ATLANTA — Ahead of former President Donald Trump’s return to Georgia, legal experts with the Brookings Institution think tank published a detailed analysis Friday of the potential criminal investigation he faces in Fulton County linked to his outspoken efforts to overturn the state’s election results. The 107-page report, written by seven legal analysts, concludes that Trump’s post-election conduct leaves him at “substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.” It was published a day before Trump is set to hold a rally in Perry to promote a slate of state Republican c...
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The fossils of our earliest ancestors found in South Africa are a million years older than previously thought, meaning they walked the Earth around the same time as their East African relatives like the famous "Lucy", according to new research.
The Sterkfontein caves at the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site southwest of Johannesburg have yielded more Australopithecus fossils than any other site in the world.
Among them was "Mrs Ples", the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus found in South Africa in 1947.
Based on previous measurements, Mrs Ples and other fossils found at a similar depth of the cave were estimated to be between 2.1 and 2.6 million years old.
But "chronologically that didn't fit," said French scientist Laurent Bruxelles, one of the authors of a study published Monday in the PNAS science journal.
"It was bizarre to see some Australopithecus lasting for such a long time," the geologist told AFP.
Around 2.2 million years ago the Homo habilis -- the earliest species of the Homo genus that includes Homo sapiens -- was already roaming the region.
But there were no signs of Homo habilis at the depth of the cave where Mrs Ples was found.
Also casting doubt on Mrs Ples's age was recent research showing that the almost-complete skeleton of an Australopithecus known as "Little Foot" was 3.67 million years old.
Such a big gap in ages between Mrs Ples and Little Foot seemed unlikely given they were separated by so few sedimentary layers.
Because the fossils are too old and fragile to test, scientists analyze the sediment near where they were found.
The previous dates underestimated the age of the fossils because they measured calcite flowstone mineral deposits, which were younger than the rest of that cave section, the study said.
For the latest study, the researchers used a technique called cosmogenic nuclide dating, which looked at levels of rare isotopes created when rocks containing quartz were hit by high-speed particles that arrived from outer space.
"Their radioactive decay dates when the rocks were buried in the cave when they fell in the entrance together with the fossils," said the study's lead author, Darryl Granger of Purdue University in the US.
The researchers found that Mrs Ples and other fossils near her were between 3.4 and 3.7 million years old.
This means that members of Australopithecus africanus like Mrs Ples were "contemporaries" of East Africa's Australopithecus afarensis, including 3.2-million-year-old Lucy who was found in Ethiopia, said Dominic Stratford, director of research at the caves and one of study's authors.
Our family tree 'more like a bush'
It could also possibly alter our understanding of our ancestral history.
The South African Australopithecus had previously been considered "too young" to be the ancestor of the Homo genus, Stratford said. That meant that Lucy's home of East Africa was thought to be the more likely place where the Homo genus evolved.
But the new research shows that the South African Australopithecus had almost a million years to evolve into our Homo ancestor.
Or they could have worked on it together.
"Over a timeframe of millions of years, at only 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) away, these species had plenty of time to travel, to breed with each other... so we can largely imagine a common evolution across Africa," Bruxelles said.
The research showed that the history of hominids was "more complex than linear evolution", he added.
Our family tree is in fact "more like a bush, to use the words of our late friend Yves Coppens," Bruxelles said, referring to the French paleontologist credited with co-discovering Lucy. Coppens died last week.
"He had long understood the pan-African nature of evolution," Bruxelles said.
© 2022 AFP
Fox News anchor Bret Baier reacted to the testimony of a former aide to Mark Meadows by calling it both "stunning" and "compelling."
During a break from the Jan 6. Committee's hearing with Cassidy Hutchinson, Baier said that he was moved by the former staffer's firsthand account of former President Donald Trump's actions on Jan. 6.
"Inside the Beast, the limo, saying he wanted to go up to Capitol Hill," the anchor said of Trump. "And they said you have to go back to the White House and, according to her testimony, he says, 'I'm the effing president, take me there,' and then goes to grab at him."
"Listen, this testimony is first of all stunning," he continued, "because we haven't heard this. Two, it's compelling because of her proximity to power. All of these people directly having conversations with her."
Baier noted that Trump "wanted the crowd to be bigger, more robust" and that he didn't care about weapons in the audience.
"Listen, all of this is firsthand," he pointed out. "So it's from her listening to it. That's why it's so compelling."
Watch the video below from Fox News or at this link.
Trump tried to strangle Secret Service agent who refused to take him to the Capitol: Cassidy Hutchinson
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson provided bombshell testimony about the extreme efforts Donald Trump took on Jan. 6 as he attempted to join the mob attacking the U.S. Capitol.
"When I returned to the White House, I walked upstairs toward the chief of staff's office, and I noticed Mr. Ornato lingering outside of the office and once we made eye contact, he quickly waved me to go into his office, which was just across the hall from mine," she said. "When i went in, he shut the door, and I noticed Bobby Engel, the head of Mr. Trump's security detail, sitting in a chair just looking somewhat discombobulated and a little lost."
Hutchinson described a discussion with Trump Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, who ran Trump's Secret Service detail about what had occurred in Trump's armored vehicle, known as the Beast, following his speech.
"I looked at Tony, and he had said, 'Did you f*cking hear what happened in the Beast?' I said, 'No, Tony, I just got back. What happened?' Tony proceeded to tell me that when the president got in the Beast, he was under the impression from Mr. [Mark] Meadows that the off-the-record movement to the Capitol was still possible and likely to happen, but that Bobby had more information. so once the president had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought they were going up to the capitol, and when bobby had relayed to him, we're not, we don't have the assets to do it, it's not secure, we're going back to the West Wing, the president had very strong, very angry response to that," she testified.
"Tony described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, 'I'm the f*cking president, take me up to the Capitol now.' To which Bobby responded, 'Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.' The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the Capitol.' Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles," she testified.
Cassidy Hutchinson www.youtube.com