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Planet Earth

Human version 2.001

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJuly 31, 2012 4:09 AM

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Dienekes reflects on the seemingly simultaneous appearance of behavioral modernityin South Africa and Europe and Australia, pending the acceptance of the most recent finds. This part is very important in my opinion:

The San people still live in several countries of southern Africa, and until the latter part of the 20th century were still mainly hunter-gatherers. But Dr. Stringer cautioned not to think of them as “living fossils,” unchanged by time. “Their genes, cultures and behaviors have undoubtedly continued to evolve in the intervening millennia,” he said.

I see no reason to think that these were the ancestors of the San. Over 45,000 years I think the most likely option is that genetic and cultural continuity will not be maintained, and these are probably a sister group to the modern peoples of Southern Africa. In any case, to address Dienekes' confusion, I think this is one case where his non-American background shows. We know exactly what happened so long ago to kick-start modern humanity. The answer has been with us for over 40 years.

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