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Mitochondrial Eve

31 October 2019

At www.livescience.com/mitochondrial-eve-first-human-homeland.html … and https://phys.org/news/2019-10-homeland-modern-humans.html … the San (otherwise known as the Bushmen) of southern Africa carry one of the oldest maternal DNA lineages on Earth – which is not surprising. They have also been subjected to the least admixture by later humans. However, we are now told scientists have homed in on the original point at which the San emerged as modern humans, just 200,000 years ago. They are the ancestors of every living human on Earth we are told but the point of the origin is presented as in the Kalahari Desert – where they just happen to have been pushed by the spread of other modern humans of various persuasion. The Kalahari desert was at one time much wetter and a landscape of now extinct lakes, forests and grassland. As a result of  climate change, it is theorised, they migrated outwards. All this is deduced by a team of researchers intent on pinpointing where Mitochondrial Eve may have lived. Paul Reich, in his book (see upcoming review in SIS 2019:3, made it clear that mitochondrial Eve did not exist – it was a false flag spread by the media. She exists only is so far as DNA can be traced backwards – slamming up against the barrier of too many genetic codes outpacing individual genomes. Whilst they can go back to the Neanderthals (or some of them) any early human prior to that remains outside the scope of current genetic probing (which includes Homo Eerectus for example, the first early human to people the planet). What do we make of this latest piece of research? Well, they only claim to trace the descent of the first 'modern' human back to the Kalahari, and therefore it is not Mitochondrial Eve (as they are ignoring descent from Neanderthals and Denisovans etc). I think it is pretty clear that the San people could very well have been an early modern human as they once occupied all of southern Africa south of the equatorial zone – and the pygmies of the rainforest could well be another one. However, I would suggest it is difficult to prove one way or the other which people came first, even if the San are a strong candidate. Why only 200,000 years ago as modern humans have now been found in North Africa dating back 300,000 years. Who were they?

Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London is unimpressed with the claims saying he was cautious to consider modern genetic distribution to be the same as it was when ancient populations thrived – particularly in a continent as large as Africa. To say they evolved in a wetland oasis in the Kalahari Desert is too specific. He adds, the new study follows only one sequence of maternally inherited code and therefore its findings do not capture the full picture. Any study that concentrates on one small bit of the genome, or one region, or one stone tool industry, or even one fossil (skull) cannot capture the complexity of our mosaic origins. Says it all. Needless to say the new study used modelling techniques. What goes in comes out of the other end.

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/10/new-study-on-early-h… … it seems fire use (making a fire yourself rather than utilising fire in the landscape) was clearly a skill known to the Neanderthals. Lighting a fire is a skill that has to be taught.

The San of course had the ability to make fire – see earlier links.

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