John Hawks’ Perspective on the New Dmanisi Skull

…at his blog. A snippet:

What population structure characterized the African ancestors of the Dmanisi hominins? If we look to the MSA African model, the structure would be one of multiple populations, strongly differentiated, that had existed for hundreds of thousands of years. They may have had adaptations to local ecological conditions, but they were not isolated — they shared genes and one might occasionally replace another, only to re-differentiate as climate fluctuated. The African populations that existed at 1.8 million years ago were probably a modified subset of those that existed 2 million or 2.2 million years ago. Some of these populations would have been morphologically distinctive enough that paleontologists might call them different species. Some of the remixture between them would have been slight, on the scale of Neandertal mixture into today’s human populations. But those cases were at one end of a continuum that included larger amounts of genetic exchange and more rapid turnover. It was a braided stream, in which some of the rivulets were long, but others were short.

Read the rest and you’ll find a brief review of early human evolution.

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