Denisovan fossilDenisovan fossil suggests Homo erectus hybrid admixture in Han Chinese?

Chinese anthropologists have been saying for decades that the Han are direct descendants of Homo erectus.  Western anthropologists, most famously leftist activist and race realism denier Dr. Alice Roberts, have challenged that assumption.

From Page 4,, FAQs:

In the highly acclaimed 2013 documentary “The Incredible Journey,” Alice Roberts confronted Dr. Wu in the BBC documentary: “Professor Wu… I’m a complete novice… but I look at this modern skull here, this 30,000 year old skull from Zhuokoudian, and this looks quite similar to me to other skulls from Europe.” (BBC, 40 min. mark).

The famous Dali skull from China’s Shaanxi province has since been reanalyzed, strongly suggesting a continuum from Homo erectus to modern Han Chinese, (Newsweek, Nov 2017).

Homo sapien – Denisovan – Homo erectus hybrids in E. Asia?

Svante Pääbo seemed to agree with the Chinese in a rebuff to the Alice Roberts line and added an intriguing possibility; Denisovan and Homo erectus hybrid:

Alice Roberts“There is some interesting indication in the Denisovan genome. They have an old component in their genome that is not there in Neanderthals. It seems to come in more than a million years from something that diverged from the human lineage. It’s very tempting to say that’s a Homo erectus type thing or something like that.”

Now this from, July 10,

Modern Asians Acquired Rare Dental Trait from Denisovans: Study

A new analysis of the so-called Xiahe mandible, a 160,000-year-old fossilized Denisovan jawbone from Baishiya Karst Cave, the Tibetan Plateau, China, points to a different evolutionary path.

According to Sci-News, the 3-root trait is rare, only 3.5% in non-Asians, but up to 40% in the Chinese.

Bill Kimbel, Donald Johanson protégé swerves into race realism, multi-regionalism

A prominent New York based Anthropologist who like Roberts leans left, sides with the Paabo and Chinese anthropology line.  She even sides explicitly with multi-regional origins theory.

Background from, 2018:

Donald JohansonProfessor Shara Bailey, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Anthropology at New York University and Director of the Center for the Study of Human Origins. Shara is a biological anthropologist whose research focuses on using dental morphology to understand human evolution. She was awarded her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Anthropology from Temple University, and then went on to receive her masters and PhD degrees in Anthropology from Arizona State University.

Of special interests to readers of this site, Prof. Bailey studied under paleo-anthropology greats William Kimbel and Donald Johanson.  Both Kimbel and Johanson have leaned heavily towards race realism in the past.

quite fortuitously, the Institute of Human Origins came to ASU bringing with them leading figures in human evolutionary studies – Bill Kimbel and Don Johanson. Bill eventually became my PhD mentor. He encouraged me to look at teeth with “new eyes”, which led me to investigate ways to quantify dental morphology using new methods, specifically morphometrics.

Johanson is even quoted:

“China may contain the best evidence for supporting the Multiregional Model. Here there are discoveries of a couple of skulls dated to roughly 100,000 years ago that seem to possess a mixture of classic Homo erectus and Homo sapiens traits.”

Professor Bailey’s most recent comments read nearly verbatim from her mentor Johanson.

From NYU’s press release, July 8,

Ancient Molar Points to Interbreeding Between Archaic Humans and Homo Sapiens in Asia

“In Asia, there have long been claims for continuity between archaic and modern humans because of some shared traits,” observes [Shara] Bailey. “But many of those traits are primitive or are not unique to Asians. However, the three-rooted lower molar trait is unique to Asian groups. Its presence in a 160,000-year-old archaic human in Asia strongly suggests the trait was transferred to H. sapiens in the region through interbreeding with archaic humans in Asia.” [Emphasis added]

Full paper. 

Recent YouTube interview with Prof. Bailey



Author Eric

FSU grad, US Navy Veteran. Houston, Texas

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