... has just appeared on the arXiv. This refers to the paper by Mendez et al. announcing the basal clade A00 of the phylogeny and estimating a TMRCA for Y-chromosome Adam of 237-581ka.
The author argues that such an old age is inconsistent with neutral theory, although that assumes no population structure in the origin of modern humans; it may very well be that A00 introgressed into the modern human gene pool via an admixture event from a different African population.
The best evidence for the authors' of the original paper choice of mutation rate is their estimate that the common ancestor of all Eurasians being ~63ky vs. ~39ky using the faster rate. While a date between these two can be probably accommodated, the ~39ky age seems difficult to accept, given that Homo sapiens had arrived in various parts of Eurasia by the mid-40ky's and had been admixing with Neandertals 47-65ky BP; a higher date would also be more in line with age estimates of Eurasian mtDNA macro-haplogroups M and N.
In any case, it's probably a good idea to get a better handle on the mutation rate: Mendez et al. rely on the autosomal rate, adjusting for the Y-chromosome; while the faster rate derives from a single Chinese deep pedigree study.
Timing of ancient human Y lineage depends on the mutation rate: A comment on Mendez et al
Melissa A. Wilson Sayres
(Submitted on 22 Apr 2013)
Mendez et al. recently report the identification of a Y chromosome lineage from an African American that is an outgroup to all other known Y haplotypes, and report a time to most recent common ancestor, TMRCA, for human Y lineages that is substantially longer than any previous estimate. The identification of a novel Y haplotype is always exciting, and this haplotype, in particular, is unique in its basal position on the Y haplotype tree. However, at 338 (237-581) thousand years ago, kya, the extremely ancient TMRCA reported by Mendez et al. is inconsistent with the known human fossil record (which estimate the age of anatomically modern humans at 195 +- 5 kya), with estimates from mtDNA (176.6 +- 11.3 kya, and 204.9 (116.8-295.7) kya) and with population genetic theory. The inflated TMRCA can quite easily be attributed to the extremely low Y chromosome mutation rate used by the authors.