The emerging consensus against Recent African Origin
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How many times have you heard that modern humans originated from one small group somewhere in Africa that had some advantage over other populations, and they out competed the other groups to emerge as the one remaining Homo sapiens group? This has been less and less tenable a position over the last decade, and this article describes something that might only be a small stretch to call a developing consensus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last several years, and this schema is definitely the direction the evidence is taking. I think the clear - I was going to say evidence but - proof of Homo sapiens mixing in Eurasia with Neanderthals, Denisovans and at least one other unknown group if not more, has crystallized the recognition in the field that such mixing is a basic part of human behavior. If so, why wouldn’t there have been similar mixing among groups in Africa too? So in a roundabout way, the success of the Out-of-Africa theory over multiregionalism is its own undoing. It’s out of Africa, but the notion in multiregionalism of the emergence of multiple groups rather than one wins out. It’s kind of multiregionalism within Africa, with mixings that ultimately lead to one unified population. And the braided stream concept too is a useful part of that way of seeing things.
The article is valuable in putting into perspective the emerging views of the paleoanthropology community, as they move toward a new consensus. Reich doesn’t have that background, coming at this from a genetic, though very important perspective. In a sense, this article has a broader intellectual focus than the narrower but powerful one of Reich. Paleoanthropology will remain its own fascinating discipline even with the new paleogenetics.