I found this article of interest for our discussions.
Very interesting. Thanks for posting these.
I have a few hypotheses regarding issues raised in this article. Maybe humans did not start in Africa. Maybe that is just where they survived until they busted out again around 55K ago. The ones in Eurasia either did not make it or only a few made it and they were blended with non-human hominids such as neanderthals and denisovans. We have found evidence of human-neanderthal inbreeding prior to OOA.
The Red Deer people are an interesting case. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Deer_Cave_people
Were they a Denisovan population which survived almost into modern times or were they (as I think) a relic population of denisovan-human hybrids that met the OOA humans on the way? A group like them might explain some of that 2% DNA from an earlier human population, and of course the Denisovan genes, in Melanesians and Papuans. I hope we can get some DNA on them and find out.
Note that the morphology of the Red Deer people looks a lot like that of these fossils in Morocco that are the basis of the claim that humanity got its start 310,000 years ago. This claim gets repeated a lot more often than the evidence for it warrants IMHO. After all, the 400,000 year old DNA from the fossils in Spain showed them to be most like a Denisovan with some Neanderthal traits- perhaps a hybrid of those two. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131204-human-fossil-dna-spain-denisovan-cave/
Too busy right now. Mark out.
The story’s of great biological and human interest. It’s interesting that the genealogical Adam hypothesis makes it of marginal theological interest - it doesn’t change the status of man before Adam, doesn’t impinge on biblical matters except in the matter of speculations about when one starts calling people “man made in God’s image” - but that’s as arbitrary and possibly meaningless as the biological question of “when did they become ‘human’?”
Don’t you find that the sociology of science issue is just as worthy of pondering? For decades the “Out of Africa” theory, being the consensus, was stated along the lines of “It used to be thought… but we now know.”
And yet suddenly that’s under challenge, and what’s the betting that the new consensus, if one arises, will say, “It used to be thought that mankind originated in Africa, but we now know…”
A bit less overconfidence in our knowledge, and it would all be couched as “Our current best conclusion from the evidence is…” Then when it changed, as it always does, we wouldn’t be “dramatically re-writing the history of man,” but just adjusting our best guess to new data.
What I find most intriguing is when new discoveries are made that nobody even guessed at. Like Denisovans, and admixing. I am sure we are going to get many surprises as the amount of data explodes. Reich’s lab had sequenced 3700 ancient human genomes by end of 2017 and only published on 700 of them. There are thousands of genomes to analyze and compare. The results are just going to be coming in more like a fire hose than a drip, drip, drip of one fossil and then another.
Maybe this “roughed out” Time vs. Regional chart of human evolution might spark some conversation for you @anon46279830?
Please note that Chris Stringer has floresiensis and dead-end branches of erectus in Eurasia.
But that the branch of erectus in the sapiens lineage is still in Africa - - it leads to heidelbergensis,
and from there branches off into Denisovans, Neanderthal, and finally sapiens.
I guess we ought not to be surprised if what we know currently is a small island in a sea of ignorance, rather than filling in the last pieces of the jigsaw. And in factual terms, that’s something like what we have in palaeo-anthropology: some genetics diluted by time and the odd fossil here and there. I suspect we’ll have major revisions of all kinds as the years (or months!) pass.
That’s what I am concerned about. They think they are at the last pieces stage when in reality they are on a small island. Will they think outside the box enough if the data starts trending in an unexpected direction, or will they turn prior learning into dogma?
Scientists dream of making that new discovery that overturns previously thinking. It is career making. Lee Berger has done it twice with Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. Still no consensus on where these two species fit in. As the fossil and DNA data comes in, the family tree gets to be a untrimmed bush. Tracing our ancestral species from Australopithecus to genus Homo to us through this bush is going to be interesting to hear about. What it means to be “human” get harder and harder to define.
The Cynic might say that the more you insist the science is settled now, the more kudos there is when you overturn it! Nobel Prizes seldom come from modest improvements to the picture.
Sure … things change all the time … but not all things keep changing at the same rate!
Gravity isn’t going anywhere… E = MC2 isn’t going away either.
But E = MC2 could become E= ( MC2 ) all divided by “XYZ”!
Below is my latest thread, where I highlight Asimov’s thoughts on these very ideas!
@gbrooks9 the things that don’t change are the things we can observe happening and remeasure repeatedly. Human evolution from non-human forms is not among those things. Even with gravity, we do not understand how it is connected to the other fundamental forces (though I mused on that).
I am not in a position where I can think deeply at the moment, but I predict that diagram is going to change if they don’t get locked into the mindset that it just needs a last bit or two filled in.
I would concur…
… but Africa as a birthplace seems to be locked in by the congruence of genetic evidence gathered from around the world… especially in Africa.