Free Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins Special Feature In PNAS

The latest issue of the Proceedings from the National Academy of Science journal hosts a Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins special feature for free online. I recommend you check it out.

September 22nd, 2009 Cover of the PNAS Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins Special
September 22nd, 2009 Cover of the PNAS Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins Special

Here’s a line up of the content:

Unfortunately, I have not yet had the time to read any of these papers but they I reckon they should be somewhat enlightening.

5 thoughts on “Free Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins Special Feature In PNAS

  1. I’ve read the Tattersall paper (I was unimpressed) and Weaver paper (which was quite interesting) and I just printed the Hublin paper…

  2. I had already read Hoffecker’s paper, which I commented at my blog and enthusiastically recommend. It strongly suggests that AMH colonization of Europe was more gradual and pre-dates Aurignacian. It also revealed to me a crucial event I didn’t know before, that seems to have accompanied the Aurignacian expansion: the Campanian Ignimbrite Eruption: a supervolcano of “mild” dimensions that triggered a cold period that surely de-stabilized the pre-Aurignacian cultural and inter-species balance in the continent, maybe even driving some populations to extinction.

    I just read Hublin’s review on Neanderthal/AMH divergence and I must say I’m not that impressed. While I broadly agree with the criticism of the late divergence models, I feel that the branching out should be unrelated to Acheulean (that anyhow is now known to be much older than thought in Europe too, dating to c. 900,000 BP) and that it could well have been that H. erectus s.l. in fact diverged (or rather multifurcated) at least at that early time: that H. rhodesensis has nothing to do with the branch leading to Neanderthal (H. Antecessor/Heidelbergensis) in Europe.

    I have found this view more than once and it seems terribly logical to me and I miss that Hublin doesn’t even consider it at all.

  3. I’m not sure I agree. The Hublin article was kind of a basic review article (something that could be said about most of these papers), still I found it kind of interesting. I think it touches on the idea that Homo rhodesiensishad nothing to do with Neanderthals – although I could have read it wrong. The Rightmire article was also interesting.

  4. “I just read Hublin’s review on Neanderthal/AMH divergence and I must say I’m not that impressed”.

    I understand exactly why you feel that way. It disagrees with your myth (the desire to put as much distance as possible between modern humans and any closely related species) and it supports the suggestions I’ve recently made at your blog. Not pleasant for you at all.

    From the Rightmire paper:

    “neither the Herto hominins, nor others from Late Pleistocene sites such as Klasies River in southern Africa and Skhūl/Qafzeh in Israel, can be matched in living populations. Skulls are quite robust, and it is only after ≈35,000 years ago that people with more gracile, fully modern morphology make their appearance. Not surprisingly, many questions concerning this evolutionary history have been raised”.

    The most interesting question is, ‘how come Australians from before 35k look much more modern than these Africans do? Seems our evolution is actually more complicated than the simple OoA theory claims.

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