Is it Banksy? Is it Homo?

The remains of Early Humans are becoming as commonplace as the art works left behind by the evasive Banksy.

Five specimens of Homo erectus are thought to have been found recently in Georgia, but in forms that  extend the status of  that human species.  Meanwhile, Banksy has promised that a new work of his art will turn up each day this month while he stays in New York.

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During this current visit to New York Banksy has secretly placed his work in all five boroughs. Yesterday he left one in a charity store in Manhattan and the publicity is attracting bids above $200,000 now that the store is auctioning the picture. It’s the framed one shown below.

Meanwhile, the Dmanisi specimens are thought to have variations in size and structures that might be expected in a single species. What is clear is that the brain cavity is 1/3 the size of the average H. sapiens and that makes the Georgian archaeologists confident that H. erectus is the right species for all five specimens. But where does one species stop and another begin? It’s also hard to be sure that Banksy is the right artist.

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For the 1.8 million year old specimen the teeth are in remarkable condition. This may help understand something about the animal’s diet but unfortunately they do not help identify the species.

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This is not a problem for Banksy who gives plenty of help with identifying his work on his website. That above left is “The banality of the banality of evil” – oil on oil on canvas 2013. The one above right is “Thrift store painting vandalised then re-donated to the thrift store”. Click on the images to enlarge them.

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If the Georgian fossils are from the same species their discovery does raise the question of how many species of Homo migrated north from Africa to the east coast of the Black Sea. Some say five. The Georgian scientists think it may have been just one.

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But then, what is a species? No-one’s too sure.

Of course, Banksy is in the same boat. No data are available to explain his ancestry, except that he was on Coney Island, Brooklyn, on

October 28th 2013:     sized-coney-island-wide-2

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