Comment on “The Truth About Human Species”


  • Tsoni Tsonev  On December 1, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I do agree with almost everything in this article which in a way summed up my own views on human evolution. I would like to congratulate the author about summing up in this interesting and understandable for everyone manner this complicated topic. I have no comments to make but rather to add some thoughts where in the human knowledge the seven questions might have come from. Some of them amused me and continue to amuse an amaze me in my career as archaeologist.

    Q1. Did modern men evolved from Africa?….

    The reason for appearance of this question and its popularity (I never thought this is a serious scientifically base hypothesis) is the widespread understanding of Darwinian evolution: “the survival of the fittest” that intuitively leads to automatic linearity that features this process.

    Q2. Out-of-Africa origin and wiping out Neanderthals…

    I think the reason for its popularity despite any serious scientific evidence supporting it is two-fold. The first one is the “linear evolution” from primitive remains (found in the Great Rift) to “progressive” ones with greater brain capacity?. The second and more fundamental reason is the research focused exclusively on ‘morphology’ of the human and world phenomena: not only morphology of bones, plants,… but also on language, communication, brain. Preoccupation with these studies and based exclusively on them explanations of complex phenomena leads to numerous absurd statements even in the present days. The latest absurd I’ve ever herd was produced in no less then few weeks ago. Because of mineralogical similarity (some rocks have specific morphologies as a kind of landraces) some nephrite from Neolithic Balkans come from South America!!?..

    Q3. The missing link

    It comes from the desire someone to discover it first and become famous. This forms a self-sustained vicious circle.

    Q4. Homo floresiensis and the problems it poses.

    The long-existence of Hobbits, their intelligence comparable to the excavated “modern” humans and probable interbreeding with local people just show that human race is not a single, the “chosen” one and human race is prone to failures and disappearance.

    Q5. Humans form a single landrace with great varieties within it. The problem with it is that humans tend to seek immortality from God’s descent and to not like to think that they evolved from “primitive” monkeys”.

    Q6. Vladimir Ilich Lenin (the founder of Soviet State) is known to have a small brain-size but he was intelligent enough to fail an Empire.

    Q7. Some studies of human intelligence place Bulgarians as the second after the Jews intelligent nation but Bulgaria is the poorest state in the European Union. These average measures are never correct: some of the world leaders may be of Bulgarian descent but it does not make them more intelligent. I’ve never heard of a sportsman (in long-distance running disciplines) who won Olympic games to be of a Bushmen’s descent.


  • Isabelle  On December 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Very interesting indeed, and very much in keeping with my own views about human evolution. Really REALLY not sure about the IQ bit at the end though….Find it hard to believe that enough different populations were tested to make this a sound observation (not to mention all the possible doubts about the nature of IQ tests and their cultural biases…). Are the Ashkhenazy Jews a landrace? Hmmm. Disappointing bit on the end of an otherwise very thought provoking article


  • Anek R. Sankhyan  On February 27, 2014 at 5:51 am

    About the Ancestor Paradox- you have proceeded with increasing grand parents increasing the population of our remote parents. This should have been the other way round. The earliest ancestors were fewer and their descendants gradually multiplied and increased and went on increasing to the present plethora of population.

    David Noel comment: Perhaps what I said was not clear enough. You have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, and so on, doubling the number of possible ancestors for each generation you go back. This simple calculation only loses validity when some of these ancestors are ancestors on more than one line; even so, their potential number is very large.


  • Tom  On October 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

    On the one hand, you say, “This ‘Chromosome-2 Event’ must have occurred at the beginning of the human story, some 5 million years ago, leading to a clear physical distinction between humans and apes. This might have been a mutation affecting a single individual, or more likely a group or groups of ‘pre-humans’. At any event, the Event must have involved local individuals who interbred.”

    On the other hand, you say, “The idea that modern Man evolved in Africa, and spread from there into the rest of the world, has achieved amazing acceptance with the public and with anthropologists. Amazing, because the concept virtually lacks any evidence to support it, and it’s even puzzling to see why it should have been put forward in the first place.”

    Maybe it wasn’t Africa, but the first quote seems to indicate a localized origin somewhere. Some of what I think you’re implying (but not saying quite directly enough to satisfy me 🙂 is

    – We don’t know where the first 23 chromosome primates (23cp, humans) first appeared. It might have been Africa, it might have been somewhere else.

    – They first appear in the fossil record about 5mya and they seem to spread quite rapidly over the globe from wherever they originated. Their spread would have to be rapid, otherwise it would be evident in the pattern of fossils left behind, no?

    You seem to indicate that 24 chromosome primates (24cp, apes) predate 23cps. Do we have evidence of 24cps anywhere except Africa? The only example I know of is the orang hutan population in Malaysia/Indonesia.

    You seem to NOT think that Neandertals or Denisovans might have been 24cps. So would it not make sense to hypothesize that the 23cps originated where we know 24cps have been? That would be either Africa, where chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas live, or Malaysia/Indonesia where the orang hutan live.

    Or is the idea that chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and orangs are remnants of a world wide population of 24cps that could have supported the origin of 23cps anywhere?

    Another question I wonder about is how it is that the populations of 24cps are so isolated and spread (Africa vs. Southeast Asia). That might argue for a world-wide population of 24cp ape ancestor that descended to chimps, bonobos, and gorillas in Africa, orang hutan in Southeast Asia, and 23cps somewhere. The 23cps then spread quickly around the world from their point of origin and the 24cp ape ancestor went extinct everwhere except pockets in Africa and SEAsia.

    This is speculation, of course. I’m just trying to figure out what sorts of narratives fit the record as we understand it.

    Thanks for an interesting conversation.


  • David Wieland  On October 26, 2018 at 4:14 am

    I think “even artificial insemination is likely to produce fertilization” has a typo. Didn’t you mean “unlikely”?


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