Thursday, November 15, 2007


The other day, I spotted an article about a structure which was uncovered during a dry spell at Lake Biel in Switzerland. What archaeologists found was a series of uniform piers, indicating that it was a dock or some sort of hut. According to the dating method used, the piers were about 6,000 years old.

While this is indeed an ancient structure, other relics have been found in Europe which indicate that humans were living there with relatively advanced technologies, as far back as 700,000 years. Stone artifacts found in Anglia, UK were conclusively dated as the earliest sample of human activity on the European continent so far. And of course, because Europe has been densely populated for a long time, older sites may exist but be impossible to locate.

This finding disrupts the mantra of the "out of Africa" (OOA) theorists.

According to that group, ape-like prehumans crossed the genetic line, became human, then later migrated north from the African continent to populate Europe and Asia. They claim that, during a massive ice age, the first group, which became the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalis), migrated to Europe about 350,000 years ago. Neanderthal man apparently supplanted any pre-human, Homo erectus who may have sporadically left Africa in earlier times. The later migration of Homo sapiens then overtook and eliminated the Neanderthals, about 30,000 years ago, which would thus be the absolute age of the Europeans.

Using these timelines, then, there is no easy way to explain who the flint-makers of Anglia were, if we rely on the OOA theory. Those Anglian people, obviously human, were there twice again as far back as the Neanderthals.

There's another problem with the OOA concept. Using DNA analysis, scientists can now, with good precision, determine one's geoethnic ancestry. In other words, it's possible to pinpoint which general racioethnic group one's genes belong to by geographic region of origin. There is a great deal of overlap in some of these groups, as would be expected from interbreeding over the years. We may find that some Indian groups share DNA with southern Chinese groups and so on. Northern Chinese, Korean and Japanese people have been found to have some DNA which is shared with Europeans. None of this happened because of recent interactions; the so-called "marker genes" have ancient origins.

The big problem is, while some DNA is shared among Europeans and Asians, including several marker genes, none of the marker genes specific to African ancestry are present in Europeans, and are only present in some southern Asians, traceable to established later African emigration patterns.

The OOA idea also relies on mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down on the X-chromosome, and they attempt to relate groups using what they call "observed mutations" to those genes. They claim that such mutation patterns can be traced because of their regularity. However, examples of ethnic groupings known to be have arisen more recently contain mitochondrial DNA mutations of greater apparent antiquity than older groupings.

When Darwin was writing "Origin of the Species", he focused on differences among the finch populations in the Galapagos chain. They were categorized into different species, often based on relatively minor differences, such as beak length or plumage coloration. Darwin's major criteria were, effective uniqueness of the "adaptation" and heritability. A bird who was adept at digging grubs from tree bark was considered quite different from another which caught insects on the wing, but only if their offspring shared those behaviors and the same ecological niche.

Lions and tigers, while often able to produce fertile offspring (the lack of which ability is a trivial, yet popular, fallback argument among some scientists to prove species uniqueness), would never normally choose to do so. In similar manner, Grevy's zebras (Equus grevyii) don't mate with the more common Grant's (Equus quagga), although they produce fertile offspring. Mule deer almost never crossbreed with Whitetails. Mountain gorillas avoid mating with Lowland gorillas. These animals recognize their own "kind" and act instinctively to preserve their genetic heritage. In addition, these different species often live in close proximity to one another, yet maintain separate space.

No one considers the natural segregation of various zebra species, or big cats, or gorillas to be "racist", or more appropriately "species-ist".

There are unmistakable visual differences among the basic European, African and Asian group phenotypes. No one can honestly say they would confuse Wesley Snipes' ancestry with Pierce Brosnan's or Jackie Chan's. Of course, there are many people who would politically disallow such observations.

In addition, there are physiological, psychological, intelligence, social and other divergences. As many as 29 distinct physical differences exist between European, or Asian, and African people. Asians, again particularly from northern areas, share much more with Europeans. Visually, Europeans and northern Asians have many physiological aspects in common. One noticeable trait often possessed by older European groups, such as the Finns and Hungarians, is an "almond shaped" eye, reminiscent of the Asian epicanthic fold.This would indicate a common ancestry point between them.

Finally, if we assume that Africans are closer to the original human prototype offered by the OOA folks, and we further accept that evolution is an "upward progression", then the farther from the root stock, the more "developed" the animal. This perspective places Africans at the lower end of evolutionary progression. Is that what the OOA people intended?

One possible refutative theory is the "Many Points" concept. In this, pre-human, ape-like beings did originate in Africa, but migrated north over many millennia before evolving to the Homo sapiens species level. This argument is supported by the many fossilized remains of Homo erectus found around the world, all from approximately the same epoch.

Using this theory as a starting point, prehumans could have evolved independently (as among Europeans, Africans and say, Samoans), or semi-independently (as between Europeans and northern Asians), and simultaneously reached their final "human form" in several places. This would account for the most basic human similarities, and also for lack of shared genetics between those who separated much earlier in time.

It would also explain how humans in what's now England were making spear points seven-thousand centuries ago without interfering with later, different humanoids arising (Neanderthals among them) from the original remaining prehumans. If this is in fact what happened among humans, we are not all the same, we are at least dissimilar enough to be different subspecies of Homo sapiens, and perhaps are different enough to be entirely separate species altogether.

Environments shape the evolution of species, and it's ludicrous to presuppose that humans who evolved on the savannahs of Kenya would be the same as those who arose in the freezing winters of central Europe or north Asia. Yet, according to the talking heads running the Looking Glass world in which we live, we are expected to believe that those differences do not matter, or that they don't exist at all.