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Darwin-L Message Log 7:39 (March 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<7:39>From idavidso@metz.une.edu.au  Mon Mar 14 16:11:49 1994

Date: Tue, 15 Mar 1994 08:11:34 +0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: idavidso@metz.une.edu.au (Iain Davidson)
Subject: Re: Humanoid fossils in Time.

James F. Mahaffy writes:
>Perhaps some of the anthropologists can let me know if there are any
>glaring errors in presentation in the recent Time magazine on Humanoid
>fossils.  I do know something about fossils, but vertebrate paleontology
>is NOT my strength.  Although a little cautious about popular
>presentation, I am especially cautious after the heat Scientific America
>got from the linguists.  In other words is it a fairly accurate
>popularily written article?

Perhaps some of the geneticists on the list or others would care to comment
on Alan Thorne's statement about gene flow:

"Today human genes flow between Johannesburg and Beijing and between Paris
to Melbourne.  Apart from interruptions from ice ages, they have probably
been doing this through the entire span of _Homo sapiens_ evolution."
It has always seemed to me that gene flow is *such* an important part of
the multiregional evolution hypothesis that it is puzzling that there is
not some modelling of how it might happen, or some demonstration of the
sorts of data which might represent it.  Does anyone think it coherent to
have gene flow from Johannesburg to Beijing at 400 000 years ago, a) in
principle or b) in practice?

As I understand it, the problem is still whether the sediments which have
been dated in Java was originally deposited at the same time as the hominid
specimens.  See the comment in the Science review referred to by Langdon:
"The crystals are that age".

Seems to me it strengthens the idea that _Homo erectus_ was just an ape.

Iain Davidson
Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
University of New England
Armidale NSW 2351
AUSTRALIA
Tel (067) 732 441
Fax      (International) +61 67 73 25 26
                (Domestic)       067 73 25 26

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