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Early Humans Made Love, Not War
Research suggests race does not exist
Jeff Leach (zinjboss)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2006-02-12 14:12 (KST)   
A new analysis of recently derived human gene trees by Alan R. Templeton, of Washington University in St. Louis, shows three distinct major waves of human migration out of Africa instead of just two, and provides strong statistical refutation of the 'Out of Africa' displacement theory.

Templeton published his results in the most recent issue of the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology.

The longstanding 쁎ut of Africa theory holds that populations of Homo sapiens left Africa 100,000 years ago and wiped out existing populations of humans that had emigrated during earlier periods. Templeton has shown, however, that the African populations interbred with Eurasians, making love, not war. Interbreeding, rather than total displacement, is significant.

"The 'Out of Africa' replacement theory has always been a big controversy," Templeton said. "I set up a null hypothesis, and the program rejected that hypothesis, using the new data, with a probability level of 10 to the minus 17th. In science you don't get any more conclusive than that. It says that the hypothesis of no interbreeding is so grossly incompatible with the data that you can reject it."

Templeton's analysis is considered as the only definitive statistical test to refute the theory, which has dominated human evolution science for more than two decades. "Not only does the new analysis reject the theory, it demolishes it," Templeton said.

Using a computer program he developed in 1995 and later modified with the help of David Posada and Keith Crandall at Brigham Young University, he determined genetic relationships among and within populations based on an examination of specific haplotypes, clusters of genes that are inherited as a unit.
In 2002, Templeton analyzed ten different haplotype trees and performed phylogeographic analyses that reconstructed the history of the species through space and time.

Three years later, he had 25 regions to analyze and the data provided molecular evidence of a third migration, this one, and the oldest, back to 1.9 million years ago.

"This time frame corresponds extremely well with the fossil record, which shows Homo erectus expanding out of Africa then," Templeton said.

Another novel finding is that populations of Homo erectus in Eurasia had recurrent genetic interchange with African populations 1.5 million years ago, much earlier than previously thought, and that these populations persisted instead of going extinct, which some human evolution researchers thought had occurred.

The new data confirm an expansion out of Africa going back 700,000 years that was detected in the 2002 analysis.

"Both expansions (the 1.9 million and 700,000 year) coincide with recent paleoclimatic data that indicate periods of very high rainfall in eastern Africa, making what is now the Sahara Desert a savannah," Templeton said. "That makes the timing very amenable for movements of large populations through the area."

Templeton said that the fossil record indicates a significant change in brain size for modern humans 700,000 years ago as well as the adaptation and expansion of a new stone tool culture first found in Africa and which later, 700,000 years ago, expanded throughout Eurasia.

"By the time you're done with this phase you can be 99 percent confident that there was recurrent genetic interchange between African and Eurasian populations," he said. "So the idea of pure, distinct races in humans does not exist. We humans don't have a tree relationship, rather a trellis. We're intertwined."

Jeff Leach is an anthropologist who specializes in evolutionary trends in human nutrition and its application to modern health and well-being. He also writes a free weekly newsletter on nutrition and health, available on his Web site.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Jeff Leach

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