as “handy man”, the earliest known species on the Homo lineage. But Villamoare is not convinced. It could be a new species that lived before Homo habilis."

An other report of the same story(maybe more in layman terms):


bluesky's picture
Thank you Dimtrios. I ckecked

Thank you Dimtrios. I ckecked the website you pointed. You are right. Obviously mankind has been on this planet for a while.
What I question is the method of determining the age. I see on the link you pointed, they use the potassium-argon method. Like other radioactive dating methods, this can give you serious errors on age dating. The idea of this method is simple: a 40K atom called parent will decay in time creating a 40Ar(daughter). There is a formula to calculate the time elapsed based on the quantity of the potassium at the time of the experiment and also the quantity of the argon. Up to this point nothing complicated.
But in order to use this method, you have to have some assumptions:
1-Conditions affecting the sample in the past are identical to present conditions, or if they were different they have to be known(pressure, temperature, radiation etc.)
2-The sample is a closed system, which means, no interaction (chemical, physical) with the environment
3-In order to determine a good potassium argon ratio, we have to assume that only the potassium is present in the sample at the beginning; there are no daughter elements at that time

In reality we do not know anything about the conditions on the Earth at that time(1); we also know that it is not possible to have a closed system(2); and we have no clue what was initially the quantity of the potasium and argon in our sample(3).
The potasium argon will be a good method to use only in the lab conditions where we can isolate our sample from the outside word, we will know also all the parameters and initial quantities.

D_Trimijopulos's picture

I am completely ignorant when it comes to physics, yet, I thought that there was no problem in knowing the initial quantities as the isotope would with time decay into something else.
What is the value of the expected error?

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
In the link i provided it

@ bluesky:

In the link i provided it says:

"Directly dating fossils this old is impossible, so geologists use a variety of methods to date the layers of rock in which the fossils are found. The researchers dated the recently discovered Ledi-Geraru fossil mandible, known by its catalog number LD 350-1, by dating various layers of volcanic ash or tuff using argon40 argon39 dating, a method that measures the different isotopes of argon and determines the age of the eruption that created the sample. They present their results in today's (Mar. 4) online issue of Science Express.

"We are confident in the age of LD 350-1," said DiMaggio, lead author on the paper. "We used multiple dating methods including radiometric analysis of volcanic ash layers, and all show that the hominin fossil is 2.8 to 2.75 million years old.""

Hope that helps.

science's picture
This is what I mean by

This is what I mean by scientific proof, and reality. The scientists, archeologists, paleintologists, they find these things...they SEE these things...there is proof... they can amazingly link species, and happenings that took place millions, and even billions of years ago...yet, we just can't pinpoint an exact day, or time of year that "Christ" was born, or "ressurected." No matter hopw much proof one can produce, thwe theist will always come up with some ridiculous explanation to refute it...that is what part of being a theist is, learning excuses to refute absolute evidence, logic, and common sense, in order to make themselves feel comfortable with their "folly."

bluesky's picture
Yes, they tried to compensate

Yes, they tried to compensate the errors.
But the thing is, we can never know if that works ot not;
since we'll never know the initial values we can never confirm.
I heard they tried to measure rocks recently created by vulcanic eruptions.
We knew the age of the rocks because we knew when the eruptions took place; but the radioactive methods
indicated a very different results.
I am not 100% sure about that, I have to do more resarch.
Whether that is true or not, the fact remains:
we have an equation with 1 known variable and 2 unknown variables;
this can not be solved(this is primary school algebra; in order to find 2 unknown variables you also need 2 equations).
We have a process in which substance A decays in time and becomes substance B.
Scientists found out the relation between A, B and time.
The ideea is to measure the substance B(the only one that can be possible measured) and to determine the time.
But the problem is we do not know A.
On this equation we need to know 2 variables in order to find the third one.
We need to know either A and B in order to find the time or to know the time and B in order to find A.
We can not have 2 unknown variables on the same time(A and time).
In addition to that, the system has to be a closed system.
Also, the equation the scientist discovered is valid for the conditions we have now;
but we do not know that the conditions long ago were the same on Earth.
There is one more thing we did not discuss yet: the measurement errors.
To measure a regular quantity of something is not a problem but to measure a small quantity may be a problem.
For instance to measure 1V with a voltmeter will be easy,
to measure 1mV will be hard and to measure 1microVolt will be quite chalenging.
This is beacause we will have a small drift current(which we can not control) inside the semiconductors;
this noise or drift current can be comparable as value with our 1microVolt signal and overlaping over
the measured signal may give significant errors.
Nowdays all the tools are based on electronics, which as far as I know is still based on semiconductors.
With all the modern improvements in electronics, the drift current inside semiconductors
still exists and this can be an issue while measuring small quantities.
Based on the previous observations, I belive the radioactive methods,
even though they are ingenious, are not appropriate for measurements outside the lab,
especially for measurements envolving unknown environment conditions and long periods of time.
When I say radioactive methods, I mean K-Ar, C isotops or any other methods that involve measuring a
daughter element(substance B) obtained by decaying in time of the parent element(substance A).

Jeff is right: "Directly dating fossils this old is impossible".
Or, at least impossible using the methods I described before(and Ar40, Ar39 is one of them).
Maybe if we pinpoint our sample in a certain range in a geologic layer, that will give us the age.
However, how do we know for sure in which layer our sample belongs?
And if we do know that, how do we know how old that layer is?
Now here we are back to our initial question:
do we have a reliable scientific method for determining the age of a sample(bone, rock etc.) ?

bluesky's picture
Nowdays we use the word

Nowdays we use the word "science" a lot, but what does science actually mean?
I looked on the internet and I found one explanation on Wikipedia,


and another one from enciclopedia britannica


So, the science is based on observations and systematic experimentation.
How does it applies to the past then?
Well, it does not because we can not measure, observe, experiment things that happened in the past;
unless the scientists in the past observed, measured and studied the nature and passed the informations to us.
The science meticulously observe and measure, and based on experiments, find the laws that gouverns the nature.
And based on these natural laws, of course, some things, can be predicted if they deal with phisical laws.
Science is a great tool, but maybe not the proper tool to study the past.
History is usually the science that deal with the past, but this is a completely different domain.
We have old writings, from thousands years ago from Assyro Babylon and Sumer; archeologists found inscriptions and ceraminc from those times.
But the domain that deals with this again, is called History.

Since the science is based on observation and experimentation, and that can not be done for things that happaned long ago,
why then so many people invoke science when dealing with the past?
I heard there are many scientific proofs in favor of the evolution?
Can we see them?
So far, I could not see any?
How would that be possible since, as far as definition of the science states, it only deal with things that can be observed an experimented?

CyberLN's picture
"we can not measure, observe,

"we can not measure, observe, experiment things that happened in the past"

Someone gives me a document they insist was written 3k years ago. I do several experiments on it to determine the veracity of their claim. Those experiments yield data that support the claim.

In an attempt to better understand your post: what, blue sky, would you call that if not an experiment on something that happened in the past?

Mitch's picture
So your argument, in summary,

So your argument, in summary, is this:

Scientist cannot time-travel, ergo, evolution is false.

Evolution is a hypothesis: a proposition, on the way the natural world functions. The reason evolution gets so much cred is because continual scientific study of genetics, and change in populations, support the theory. In fact, there is so much supporting evidence for the theory of evolution, that its widely accepted - by the majority of the scientific community - as a functional fact; evolution happens.

So if you've got a competing theory on how there came to be such variety in the living things on earth, lets hear it. Then, build some supporting scientific evidence; make sure to have it cross-examined in scientific journals, by people who know the topics, and process. This will be challenging, time consuming, and probably expensive.

And you will not - of course - be able to time travel to prove it.

ThePragmatic's picture


blue_sky has been reading articles on creationist disinformation sites like "TrueAthority.com" and "Creation.com", and now he is trying to use it to "convert" by undermining science. I'm all for critical review, but this is just disinformation. A disgusting and dishonest waste of time.

If you want to read: http://www.trueauthority.com/cvse/radiometric.htm


@blue_sky, a tip:
When you read articles on scientific subjects, they should have references at the bottom. That's a good way to make sure you're not just reading some made up bullshit.

bluesky's picture
Mitch, thanks for your

Mitch, thanks for your comments; they make sense.
But in a point I think you misunderstood me
or I did not make myself understood clearly enough.
As I showed in my previous messages, I do not think the radioactivity method is reliable, at least not for our situation
since we have too many variables and only one equation.
And I also said that science can not help us much when comes to dealing with events
that happened long ago because we were not there to experiment and/or observe.
When I say that, I speak of measures of pressure, temperature,
quantity of certain substances, radioactivity, magnetic field etc.
I think that would reffer mostly to physics and/or chemistry.
I did not say that Evolution is false because the scientist can not travel in the past(so far I never said that Evolution is false).
Evolution can not be scientifically proven because nobody was there to measure, experiment, take samples and no human witnessed it
Creation can not be scientifically proven because nobody was there to measure, experiment, take samples and no human witnessed it.
If you have any other options I think you can add them to the list too.
If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that is the truth.

My initial intention was just to question the scientific method of dating.
However, since you mentioned it, the other theory is Creationism, as you probably know.
Which means Somebody, a Person not a force or an energy, created everything.

I am not sure about Evolutionism having much cred but it is very popular for sure.
I came from an ex communist country; there almost everybody was atheist/evolutionist.
But nobody had a clue why he belived what he belived.
Nobody read Darwin or had any idea what exactly are the scientific proofs they talked about.
I would say that their confidence was invers proportional with their knowledge.
You would laugh, but at the same time, some were orthodox too.
So, I would not count so much on numbers, popularity does not necessary mean quality.
Initially, I thought this is something specific to my country,
but talking with people from other ex communist countries I realized they were thinking the same way.
Then, comming in the west part of the world I realized that here some people have the same mentality too.
I talked with a friend recently about Evolutionism;
initially his confidence was unshakeble but after a short time, it was easy to observe that he had no clue why he belives in Evolution.
And finally the moment of truth came when he said that he did not want to accept God, that was actually his real problem.
He said he might as well belive in Evolution or in anything else, that would not matter, his problem was that he did not like the idea of a God.
Basically his hatered towards God determined his choice to believe in Evolution.

In light of what I already said about science, or at least in the strict terms of phisics/chemistry, I do not know much "proof" there is for Creation.
But I think you do not have any, either; or if you do bring them to light we'll discuss them.
But there are other aspects we can discuss in paralell about Evolution and Creation.
I am talking about logic, history, moral/ethics, and if you know more about statistics or genetics bring in the information.
Another aspect that we do not share is the spiritual world.
Does the spiritual realm exists?
What do you think

For me Creationism makes a whole lot more sense than Evolution?
What about you? and why?

Mitch's picture
Your equating Creationisim,

Your equating Creationisim, and Evolution, as though both were beliefs. They are not. This is your attempt to elevate Creationism through pointing out, that there are things science has not yet established about evolution. Doubt, or the unkown, is not proof of god - doubt does not add legitimacy to Creationism's case.

Creationism is a belief, whereas evolution is a hypothesis; beliefs require a zero standard of proof - I can believe whatever I want, at any time, about anything. Hypothesis, however, need supporting evidence to matter, and this is where the theory of evolution gets creditability.

You're working from the presumption, that god matters. It does not have to. Life functions fine without "god". Try it.

Here's a breakdown of how genetics supports evolution:


This is why people aren't 'converted' to atheisim. Atheisim is to belief, what detoxification is to drug abuse: the absence of.

ThePragmatic's picture


--- Disclaimer ---
I'm not a scientist. I'm not educated in geology, astronomy or radiometric dating.
By simply using common sense and about 6-7 hours poking through the vast
resources of the Internet, finding the truth really isn't that hard.

"I heard they tried to measure rocks recently created by vulcanic eruptions.
We knew the age of the rocks because we knew when the eruptions took place; but the radioactive methods indicated a very different results."

Well, where did you here this? Who said it?
You should use critical thinking to sort out mistaken information or deliberate lies. Find the information for yourself, use common sense to find fact based information and don't rely on faith (yours or others). And the hardest part of all: Even if you don't like or expect what you find out, admit to yourself and to others that you were wrong.

Could it possibly be this you are referring to?

"Dr" Steve Austin and his associates at the Institute for Creation "Research" - The ICR, measured the age of a sample from Mt. St. Helens, believed to have come from an eruption in 1986. Austin used potassium 40-argon 40 (K-Ar) dating, (and only that method), even though the potassium-argon method with its long half-life, was never intended to date rocks only 25 years old.
While reading about this, I have seen different minimum number of years for the method to work, as for example 100000 years. A professional lab, who no longer performs that specific type of test, stated that the lower dating limit was approximately 2 Million years. So naturally, the results would be totally unreliable. This "research" was published on the ICR website, but seems to have been removed. Most likely due to the large amount of criticism the "research" was getting.

If you want to read the details:


"How does it applies to the past then?
Well, it does not because we can not measure, observe, experiment things that happened in the past"

"Since the science is based on observation and experimentation, and that can not be done for things that happaned long ago"

This is an absurd simplification and just plain wrong.
I understand that you view the past as a closed chapter, apart from what can be found in writings. But that is far from the truth.

Just by looking into space you are observing the past, since it takes time for light to travel. From the Sun to Earth it takes about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. It takes more than four years for the light of our nearest known star (the Alpha Centauri) to reach us. Light and electromagnetic radiation outside of the visible spectrum, can be measured and analyzed. Distances and movement as well.
There are multiple methods to investigate the past, one of them is of course radiometric dating...

Radiometric dating is a well established and thoroughly tested method of determining the age of rocks.
Problems like limitations, contamination and unreliable results from a single sample is well known and compensated for by measuring from several different minerals from the same sample, taking several different samples and using several different radiometric dating methods.

Of course there is less accuracy the further back in time we go, example:
"a study of the Amitsoq gneisses from western Greenland used five different radiometric dating methods to examine twelve samples and achieved agreement to within 30 Ma (million years) on an age of 3,640 Ma."
(Ma means mega-annum, i.e. million years)
But an accuracy within 30 Million years, isn't that bad for a measurement of 3.640 Billion years.
And, in the interest of intellectual honesty, scientists tend to give their results with a stated uncertainty.

Apart from that several different radiometric dating techniques independently converge, they also match several other dating techniques, for example: dendrochronology, layers in sediment, growth rings on corals, rhythmic layering of ice in glaciers, magnetostratigraphy, fission tracks to name a few.
Feel free to research further.

Any tool, no matter how precise, will give bad results when used incorrectly or when deliberately misused.
In such cases, blaming the method instead of the user is faulty logic.


"But in order to use this method, you have to have some assumptions:
1-Conditions affecting the sample in the past are identical to present conditions, or if they were different they have to be known(pressure, temperature, radiation etc.)
2-The sample is a closed system, which means, no interaction (chemical, physical) with the environment
3-In order to determine a good potassium argon ratio, we have to assume that only the potassium is present in the sample at the beginning; there are no daughter elements at that time"

I quote:
"Decay rates have been shown to be constant, despite very high pressure and temperature. Furthermore, by studying supernovas far away, scientist have determined that decay rates have been constant in the ancient past as well. Not only that, different radioactive isotopes decay differently and it is enormously improbable that a postulated difference in decay rates would affect all of them in the same way, yet as we have seen, different radiometric dating methods converge on the same date (within margins of error)."

Isochron diagrams:
Isochron diagrams are used to determine if the samples have been an undisturbed closed systems since formation, in short by looking at many minerals from the same rock or from rocks forming from the same parent mineral. This also gives the initial amount of daughter isotope as a result of the method.
For example: "If a rock is heated during its lifetime, the system gets disturbed and some of the parent and/or daughter isotopes may move in or out of the rock. If so, the data will not fall on an isochron line" http://debunkingdenialism.com/2011/08/12/refuting-radiometric-dating-met...
More info:

"Science is a great tool, but maybe not the proper tool to study the past."

No, of course not! Silly me.
Made up stories about supernatural entities and events, that cannot be corroborated in any way (except for self corroboration) is probably the best tool. *Note: Sarcasm*

Other good reads on the subject:

Radiometric Dating, A Christian Perspective (Dr. Roger C. Wiens)
Radiometric Dating Does Work!
Isochron Dating

Jeff Vella Leone's picture
Nice informative post

Nice informative post pragmatic.

laween's picture


science's picture
What I've never understood,

What I've never understood, is when this information is discovered, and reported on, the theists STILL want to deny/ overlook/ refute it in some way. Do they think that these discoveries are being made up? They are there, they are REAL, and they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a "God" is simply a figure of a theist imagination.

truthseeker17's picture
Out of curiosity, what is the

Out of curiosity, what is the general consensus regarding what people were doing in prehistory? Our written records from man go back to about 3,500 BC. Richard Dawkins states he believes man has been around for 250,000 or so years, and if this pushes things back another 400,000, that's almost 700,000 years where people lived and died and left no trace except bones. Why the sudden explosion of intelligence in the past 6,000 years? That's just something I was never really fully informed about... Seems like we would have built cities before that if we'd been around that long.

Travis Hedglin's picture
From the little anthropology

From the little anthropology I have studied, which is limited, we were mainly a nomadic species moving in small groups. It wasn't until the agricultural revolution(around 12,000 years ago) that we were able to develop comprehensive communication(language) and eventually writing and math. Once we settled in one place and the constant and immediate concern of survival was met, we were able to band together and consider less pressing matters.


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