R M Cullen
MD MSc MFM BA DipStats DipProfEthics
|elite athlete development||diabetes||economics||evolution|
|Pro-Pare™||diabetes reversal||midinomics||chance or design?|
|tamaki sports academy||diabetes blog||genome topology|
|some thoughts||some opinions|
This lecture explores the possibility that homo sapiens arose independently in Africa and Asia at about the same time in evolutionary terms.
It would be a catastrophe for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection because according to that theory speciation in Asia from a common ancestor with the orangutan would result from accumulated random mutations. It would be too incredible to believe that accumulated random mutations in Africa from a common ancestor with gorillas would produce the same species as that arising from accumulated mutations from a common ancestor with orangutans in Asia.
Supporters of the multi-regional hypothesis are aware of this problem and to make the idea compatible with Darwin they, most commonly, argue that an early migration of Homo erectus from Africa perhaps one and a half million years ago resulted in independent evolution from that point in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The migration of modern Homo sapiens from Africa in the last 100,000 years has supplanted these local populations with perhaps some interbreeding. This “fix” assumes that there had been no hominid evolution in Asia before the arrival of Homo erectus from Africa despite the arrival of a great ape ancestor that has evolved into the orangutan.
The strong form of multi-regionalism (which I am going to call “Independent Origins”) that is looked at in this lecture suggests that an ancestor of orangutan arrived in Asia millions of years ago, and that ancestor had the capacity (as did the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans) to speciate into “orangutan” and “human” lines. The problem is that very few people are looking for 3 million year old hominid fossils in Asia (and even fewer in Australia), and so they are unlikely to be found if they do exist.
However, the idea is plausible, and would be an example of convergent evolution.
Richard Dawkins (the Ancestor’s Tale) accepts, on balance, the theory that a population of apes migrated from Africa to Asia about 20 million years ago and orangutans are descendants of this migration. A population of apes migrated back from Asia to Africa and became the African apes.
According to the “out of Africa” theory humans descended from a common ancestor with the African apes, migrated out of Africa, and displaced any hominid species in other continents forcing them into extinction.
Darwin believed that humans had their origin in Africa. However, there was also a strong school of thought that humans evolved in Asia.
The discovery of “Java Man” in the late 19th century and “Peking Man” before World War Two seemed to indicate hominids (now classified as Homo erectus) lived in Asia from 1.5 million or 750,000 years ago. Unfortunately, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (one of those associated with the Piltdown man hoax) was very involved with the Peking Man dig and the fossils were lost during World War Two.
The field is muddled today. More and more hominid fossils are being found in Africa as more and more resources are devoted to finding fossils there.
In contrast, there is comparatively little effort being made to find great ape and hominid fossils in Asia or Australia. (early man may have migrated from Asia to Australia, an environment much more conducive to fossils)
The “out of Africa” theory of human origins may well be challenged as more great ape fossils are discovered in Asia. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection predicts that there will be fossils representing 20 million years of great ape evolution (not stasis) in Asia.