Early Humans

23 Oct 2016

There was an excellent TV programme a few weeks ago featuring Alice Roberts and human history (the Denisovans, Neanderthals, and the arrival of modern humans etc). Whilst it seemed to glaringly omit earlier but related versions of humanity it did serve to update her earlier TV programme (and book) 'The Incredible Human Journey' - which kept strictly to the BBC propaganda line on 'Out of Africa' (for better or worse). Her book, of the same title, covered a much wider set of issues, and now she has returned with some new findings (mostly already outlined on News over the last few years). These make interesting viewing and one can increasingly see how strained the Out of Africa theory has become - although mainstream still sticks like glue to what is a political piece of science that would take an earthquake to untangle.

The new evidence consists of the Denisovan genome and the Neanderthal genome which has put a genetic bomb under the Out of Africa bus. She describes it very well (see links below). However, the surviving genes of these two early forms of human are very small in modern human populations. Was there a higher amount of mixture in the early Holocene - or among the Magdalenians. Has the genetic mixture been diluted over time? Do we really know how genes are changed over time and is genetic research at an early stage and new findings may come to light in the future to cast doubt on current consensus views. 

At http://phys.org/print396189181.html ... we are told that the relationship between modern humans and the Denisovans and Neanderthals 'was more complex than previously thought ...'. In other words there is evidence of inter breeding (or direct descent) as the carry over of genes from these other groups to the modern human genome has been established. However, Out of Africa is deeply entrenched in academia and geneticists are currently interpreting their findings within that goldfish bowl. It is well known that Homo Erectus spread all around the world and that Denisovans and Neanderthals are a development from them. There is no need to have another global spread - or is there? At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/new-tools-identify.... html ... we learn that 50,000 years ago Denisovans, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens interbred (insinuating Homo sapiens sapiens was the result of that admixture). What did we inherit from these early humans? Quite a lot it would seem, such things as pigmentation for example, fat metabolism, and the immune system etc. The study was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). 

In the previous post on Ice Age Cattle we learnt there are distinct genetic differences between bison of the Magdalenian period and modern European bison yet the depictions on cave walls are remarkably alike. The genetic difference is put down to a bottleneck in which only a limited number of animals were preserved (presumably the Younger Dryas Boundary event that closed the Magdalenian period). We might then ask was there a human bottleneck around 40 to 30,000 years ago and can this account for the genetic evidence now coming to light (differences as well as similarities). Was there also bottlenecks at other periods (such as the Younger Dryas or the 6200BC event) and is this responsible for diluting the genes inherited from Neanderthals and Denisovans. It is obviously not a problem to talk about bison having a bottleneck as a result of a mass kill off event but humans ... they must have been affected in the same way, surely. The survivors would have increased in numbers and gradually inhabited those areas where previous humans had lived. This comes across vividly in the book 'Humans Who Went Extinct' by Clive Finlayson. Neanderthals occupied Europe and western Asia but when they disappeared they were gradually replaced by modern humans - over exactly the same geographical spread. Not at once but over a long period of time. The Late Glacial Maximum also hampered the spread but as far as southern Europe and western Asia is concerned we see modern humans reoccupying former Neanderthal habitat. This theory is useful because if anthropologists were to take it up it would provide focus on what is a largely ignored global mass die off event (probably two events between 40 and 30,000 years ago) that is described in Richard Firestone's 'The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes' Bear and Co,. Rochester, Vermont:2006 (and various others).

In other words, humans could have moved out of Africa on multiple occasions and it is unnecessary to think in terms of a pristine movement of Homo sapiens sapiens to account for the world wide dispersal of humanity.

See Alice Roberts at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kfqps/the-incredible-human-journey-1-ou... ... and