August 01, 2012

Gilbert on erectus, Klein on sapiens

This is a very interesting and information-rich talk by Henry Gilbert on Homo erectus and the Acheulean. A must-watch.


A second talk by Richard Klein on Homo sapiens and Out-of-Africa. Klein has featured in a mini-controversy regarding the recent evidence for archaic admixture in Africans, so it is interesting to get a concise overview of his opinions. I absolutely agree with him that "something big" happened at around 50,000 years ago, and I share his skepticism about signs of earlier behavioral modernity in Europe and Africa alike. I also agree with him that this "something" involved a migration of people. Where we part ways is that I do not share his conviction that this was an Out-of-Africa event. For several reasons:

  • Eurasian mtDNA mega-haplogroups coalesce before 50ky
  • Y-haplogroup CT coaelesces before 50ky, although some suggest (wrongly in my opinion) that it is of African origin
  • Genetic divergence times between West Africans and Eurasians exceed 100ky; with hunter-gatherers they are even higher
  • There is clear evidence of archaic admixture not only in Eurasians but also in Africans
  • There does not seem to be clear temporal priority in any region with respect to the appearance of the 50ky Event


1 comment:

Blender said...

With respect to Dr. Richard Klein's talk I have three things to say:
1. I'm not an expert in the area of defining art, but his arguments against early art, are far from compelling, and I don't like the way he dismisses opinions he disagrees with, without giving a thorough explanation
2. He definitely misrepresents what the Neanderthal genome paper says, especially in what regards to genes that differentiate all anatomically modern humans from Neanderthals.
3. I am eager to bet against him on the Neanderthal genetic contribution to modern non-Africans. Anyone else agrees with him and wants to bet? I could make good use of the money from the bet.