Ouf of Africa debunked by both the fossil and genetic evidence

Which paleoanthropologists and geneticists are deserving of praise for suggesting very early on that Europeans were hybridized with Neanderthals? Conversely, which of these scientists called it wrong?  Out of Africa has been debunked since 2010/11.

What is Out of Africa? Russell Moul of IFLScience explains:

Out of Africain the late 1980s, genetic research into mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) showed that the lineage of all modern human females came from an African origin around 200,000 years ago (this “origin” was later called Mitochondrial eve).

This not only added greater weight to the Out of Africa hypothesis, but it also suggested that humans emerged as an entirely new species that had not interbred with other archaic humans, such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus. These early humans then left Africa around 60,000 years ago and replaced the other archaic species.

The Multi-regionalists called it correctly on Out of Africa: But most of them never got any credit

As we shall soon see, some surprising very big names in paleoanthropology on both sides, including 1 paleoanthropologist who is a household name, got it horribly wrong.

Note – those who got it right, and those who got it wrong are featured in the accompanying video.

Phillip TobiasBut the multi-regionalists got it right.  They were originally called racial typologists.  Their ranks included Franz Weidenreich, Carleton Coon, Raymond Dart, Milford Wolpoff, Alan Thorne from Australia, And Wu Xinshi the top anthropologist in China.

Weidenreich was the originator of racial typology in the 1940s with his Candelabra model for phylogeny.  It showed multiregional origins from Homo erectus, branching out in different directions, but with some admixture between populations.

From Thought.com:

The Multiregional Hypothesis model of human evolution (abbreviated MRE and known alternatively as Regional Continuity or Polycentric model) argues that our earliest hominid ancestors (specifically Homo erectus) evolved in Africa and then radiated out into the world. Based on paleoanthropological data rather than genetic evidence, the theory says that after H. erectus arrived in the various regions in the world hundreds of thousands of years ago, they slowly evolved into modern humansHomo sapiens, so MRE posits, evolved from several different groups of Homo erectus in several places throughout the world.

From Nature.com:

Franz WeidenreichBroadly speaking, there are two competing hypotheses on the origin of modern humans: the Out-of-Africa hypothesis and the multiregional hypothesis. Both agree that Homo erectus originated in Africa and expanded to Eurasia about one million years ago, but they differ in explaining the origin of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens). The first hypothesis proposes that a second migration out of Africa happened about 100,000 years ago, in which anatomically modern humans of African origin conquered the world by completely replacing archaic human populations (Homo sapiens; Model A).

The multiregional hypothesis states that independent multiple origins (Model D) or shared multiregional evolution with continuous gene flow between continental populations (Model C) occurred in the million years since Homo erectus came out of Africa (the trellis theory). A compromised version of the Out-of-Africa hypothesis emphasizes the African origin of most human populations but allows for the possibility of minor local contributions (Model B).

Richard Leakey quoted in 2008 lecture, stated categorically there was no Neanderthal DNA in Eurasians.  Two years later, hard evidence came out showing otherwise

Richard LeakeyChris Stringer, widely regarded as the world’s leading paleo-anthropologists, got it wrong on Out of Africa.  He was one of the very first to latch onto the theory when it was first proposed in the late 1970s by Rebecca Caan and Alan Wilson.

Everything changed in 2010 when Svante Paabo discovered Neanderthal DNA in the Eurasian genome. And a year later his lab assistant Johannes Krause discovered Denisovan DNA.

Asians have up to 5% Denisovan DNA admixture. Still, to this day, agenda driven anthropologists refuse to acknowledge that Eurasians have separate origins from Africans.

Stringer famously self-corrected.  He even personally apologized to Milford Wolpoff at at 2015 conference held in Gibraltar. Stringer now refers to his views as “mostly Out of Africa.”  This means he still believes all modern humans descended from Africa, likely East Africa, but that Eurasians did admix with Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Richard Leakey on the other hand, never shifted.  In 2008, at a lecture, he even insisted ardently that there was no Neanderthal DNA admixture in modern humans.

Others who got it wrong included Alice Roberts, BBC host of the series The Human Journey.  Although, it received little notice, in the series itself she repeated the mantra multiple times that “we are all Africans.”  She also emphasized that humans had left Africa 50,000 years ago.  Yet two years later, in the published version of the book accompanying the video series, she had shifted that number to 100,000 years ago.


Author Eric

FSU grad, US Navy Veteran. Houston, Texas

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