Thursday, November 08, 2007

Out of Africa with or without assimilation?

This one finds more evidence for Out of Africa, with replacement and no funny business. This debate seems endless, but it is interesting. I'd have to say that the overall picture of the evidence so far points mostly to Out of Africa with little to very little assimilation. The scenario presented in this paper seems a bit extreme, but nonetheless important to consider.

Statistical evaluation of alternative models of human evolution

Nelson J. R. Fagundes, Nicolas Ray, Mark Beaumont, Samuel Neuenschwander, Francisco M. Salzano, Sandro L. Bonatto, and Laurent Excoffier

PNAS Published online before print October 31, 2007
Abstract: An appropriate model of recent human evolution is not only important to understand our own history, but it is necessary to disentangle the effects of demography and selection on genome diversity. Although most genetic data support the view that our species originated recently in Africa, it is still unclear if it completely replaced former members of the Homo genus, or if some interbreeding occurred during its range expansion. Several scenarios of modern human evolution have been proposed on the basis of molecular and paleontological data, but their likelihood has never been statistically assessed. Using DNA data from 50 nuclear loci sequenced in African, Asian and Native American samples, we show here by extensive simulations that a simple African replacement model with exponential growth has a higher probability (78%) as compared with alternative multiregional evolution or assimilation scenarios. A Bayesian analysis of the data under this best supported model points to an origin of our species 141 thousand years ago (Kya), an exit out-of-Africa 51 Kya, and a recent colonization of the Americas 10.5 Kya. We also find that the African replacement model explains not only the shallow ancestry of mtDNA or Y-chromosomes but also the occurrence of deep lineages at some autosomal loci, which has been formerly interpreted as a sign of interbreeding with Homo erectus.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page