Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

More Vs. the Once-Standard Out-of-Africa Model

Expand Messages
  • Steve Farmer
    Beyond the data summarized a few weeks ago, especially involving ancient DNA data from Paabo s group, in this post
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 1, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Beyond the data summarized a few weeks ago, especially involving
      ancient DNA data from Paabo's group, in this post

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/14742

      this study just published in the Journal of Physical
      Anthropology raises new claims vs. the once-standard out-of-Africa
      model, pushing back the claimed dates of modern humans in
      the Middle East by hundreds of thousands of years. Dynamite,
      if true:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.21446/abstract

      "Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel)".

      Overview story also in Science Daily, predictably sensationalized
      and simplified, with links:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101230123554.htm

      Other important studies have come out of the Qesem finds. See, e.g.,
      this study from PNAS earlier this year:

      http://www.pnas.org/content/106/32/13207

      Happy New Year!
      Steve
    • Steve Farmer
      Here are links to full texts of a long series of papers written on the Qesem Cave finds (ending in 2009), from the excavation Website:
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 1, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Here are links to full texts of a long series of papers written on the
        Qesem Cave finds (ending in 2009), from the excavation Website:

        http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/projects/qesem/publications.html

        Here is a nice skeptical view of the significance of these finds,
        posted a few days ago by the science writer Brian Switek. Switek
        doesn't dispute the importance of the finds, but only the
        hype, and lays out possible alternate interpretations:

        http://tinyurl.com/25aw3q9

        I've been looking for comments by the physical anthropologist John
        Hawks, but nothing has appeared yet -- maybe because Hawks himself has
        questioned the standard out-of-Africa model for different reasons for
        many years.

        Steve


        On Jan 1, 2011, at 11:06 AM, Steve Farmer wrote:

        > Beyond the data summarized a few weeks ago, especially involving
        > ancient DNA data from Paabo's group, in this post
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/14742
        >
        > this study just published in the Journal of Physical
        > Anthropology raises new claims vs. the once-standard out-of-Africa
        > model, pushing back the claimed dates of modern humans in
        > the Middle East by hundreds of thousands of years. Dynamite,
        > if true:
        >
        > http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.21446/abstract
        >
        > "Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel)".
        >
        > Overview story also in Science Daily, predictably sensationalized
        > and simplified, with links:
        >
        > http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101230123554.htm
        >
        > Other important studies have come out of the Qesem finds. See, e.g.,
        > this study from PNAS earlier this year:
        >
        > http://www.pnas.org/content/106/32/13207
        >
        > Happy New Year!
        > Steve
      • JKirkpatrick
        [Mod. note. This isn t of course from the paper, which is much more detailed and nuanced, but from the news story, Joanna - which as already noted
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 1, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          [Mod. note. This isn't of course from the paper, which
          is much more detailed and nuanced, but from the news
          story, Joanna - which as already noted oversimplifies
          things in predictable ways. - SF.]

          This link says:
          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101230123554.htm
          "Prof. Gopher and Dr. Barkai noted that the findings related to
          the culture of those who dwelled in the Qesem Cave -- including
          the systematic production of flint blades; the regular use of
          fire; evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat;
          mining raw materials to produce flint tools from subsurface
          sources -- reinforce the hypothesis that this was, in fact,
          innovative and pioneering behavior that may correspond with the
          appearance of modern humans."

          "that the findings related to the culture of those who dwelled in
          the Qesem Cave"

          I have a problem with this alleged relation--they gave no datings
          for the cultural artifacts referred to-- "the regular use of
          fire; evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat;
          mining raw materials to produce flint tools from subsurface
          sources --"

          So how can they even aver that the tooth artifacts have any real
          relation to the other artifacts? 200,000 years of
          association/relation??? What about cave stratigraphy?--although
          that is often problematic in cave excavations, as we know.

          Joanna K.


          ________________________________
        • Steve Farmer
          Piece now in Nature, reposted here from the Agade List, on truth & hype in the recent paper on Qesem cave. The piece points to the skepticism previously
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 1, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            Piece now in Nature, reposted here from the Agade List, on truth &
            hype in the recent paper on Qesem cave.

            The piece points to the skepticism previously expressed this week by
            Brian Switek, which I noted earlier today; I wrote:

            > Here is a nice skeptical view of the significance of these finds,
            > posted a few days ago by the science writer Brian Switek. Switek
            > doesn't dispute the importance of the finds, but only the
            > hype, and lays out possible alternate interpretations:
            >
            > http://tinyurl.com/25aw3q9
            >
            > I've been looking for comments by the physical anthropologist John
            > Hawks, but nothing has appeared yet -- maybe because Hawks himself has
            > questioned the standard out-of-Africa model for different reasons for
            > many years.

            Predictable start for science reporting in the second decade of the
            21st century.

            Steve

            ****

            The discussion in Nature, signaled on the Agade list:

            From <http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101231/full/news.2010.700.html>
            ======================================================

            Human remains spark spat

            Nature talks to the archaeologist behind controversial claims that
            ancient teeth could rewrite human evolution.

            Haim Watzman

            A handful of ancient human remains from Israel garnered a huge burst
            of media coverage this week, as claims that the finds could "rewrite
            the history of human evolution" were quickly followed by a backlash
            from the blogosphere.

            Many of the initial reports were based on a Tel Aviv University press
            release about a paper published in The American Journal of Physical
            Anthropology by Israeli and Spanish scientists. The paper detailed the
            discovery, in Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv, of eight human teeth dating to
            between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago. This makes them among the
            oldest significant early human remains found anywhere in southwest
            Asia.

            According to the paper, the teeth cannot be conclusively identified as
            belonging to a particular species of human, whether Homo sapiens — the
            first modern humans — Neanderthals, or other humans. But the press
            release and some of the articles that drew on it state that the teeth
            are evidence that Homo sapiens lived in the Levant as early as 400,000
            years ago. This contrasts with the prevailing view of human evolution,
            which suggests that Homo sapiens arose in Africa roughly 200,000 years
            ago.

            The discrepancy between the media coverage and the paper was seized
            upon by science bloggers Carl Zimmer and Brian Switek, who objected to
            the hype around the research.

            Nature spoke to Avi Gopher, an archaeologist from Tel Aviv University
            and a co-author of the paper, about the discovery and its press
            coverage.

            Do the teeth that you found in Qesem Cave really provide evidence that
            Homo sapiens did not evolve in Africa?

            We don't know. What I can say is that they definitely leave all
            options open. There's been a tendency for people to get so accustomed
            to the "out of Africa" hypothesis that they use it exclusively and
            explain any finding that doesn't fit it as evidence of yet another
            wave of migration out of Africa.

            Were you surprised by press reports making claims that didn't appear
            in your paper?

            I told all the reporters I spoke to, to be very cautious what they
            wrote. But that's what happens. [Gopher also defended the press
            release as being worded "more sharply" than the paper but that "it was
            not incorrect"]

            But your paper clearly avoids saying the teeth came from modern
            humans, although it points out traits that overlap with Neanderthal
            characteristics. Is there enough evidence to link them with a specific
            species of early human?

            Teeth contain a lot of information. At this point we've gone as far as
            we can on the level of basic analysis [looking at the shape and wear
            patterns of the teeth]. Because we wanted to preserve the teeth, we
            haven't yet tried to extract DNA or, for example, to dissect the teeth
            to get information about diet.

            What I've done, with Israel Hershkovitz, Ran Barkai, and my other
            Israeli colleagues, is compare them to a large database of early human
            teeth compiled by our Spanish collaborators. The best match for these
            teeth are those from the Skhul and Qafzeh caves in northern Israel,
            which date later [to between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago] and which
            are generally thought to be modern humans of sorts.

            If we were to take your teeth out and my teeth out and put them on a
            table together with early human teeth, we'd find that some of our
            teeth are very like some of the early human teeth. There is a range of
            variation and no single unique trait that identifies a tooth
            unambiguously as modern or archaic or Neanderthal. We offer the most
            reasonable conclusion based on the statistical evidence: that they
            represent the same population as the Skhul and Qafzeh finds, thus
            pushing the date for that type of early man back to a much earlier
            time.

            References: Hershkovitz I. , et al, Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. doi:
            10.1002/ajpa.21446

            © 2010 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers
            Limited. All Rights Reserved.
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.