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Did we come from Australasia?

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JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

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by Phil78 3179 words

In a recent response to the MCU7  genetic admixture from Archaic, it has been argued that if this entered the Sub Saharan Genome at 145 kya, every population by OOA standards should have it.

Not necessarily, as the study noted how their findings conform to recent findings that actually ground African Origins.

Our finding agrees with recent reports of such an introgression in
sub Saharan African populations (Hammer et al. 2011; Hsieh et al. 2016), as well as the
unexpectedly old human remains (Hublin et al. 2017) and lineages (Schlebusch et al. 2017).

In other words, what I’m thinking is that this connects somewhere with the Basal human component model for West Africans and some LSA finds, though that is for another day.

Now, as for the alternative model that I’ve seen advertise by the site RedIce, we now come to a recent newcomer, Bruce Fenton.

Now, before I begin my criticism of his premise of a new “paradigm”, I like to say that the reviews I’ve seen (Amazon) he certainly seems to have talent in writing. However, reading this article, and other summaries of his model, I must say I’m not tempted to buy his book based on his confidence of his basic model “filling in holes” in OOA and treating it debunked, especially when his sources all more or less can be conformed into OOA 2.

First, let us go into how he rules out both Africa and Europe due to recent Neanderthal DNA  from Neanderthals from Spain.

Research by the geneticists Benoit Nabholz, Sylvain Glémin, and Nicolas Galtier has revealed significant problems with scientific studies that rely heavily on genetic material alone, divorced from the physical examination of fossils (especially in the accuracy of dating by molecular clocks).[i] We are however fortunate to have a 2013 research project from Indiana University, headed by well-respected evolutionary biologist Aida Gómez-Robles at our disposal: a comparative analysis of European hominin fossil teeth and jawbones. The Indiana University project concluded that all the fossil hominins in Europe were either Neanderthals or directly ancestral to Neanderthals – not ancestors of Homo sapiens. We must understand that while respective groups in Africa match European hominin populations, this revelation discounted all known African hominins as being ancestors of modern humans. The morphological research also provided further shock – the divergence between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals had apparently begun as early as one million years before present.

Odd how he made that leap when the researcher he cites actually says otherwise on Africa as a candidate.

From the new study’s results, Gómez-Robles says that “we think that candidates have to be looked for in Africa.” At present, million-year-old fossils attributed to the prehistoric humans H. rhodesiensis and H. erectus look promising.

Fenton then further mention Denisovan diverging, using DNA, as 800k and the places the ancestor of all three between 700-900.

His Response? This finding from China.

The first possible answer to this ‘where to look’ question came in July 2016 with scientist Professor Zhao Lingxiain, whose research group announced they had identified modern human fossil remains at the Bijie archaeological site ranging up to 180,000 years old.[i] Not only were they digging up fragments of modern humans, but also evidence of other mysterious hominin forms. The Chinese paleoanthropologists suspected that some of the recovered fossils might even be from the mysterious Denisovans, previously identified in Siberia.[i] Could modern humans have first emerged in East Asia? It has certainly begun to look like this might be the case. My independent investigative research carried out over the last several years, however, disagrees: my work places the first Homo sapiens in Australasia.

For the context of how this can still conform to OOA, the actual range was 112k to 178k, and while this muddies the typical 50k to 80k migration it can still fit in the 90k to 130k Migration of the Levant that was presumed to have all been wiped out.

Back in 1982, two of the most renowned evolutionary scientists of the modern age, Professor Alan Wilson and his understudy, Rebecca Cann, discovered compelling evidence for an Australasian genesis for modern humans. These controversial findings never emerged in any of their academic papers; in fact, they only appear in a short transcript included in a book published in the same year by two British research scientists, The Monkey Puzzle: A Family Tree. Silence does not change facts, and the fact remains that there is compelling DNA evidence pointing towards Australasia as the first home of Homo sapiens. Indeed, so much data exists that it eventually led to my controversial new book, The Forgotten Exodus: The Into Africa Theory of Human Evolution. My research colleagues and myself have uncovered overwhelming evidence that places the first modern humans in Australasia, and with them several other advanced hominin forms.

There might be some temptation to dismiss this matter out of hand, as it can be difficult accepting that leading academics have got it so wrong. It is, however, important to understand that in every case the opposing arguments against the current consensus position are based on, or supported by, peer-reviewed studies or statements given by consensus academics. Could it be that the year 2016 will one day be known as the year that the Out of Africa paradigm died?

If 2016 becomes associated with the end of one scientific paradigm, then 2017 may become related to the emergence of a new model for human origins, one that I am proposing and have termed ‘Into Africa’. My Into Africa theory is closely related to the ‘Out of Australia’ theory formulated by two of my Australian collaborators, Steven and Evan Strong, but goes significantly further down the rabbit hole of our evolutionary story.

I’d wish he supported this unreplicated genetic study (as far as I know) with actual archaeological continuity in Australasia because so far, pre-sapiens people there are generally  Erectus-like, his own sources on the matter supporting that view.

He summarizes both Multiregional and OOA theory (single recent origin), then proceeds to his own.

[UPDATE– Something that I pondered was exactly what pattern of migration did Cann produce? Well, based on two articles produced by Steve Strong, who I believe is an associate of Fenton, shows that my suspicions were correct.

The pattern found was Australoids- Mongoloids- Caucasians, Negroids/SSA, the opposite of Fenton’s Framework. I figured that, regardless of where Australians fit, the affinity of groups wouldn’t change. Strong has another article in which he uses a paper linking origins to Australia which was covered on this blog here as well as covering Denisovans which, as I shown in this post, to fit fine in OOA 2 aside from some complications in mapping precisely the nature of smaller migration into SE Asia.

Regarding Cain’s findings as a whole, the sample size of the study was one among many that were small and covered a week range of the Native’s populations in general, as discussed and somewhat ameliorated here.

With that realized, study after study after study places them in a 50k-55k Time Frame, more or less consistent with Archaeological dates, may LM3 (Mungo Man) be either 40k or 60k. It must also be kept in mind that Cann’s findings existed prior to the knowledge of Denisovan admixture, which possibly could’ve skewed divergence dates, as explained by Dienekes. This gives a good reason for Cann’s findings to be seen as erroneous. In regards to his citing of Vanderburg, it shows his specialty in this sort of work if “unique haplotypes” aren’t a natural result of human differentiation.

Regarding Archaeology from both articles, Strong makes the point of even earlier findings not popularly reported in Australia, ranging from 60-135k for fossils, older for tools and scorching. Not only are these younger than the currently oldest Sapiens in Africa, but also in the time frame of a currently known exodus into SE Asia discussed in the post, even if they were legit as I’ll dive into detail.

Reference of certain sites of >100k estimates has been shown to be much more recent, being originally confounded by less accurate techniques. The same could apply to cremated bones listed as well. This leaves the mysterious “Lake Eyre Skullcap” by Steve Webb which, as far as I can tell, has been only scarcely covered. However, only in that source is it reported as that old, as both newspapers and scientific newsletters reports at that time reported it as 60-80 years old using Fluorine-dating, referring specifically to Megafauna that was believed to have existed 30k-40k years ago that it may have coexisted with.

Webbs wrongly compares the Flourine dates relative to the values of the Mungo remains, when this type of dating works best for relative ages on specimens that are on the same site or comparable conditions, of similar density (he describes them as more Robust than Mungo remains), similar size (Uses Large and small animals, but logically it would also apply to mere fragment to more whole remains), and for humans particularly Ribs or Cortical bone layers should be compared.

But an even odder argument of his is how the earliest tools in Australia, being found to be less advanced than other tools of the same time frame mean people sailed from Australia. What this could more likely mean is that they were “simplified” based on Lifestyle, as covered in a previous blog post on Expertise, Brain size, and Tool complexity.]

In my model, I offer compelling evidence for three key migrations of Homo sapiens heading out of Australasia. The first migrations began around 200,000 years ago, during a period of intense climatic problems and low population numbers, with a small group making their way to East Africa.[i] The remains of some of these first Africans have been discovered close to one key entry point in the east of the continent (400km), known as the Bab-el-Mandeb straights.[i]

I then identify a second migration event 74,000 years ago, following the eruption of the Lake Toba super volcano.[i] Small groups of survivors to the north of Lake Toba, finding themselves unable to move south to safety, were then forced to head west to escape the devastating nuclear winter and toxic clouds that followed the disaster. The lucky few that could move fast enough eventually made their way into Africa and found safety in the south of the continent. I suggest that some of these few moved along the coasts of Asia, and others sailed the open ocean to Madagascar and hit the coast of South Africa – I associate these refugees with cave sites including Borders Cave, Klasies River Caves and the Blombos Cave.[i]

The problem with this is due to the previously mentioned finds in Morocco making Sapiens much older in Africa and further West. Though Climates conditions, by the way, based on his link provides no reason for it to be centered at Australasia as it was described to affect Africa’s interior.

Second, the South African caves he describes contains specimens, likely to have contributed to modern South Africans, show deeper genetic roots than what he suggests when they diverged.

But the most glaring problem is that none of his sources shows Sapiens skeletons or activity prior to that in Africa, Indonesia clearly not having a confounding enough preservation problem due to its Erectus sites.

The third migration event identified in my research is arguably of greatest interest because it involved the direct ancestors of all non-African people alive today. As the global environment recovered from the Lake Toba eruption 60,000 years ago, a trickle of modern humans (calculated to be just under 200 individuals) moved out of Australasia into Southeast Asia, slowly colonising the Eurasian continent.[i] These adventurous men and women were the forebears of every non-African and non-Australian person living on Earth today. This Australasian colonisation of the world is very well supported by the study of both mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups, and given further credence by the location and dating of several fossils.

This oddly enough goes against what we show with “180k” teeth of a modern human in China, that’s not accounted for in his sequence of African-Eurasian dispersal from Australasia.

He also goes against an earlier point he made by “relying on genetic material”, as he himself has yet to provided H.sapiens being present in the Area.

The model I offer represents a radical revision to the current evolutionary narrative, and is perhaps revolutionary. It will not be easy for academics to accept such bold claims from someone whom is neither a paleoanthropologist or an evolutionary biologist. Why, then, should one take this work seriously?

The Into Africa theory is firmly based on real-world evidence, data that anyone can freely access and examine for themselves. My argument incorporates a great wealth of peer reviewed academic papers, well accepted genetic studies, and opinions offered by the most respected scientific researchers. Indeed, rather ironically, many of my key sources derive from scientists that stand opposed to this model (being vocal supporters of the Out of Africa theories).

Well the irony doesn’t necessarily come off strong when you don’t argue in this article why the findings contradict their views, nor have the sources you provided so far actually firmly grounds your theory by placing human origin into Australasia, the two that do being an unreplicated study and a volcano incident in a vicinity with little fossil continuity with Modern humans from its early hominids.

Recent scientific studies have begun to change the landscape of paleoanthropological research. Examination of the recent conclusions associated with the analysis of Homo erectus skulls in the Georgian Republic confirms that several species of hominins in Africa are in fact nothing more than expected variance within the greater H. erectus population.[i]
That Sources talk about the origin of the Flores Hobbits, not the Georgian Erectus or African Hominid classification.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, there is growing suspicion among scientists that Homo floresiensis evolved from a lineage of hominins that lived much earlier than the immediate ancestors of Homo sapiens.[i] Detailed analysis of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry convincingly places their founder populations in Southeast Asia and Australasia. There seems little about the currently accepted academic narrative that has not yet come under fire.

He in turns uses a source that supports his later claim of early humans (homo) in India by 3 million (actually 2.6 million based on the source, I believe I’m seeing a trend here), Though the claim he refers to shows continuity with ancestral populations in Africa and has hardly much to do with OOA as of current status hence why there was “no fire”.

Fenton, furthermore, provided no evidence of his claims of Denisovan-Neanderthal origins in Australasia.

 As of 2016, we have finds that place early humans in India 3 million years ago (Masol), and Homo erectus populations ranging from Indonesia to the Georgian Republic 2 million years ago (Dmanisi).[i] On the Australasian island of Guinea, we find the only signature for interbreeding between Denisovans and modern humans dating to 44,000 years ago. This interbreeding occurred long after Australia’s supposed isolation, as claimed by the consensus narrative.[i] How do entirely isolated populations interbreed with other human groups?

See here.

We computed pD(X) for a range of non-African populations and found that for mainland East Asians, western Negritos (Jehai and Onge), or western Indonesians, pD(X) is within two standard errors of zero when a standard error is computed from a block jackknife (Table 1 and Figure 1). Thus, there is no significant evidence of Denisova genetic material in these populations. However, there is strong evidence of Denisovan genetic material in Australians (1.03 ± 0.06 times the New Guinean proportion; one standard error), Fijians (0.56 ± 0.03), Nusa Tenggaras islanders of southeastern Indonesia (0.40 ± 0.03), Moluccas islanders of eastern Indonesia (0.35 ± 0.04), Polynesians (0.020 ± 0.04), Philippine Mamanwa, who are classified as a “Negrito” group (0.49 ± 0.05), and Philippine Manobo (0.13 ± 0.03) (Table 1 and Figure 1). The New Guineans and Australians are estimated to have indistinguishable proportions of Denisovan ancestry (within the statistical error), suggesting Denisova gene flow into the common ancestors of Australians and New Guineans prior to their entry into Sahul (Pleistocene New Guinea and Australia), that is, at least 44,000 years ago.24,25 These results are consistent with the Common Origin model of present-day New Guineans and Australians.26,27 We further confirmed the consistency of the Common Origin model with our data by testing for a correlation in the allele frequency difference of two populations used as outgroups (Yoruba and Han) and the two tested populations (New Guinean and Australian).The f4 statistic that measures their correlation is only |Z| = 0.8 standard errors from zero, as expected if New Guineans and Australians descend from a common ancestral population after they split from East Asians, without any evidence of a closer relationship of one group or the other to East Asians. Two alternative histories, in which either New Guineans or Australians have a common origin with East Asians, are inconsistent with the data (both |Z| > 52).

Here we analyze genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data from 2,493 individuals from 221 worldwide populations, and show that there is a widespread signal of a very low level of Denisovan ancestry across Eastern Eurasian and Native American (EE/NA) populations. We also verify a higher level of Denisovan ancestry in Oceania than that in EE/NA; the Denisovan ancestry in Oceania is correlated with the amount of New Guinea ancestry, but not the amount of Australian ancestry, indicating that recent gene flow from New Guinea likely accounts for signals of Denisovan ancestry across Oceania. However, Denisovan ancestry in EE/NA populations is equally correlated with their New Guinea or their Australian ancestry, suggesting a common source for the Denisovan ancestry in EE/NA and Oceanian populations. Our results suggest that Denisovan ancestry in EE/NA is derived either from common ancestry with, or gene flow from, the common ancestor of New Guineans and Australians, indicating a more complex history involving East Eurasians and Oceanians than previously suspected.
So it is accounted for by other genetic research.
We are finding anomalies in all areas of evolutionary studies, whether we look at the mitochondrial and Y-chromosonal data, the datings associated with human archaeological sites, or analysis of hominin morphology. Rather than continuing with the attempt to fit square pegs into a round hole, it is time to face the fact that holes are round and that our story of human origins has been significantly wrong.

Well, studies such as the ones above have reworked hypotheses on migrations theories, the paper you cite on Denisovan admixture being among the many smaller scale migration already being debated and shifting as my second link mentions. So while rethinking ideas in light of evidence is a good thing, there should be clear limits on what to discredit.

Overall I wish I could like the idea as a competing idea to OOA, but this if this paper is to serve any impression of the book, using various studies on hominids and human genetic at different scales showing no clear pattern center towards South East Asia in both Archaeology AND genetics but with just enthusiasm of creating a new idea and to fill holes, then I’m disappointed.

With that said, if anyone with better knowledge and citations from the book (Fenton mentions research from close colleagues of his) then I may be more inclined to accept new finds if they are in favor of shifting human origins from Africa to Australasia.

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