Genetics Steps In — to Help Tell the Story of Human Origins

This very recent article (Sept 2020) from The Scientist was offered to me to share on these GEITP pages. Written in semi-layman terms, the history of Homo sapiens evolution is detailed — which gives some continuity to the various articles that have appeared these past 12+ years in these GEITP pages. For those interested, this will make for enjoyable holiday weekend reading. [Unfortunately, the right edge of the print is missing, so one must guess at the furthest-right words on some lines.] ☹

The article begins with geochronologist Rainer Grün from Australia, and then expands to include hundreds of thousands of years of Homo evolution — including discovery of the Neaderthal and Denisovan sublines of hominids. Whereas the figure on the page “Our History in Africa” shows nine sublines, there is actually fossil evidence for at least 22 known sublines. These “fits and starts” of hominids that arose in various geographical regions, survived for 25,000 or 100,000 years, only to become extinct.

What is already abundantly clear in 2020 is that human evolution was far more complex than previously appreciated by

anthropologists. It was not a streamlined process of australopiths steadily evolving into modern humans, but a messy and haphazard journey that includes interwoven ancestries of many groups, some of which have never been discovered — other than through the genetic traces they left in ancient and modern genomes. Human evolution has a long history; a lot of things happened, and a lot of ancestors have contributed to our genomes today. It’s not going to be a simple story and, in all likelihood, many more intriguing information and surprises are yet to come. 😊


This exciting article can also be downloaded and printed from the internet:

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