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Darwin-L Message Log 7:42 (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.


<7:42>From kent@darwin.eeb.uconn.edu  Tue Mar 15 08:43:11 1994

Date: Tue, 15 Mar 94 09:44:32 EST
From: kent@darwin.eeb.uconn.edu (Kent Holsinger)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Humanoid fossils in Time

Iain Davidson raises the important issue of whether there could have been
gene flow from "Johannesburg to Beijing" at 400,000 years ago.  As he notes,
extensive gene flow of this sort is one requirement if the multiregional
hypothesis is to be correct.

There can, of course, be *some* gene flow.  Exchange of individuals between
neighboring villages or camps could lead to the spread of new genetic
variants over thousands of miles, *given enough time*.  That's the rub.
Given what little I know about the presumed population structure of early
human ancestors, I would regard it as *highly* unlikely that there was enough
gene flow among those populations to allow them all to evolve simultaneously
from _Homo erectus_ to _Homo sapiens_.  Far more likely is that _Homo sapiens_
arose in one place and spread from there.  That is the universal pattern of
species origin in every other animal (and plant) that I know of.  I don't
know of *any* cases where simultaneous evolution of a set of populations into
a new species has been proposed over geographical areas as extensive as a
continent.

-- Kent

+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
|  Kent E. Holsinger            Internet: Holsinge@UConnVM.UConn.edu |
|  Dept. of Ecology &                     Kent@Darwin.EEB.Uconn.edu  |
|    Evolutionary Biology, U-43 BITNET:   Holsinge@UConnVM           |
|  University of Connecticut                                         |
|  Storrs, CT   06269-3043                                           |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+

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