Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Latest fossil evidence in support of our molecular dating of modern human origin

As described by my blog post on May 25, 2010, our molecular results based on the MGD hypothesis suggest that modern humans have been a single species since ~2 million years ago (manuscript in preparation). The multiregional hypothesis is correct and the out of Africa hypothesis is mistaken. This week's report of 400000 year old remains of modern humans fully support our work.

Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel)
1. Israel Hershkovitz1,*, Patricia Smith2, Rachel Sarig1, Rolf
Quam3,4,5, Laura Rodríguez6, Rebeca García6, Juan Luis Arsuaga4,7, Ran Barkai8,
Avi Gopher8,*
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21446

See yahoo news report on this find here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101227/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_ancient_teeth

Researchers: Ancient human remains found in Israel

By DANIEL ESTRIN, Associated Press – Mon Dec 27, 6:13 pm ET
Israeli archaeologists said Monday they may have found the earliest evidence yet
for the existence of modern man, and if so, it could upset theories of the
origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found
in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of
modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest
Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

"It's very exciting to come to this conclusion," said
archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans
and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found.
He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does,
he says, "this changes the whole picture of evolution."

The accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and
migrated out of the continent. Gopher said if the remains are definitively
linked to modern human's ancestors, it could mean that modern man in fact
originated in what is now Israel.

Sir Paul Mellars, a prehistory expert at Cambridge University, said the study is
reputable, and the find is "important" because remains from that critical time
period are scarce, but it is premature to say the remains are human.
"Based on the evidence they've cited, it's a very tenuous and frankly rather
remote possibility," Mellars said. He said the remains are more likely related
to modern man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals.

According to today's accepted scientific theories, modern humans and
Neanderthals stemmed from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 700,000
years ago. One group of descendants migrated to Europe and developed into
Neanderthals, later becoming extinct. Another group stayed in Africa and evolved
into Homo sapiens — modern humans.

Teeth are often unreliable indicators of origin, and analyses of skull remains
would more definitively identify the species found in the Israeli cave, Mellars

Gopher, the Israeli archaeologist, said he is confident his team will find
skulls and bones as they continue their dig.

The prehistoric Qesem cave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in
2004. Researchers Gopher, Ran Barkai and Israel Hershkowitz published their
study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

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