Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

January 28, 2018

None dare call it multiregionalism

Filed under: Paleoanthropology,Paleogenetics — Razib Khan @ 11:22 pm

Dienekes Pontikos resurfaces with a post, Out of Africa: a theory in crisis. The title is a bit hyperbolic. But in Dienekes’ defense, he’s been on this wagon for over ten years, and the evidence is moving in his direction, and not against it. I think a little crowing is understandable on this part.

With that being said, I think the biggest rethinking that we’re doing is less about where modern humans arose (Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East), but how they arose. Some geneticists are quite open to the idea of Eurasian (Neanderthal?) back-migration to Africa several times. Others are positing that a “multiregional” model might actually about within Africa.

A simple stylized model of a rapid punctuated expansion of humanity which replaces other lineages in toto is no longer likely. There has been widespread admixture, even though the last major demographic wave seems to be predominant, at least outside of Africa. But, the whole process might be more much more complex history than we had thought.

The multiregional model is probably wrong on the details. It’s not really phyletic gradualism and anagenesis. But there are also many processes and dynamics which a multiregional model takes into account that probably are important in a general sense toward understanding the origin of our species.

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