Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2012-04 > 1334262961

From: Dienekes Pontikos <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Out of Africa
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 23:36:01 +0300
References: <151652.612378.1334260668369.JavaMail.root@vznit170064><02cc01cd18e9$d7f95260$87ebf720$@org>
In-Reply-To: <02cc01cd18e9$d7f95260$87ebf720$@org>

The following article is good reading for anyone seeking to understand
the origins of anatomical modernity and how different early specimens
commonly attributed to Homo sapiens relate to extant humans.

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010;143 Suppl 51:94-121. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21443.

Fossil evidence for the origin of Homo sapiens.

Schwartz JH, Tattersall I.

An excerpt:

"Allowing for a slightly greater envelope of variation than exists
today, basic "modern" morphology seems to have appeared significantly
earlier in time than the first stirrings of the modern symbolic
cognitive system."

With respect to whether Y-chromosome Adam and mtDNA Eve, we can be
certain of two things: they did not possess a "modern symbolic
cognitive system", since the latter is only visible in the last
100,000 years or so, and clear is the last 50,000 years, and both
Y-Adam and mt-Eve lived much earlier than this period.

As to whether they were anatomically modern, the odds are that they
were: after all, we're their descendants and we're anatomically
modern, and the two other archaic humans tested so far (Neandertals
and Denisovans) are much more diverged in their mtDNA. On the other
hand, we can't be certain that they were, since specimens from 100-200
thousand years ago typically exhibit a mix of modern and archaic
features, and these archaic features persist in some populations down
to the Holocene. So, while it's a good bet that Y-Adam and mt-Eve were
mostly anatomically modern, it is by no means a "sure thing".

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:21 PM, Lawrence Mayka <> wrote:
> The new issues brought forth by recent discoveries--in both DNA and archaeology--are:
> 1) Did Y-Adam and mt-Eve meet the conventional definition of Anatomically Modern Human (AMH)?  Is perhaps the term and concept of AMH less important than we thought, outside of its specific archaeological usage?  After all, AMH refers only to bone structure, not to activities of a higher order; and the classification is highly debatable in individual cases anyway.  For example, prominent scientists continue to debate whether Homo floresiensis is a newly discovered species or merely a disease.
> 2) It is reasonable to define a "fully modern human," of later date and perhaps of different geographical origin?  Or is this primarily a cover for racism?  Bloggers like Dienekes have begun to expound the "fully modern human" hypothesis:
> ---
> This also explains why archaic humans persisted in West and Central Africa down to the Holocene boundary. I often note how strange it seems that this would be the case if modern behavior (as opposed to modern anatomy) originated in Africa (or even Southern Africa): why would it take much longer for humans to replace archaic Africans whereas it took them only a geological blink of an eye for them to do the same for archaic Eurasians? This puzzle is solved once we realize that an early pre-100ky expansion of AMH Out-of-Africa was followed by a late post-70ky expansion of fully modern humans Out-of-Arabia.
> ---
>> From: [mailto:genealogy-dna-
>> ] On Behalf Of Jim Bartlett
>>     I believe the concept of Y-Adam is the Most Recent Common Ancestor of all
>>    men alive today. This is much different than trying to determine the first
>>    homo sapiens, who evolved much earlier - both men and women at the same time
>>    frame. The same is true for mt-Eve, the Most Recent Common Ancestor of
>>    all living women. Through this concept, clearly they were human.  The dating
>>    of these two humans is well after humans had evolved.
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