More News on Polygenesis


This past summer came news of possible interbreeding between early Homo sapiens (modern humans) and other groups, possibly of different but related species.  This is in addition to the possible and much-disputed hybridization with Neanderthal Man.  Admittedly I’m a little late on this–I was deep into “Legends of the Fall” at the time, and somehow overlooked this fascinating news, which I should have incorporated at the time.  Oh, well–better late than never.

The first story indicates a possibility of mixing between modern humans and the so-called Denisovan hominin.  Denisovans were discovered only four years ago, and the remains are still fragmentary.  Nevertheless, DNA analysis indicates the Denisovans to be distinct both from modern humans and from Neanderthals, though they seem more closely related to the latter.  This analysis also indicated Denisovan DNA exists in modern populations, too, especially Melanesians and Australian Aborigines.  This would indicate some interbreeding between early modern humans and Denisovans.

The second story indicates hybridization between early modern humans and one or more unknown species or subspecies in Africa.  In this case there are no physical remains such as bones; rather, patterns of DNA unlike any other human (or Neanderthal) DNA have turned up in some African populations.  This is interpreted as indicated hybridization with some other unknown group or groups–quite likely, given the large number of early hominids in Africa.  What is surprising is the relative recentness of this interbreeding–as recently as 20,000 years ago, long after other populations had already left Africa.

This is still more evidence that while all humans today have common ancestors in the relatively recent past, there were nevertheless many different groups that contributed to the human genome, and not all original populations necessarily had a single origin.  More and more we see the need to rethink traditional theology in regard to the Fall and the origin of humanity.

Part of the series Legends of the Fall.

Also part of the series Polygenism Revisited.

Posted on 17/12/2012, in Christianity, history, philosophy, religion, science, theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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