Did humans leave Africa earlier than previously thought? Discovery of ancient tools in China

(Jon Garvey) #7

But not spiritually, which is the essential “meaning” of Adam. “Why is the human race as it is, and what hope is there for change?” is not an insignificant question in any age.

(Mark M Moore) #8

Perhaps it was the beginning, but that’s not to say Erectines had language or were members of our species. I think genetic evidence has to trump inferences from stone tools on this question. Not even neanderthals, the closest non-human to humanity that we currently know of, had the full suite of genes necessary for human speech. The part of the FOX2 gene in the paper below hints at it, but as I understand people without the normal human version of the gene have severe speech problems.


Perhaps it would if it were true, but what you assert is not even the dominant position among secular science. Separate from the question of the origins of humanity, the mainstream view which I concur with is that there was a population of humans which is not a mosaic of various hominid groups but instead was a single population, or meta-population, to which some of its sub-sets had limited contributions from other hominids. In the case of Eurasians that sub-set wound up being larger than the descendants of the original group but humanity is not a “mosaic” as I understand the term. At some point, and things are picking up at work so it won’t be today, we need to discuss they issue of what the evidence is that there were genetic barriers to hybrid fertility between humans and neanderthals.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #9

Well we are beinning to know who we come from and how we got here. I am optimistic on our future. Stephen Pinker’s book is excellent, - long and detailed by still worthwhile to read and consider the ideals of the Enlightment’s secular humanism.

(Guy Coe) #10

No, thanks…
“Left to an atheistic polygenism, human life in its diversity becomes a wild, wild west arena inviting of racist conceptions, and there’s no countervalence to mere utilitarianism, other than following the personal dictates of what one decides to be in fashion.”
Now, almost seems prescient. Back to my monkey noises… : )

(Guy Coe) #11

@Patrick , this has nothing to do with the cogency of the evidence you offer above, but perhaps now you’ll see why highlighting a monogenistic view of human origins, as informed by God’s actions in gifting humanity as “created in His image” is of practical value?

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #12

Meanwhile, in science today, more discussion on the 2.2 million year old tools in China:

(George) #13

This makes sense to me… the “asian eye” is supposed to be a modification for adapting to very cold climates.

[Edits: Upon further investigation, it looks like Asian Eyes appeared in the human genome +30k years ago. I removed the reference to a 2 million year time frame. See below for a posting and link to the related Wiki article…]

(Jon Garvey) #14

Ah George, if we’re thinking in evolutionary terms, adaptations aren’t “for” anything, but merely chance to occur and happen to suit our ancient Chinese to his icy environment.

But that’s not good enough either nowadays, because we’re in the world of neutral theory, and making up Just So stories about cold, when the chances are much greater that epicanthic folds are non-adaptive, is so twentieth century.

Actually, the neutral story has a lot going for it in this instance - European peoples evolved in ice-age conditions and don’t have narrow eyes (apart from some of them, like a good number of the Irish), and far easterners living in the tropics or even on the equator haven’t lost them. But Google the matter, and it’s astonishing how many of the articles still focus on the “mystery” of “why” they evolved - evolution is still considered the wise designer hitting functional targets, whose ways need to be guessed at.

(George) #15


Frankly, I think you are unwisely investing in “understanding Evolution from the Godless viewpoint” in ways that are guaranteed to foil and confuse those who have Theologically embraced the view that God is behind evolution.

Maybe there was a time when BioLogos encouraged Christians to comprehend the origins of species “as though they were atheists” - - but I think that time has passed.

And my major conflict with Patrick is, in fact, because he has no ability to see things from another viewpoint… which I think is a fatal flaw for an enterprise like PeacefulScience.

As for the Asian eye and skin fold question … it could very well be a more rare mutation … and that for it to occur 2 million years ago is “about right” for that particular trait.

As we know, the eye fold is not easily lost … the Chinese haven’t lived in Inuit-style climate for eons… and there doesn’t seem to be any “random” walks away from those eyes.

On the other hand … perhaps the Ainu of Japan can help us understand who was in Asia before the “Inuit-style” gene pool began to invade the southern climes!

It’s nice when I make a prediction and someone agrees with me!

I found this quote in the abstract below: "Despite recent advances in population genomics, much remains to be elucidated with regard to East Asian population history. The Ainu, a hunter–gatherer population of northern Japan and Sakhalin island of Russia, are thought to be key to elucidating the prehistory of Japan and the peopling of East Asia."

Below is a quote that touches on how long and how significantly humanity has lived in contact with the arctic circle!:

“Considering robust evidence of human habitation in Arctic Siberia before the last glacial maximum (LGM) (Pitulko et al. 2004), it is possible that there were multiple expansions (from south to north) and contractions (from north to south) of human populations in mainland East Asia and Siberia over a long period of time, generating a complex pattern of genetic relationships among contemporary populations.”

"The Ainu people are an indigenous population of Hokkaido, a northern island in the Japanese archipelago, and of the southern part of Sakhalin islands (Figure 1). They have been proposed by archaeologists, linguists, and geneticists to be the direct descendants of prehistoric Japanese hunter–gatherers, associated with the Jomon pottery culture, dating back to 16,500 years before the present (Hanihara 1991; Habu 2004). "

(Jon Garvey) #16

Naw - I was basically just quoting Joshua’s thread on neutral evolution, on which I said a good deal about its limitations. If we’re going to talk about “adaptation” as opposed to “creation” then we need to keep the distinction clear.

(George) #17

@jongarvey ( @swamidass )

Neutral Evolution is a human-centric viewpoint. It is not relevant to the Theosophical position that everything in Creation is under God’s inscrutable purpose.

With a little luck, we won’t have to spend much time discussing “neutral evolution” or Wall Street’s famous “Random Walk” concept either.

(Jon Garvey) #18

…which enables me to get a plug in for my latest blog to that effect!

(Guy Coe) #19

Just to throw a bit of wrinkle; how do we “know” that the “Asiatic eye” is a variation, rather than the “European eye?” Have we narrowed this down to a specific genetic profile, and run it against the most ancient DNA? I honestly don’t know this very basic information, but I am aware of the general tendency towards “Euro-centrism” by western scientists. Glad for any info.

(George) #20


It looks like the asian eye fold is not nearly as old as I thought it was. One (or more?) links below.

The way they know it is a recent change is that it isn’t found in the genomes of any remains of humans until more than 30,000 years ago.

This tells us WHEN.
But I haven’t found anything that tells us that this mutation is BENEFICIAL - - though they are tinkering with the idea that it is helpful for lactation during ecosystem circumstances with low vitamin D.

“The 370A mutation arose in humans approximately 30,000 years ago, and now is found in 93% of Han Chinese and in the majority of people in nearby Asian populations. This mutation is also implicated in ear morphology differences and reduced chin protusion.”
[Footnote 13: Adhikari, Kaustubh (19 May 2016). “A genome-wide association scan implicates DCHS2, RUNX2, GLI3, PAX1 and EDAR in human facial variation”. Nature Communications. 7: 11616. doi:10.1038/ncomms11616. URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms11616 ]
“The derived G-allele is a mutation of the ancestral A-allele, the version found in most modern non-East Asian and non-Native American populations.”

“In a 2015 study, three (of six) ancient DNA samples (7,900-7,500 BP) from Motala, Sweden; two (3300–3000 BC) from the Afanasevo culture and one (400–200 BC) Scythian sample were found to carry the rs3827760 mutation…”

(Guy Coe) #21

Thanks, George; that is helpful. I guess the presumption should be that it was beneficial for populations in the region when and where the variation was fixed?

(George) #22


I’ve always wanted to know where Beringia was!
“The term Beringia was coined by the Swedish botanist Eric Hultén in 1937.”

Apparently waders are recommended for the modern tourist!

[quote from the Wiki article on the 370A mutation]
"It has been hypothesized that natural selection favored this allele during the last ice age in a population of people living in isolation in Beringia, as it may play a role in the synthesis of breast milk under Vitamin D-poor conditions.[10][11][12] The 370A mutation arose in humans approximately 30,000 years ago, and now is found in 93% of Han Chinese and in the majority of people in nearby Asian populations. "

(Jon Garvey) #23

I never realised the Chinese had breast milk in tears… oh, I see, the eyes are a spandrel. Nothing’s ever straightforward is it? You ask someone why their eyes are that shape and they smile inscrutably and say “lactation.”

In other news (but the same area) polar bears became white to prevent Vitamin A poisoning from all that blubber.

(George) #24


According to the report described in the NY Times article… it may not have anything to do with the eyes - - that was a surprise for me to read …

"The finding that the gene has so many effects raises the question of which one was the dominant trigger for natural selection.

Dr. Sabeti said the extra sweat glands could have been the feature favored by natural selection, with all the other effects being dragged along in its train.

“We’re the only mammals to have changed their entire hair pattern. So the changes in teeth, hair and breasts — it’s very possible they are the passengers and thermoregulation is the key,” she said, referring to the role of sweat glands in cooling the body."

“East Asians are sometimes assumed to have evolved in a cold environment because of their narrow nostrils, which conserve heat, and the extra eyelid fat that insulates the eye. But the Broad team calculates that the EDAR variant arose about 35,000 years ago in central China and that the region was then quite warm and humid. Extra sweat glands would have been advantageous to the hunter-gatherers who lived at that time.”

[truncated text - - lots more in the article]

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

This is a reference to neutral draft, a well established neutral process.

(George) #26

1655 AD: Isaac La Peyrère wrote: Prae-Adamitae:

The 17th-century French Millenarian Isaac La Peyrère, because of his influence on subsequent thinkers and movements, is usually credited with formulating the pre-Adamite theory. In his Prae-Adamitae, published in Latin in 1655, La Peyrère argued that Paul’s words in Romans 5:12-14 should be interpreted to mean that “if Adam sinned in a morally meaningful sense there must have been an Adamic law according to which he sinned. If law began with Adam, there must have been a lawless world before Adam, containing people.”[11] Thus, according to La Peyrère, there must have been two creations; first the creation of the Gentiles and then the creation of Adam, who was the father of the Hebrews. The existence of pre-Adamites, La Peyrère argued, explained Cain’s taking of a wife and the building of a city after Abel’s murder in the Book of Genesis.



I don’t remember why Isaac La Peyrere is not considered an integral part of the timeline found in another thread… especially since he titled his work “Pre-Adams” (see Romance title above).

Here is the link to the main thread for the Timeline (a work in progress… first we are collecting the individuals…)