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Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1269468652


From: Jonathan Day <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Life, Jim,but not as we know it (was Fossil finger points to new humanspecies)
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 15:12:47 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <333412691.13.1269458976435.JavaMail.xb3@npgj2ee9.nature.com>


There's a news story circulating, based on the Nature account but easier on the general public:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100324/ap_on_sc/us_sci_human_ancestor

Mitochondrial Eve is from around 200,000 years ago whereas this find is from around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. This does mean that it's important to know whether or not it's a new species, in that if it is a "modern human", descendants from lines other than mtEve would have necessarily had to have existed at least as recently as this find.

If it's a new species, then the above doesn't have any meaning.

What would be interesting would be a MRCA calculation based on the mutation rates of mtDNA, see if this indicated any serious probability of there being a "modern human" ancestor in common. So long as the MRCA isn't too far back, and providing there's enough mtDNA to perform such a calculation in the first place, the value would give you a very crude guide as to what should be expected as future finds are made.

For example, if the bone is "modern human", then you can make the prediction that there will be a non-zero number of other human bones in the Asian continent that are also not linked to mtEve, that whatever killed off the other lines did so after these specific lines migrated out of Africa. Since mtEve descendants are common across Africa and Australia, we could infer that these non-mtEve lines must have left and become extinct in Africa, possibly globally, prior to mtEve-ians leaving for Australia. These are all entirely testable.

Now, if the bone is NOT "modern human", then it follows that one or more of the hominids that left Africa survived into relatively modern times. Well, we know Neandertals survived until 24,000 years ago, so this isn't impossible. Assuming Homo floresiensis is a genuine species, those hominids lasted until 12,000 years ago. So it's not impossible that yet another non-modern-human survived to 30,000 years ago.

(In comparison, the oldest-known village has been dated by archaeologists to 20,000 years ago and the oldest-known definite flute is from 35,000 years ago. Thus, all of these people lived at around the time of these developments.)

--- On Wed, 3/24/10, on behalf of <> wrote:

> From: on behalf of <>
> Subject: [DNA] Fossil finger points to new human species
> To:
> Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 12:29 PM
>
>    Your friend or colleague
> thought this article from
>    Nature News would be of particular
> interest to you. Their message is below.
>    Nature News article: Fossil finger points
> to new human species DNA analysis
>    reveals lost relative from 40,000 years
> ago.
>    The address is: [1]http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100324/full/464472a.html
>    Their message: Ancient MtDNA from
> Siberian finger bone is so different from
>    both Neanderthal and modern humans, it's
> thought to represent a new human
>    species!
>    To view the latest science news, visit
> www.nature.com/news
>
> References
>
>    1. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100324/full/464472a.html
>
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