Story One: Ancient Sole-Genetic Progenitor Adam


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

This topic will be a place to discuss the ancient sole-genetic progenitor Adam. This includes models put forward by @vjtorley and @Agauger.

The first story is the most technical, and it is about sole- genetic progenitorship (discussion). If Adam and Eve were more ancient than 500-700 thousand years ago, they could have been our sole- genetic progenitors. This would mean all “humans” would descend directly from Adam and Eve, and their offspring never interbred with others.

The Three Stories are discussed separately on these threads:

  1. Story One: Ancient Sole-Genetic Progenitor Adam
  2. Story Two: Genetic-Interbreeding Adam
  3. Story Three: Recent Sole-Genealogical Progenitor Adam

Adventures in New Places —Ann Gauger on the Dabar Conference
Three Stories on Adam
Greg Cootsona: "Mere Science" and Adam's Empty Chair
(Mark M Moore) #2

There is a lot to think about here. One question I have is about this quote:

" We found that this puts a limit of about 500 thousand years on a bottleneck. More ancient than this, there does not appear to be strong evidence against a bottleneck. That means, if “human” is either of these two definitions, perhaps Adam and Eve could be the sole-genetic progenitors of all of us: (1) The Homo genus (2 mya), or (2) Common Ancestors of Homo sapiens , Neanderthals, and Denisovans (500 to 700 kya)."

Language is so ambiguous sometimes, and its a difficult subject. No wonder we have lawyers. It seems to me that the door would still be open to a single couple 500K ago that was Homo Sapiens that was the “sole-genetic progenitors of all of us”. This couple would appear after Neanderthals and Denisovans (let’s say they came along 600,000 years ago). And despite the introgression of Neanderthal and Denisovan genes into some of us this single couple would be the only ones who could claim to be the genetic progenitor of all of us.

That is to say, many sub-Saharan Africans have no trace of Neaderthal genes. Until 55K ago, basically 90% of the existence of Homo Sapiens, it seems likely that most of us had no trace of such genes. There was a mysterious Eurasian group coined the “basal Eurasians” who seemed to lack it as well, until they mixed with Iranians, Natufians, and Anatolians and produced the world’s first farmers less than 15K ago.

I think I see what you are trying to say, but do the words you use actually say it? It is hard to justify, IMHO, calling a hominid which makes a non-universal genetic contribution to our species after 85% of our history has gone by since the original founding couple a “progenitor”. Maybe “Sole-genetic progenitor/later genetic contributors” is a more accurate way to put this?


Three Stories on Adam
(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #3

Saying that a bottleneck was possible 500,000 years doesn’t mean that it actually occurred. To substantiate the claim, population data is needed.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #4

No, data doesn’t support that there were Homo Sapiens 500,000 years ago. Perhaps a pre-Sapien erectus mix from which Neanderthal and Denosivan branched from.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #6

I wonder if @Agauger and @vjtorley can help us enumerate the theological questions that arise in this model. This article written in collaboration with @Agauger is a good starting point.

https://strangenotions.com/the-scientific-possibility-of-adam-and-eve/


(Ann Gauger) #7

@swamidass
Oh good, you found the article.
Theological issues?

  1. What does the Genesis account require?
  2. How does the Catholic Church interpret Genesis and why?
  3. Monogenism (we are all descendants of one first couple, the mother and father of all the living)
  4. Adam and Eve were the first humans. We all carry their DNA
  5. I don’t know about special creation, but I have theological reasons for preferring it.

The Catholic Church basically has very few requirements. Monogenism. Individual infusion of a rational soul into each individual by God. These teachings derive from much older interpretations of Scripture. Monogenism in particular is intended to preserve the idea that we are all one human race, with no racism allowed. The ensoulment, I believe comes from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, but Vincent would know better than I.

Science

  1. Interbreeding happened
  2. Much genetic similarity between chimps and humans
  3. Fossil record of hominins
  4. Possibility, not proof, of a first pair. Does not distinguish between a de novo creation or a bottleneck, or a refashioning of prior hominin material, or a templating of the same.