Tag Archives: homo hubris

The Seven Numinous Laws

1. There is a time to be active and a time to be passive, one must master the science of Wu Wei.
2. When you start down the Numinous path, you must be prepared to make major adjustments to your lifestyle, state of living, status of possessions, and ultimately your own identity.
3. There will always be a “Crisis of Belief” at a critical point wherein you question the wisdom of embracing a Numinous Life. Faith in the revelatory power of the Numen will (or could) get you through this phase.
4. The Numen speaks through inspired texts and musick, precognitive dreams, intuitive revelation, and lucky circumstance.
5. The Numen invites you to join it in it’s work on the causal field.
6. The Numen is always at work around you.
7. A Nexion to the Numinous may be opened in the conjugal relationships we have on the causal plane.
+++++ ++++++
This opens up a question. How does a Nexion know that it is doing the Will of the Numen?

1. Each member of the Nexion is a body part and the Nexion is the body. This leads one to ask who is responsible for convincing the Nexion body that an act by the Nexion is the Will of the Numen.
Only intuitive insight can reveal this.
2. There must be ecumenical relationships between organizations that have related purposes. For example, most of the members of the Onyx Angels have taken the Horus/Maat Lodge initiation.
3. What is a Numinous gift? This is a preternatural phenomenon, a manifestation of the Numen through a human being.
4. Ultimately we must be prepared to become a totally new creature and shed the old self like a pupal covering.
5. We should endeavor to take all of the Myattian materials to all corners of cyber-Satanism until internet Satanism consists of The Numunous Way, The ONA, Reichsfolk, Folk Culture, and the extrapolations made therefrom.
6. The two most important principles –What are your doing with your time, and What are you doing with your money. $$$
7. We must engage not only in cyber propaganda but also in hard copy propaganda such as pamphlets and flyers left at appropriate locations. Not all of these flyers have to express our own views, they only have to cause a reaction which gets the job done.
8. Actual “IRL” meetings of a Nexus of Onyx Angels should include up tempo music, coffee, energy drinks, snacks, and there should be not only an atmosphere on conviviality but also a sense of dynamism, hence the coffee.

Website Review- The Numinous Way


I have been aware of this website for roughly 6 months now and Myatt’s Numinous Way philosophy is a contributor to the “SpiritRoad” philosophy of Onyx Angels.

The website itself is attractive. The website is organized in a rational way to allow for easy browsing. It is one of Vasna Cincy’s missions to promote COSMICBEING.INFO for the furtherance on the ideas contained on the site.

Myatt is lucid and crisp and is potentially supersubversive in his ability to create a counterpole to the prevailing cultural mythemes.

Below is an excerpt from the website.
Soli Deo Gloria

Being extracts from a letter written in reply
to someone enquiring about the philosophy of The Numinous Way.

Since you enquire about the veracity of my Numinous Way, I should perhaps emphasize – as I have mentioned several times over the past few years – that this Way represents only my own fallible answers born from my own pathei-mathos, and that I am acutely aware that the answers of many other Ways, such as Buddhism and the answers of conventional religions such as Catholicism, also in their own particular harmonious manner express something of the numinous and may thus for many people provide a guide to living in a more numinous way.

As I wrote many years ago:

The Numinous Way is but one answer to the questions about existence, [and] does not have some monopoly on truth, nor does it claim any prominence, accepting that all the diverse manifestations of the Numen, all the diverse answers, of the various numinous Ways and religions, have or may have their place, and all perhaps may serve the same ultimate purpose – that of bringing us closer to the ineffable beauty, the ineffable goodness, of life; that of transforming us, reminding us; that of giving us as individuals the chance to cease to cause suffering, to presence the good, to be part of the Numen itself. For what distinguishes a valuable, a good, a numinous Way or religion, is firstly this commitment, however expressed, to the cessation of suffering through means which do not cause more suffering; secondly, having some practical means whereby individuals can transform themselves for the better, and thirdly, possessing some way of presenting, manifesting, presencing what is sacred, what is numinous, thus reconnecting the individual to the source of their being, to their humanity.

In my fallible view, any Way or religion which manifests, which expresses, which guides individuals toward, the numinous humility we human beings need is good, and should not be stridently condemned.

For such personal humility – that which prevents us from committing hubris, whatever the raison d’être, the theology, the philosophy – is a presencing of the numinous. Indeed, one might write and say that it is a personal humility – whatever the source – that expresses our true developed (that is, rational and empathic) human nature and which nature such Ways or religions or mythological allegories remind us of. Hence the formulae, the expression, Soli Deo Gloria being one Western cultural manifestation of a necessary truth, manifesting as it does one particular numinous allegory among many such historical and cultural and mythological allegories. Just as, for example, the sight of King Louis IX walking barefoot to Sainte Chapelle was a symbol of the humility which the Christian faith, correctly understood, saught to cultivate in individuals.

As I mentioned in my essay Humility, Abstractions, and Belief,

One of the great advantages – a manifestation of humanity – of a Way such as Islam and Christianity and Buddhism is that they provide, or can provide, us with the supra-personal perspective, and thus the humility, we human beings require to prevent us veering into and becoming subsumed with the error of hubris.

As it says in the Rule of Saint Benedict:

“ The peak of our endeavour is to achieve profound humility…” Chapter 7, The Value of Humility

As it says in the Quran:

“ The ‘Ibaad of Ar-Rahman [Allah] are those who walk on earth in humility.” 25:63

As it says in the Dhammapada:

“ Yo bâlo maññati bâlyaè paúóitovâpi tena so bâlo ca paúóitamânî sa ve bâloti vuccati.”

” Accepting of themselves, the simple person in their simplicity is wise, although if they pride themselves they are wise, they are simply full of pride. “

Furthermore, such Ways provide such a supra-personal perspective in a manner which is living – that is, these Ways are presented to us as something which has a historical genesis and which lives among us, in our own times, in and through those devoted to them in that dignified manner which makes such people living examples of those tenets, of those Ways. That is, the dignified people who follow such Ways – who are inspired by those Ways to practice humility in their own lives – thus manifest the numinous, the sacred, among us, and so can provide us with practical, and personal, guidance, and a sense of belonging.

Thus, I now have, partly from practical experience, come to apprehend a certain unity, a certain common insight, behind many outwardly differing Ways and religious forms, to the extent that I personally have been considered by some people to be some kind of Buddhist-Taoist-Muslim-Sufi-Catholic-NuminousWay-pagan-mystic hybrid. But in truth, I am merely someone who as a result of pathei-mathos knows their limitations, their fallibility, and thus who empathically resonates with past and present emanations of the numinous, often because of struggling to answer certain questions about our human nature, about our mortal existence, and about the nature of Reality which many others over millennia have also saught to answer.

Since you especially ask about Catholicism in relation to the Numinous Way, all I can say in my experience – having been raised a Catholic and having spent some time as a Catholic monk – is that Catholicism did manifest, and to an extent still does manifest, aspects of the numinous and therefore this particular guide to human living is one which I understand and appreciate as one style of earthly-harmony.

As I wrote a year or so ago:

” The Latin Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church […] evolved over a certain period of causal time, and became, for many Catholics, the main ritual, or rite, which imbued their ordinary lives with a certain numinosity – a certain awareness of the sacred, with attendance at this rite involving certain customs, such as modest and clean dress, and women covering their heads with a veil. This rite was, in essence, a Mysterium – that is, it embodied not only something holy and somewhat mysterious (such as the Consecration and Communion) but also was wordlessly un-mundane and so re-presented to most of those attending the rite, almost another world, with this re-presentation aided by such things as the use of incense, the ringing of the Sanctus bell, and the genuflexions. In addition, and importantly, the language of this rite was not that of everyday speech, and was not even, any longer, a living changing language, but rather had in many ways become the sacred language of that particular Way.

The Catholic rite endured for centuries and, indeed, to attend this particular rite marked, affirmed and re-affirmed one as a Catholic, as a particular follower of a particular Way, and a Way quite distinct from the schism that became Protestantism [1], a fact which explained, for instance, the decision, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First of England, to punish by fine or imprisonment those who attended this rite, and to persecute, accuse of treason, and often execute, those who performed this rite.

However, the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican replaced this numinous rite, this Mysterium, with rites and practices redolent of un-numinous Protestantism. Why? Most probably because those involved in such planning and producing and implementing such reforms were swayed by the causal abstractions of “progress” and “relevancy” – desiring as they did and do to be in accord with the causal, material, Zeitgeist of the modern West where numbers of adherents, and conformity to trendy ideas and theories, are regarded as more important than presencing The Numen in a numinous manner. When, that is, some profane causal abstractions come to be regarded as more relevant than experiencing and manifesting the sacred as the sacred.

Yet this does not mean that Catholicism, before the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, was or remained a Way, per se. Only that, of all the variants of what are now termed Christianity, it retained a certain numinosity expressed by the original Way; that, through its Mysteriums such as the Tridentine Mass, it still presenced something of The Numen; and that it managed to avoid the worst excesses of the religious attitude, maintaining as it did a monasticism which by its own particular way of life encouraged the cultivation of a genuine, non-dogmatic, humility.” Source – Concerning The Nature of Religion and The Nature of The Numinous Way

As this quote – and the associated footnote – make clear, it is my personal opinion that traditional Catholicism, with its Tridentine Mass and its particular conservative traditions, was a somewhat better, more harmonious, expression of the numinous (a necessary and relevant expression of the numinous), than both Protestantism and the reforms introduced by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, and which reforms served only to undermine the numinous, to untwist the threads that held together its “hidden soul of harmony”.

However, what really matters in my view in respect of considering how we judge and evaluate other Ways and other styles of earthly-harmony (that is, what are often regarded as religious expressions of the numinous), is not so much their veracity as perceived and/or assumed by us during one span or certain spans of causal Time, but rather how those Ways, those expressions, affect people and predispose them toward or guide them toward living in a more numinous manner. That is, by criteria such as humility, avoidance of hubris, compassion, fairness toward others: by those things which express, which manifest, the numinous in us, in terms of our character, our behaviour. Not, that is, by some abstract criteria which we posit and which we with arrogance use to condemn or malign, often based on some vainglorious assumption or need that our own beliefs, our own answers, are the correct ones.

There is thus a tolerance, a respect; a desire not to stridently condemn; an awareness of our own fallibility deriving from our own pathei-mathos and from the numinous perspective, the silent wordless clarity, that such a personal learning from the suffering of experience brings.

All I have tried to do in respect of The Numinous Way is present what I hope is an alternative style of earthly-harmony, and saught to clarify how this alternative differs from others. For instance, in the matter of empathy, of honour, and of seeking to avoid the dogma arising from some causal abstraction or other. As to the veracity of my personal answers, I admit I do not know.

David Myatt
June 2011 CE


[1] Catholicism (before the reforms imposed by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican) represented, in my view, the original Way known as Christianity, and was – at least before those reforms – quite distinct from those schisms which are now known as Protestantism and Orthodox Christianity. Indeed, distinct enough – until those reforms – to be considered a different Way of Life, a Way evident, for example, in Catholic rites (such as the Tridentine Mass), in monasticism, in Papal authority, in the use of Latin, and in the reverence accorded The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Furthermore, it is my view that the schism now termed Protestantism was a classic example of the religious attitude predominating over numinosity – and thus that it is and was redolent of attempts to reduce The Numen to linear causal abstractions. Thus, Mysteriums such as the Tridentine Mass became replaced with recitation of Scripture in the vernacular and with attempts to rationally explain – according to some abstract causal theory – the mystery of the consecration.

Siege Part One

I am going to put the whole of “Siege” by James Mason on this blog in the coming days.

Summary of SpiritRoad and O.A. koncepts


When Vasna refers to Alchemy, it is chiefly the alchemy of the inner kind in the three modal model of the Latin alchemists- Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo. How important are these concepts? The nigredo phase corresponds to the phase that Onyx Angels is in now- a fermentation phase, full of potential, but the “cooking” process must continue for the full potentials of the organization to be realized. Alchemy without practice is just a temporal abstraktion– a dead thing like a virus. We are going thru the first phase of the cooking process and there will be a whitening, a blanching, a stripping down to the root matters, in the future. This will be followed by a RUBEDO phase– a reinvigoration.
The process of having meetings at bars and strip clubs will bering people together to meet and form cells. After this, the dross of each cell must be filtered out, and then each cell must get a boost of energy, refreshed and ready to move forward.

Anarchism refers to a mode against the state. We reject the failings of New Left anarchism and the Frankfurt School, and any other type of Judaeo-leftist modal node. We are National Anarchists and Nation has a variable definition depending upon one’s own understanding. In the broadest sense, “race” is too large of a group to really be a nation. As I have already posited, and presented evidence for– the Negro is a mix of homo sapiens and homo erectus, and hence for this reason is excluded from O.A. The Jew is a mix of Neandertal, Homo Erectus, and other strains, an international bastard and hence anti-national in his inclinations.

Chaos and Pain refers to a modality of physical fitness defined and refined by Odinist Jamie Lewis. I have selected this modality as my personal philosophy of fitness and there will and must be always a physical raising of the standards bar in O.A.

The current nexionettes of the OA are in Cincinnati, Lexington KY, Detroit, Daytona, and Deltona. REMINDER– As of this posting, 4/19/11–the first DAYTONA meeting is coming up soon–


April 25– 8 P.M.
The Dog House Bar
60 Main Street
Daytona Beach, FL 32118

DRECCYANA is also known as 5th vehicle Buddhism. It is one of the philosophies that has gone into informing the memeplex of SpiritRoad, along with Vajrayana, Taoism, and the Adamantine Dark Tradition.
Eurasianism is an opposition to Anglo-Atlanticism, and is a memetic plaza endorsed by Vasna.
Hivemind is one of the most important concepts in O.A. We typically refer to the type of HiveMind elucidated upon by Soror Nema of the Maatians.
HOLY WAR is just what we call all this. The mujahidz for SpiritRoad are the Onyx Angels.
Homo Superior is the fully realized new humyn of the future, hive minded, racinated, and probably hopefully a space explorer and colonizer. But FIRST we have to sweep the current system out of the way…

Essential precepts of Onyx Angels

We reject Christianity because a religion or philosophy which denies natural laws of the universe is emphatically false.
God and religion are seperate and sometimes contradictory concepts. Nature’s Will is evidence of the divine plan, for the natural world is a work of the gods. Religion is a creation of man’s mind, and therefore prone to failure. Traditional Christianity must be replaced with the Volkish nature cult, the Cult of the Beauty of the Pagan body.  This is one of the reasons for the Physical Tasks requirement of O.A.  We are in opposition to the sycophantic Christian faggots who hide behind their minister’s theology degrees.

Secular power systems protect and promote religious philosophies, which teach of an afterlife. Thus, people are taught to abandon defenses against the predators of this life. We believe in a grand force or a grand god in the background of the multiplicity of gods and spirits who becomes visible in a multiple way in the universe, on earth and in the life of all beings and things. Were there occult intentions behind the “SS Schäfer Expedition”? In the neo-NazSoc literature these are considered a top secret mission of Himmler’s to make contact with the “adepts of Shambhala and Agarthi”. Authors from the scene like Wilhelm Landig, Miguel Serrano, Russell McCloud, etc., allow their readers to believe that through these expeditions a kind of metapolitical axis between Berlin and Lhasa was constructed, which is in a sense true. I strongly suggest a look at USERNAMEN’s YOUTUBE channel for details of SS archaeology. Dietrich Bronder knows that “Schäfer’s SS men were permitted to enter holy Lhasa, otherwise closed to Europeans and Christians, even the magnificent Lamaist temple that contains just one huge symbol, the holiest in the Mongolian world — the svastika”

Religion in its most beneficial form is the symbology of a VOLK and their culture. A multicultural religion destroys the senses of uniqueness, exclusivity and value necessary to the survival of a tribe. Still, there are common themes in all major religions and this forms the basis of a traditional view.

In accord with Nature’s Laws, nothing is more right than the preservation of ones own TRIBE.

No greater motivating force exists than the certain conviction that one is correct in one’s motives.

People who allow others not of their tribe to live among them will perish, because the inevitable result of a tribal integration is tribal intermating which destroys the characteristics and existence of a tribe. Forced integration is deliberate and malicious genocide.

In the final analysis, a race or species is not judged superior or inferior by its accomplishments, but by its will and ability to survive.

The folk, namely the members of the TRIBE, are the Nation. Tribal loyalties must always supersede geographical and national boundaries. If this is taught and understood, it will end fratricidal wars. Wars must not be fought for the benefit of another race or clan, for example, typically, the Jews.

The Tribe’s leaders are not rulers, they are servants and guardians. They are not to serve for personal gain. Choose only a guardian who has no interest in the accumulation of material stuffs.  Soon enough–there will come forth a secretive inner order of O.A.  This inner order will be more extreme and will exist to serve as O.A.’s elite guard.

Political power, in the final analysis, is created and maintained by force. As ONYX ANGELS our ideology (SpiritRoad) must be a fortress.

A power system, secular or religious, which employs extensive calls to patriotism or requires too much speech and rhetoric for its preservation, is masking tyranny. The best political weapon is terror.

Propaganda is a legitimate and necessary weapon in any struggle. The elements of successful propaganda are: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID–Also, since men believe what they want to believe, and since they want to believe that which they perceive as beneficial to themselves, then successful propaganda must appeal to the perceived self-interest of those to whom it is spread forth.

Tyrannies teach what to think; free men learn how to think.

Beware of men who increase their wealth by the use of words. Particularly beware of the JEWS or priests who deny Natural Law. Our honor is our loyalty.

Some say the pen is more powerful than the sword. Perhaps so. Yet, the pen without the sword has no authority. The idea that the pen is rightly superior to the sword is a typically Jewish idea.

Tyrannies are usually built step by step and disguised by noble rhetoric.

Materialism leads men to seek artificial status through wealth or property. True social status comes from service to Family, Race and Nation.

Materialism ultimately leads to conspicuous, unnecessary consumption, which in turn leads to the rape of Nature and destruction of the environment. It is contra-natural. The true guardians of the TRIBE must be wholly untainted by materialism.

The function of a merchant or salesman is to provide a method of exchange. A merchant who promotes unnecessary consumption and materialism can not be tolerated.  Our folk are suffering from the illnesses of overconsumption.  Again as before I recommend the CHAOS AND PAIN blog.

The only lawful functions of money are as a medium of exchange and a store of value. All other uses including social engineering, speculation, inflation and especially usury are unlawful. Usury at any percentage is a crime which cannot be tolerated.

Kenosis and the Scarecrow Experiment

The following is an accounting of magic and art in action.
昔者莊周夢為蝴蝶,栩栩然蝴蝶也,自喻適志與,不知周也。俄然覺,則蘧蘧然周也。不知周之夢為蝴蝶與,蝴蝶之夢為周與?周與蝴蝶則必有分矣。此之謂物化。++++++++++ +
It was 4 years ago. I had just watched the movie “Batman Begins” and I began to ask myself sincerely a question–what if I were subjected to a feargas that made me see my worst nightmare-what would it be and what would I do?
For a while, several weeks, I mostly used my imagination to investigate the topic. I did google searches for the most terrible things I could think of– autopsies gone bad, injuries, malformed births. This was all fine and good but did not quite do enough.

I began to actually do the particular things that I feared. I could make a list but that would be long and pointless. I saw time as a black river leading to a black sea–and each action and thought was a little origami boat on the black river. As the river joined the sea, the boats sank and were forgotten by Mahakala. So it is that life passes.
Order arises spontaneously when things are allowed to flow according to their own direction. Lust, fear, sleepiness, coffee hunger, then sated urges, then new urges.

One of the things that we should try to incorporate into SpiritRoad is a sense of spontaneous flowing of consciousness that for lack of a better term I’ll call Primitivism, or the Lycanthropic state of awareness–the idea is not to be a dimwitted brute but a sharp keen creature unbound by labels. “SpiritRoad” is itself a label, but it fits nicely because the ROAD that is ahead of us, wea re guided on it by Spirit, not a formula, not an abstraction. I have lost things and gained things in the process of formulating this philosophy. We must always be loyal to our own kind because the outsiders will never GRASP the suchness of Nothing as it moves through us, or understand why we value so little what they value so much- the illusion of control. We are in opposition to states and governments because they only exist as origami boats of the mind that are not allowed to FLOW toward their intended destination. The boats of the outsiders are strangled and broken by the gloves of power, given enough time, and people still don’t catch on. This is the Anarchist part of National- Anarchism–understanding that those servitors of the state that would strangle you are acting on IDEAS, ideas just like your own-little paper boats, floating out to sea. Just thoughts.

This post is a little origami boat on a black river of time. It will flow thru some on it’s way to the abyss, and will eventually be forgotten, like a Tibetan sand painting. As it moves toward it’s source it must move thru people and they will add their own items to the Numenorian Ark.
It is my sincere intention that Onyx Angels become modes, nodes, of expression of kenosis practiced not only on the individual level but on the tribal level. You may experience without thinking, and when you become hungry, you must think about how to get food, then you eat and thought and hunger subside.
This is all for now.

Two Human Species- Blacks and Eurasians- The Evidence


This is from http://www.rafonda.com/index.html and is subject to being updated by
R. A. Fonda.

This is presented here for educational purposes, in case his website goes
down again.

Interbreeding Between Species

From time to time I encounter the assertion that H. sapiens (and/or H. sapiens sapiens)
could not have interbred with H. erectus, because they are different species. I’ve also been
told that, “If they could have produced fertile offspring, then they weren’t really different
species”. These fairly common misconceptions proceed from a misunderstanding of the
‘biological species concept’, which makes species distinctions based on fertility. Most people
leave school thinking that, if two creatures can produce fertile offspring, then they must belong
to the same species. I wouldn’t be surprised if many teachers actually tell students that, but it
simply isn’t so.
The biological species concept was developed by Ernst Mayr, in 1942. Here it is, as first
formulated, and quoted in Douglas J. Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology (1998):
“Species are
groups of actually or potentially interbreeding populations that are reproductively isolated from
other such groups”. The “reproductive isolation” can be genetic (non-fertility), geographic, or
behavioral; there is NO criteria that says (as is commonly believed) that if two populations can
interbreed they are the SAME species. There is NO criteria that says that two distinct species
CAN’T interbreed. Consider the example of wolves, coyotes and dogs: three distinct species
that can interbreed. In fact, all species of the genus Canis can mate and produce fertile
offspring (Wayne et al., 1997, re: A. P. Gray, Mammalian Hybrids). This is so common, that
biologists actually use a different formulation of Mayr’s definition: they say, “If two populations
can NOT interbreed, they are NOT the same species.” That is a very different statement. Note
that this is an empirical definition, and gives no guidance in regard to extinct taxons, but the
bottom line is: nothing in the biological species concept contradicts the idea that erectus and
sapiens could and DID interbreed.
I think it will come as a surprise to many that most scientists accept the fact that sapiens
and erectus were so closely related that they could have interbred with each other. To begin
with, some (probably most) scientists don’t think erectus and sapiens were genetically
separate species at all. They consider them developmental ‘grades’ within a single taxon. Here
is an example of that view, from Futuyma.
“The word species, however, is sometimes used simply as a name for a morphologically
distinguishable form. This is especially true in paleontology, in which a single, evolving lineage
(gene pool) may be assigned several names for successive, phenotypically different forms.
For example, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are names for different, distinguishable stages
in the same evolving lineage. They are chrono-species, rather than separate biological
species. The two species names do not imply that speciation (bifurcation into two gene pools)
occurred: in fact it probably DIDN’T in this case.” [my emphasis on didn’t]
Futuyma claims erectus is “human”, probably because all those bad bones from Africa
show such strong expression of erectus traits. The afrocentrists say they were erectus
slouching toward humanity; I say the more modern-looking fossils were erectus hybridized
with sapiens. BOTH views imply that erectus and sapiens were able to interbreed. In fact, the
afrocentrist position, that there was only a SINGLE gene pool, is a stronger statement of their
capability for interbreeding than mine. Wolpoff, and other multiregionalists, exhibit similar
thinking: he maintains that erectus was “human” and evolved into modern sapiens all over the
world, while the afrocentrists say that process only culminated in Africa, from whence a
modern human type radiated, displacing all other ‘people’ without interbreeding. They don’t
deny those (supposedly erectus-derived) moderns and Eurasian indigenes could have
interbred, they just claim they didn’t.
So, nearly everybody agrees that erectus could interbreed with sapiens: multiregionalists,
afrocentrists, and even me. Note, however, that some people also say erectus was a distinct
taxon. In fact, Rightmire, a recognized expert on erectus, says (The Evolution of Homo
Erectus, Cambridge, 1990) they were a distinct species; I even agree with him. It is interesting
to see why there is disagreement on the subject. Wolpoff, and others, compare the early
African and Asian skulls with the most modern ones and show that there was an increase in
cranial capacity, and a morphological tendency toward some sapiens characteristics. BUT,
those recent skulls are the very ones I contend are hybrid specimens! Rightmire excludes the
late, Southeast Asian skulls from Ngandong for very good reasons, and shows that the rest of
the series reveals NO statistically significant development toward becoming modern human.
That is even with including later, African skulls that I think show some interbreeding with
sapiens radiating out of Eurasia. When you get up to the recent African material, which shows
significant sapiens influence, the afrocentrists claim those aren’t erectus, but ‘early sapiens’.
For instance, they call the Herto skulls H. sapiens idaltu.
So, the real difference in viewpoint is whether:

1) erectus evolved into modern humans by a
gradual process, with intRA-species gene flow (whether it occurred only in Africa or also
elsewhere) or
2) erectus and sapiens interbred, founding some (tropical) modern populations,
while Eurasian sapiens founded Eurasian populations, which is my interpretation of the data.
None of these views preclude interbreeding between erectus and sapiens, and the
multiregional position DEPENDS on it. Note how ‘shifty’ Wolpoff is. As a multiregionalist, he
argues that “gene flow” (interbreeding) between advanced populations (who are called
sapiens because of their clearly more-modern morphology) and less-advanced (erectus
‘grade’) specimens caused all the world’s ‘people’ to evolve into sapiens. YET, in attempting to
refute my view (that the Ngandong skulls represent hybrids between erectus and sapiens) he
characterizes THAT as intER-species gene flow, as if it were not exactly what his own theory
implies. Then to further obfuscate, he plays the race-card, saying my hypothesis, “raises the
specter that some populations will be seen as differing because they have more genes from
an extinct species”. Well, yes!

If H. sapiens or s. sapiens could interbreed with erectus, then they should certainly have
been able to produce fertile offspring with other sapiens, such as H. sapiens neanderthalis, or
with H. heidelbergensis, which may have been a direct ancestor. Consider that wolves and
coyotes have been distinct species for nearly a million years, or more than 300 thousand
generations. A similar number of generations would take the human ancestry back nearly to
the last common ancestor of Homo and Pan.

A final consideration is the distinguishing characteristics that differentiate the various Homo
species. IF they were separated by potentially incompatible mutations, then there might have
been diminished fertility between those species. However, it appears they have been
distinguished by neoteny: ancestral forms were succeeded by juvenilized versions of
themselves. While the effects of neoteny (such as increased intelligence, delayed maturation,
progressive gracilization, and a diminution of some ancestral-adult characteristics) may be
profound, the genetic changes are subtle. There seems to be little or no impediment to fertility,
as the new type must have been fertile with the parent species in order to survive.
Accordingly, the entire genus Homo has probably been intER-fertile, just as the genus Canis

Clifford Jolly, writing in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2001; Supplement
33: 177-204) discusses the even more apposite hybridization of hominins.

He says,
”Another source of phylogenetic uncertainty is the possibility of gene-flow by occasional
hybridization between hominins belonging to ecologically and adaptively distinct species or
even genera. Although the evidence is unsatisfactorily sparse, it suggests that among
catarrhines generally, regardless of major chromosomal rearrangements, intersterility is
roughly proportional to time since cladogenetic separation.” And, ”any hominine species
whose ancestries diverged less than 4 ma previously may well have been able to produce
hybrid offspring”
Four million years ago takes us back before Homo is recognized to have existed! And that
is not even considering that Homo species have a longer generation time, so an equivalent
number of generations would extend the potential hybridization period even further than 4
million years into the past. As an aside, this suggests that the genus Homo could have begun
by hybridization. That would offer an explanation for why we are so closely related to the
knuckle-walking chimps and gorillas, while Homo had bipedal ancestry. Of course, chimps and
gorillas may have split off the line of descent from a common bipedal ancestor and reverted to
knuckle-walking. The important point, with respect to interbreeding of species, is that hominin
species separated by several million years of divergence can still produce fertile hybrid
By contrast, the divergence time separating erectus from sapiens, or the latter from
Neanderthals, is much less. For instance, Krings, et al. (in DNA sequence of the mitochondrial
hypervariable region II from the Neandertal type specimen, PNAS 1999) estimates that Homo
sapiens sapiens and H. neanderthalsis shared a common ancestor not more than 741, and
perhaps as recently as 317 thousand years ago. Afrocentrists believe sapiens diverged from
erectus only a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Even if sapiens shared no common
ancestors with erectus after the earliest known Homo fossils in Eurasia, 1.8 million years ago,
they should still have been inter-fertile. In fact, morphological features of the Nagandong, Kow
Swamp, Herto, and other skulls suggest that sapiens and erectus did interbreed and produce
offspring. I contend that view is confirmed by the genetic evidence cited in Age & Origin of the
Human Species, Plural Lineages in the Human mtDNA Genome , and Australian Ancestry:
Implications for the Origin of H. sapiens sapiens.
In Number of ancestral human species: a molecular perspective, (HOMO Vol. 53/3, pp. 201–

D. CURNOE, and A. THORNE directly address the question of whether recent types of
Homo would have been able to mate and produce viable and fertile offspring. They say, flatly:
”All fossil taxa were genetically very close to each other and likely to have been below
congeneric genetic distances seen for many mammals. Our estimates of genetic divergence
suggest that periods of around 2 million years are required to produce sufficient genetic
distance to represent speciation. Therefore, Neanderthals and so-called H. erectus were
genetically so close to contemporary H. sapiens they were unlikely to have been separate
species. Distances calculated here for H. neanderthalensis versus H. sapiens and for H.
erectus versus H. sapiens are around one-third and two-thirds, respectively, of the mammalian
intrageneric mode.”
Some genetic data from humans, chimps, and orangutans suggest there were genetic
speciation events in Homo’s history, resulting in populations that could not have interbred with
their ancestors, but not many nor recently. This type of speciation, as a result of infertility by
reason of genetic incompatibility, must be distinguished from the evolution of ”type”
morphology, leading to species designations such as erectus and neanderthalensis.

”Sumatran and Bornean orangutans differ by three chromosomal rearrangements but are
known to be fully fertile, and common chimpanzees and bonobos differ by six chromosomal
rearrangements, and although some workers regard them as distinct species (see above),
they do produce apparently normal hybrid offspring (H. Vervaecke, pers. com.). Most types of
rearrangements between orangutan subspecies and between common chimpanzees and
bonobos are also seen in humans. This suggests that at least some of the rearrangements in
humans might not represent reproductive isolation.”
But they go on to say,
”This observation is complicated by the fact that humans appear to possess even greater
chromosomal instability than great apes. Humans possess a high level of chromosomal
rearrangements, with 1 out of every 120 babies born being abnormal (Hook 1992). The figure
rises to about 25% for 10-day old blastocysts (Gardner & Sutherland 1996). We conclude that
chromosomal rearrangements were likely to have been important during human evolution,
more so than among the great apes, making comparisons with them of limited value.”
And concluding,
”Given the chromosomal instability in humans, it seems likely that at least some of the
chromosomal rearrangements may have had a significant impact on reproductive isolation
when they occurred.”
Thus, it isn’t clear (from the ape evidence) that even chromosomal rearrangements would
have rendered the different types of Homo infertile, but it is clear that there were fewer such
events, which even might have caused reproductive isolation, than there are recognized
taxons of Homo. In other words, just because erectus was different enough to be a recognized
taxon doesn’t mean they could not interbreed with sapiens.
The cited authors state there have been five or fewer genetic-isolation-speciations since
the last common ancestor with chimps:
”From the above evidence we conclude that the number of species on the DLMH, as inferred
from human chromosome rearrangements, might be around 3 and cannot be more than 5.”
So all of the types of Homo living in the last few hundred thousand years would have been
fertile with the other types. H. sapiens/sapiens and H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis would
have all been able to interbreed … and the genetic evidence, as presented in the papers
posted on this site, indicates they DID interbreed, resulting in the modern populations.
[Lions and Tigers can breed and produce fertile offspring. Other species can also do this .
This information is available on the web. Look up “lion and tiger hybrids” and many sites will
come up. The offspring are not sterile. ]
Information not from RA Fonda that has very deep implications about ancestral

Blacks, Whites Have Same Fear Reaction When Seeing a Black Face – From UCLA

African Americans and Caucasians viewing African American faces display extremely similar
changes in the activity of brain structures that respond to emotional events, a new UCLA study

The changes occur in the amygdala, a region of the brain that serves as an “alarm” to activate
a cascade of other biological systems to protect the body in times of danger, said Matthew D.
Lieberman, assistant professor of psychology at UCLA and lead author of the study.
The findings will be published May 8 in the online version of Nature Neuroscience, and later in
the print version.
Five out of eight African Americans (63 percent) responded with significantly more amygdala
activity when presented with expressionless photographs of African Americans than when they
were shown expressionless photographs of Caucasians, Lieberman and his colleagues found.
Seven of 11 Caucasians (64 percent) in the study also responded with greater activity in the
amygdala when viewing the African American photographs.
Although a third of participants in each race did not show this effect, no participant in the study
responded with greater amygdala activity to the Caucasian photographs than to the African
American photographs, Lieberman said.
“We didn’t see any differences in amygdala activity between the racial groups,” Lieberman
said. “From looking at the amygdala, you couldn’t tell if the scans were from African American
or Caucasian participants.
“Many people of either race may not be happy to find out that a part of their brain involved in
responding to potential threats responds more to African Americans than Caucasians,”
Lieberman said. “Even people who believe to their core that they do not have prejudices may
still have negative associations that are not conscious.”
Why do African Americans have this amygdala response?
“One theory,” Lieberman said, “is that people are likely to pick up the stereotypes prevalent in
a society regardless of whether their family or community agrees with those stereotypes.
Several social psychologists have found evidence for this view. From an early age, cultural
views, media portrayals and even the body language of authority figures may train our brains,
whether we consciously agree or not.”
Previous research has shown that Caucasians show an increased amygdala response to
African American photos to the extent that they hold nonconscious negative attitudes towards
African Americans, Lieberman said.
Co-authors on the study are Johanna Jarcho, a UCLA graduate student in Lieberman’s
laboratory; UCLA graduate student Naomi Eisenberger; Susan Bookheimer, professor of
psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine; and
Ahmad Hariri, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine and a former UCLA graduate student.
The researchers also studied whether adding a verbal label (such as “African American”)
when viewing African American photos changes the amygdala response, and found it does.
“When people look at an African American and think of the word ‘African American,’ we no
longer see the amygdala response,” Lieberman said. Instead, the researchers found changes
in a second region of the brain: the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. This region of the brain
is located behind the forehead and eyes, and has been associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences; it also is associated with inhibiting behavior, impulses and
“This region is especially active when you add the verbal label to the face,” Lieberman said.
“The people who show the most activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex show the
least activity in the amygdala.
“We found that when the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex gets turned on, the amygdala
does not,” he added. “When you engage in verbal labeling, that partially turns off or disrupts
the amygdala response. The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex was significantly active only
when people were looking at African Americans and choosing the word ‘African American.'”
These results suggest that “thinking about the race of others in words may regulate some of
the threat experienced when confronting unfamiliar or feared others,” Lieberman said. “It is
possible this emotional ‘benefit’ of using race-related words may have inadvertently
contributed to the widespread use of race-related words and stereotypes.”
Lieberman and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine
brain activity for this study, conducted at UCLA’s Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of
Mental Health.
Age and Origin of the Human Species
The speciation event that produced Homo sapiens sapiens could not have occurred
contemporaneously in more than a very few individuals. It follows that those few s. sapiens
would have possessed a very restricted sample of the progenitor species’ genetic diversity.
However, the diversity observed in current populations implies that there were never less than
several thousand breeding pairs in the human ancestry (Harpending et al., 1998). Accordingly,
the founding s. sapiens and their descendants must have interbred with the progenitor species
(and perhaps other pre-human populations) in order to preserve the diversity which exists
While some changes in the genome must have occurred after the speciation event, the
“lifetimes” of the genetic elements considered (in this context and the works cited here) are far
longer than new estimates of s. sapiens’ age (Mountain et al.,1994). As a consequence, most
current diversity must be the result of interbreeding with pre-human populations. On this view
we would expect to see the most hybridized elements of the modern indigenes in those areas
where pre-human population density was highest, such as Africa and S. E. Asia. Also, we
would expect those populations to have the greatest diversity today, because they would
preserve more of the pre-human genome, which would have had much more genetic variety
than was represented in the tiny, original population of s. sapiens.
In fact, we do find that Africans and some S. E. Asian populations have not only more
diversity (Jorde et al., 1997), but central Africans are said to have ancestral genetic elements
as well (Tishkoff et al., 1996). It is also clear that the population which gave rise to s. sapiens
had been separated from the sub-Saharan Africans’ ancestors for longer than our species’
lifetime.1 This requires the proponents of the “African Eve/Out of Africa” views to posit a
segregation of central Africans from the proto-modern population in which speciation occurred.
Since they also claim that modern humans originated in and radiated from Africa, Tishkoff (for
instance) is driven to suggest that this hundreds of thousand year sequestration was
somewhere in N. E. Africa.

This is an implausible, ad hoc suggestion. By contrast, it is natural to suppose that
separation implies the population ancestral to humans was a part of the radiation out of Africa
into Eurasia, before the speciation event occurred. If the speciation event took place in
Eurasia, we would expect that the descendant population would show a “bottleneck” effect,
and that those populations would possess low genetic diversity today, relative to central
Africans, which is what we do find.3 By contrast, central Africans have always had a large
effective population size (Tishkoff et al., 1996), and are characterized by extraordinary
diversity (Kidd et al., 1998). Also we would expect that Asians and Europeans would be more
closely related to each other than either are to Africans, as is revealed in the discussion of
cladistics below. This view also accounts for the existence of the Eurasian types. Yet more
impressive evidence for a common Eurasian origin is the existence of a 200,000 year-old
betaglobin linkage common in Asia and rare in Africa (Harding et al., 1997) and the “ancient
Eurasiatic marker”: NRY binary polymorphism M173, whose particular significance is
discussed below.
The age of the human species had lately been estimated at between 150,000 and
250,000 years, based on studies of mitochondrial DNA. Those estimates were based on the
assumption of clonal transmission of the mtDNA, and the cited studies invalidate that
(Awadalla et al., 1999; Hagelberg et al., 1999; Eyre-Walker et al., 1999), but we do not know
by how much the dates are off. Eyre-Walker has proposed that “Eve” may have lived twice as
long ago as current estimates,4 or as long as 500,000 years BPE. If there were bottlenecks
subsequent to a mtDNA replacement event, which wiped out older lines, it would seem that
the sweep occurred more recently than it really did. Accordingly, new estimates of s. sapiens’
age preclude the possibility that such a replacement event took place in, or marked the origin
of, our species.
More than one group of researchers (such as Harpending and Jorde) consider that the
data support a “clean sweep” of earlier mtDNA lineages and this has frequently been raised in
support of the “Eve/Africa” view. However, such ancient dates for an mtDNA replacement
event would be consistent with radiation of pre-human species out of Africa, rather than the
origin of s. sapiens. There has never been any reason to assume that the putative female
(whose mtDNA is said to be ancestral to that found in all living humans) was, herself, a s.
sapiens. The entire basis for the “Eve” hypothesis (that all modern, human mtDNA originated
with one woman, or even in one restricted population) is falsified by recent research indicating
plural lineages in the mtDNA genome. The putative ‘African Eve’ is probably neither
chronologically nor causally related to the origin of s. sapiens.
In this circumstance, it is only reasonable to assume that the date of the human cultural
explosion suggests the approximate era of s. sapiens speciation. Research on the Ychromosome
yields an estimate of 59,000 years BPE for the “most recent common [paternal]
ancestor”, (Underhill, et al, 2000) assuming no selection and population structure effects.
Given that caveat, the -59kyr date fits those of the earliest human cultural remains like a hand
in a glove.
About forty thousand years ago, people from central Asia migrated into Europe, and their
descendants constitute a majority of the population there today (Semino & Passarina, 2000)
so we know what type of people they were. They came from the general area of those earliest
human cultural sites, and they shared a genetic marker designated as M173. The population
which carried that marker must have existed for some time before their migration began,
because derivative forms of it are found in Siberia and the Amerinds, which implies that it was
present in their common ancestral population that existed prior to 40,000 years BPE. Again,
we have a good idea of what that ancestral Eurasian type was, by inference from the populations it generated, and it seems likely to be as ancient as humanity itself. When was
there time, within the human culture period, for evolution of the Eurasian ancestral type from
African immigrants? Moreover, the precursors to humanity are all present in Eurasia (from H.
ergaster, and heidelbergensis, through archaic sapiens) while no comparable sequence has
been discovered in Africa.
Even if, contrary to all the data adduced here, humanity had originated in Africa, it seems
contrived to assume that s. sapiens would have immediately migrated from that continent, to
leave their earliest known (and all subsequent) cultural artifacts in Eurasia. But if (on the Afroorigins
view) they did, why did they evolve into the Eurasian ancestral type? What
mechanisms, events, and pressures would conduce to such a change? Why did those other
populations, said to be ‘first out of Africa’ (on account of their genetic diversity) such as the
Andaman Islanders and tropical S. E. Asian types, not experience any such change? Do the
Afro-origin people perhaps agree that the speciation event created the Eurasian type from
archaic sapiens? The invocation of “genetic drift” and “founder effect”, as used to assert a
counter-intuitive interpretation of the diversity gradient (Tishkoff et al., 1998)5, will not serve.
I believe it is incumbent upon those who support the view of s. sapiens origins in Africa to
explain how and why they were converted to Eurasian types so quickly. And those who
maintain that humans originated long before they began to leave cultural artifacts need to
explain why; what changed, that made them really human? Why would humans evolve, long
ago in Africa, but only begin to behave like humans once they arrived at northern latitudes: are
we back to the climate theory of evolution? The author’s view is that the only logical
interpretation of all the available data, including the characteristics of extant populations, is
that the speciation event occurred in a Eurasian population, of archaic sapiens, with ancient
indigenous roots, in which case it is obvious how s. sapiens’ progenitors were sequestered
from central Africa.
The current Eurasian populations are lightly pigmented, and that is associated with high
latitude species and populations in many other genera. It has often been suggested that the
ancient ancestors of the Eurasian types were part of a population that had been resident at
high latitudes long enough to manifest the derived characteristic of light pigmentation. On this
view we would expect to find that light-skinned people would display low diversity and a distant
relationship to central Africans, which is what we find. In fact, the genetic difference between
Africans and Europeans is so distinct that the proportion of European admixture in Afro-
Americans can be determined with a margin of error of only 0.02 (Destro-Bisol et al., 1999).
Harpending states that the population ancestral to s.sapiens was “small during most of
the Pleistocene” and that “the number of our ancestors just before the expansion (‘origin’) of
modern humans was small, only several thousand breeding adults.” We can compare this
characterization of our ancestral population with the evidence that Africans have always had a
large effective population size. It is this incongruity that forces Tischkoff to postulate that the
pre-human population was both “isolated from the rest of the African continent” and
“somewhere in N. E. Africa.”6 Moreover, this would have been for a very long time. Perhaps in
Lemuria or Atlantis?
The evidence indicates that humans came from a sparse population in Eurasia; that their
diversity was further reduced by the speciation event; that they subsequently expanded in
every habitable direction; and that they interbred with the populations they came in contact
with, producing extant hybrid populations. Hence Mountain et al. (1994) reports that in the
cladistic tree “the European branch is significantly short relative to all other branches,” that
“the neighbor-joining tree… places the European sample close to the center of the tree with an
extremely short branch,” and further that “Europeans and northeast Asians are closely related.” The first two of these statements are inconsistent with origin and radiation out of
Africa while the third does not lend it any support.
Evidence for radiation into Africa was found by Hammer et al. (1998) and Tischkoff et al.
(1998) noted such evidence, but the latter went on to suggest that no attention should be paid
to it.7 The radiation of low-diversity s. sapiens from Eurasia is also the best explanation for the
discoveries, dates, morphology and genetic data in S. E. Asia. There, s. sapiens and erectus
lived in proximity for as long as 20,000 years (Swisher et al., 1996). So many of the human
fossils from this area and era show a mixed suite of s.sapiens and erectus features that
interbreeding is the most plausible interpretation of the data. Many students of fossil
morphology have long contended that there is continuity between S. E. Asian Hominid fossils
and extant indigenous peoples.8 Genetic data show these populations are distinct from
northern Asian populations and of comparable diversity to Africans (Chang et al. 1996).

The Ngandong specimens, in particular, have occasioned much debate on account of
their mixture of s.sapiens and erectus traits and their affinities with Australians.10 We would
expect that the crania of such hybrids would show affinities to both species, and that is why
these fossils are so hard to classify. Some authorities say they are clearly erectus, while
others point to modern traits, and especially that very similar skulls (from overlapping dates)
are found in Australia. Moreover, the traits in question occur in the modern population. This is
not merely consistent with, but constitutes strong evidence for, the view that radiating, lowdiversity
s. sapiens interbred with relic erectus populations, thus acquiring the near-African
diversity and primitive morphological traits manifest in the Asian fossil record and extant
The hypothesis presented here uniquely explains one particularly puzzling aspect of the
Australian fossil record. The oldest fossils from Australia are the most modern in morphology.
On my view, this is explained by the fact that the first wave of humans who passed through S.
E. Asia on their way to Australia were less hybridized with resident erectus populations
because they spent less time living among them. Populations that settled Australia later
(leaving the Kow Swamp-type skulls) had been living in S. E. Asia for as much as 20,000
years and were far more hybridized in consequence.
Wolpoff accepts that the Ngandong skulls are representative of the population that
produced the Kow Swamp-type specimens, and left descendants in the modern population But
he explicitly rejects the view, as set forth here, that there was inter-species gene flow, and
calls it “unacceptable”. This, however, is a socio-political rather than a scientific statement. He
does not contend that it isn’t a reasonable construction of the data, but rejects it on grounds of
dogma, because of its implication that some modern populations express a more primitive
genome. Wolpoff considers that the hypothesis of hybridization is “unacceptable” because it
“raises the specter that some human populations can be interpreted to differ from others
because they have more genes from an extinct, primitive human species.” Thus, according to
Wolpoff and other adherents of this doctrine, scientific truths which conflict with their politicallycorrect
“just so” paradigm are outside the bounds of contemplation. It is noteworthy that he is
driven to contend that erectus is human (‘true’man) in order to preserve logical consistency …
at the expense of common sense.
The people of the Andaman Islands have also been the subject of a study which has been
reported as “supporting ‘out of Africa.'”11 This is an example of the almost universal, and
usually unstated, assumption that there are only two possible hypotheses of human origins:
the multi-regional, and African views. If the data conflicts with the multi-regional view it is said
to “support” African origin. This not only begs the question, but is arguably deceitful. In this
case, the data, considered by itself, may not contradict African origin, but as part of the pattern
already noted above, it actually supports the opposing hypothesis presented here. The
Andaman Islands are yet another of the places where s. sapiens interbred with a relic erectus
population, were hybridized, and existed in an isolated condition until the present. Not
surprisingly, they show genetic affinities to central Africans, because (like them, and some S.
E. Asians) they preserve substantial portions of the pre-human genome.
It is nonsense to suggest that the first groups of humans “out of Africa” immediately
migrated to the ends of the earth (Andamans, Australia, New Guinea, etc…) or that the
populations of all such remote places should possess such diversified and similar genomes by
chance. The inferred pattern of hybridization is the more parsimonious hypothesis. They are
found in these out-of-the-way places because they were driven there by more advanced
populations who supplanted such hybrids elsewhere.
Yet another challenge exists to the claim that our species radiated out of Africa. There is a
consensus among anthropologists that s. sapiens’ cultural artifacts indicate a higher level of
cognitive function than any previous species. The technical level and diversity of their tool
industry alone would have set them apart. Add to that, whole new categories of behavior: the
creation of representative art, the domestication of the dog, etc… Thus, we would expect that
populations which were hybridized with predecessor species would be intellectually and
cognitively disadvantaged in relation to low-diversity, Eurasian populations In fact, we do
observe that (Herrnstein and Murray, 1994), which clearly reveals the direction of species
radiation. Expressing this view, however, is likely to attract such vehement abuse that few
dare. Only those whose livelihood is not subject to the fiats of “wimmin and minorities” can
openly speak the truth on this subject, and their views are ruthlessly censored.
Notes 1. Harpending, et al. (1998); see especially the conclusions. 2. & 3. Tishkoff, S. A., from
a report in the Science Daily of 25 January 1999 of a presentation at the annual meeting of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim on 22 January. 4. Eyre-
Walker, ‘Recent Finds in Paleoanthropology’ in Athena Review vol. 2, no. 2 (10 March 2000).
5. See p. 1395 and p. 1399, and generally, to account for the observed diversity clines, which
intuitively support radiation out of Eurasia by low-diversity s. sapiens, gaining diversity as they
interbred with pre-human populations subsequent to their speciation. 6. Tishkoff, as quoted in
Science Daily (above). 7. Tishkoff et al. (1998). On page 1399, she postulates a “dramatic”
founder effect and genetic drift. 8. Wolpoff, Milford H., submitted a post entitled “No Homo
erectus at Ngandong” to Human Origins News (http://www.proam.
com/origins/news/article19.html) on 16 March 2000. He is perhaps the best known
proponent of the view that there is continuity between the ancient and modern populations;
saying, for instance, that the population represented by the Ngandong specimens is
“incontrovertably” ancestral to some Australian fossils and living people. 9. Chang et al. 1996,
p. 98 notes the way Melanesians are genetically differentiated from other Pacific islanders and
Asians (citing Flint et al. (1993)). Their figures 3 & 5 are somewhat pertinent. Mountain, op.
cit., p. 6516, notes clustering of pygmies and S. E. Asians. Figure 1 shows how representative
global populations cluster: the pattern is consistent (in the author’s interpretation) with
Eurasian hybridization of a species whose genome subsumed the diversity of the current (also
hybridized) Africans. Kidd, op. cit. p. 225, cites Harding (1997) concerning variation of
betaglobin in S. E. Asians. Jorde, op. cit., Figure 2 shows S. E. Asians clustering with
pygmies. Hagelberg (as cited in 11, below) finds affinities between pygmies and Andaman
Islanders. 10. Wolpoff’s post (8, above) seems to be in response to the statement of Philip
Rightmire (cited as “an expert on the species”) in the 15 December 1996 issue of Human
Origins News that “They [Ngandong specimens] are unequivocally H. erectus.” 11. Hagelberg,
E. & Fox, C. L. in an unpublished study, quoted in Scientific American, ‘Science and the
Citizen’, January 1999.
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Homo sapiens sapiens in Extant Europeans: A Y Chromosome perspective.’ Science vol. 290
(5494) pp 1155-60 (Nov. 10). Swisher III C. C., Rink W. J., Anton S. C., Schwarcz H. P., Curtis
G. H., Suprijo A., & Widiasmoro (1996) Science, vol. 274 (5294), pp 1870-1874. Tishkoff S. A.,
Dietzsch E., Speed W., Pakstis A. J. et al. (1996) ‘Global patterns of linkage disequilibrium at
the CD4 locus and modern human origins’, Science, Washington, March 8. Tishkoff S. A.,
Goldman A., Calafell F., Speed W. C., Deinard A. S., Bonne-Tamir B., Kidd J. R., Pakstis A.
J., Jenkins T., and Kidd K. K. (1998) ‘A Global Haplotype Analysis of the Myotonic Dystrophy
Locus; Implications for the Evolution of Modern Humans and for the Origin of Myotonic
Dystrophy Mutations’, American Journal of Human Genetics, 62: 1389-1402. Underhill, Peter
A., Peidong Shen, Alice Lin, Li Jin, Giuseppe Passarino, Wei Yang, Erin Kauffman, Batsheva
Bonne-Tamir, Jaume Bertranpetit, Paolo Francalacci, Mutanser Ibrahim, Trefor Jenkins, Judith
Kidd, S. Qasim Mehdi, Mark Seielstad, R. Wells, Alberto Piazza, Ronald Davis, Marcus
Feldman, L. Cavalli-sforza, & Peter Oefner (2000) Letter, Nature Genetics; vol. 26,
November.Wolpoff, Milford H., in a post entitled: “No Homo erectus at Ngandong” to Human
Origins News (http://www.pro-am.com/ origins/news /article 19.html) on 16 March 2000.
Plural Lineages in the Human mtDNA Genome
At the time I wrote Age and Origin of the Human Species, published research on the
mitochondrial genome could not support conclusions regarding human origins. Accordingly, I
had to leave it an open question. The cited research by Awadalla, Eyre-Walker, and others,
was challenged. Innan and Nordborg review the follow-on studies of recombination.
http://walnut.usc. edu/~magnus/papers/InnanNordborg02-MBE.pdf (removed from site!)
Bottom line, there may well be some recombination, but you can’t prove it the way
Awadalla tried to.
For the purposes of this discussion it isn’t necessary to even understand what
recombination in mtDNA means, let alone the details of how it is accomplished: we can simply
treat it as an ‘object’ in this analysis.
There has been unanimous and vociferous insistence in the media, on one critical
afrocentrist assumption: all modern human mtDNA is ‘so similar’ that it had to have come from
a single woman. This is known to the public as the ‘African Eve’ theory, and researchers speak
of the same idea as ‘a single genealogy for the mtDNA genome’. Far from proving the out-of-
Africa theory, that assumed ‘single source of all modern mtDNA’ is an absolutely necessary
pre-condition for their theory of afro-replacement to be true. But, there is afundamental reason
to reject the claim that all human mtDNA is ‘so similar’ that it must come from one woman!
Consider this sentence, [italic emphasis mine] from the first paragraph of the Innan &
Nordborg paper, “The argument for recombination is based on the observation that the pattern
of polymorphism in mtDNA is incompatible with a single genealogicaltree and unique
mutations.” Thus, there are three things that might account for the observed pattern of
polymorphisms: 1) recombination, 2) more than one lineage, or 3) multiple mutations at many
sites. Look at Figure 2 of the Innan paper and you will see that the possibly recombined or
repetitively mutated sites are scattered throughout the genome, and do not occur only in the
hypervariable region. Note that the quote from Innan & Nordborg implies that the less
recombinationor repetitive, same-site mutation has affected the mitochondrial genome, then
the LESS likely it is that there is a single genealogy for the human mtDNA genome. In other
words, unless there has been enough repetitive mutation or recombination to account for the
observed pattern of polymorphism, then not all mtDNA is from the same source, as claimed by
proponents of the ‘African Eve’ or African radiation-and-replacement theories.
On the other hand, the more recombination, or repetitive mutation that has occurred, then
the more Eve’s age has been under-estimated. That is true because the effect of either
repeated mutations at one site or recombination is to make the mtDNA genome appear
younger than it really is. If we knew Eve’s era from historical or anthropological data, we could
compare that date with the one derived from the mtDNA coalescence algorithm. The
difference between the calculated coalescence result and the historical date would reveal the
combined effect of recombination and repetitive mutation. If that combined effect is obviously
insufficient to account for the observed pattern of polymorphism then we may infer a plural
genealogy for the human mtDNA genome.
There is nothing in the historical or anthropological record to independently establish the
era of (a supposed) humans speciation in Africa. However, the situation in Eurasia is very
different. There we can calibrate the coalescence date of Eurasian strains of mtDNA with an
historical event, anthropological evidence, and research on the human y-chromosome. Thus
we can infer the effect (hence extent) of recombination and repeated mutations, by comparing
those other dates with the result of the mtDNA coalescence calculation. If the fit on all these
dates is fairly close we can be assured that little recombination or repetitive mutation has
occurred, hence the observed pattern of polymorphism must be interpreted to reveal a plural
genealogy for the mtDNA genome.
Refer to the Mishmar paper at, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/100/1/171.pdf (second full
paragraph, right-hand column, on the first page) for a brief description of the M and N mtDNA
lineages. Technically, one can’t say that these are ‘Eurasian specific’ lineages, only because
they have found their way into the African population. Note Mishmar’s admission concerning
the afrocentrists’ assertion that M and N evolved/diverged in North Africa. This paper’s authors
come about as close to admitting that is implausible as they can, while remaining politically
correct and afro-orthodox. On the afro-view, M and N lineages diverged from the African Eve’s
lineage, while on my view they are the oldest surviving Eurasian lineages. One’s view, as to
the origin of the M and N lineages, doesn’t affect the argument I am making in regard to
determining the relative contribution of repeated mutation and/or recombination versus plural
Mishmarcalculates the M and N lineages are both 65,000 years old, and there was a lot
going on in Eurasia around -65 kyr. The last common paternal ancestor of Europeans lived at
-59 kyr, as calculated from y-chromosome data. So we have a date for the male counterpart of
Eurasian Eve, calculated from a different genome at a date within 10% of agreement. Then,
‘modern’ human artifacts are found in Eurasia by -50kyr. Allowing for the fact that it is unlikely
that we have found the very first artifacts, and that people may have been genetically modern
for awhile before developing human (Homo sapiens sapiens) culture, those dates are in
remarkable agreement. Add to that, radiation into Australia by anatomically modern humans
may have occurred before -60 kyrs, and no doubt that radiation took some millennia.
It begins to look like that -65kyr coalescence date is right on target, and we could claim
there is no influence from recombination and repeated mutation, so all the sites reflected in
Figure 2 are evidence for plural genealogies: QED! However, that would be disingenuous,
because I believe there has been some recurrent mutation, though it is possible they have
fully accounted for it in their model, and some recombination, which they probably have not
explicitly factored in. So, I would expect that coalescence date to be a little more recent than
the era of a genetically significant event, which actually caused modern humans to
differentiate from a relatively advanced population of archaic sapiens.
One reason we can expect the loss of lineages existing before the modern type
differentiated, is that there could have been a population ‘bottle-neck’ associated with
speciation itself. Moreover there must have been a severe population loss in temperate or
higher latitudes when Mt. Toba erupted around -74kyrs and caused a nuclear winter in
Eurasia. That savage selection event alone would account for the loss of archaic Eurasian
mtDNA lineages. It may be significant that the two oldest Eurasian mtDNA lineages the same
age. The fact that they both date from the same era makes it more plausible ancient lineages
were lost in a specific selection event and/or population bottleneck rather than only through
‘lineage sorting’. It is comparatively unlikely that two mtDNA lineages would simultaneously
diverge from a putative African lineage, and both (but only they) migrate from Africa and
survive to the present. It is far more reasonable and parsimonious to assume that no archaic
Eurasian lineages survived two severe bottlenecks, and subsequent lineage sorting, in the
indigenous Eurasian population.
So, even if we assume that the actual population constriction occurred prior to the
coalescence date, and associate it with the obvious selection event of Toba’s eruption, the
-65kyr coalescence date still calibrates quite closely. If we compare the dates, we note that
-65 kyrs is only about 12% less than the putative genetically significant date of -74 kyrs. So we
can see that both recombination and repeated mutations can only have had a small effect on
the calculation of a coalescence date, hence there are not many sites in the mtDNA genome
that have experienced recombination or repeated mutation. But, look at Figure 2, where it is
evident that many of the sites show evidence of either recombination or repeated mutation, or
else they are evidence of more than one genealogy for the mtDNA genome! Accordingly, most
of the sites graphed in Figure 2 must be considered as evidence for more than one mtDNA
genealogy. Therefore, M and N lineages are not derived from the African genome, but
represent the most ancient, surviving lineages of the Eurasian type. Hence M and N are
Eurasian specific lineages that only entered Africa through radiation, rather than coming from
In conclusion, recombination and repetitive mutations are not enough(by a wide margin) to
explain the observed pattern of polymorphisms in the mtDNA genome. Therefore, there is
more than one genealogy: there are two Eurasian maternal lineages, associated with the
speciation of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) in Eurasia, and another, African
lineage. This falsifies the ‘Afro-radiation and replacement’ theory, and the politically correct
shibboleth that ‘we are all Africans’. As explained in Age and Origin of the Human Species, the
evidence already pointed to a recent, Eurasian origin for modern humans. Only the assertion
of a single genealogy for mtDNA could be construed as evidence of African replacement, and
that assumption is revealed as unjustified.
Mishmar et al, is probably correct to attribute variation, in lineages derived from M and N, to
natural selection. One supposes they theorize that mtDNA selection took place in the last
50kyrs (Wallace’s date for an African radiation, quoted in NYT, “Ice Age Ancestry”) in order to
accommodate their theory to the constraints of assuming an African origin for modern
humans. However, it is more plausible that such selection took place in very ancient times
(when pre-human species were adapting to a cold climate) and was only retained at high
latitudes, among people living at low culture levels, as the adaptations come at a fitness cost,
and thus were lost when and where physical adaptations were superseded by elaborated
clothing and shelter, in the temperate zone and the recent era.
FIG. 2 Evidence for recurrent mutation or recombination (or both) in human mtDNA (data of
Ingman et al. 2000). Each point represents the comparison between a pair of polymorphic
sites. The point is black if the pattern of polymorphism for the pair of loci is such that either
recombination must have occurred between the loci or recurrent mutation affected at least one
of the loci. The point is white otherwise.
If recombination has occurred, and (importantly) the probability of recombination increases
with distance between sites, white points are expected to be clustered along the diagonal
(because recombination is less likely to have effected closely linked sites). Recurrent
mutations, on the other hand, might be expected to give rise to a pattern that does not depend
on the distance from the diagonal, leading to black “crosses” against a white background. The
D-loop is visible as a cluster of such crosses in the upper right corner (position 0 corresponds
to the first position after the D-loop).
Letter to the Editor of DISCOVER:
I was so dubious of Feldman’s conclusions about human origins (page 56, right column, #7)
that I looked up the research on which it was based, and it seems he is telling us what he
thinks we ought to believe, rather than what the data really implies.
He says:
“Humans are all so closely related that our entire population shows less genetic diversity
than that of a small group of chimpanzees. It’s almost as though we all came from the same
town … and perhaps we did. “… [the comment] is based on a study by Marcus Feldman, a
population geneticist at Stanford University; Noah Rosenberg, a computational biologist at the
University of Southern California in Los Angeles; and Lev Zhivotovsky, a geneticist at the
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. They examined short, repetitive fragments of DNA
called microsatellites, markers found in every person. ‘We used 377 markers that are
generally located in non-coding regions of the genome, ones that are likely to be neutral,
where there is no natural selection involved,’ says Rosenberg. The beauty of microsatellites is
that they mutate frequently, at a steady pace, enabling scientists to infer … when human
populations first diverged from each other. Studying those mutations in 1,056 individuals
clustered in 52 populations groups around the world …”
Feldman, and his research associates, are mentioned in a paper by David Rotman, called
“Genes, Medicine, and the New Race Debate” from Technology Review; Jun2003, Vol. 106,
issue 5, pg. 41. The abstract mentions the “danger of looking for genetic variations among
racial groups”.
The danger of these genetic discoveries! If the data really indicated that ‘we are all the
same’ and ‘we are all Africans’, (as the media science-writers confidently assure us) would
these researchers think that is ‘dangerous’? You know better; but we don’t have to infer their
views: they tell us, in that paper, what they fear and why. First, they tell us that the HapMap
“will make it possible to spell out in great detail the genetic differences between people from
different parts of the world”. [Those differences that Feldman claims hardly exist!] So,
“Sociologists, bioethicists, and anthropologists worry that the genetic data could be
manipulated to give an air of biological credence to ethnic stereotypes, to revive discredited
racial classifications, & even to fuel bogus claims of fundamental genetic differences between
groups.” [my emphasis]
“Here’s the rub”, says Troy Duster, a sociologist, “…The danger” [there it is again, that
danger] is that people will associate those differences with racial groups, and Jonathan Kahn,
bioethicist, suggests that, “it is all too easy for biological and genetic categories to become
conflated with racial ones.” No doubt they will, because that is exactly what the data implies:
Feldman’s own researchers reported ” … detailed data on gene samples from individuals from
52 populations…” and, bottom line: “how people categorized themselves – whether they called
themselves black or white or asian – correlated closely with the genetic categories.”
Duster thinks that ordinary folk are not to be trusted with this “dangerous” genetic
knowledge: he says that “…to map differences between various populations while avoiding the
dangers of racial stereotypes is a conundrum without an answer.” He doesn’t quite say the
truth should be withheld from us vulgar rabble, but it is clearly implied that genetic researchers
had better come to the right conclusions when reporting research. Feldman’s DISCOVER
comments seem to be an example of concealing that “dangerous” truth!
Feldman claims those 377 microsatellites show so little diversity we could all be from one
village, but this is the same data-set, that is discussed in Does Race Exist, Sci. Am., Dec
2003. That article grudgingly admitted the race-genetic correlation. “…we needed 60
polymorphisms to assign individuals to their continent of origin with 90% accuracy. To achieve
nearly 100% accuracy, however, we needed to use about 100…”. This article reveals that
Noah Rosenberg and Jonathan Pritchard, formerly of Feldman’s laboratory used 375 of those
sets of polymorphisms from 1000 people of 52 ethnic groups to find that, “by looking at varying
frequencies of these polymorphisms they were able to distinguish five different groups of
people whose ancestors were typically isolated by oceans, deserts, or mountains: sub-
Saharan Africans; Europeans and Asians west of the Himalayas; east Asians; … Melanesia;
and Native Americans.” They were also able to identify subgroups within each region that
usually corresponded with each member’s self-reported ethnicity”. [What a village!] That
information is all extracted from the variation among those microsatellites that Feldman
characterizes as having “less diversity than a chimpanzee troop”. While perhaps technically
true, the impression imparted is deceptive.
Feldman asserts that we “are all so closely related” because there is ‘so little diversity’
among those carefully chosen microsatellites. Here’s a quote from the abstract of, Human
Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy, A.W.Edwards, (Bioessays Aug 2003; Vol. 25: (8) 798-
801) that gives perspective on Feldman’s conclusions. “In popular articles that play down the
genetical differences among human populations, it is often stated that about 85% of the total
genetic variation is due to individual differences within populations and only 15% to differences
between populations or ethnic groups. …this argument ignores the fact that most of the
information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and
not simply in the variation of the individual factors.” In other words, this is a deceitful argument,
and those who make it know that.
Even the NY Times, that bastion of PC, is beginning to admit the truth about Lewontin’s
error, albeit only in an OP-editorial. On March 14, 2005, ARMAND MARIE LEROI wrote
specifically about Lewontin, in the aptly titled, A Family Tree in Every Gene:
“The [Lewontin’s] error is easily illustrated. If one were asked to judge the ancestry of 100
New Yorkers, one could look at the color of their skin. That would do much to single out the
Europeans, but little to distinguish the Senegalese from the Solomon Islanders. The same is
true for any other feature of our bodies. The shapes of our eyes, noses and skulls; the color of
our eyes and our hair; the heaviness, height and hairiness of our bodies are all, individually,
poor guides to ancestry. But this is not true when the features are taken together. Certain skin
colors tend to go with certain kinds of eyes, noses, skulls and bodies. When we glance at a
stranger’s face we use those associations to infer what continent, or even what country, he or
his ancestors came from – and we usually get it right. To put it more abstractly, human
physical variation is correlated; and correlations contain information.

Genetic variants that aren’t written on our faces, but that can be detected only in the
genome, show similar correlations. It is these correlations that Dr. Lewontin seems to have
ignored. In essence, he looked at one gene at a time and failed to see races. But if many – a
few hundred – variable genes are considered simultaneously, then it is very easy to do so.
Indeed, a 2002 study by scientists at the University of Southern California and Stanford
showed that if a sample of people from around the world are sorted by computer into five
groups on the basis of genetic similarity, the groups that emerge are native to Europe, East
Asia, Africa, America and Australasia – more or less the major races of traditional
Read the second question and answer How genetically diverse are humans? especially the
paragraph starting with Obviously, humans are not at the low end of the genetic diversity
spectrum, particularly in relation to other mammals., found in this site
http://www.goodrumj.com/RFaqHTML.html (printed out after this)
More on this subject at: The Genetic Reality of Race
The Race FAQ
John Goodrum
Do biological races exist within the human species? If scientific terms are to be used
consistently, this question can only be answered in the broader context of non-human
taxonomy. The intent of this paper is to investigate what constitutes a race (or subspecies) in
other species, and to answer some questions concerning whether the traditional human races
might qualify.
Q: What is the definition of ‘race’ or ‘subspecies?’
The terms ‘race’ and ‘subspecies’ are most often used synonymously [1,2] although the former
is normally used when talking about human populations. When a distinction is made, ‘race’
generally implies a lower level of differentiation, but because this term is not commonly used in
the recent non-human literature, ‘race’ and ‘subspecies’ are used interchangeably throughout
this paper.
Much of the debate over the existence of human races stems from how one chooses to define
‘race’ (or ‘subspecies’). No realistic definition can avoid using qualitative terms, yet these
invariably invite disagreement in their application: “a group of individuals in a species showing
closer genetic relationships within the group than to members of other such groups”[3];
“essentially discontinuous sets of individuals”[4]; “conspecific populations that differ from each
other morphologically”[5]; “genetically non-discrete (confluent) populational entities”[6];
“geographically circumscribed, genetically differentiated populations”[7]; or groups identified
“by the usual criterion that most individuals of such populations can be allocated correctly by
inspection.”[8] Compounding the confusion, still others employ the term ‘race’ in a way more
akin to ‘species’ than to ‘subspecies.’[9]
In response to questionable interpretations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and to help
ensure the evolutionary significance of populations deemed ‘subspecies,’ a set of criteria was
outlined in the early 1990s by John C. Avise, R. Martin Ball, Jr.[10], Stephen J. O’Brien and
Ernst Mayr [11] which is as follows: “members of a subspecies would share a unique,
geographic locale, a set of phylogenetically concordant phenotypic characters, and a unique
natural history relative to other subdivisions of the species. Although subspecies are not
reproductively isolated, they will normally be allopatric and exhibit recognizable phylogenetic
partitioning.” Furthermore, “evidence for phylogenetic distinction must normally come from the
concordant distributions of multiple, independent genetically based traits.”[12] This is known
as the phylogeographic subspecies definition, and a review of recent conservation literature
will show that these principles have gained wide acceptance.
A number of studies have employed this subspecies definition, and these can be helpful in
inferring how the definition is applied in practice. A good example is a paper entitled
“Phylogeographic subspecies recognition in leopards (Panthera pardus): Molecular Genetic
Variation,”[13] co-authored by Stephen J. O’Brien (one of the definition’s co-authors). From
the ranges of the revised leopard subspecies (Fig. 1) we can infer that a ‘unique geographic
locale’ does not require that a range be an island, or share no environmental characteristics
with another. Rather, it merely requires a subspecies to have a geographical association as
opposed to a subset of individuals sharing a trait but drawn from different geographical
populations. Conversely, two subspecies will not remain distinct if they occupy the same
locale over evolutionary time. Hypothetical human races have been proposed in which
members would share a single trait (e.g., lactose tolerance or fingerprint pattern)[14] but not a
common geographic locale. These ‘races,’ therefore, would not be valid under the
phylogeographic definition.
Whether a population has had a unique natural history can be inferred from its degree of
differentiation with respect to other such populations. The arbitrary division of an
interbreeding, genetically unstructured group will result in subgroups that are genetically
indistinguishable, whereas populations that evolve more or less independently for some length
of time will accumulate genetic differences (divergent gene frequencies, private alleles, etc.)
such that they “exhibit recognizable phylogenetic partitioning.”
A set of “phylogenetically concordant phenotypic characters” is taken to mean several
morphological, behavioral or other expressed traits that tend to co-vary within, but differ
among, putative subspecies. This indicates that members of the group have evolved together
relative to other groups, and may reflect shared demography, local adaptation, sexual
selection or other evolutionary effects.
The need for “concordant distributions of multiple, independent genetically based traits”
requires us to recognize that too much inference from a single trait or single genetic locus is
unwarranted. For instance, rather than indicating recent co-ancestry, a trait shared by two
populations might have evolved independently in response to some environmental variable,
while the potential idiosyncrasies of any single gene can limit its reliability to paint an accurate
phylogenetic picture. Most population genetics theory relies on loci that have evolved
neutrally (i.e., in the absence of natural selection) so a non-neutral locus may give misleading
results. The best way to avoid this potential source of error is to examine a large number of
independently-evolving loci.
Q: How genetically diverse are humans?
It’s become a popular view that the human species is extraordinarily homogeneous genetically
when compared to most other species.[15] This notion argues against the existence of human
races, because very little genetic variation within the entire species means there cannot be
much variation between major human populations. Before examining this further, we should
first inquire about what is meant by ‘genetic diversity.’
Because little can be learned from a locus that is the same in every individual, the study of
phylogenetics depends on polymorphic loci. Over the past few decades, methods have been
developed that allow different kinds of these polymorphic ‘markers’ to be assayed in
individuals. Prior to the 1990s, genetic diversity was usually inferred from classical (non-DNA)
polymorphisms, such as blood groups, serum proteins, allozymes and immunoglobins. Later,
restriction enzymes were employed to produce a useful class of marker at the DNA level,
restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). Other loci such as mitochondrial DNA
(mtDNA), Alu insertions, minisatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and
microsatellites (STRPs – short tandem repeat polymorphisms) have also been utilized for
population genetic studies. Due to their high polymorphism, rapid mutation rate and random
distribution throughout the genome, microsatellites are probably the most important class of
marker in use today.[16] Highly variable loci are an advantage in phylogenetics because they
can provide the finer resolution necessary for distinguishing closely related populations (such
as subspecies).
The majority of population genetic studies over the past decade have investigated the various
regions of mitochondrial DNA, a molecule that resides in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s
nucleus. mtDNA contains 37 genes and is comprised of 16,569 base pairs in humans.
Because it is haploid and maternally inherited, mtDNA has an effective population size about
one-quarter that of the autosomes (the non-sex chromosomes). It’s easy to collect, has a
relatively high mutation rate, and in particular, its lack of recombination allows for a
straightforward assessment of the relationship between haplotypes. Lack of recombination
also means that all parts of the molecule are completely linked, which prevents independent
evolution of mtDNA’s 37 genes and non-coding control region. For this reason, mtDNA is
considered a single genetic locus for phylogenetic purposes. Humans have relatively low
mitochondrial diversity compared to the other great apes, and reports of this are mostly
responsible for the belief that humans have low genetic diversity. However, mtDNA makes up
just a few millionths of the human genome,[17] and as a single locus, carries little statistical
When allele frequency data are used to estimate genetic diversity within a population, a
frequently reported statistic is the average number of alleles per locus (A), but because rare
alleles do not contribute much to overall diversity, the most informative statistic is average
heterozygosity (H). This is estimated from both the number of alleles and the frequencies at
which they occur, and is generally defined as the percentage of individuals in a population that
are heterozygous (have two different alleles) at a random locus. In general, genetic diversity
is synonymous with mean heterozygosity.
Table 1. Comparative figures for the genetic diversity of humans and a variety of other large
mammals (sampled across much or all of their range except as noted), based on autosomal
microsatellites (He and Ho = expected and observed heterozygosity, respectively):
Species He Ho
Humans [18] — 0.776
Humans [19] — 0.70-0.76
Humans [20] — 0.588-0.807
Chimpanzees [21] 0.78 0.73
Chimpanzees [22] — 0.630
African buffalo [23] 0.759 0.729
Leopards [24] 0.36-0.80 —
Jaguars [25] 0.739 —
Polar bears [26] 0.68 —
Brown bears (N. America) [27] 0.26-0.76 0.30-0.79
Brown bears (Scandinavia) [28] 0.709 0.665
Canada lynx [29] — 0.66
Bighorn sheep [30] 0.681 0.566
Coyote [31] 0.675 0.583
Gray wolf (N. America) [32] 0.620 0.528
Pumas [33] — 0.52
Bonobos [34] 0.59 0.48
Dogs (42 breeds) [35] 0.616 0.401
African wild dogs [36] 0.643 —
Australian dingo [37] 0.47 0.42
Wolverines (N. America) [38] 0.42-0.68 —
Wolverines (Scandinavia) [39] — 0.27-0.38
Elk (North America) [40] 0.26-0.53 —
In addition to microsatellites, a 2001 study [41] reviewed the literature on protein variation for
321 mammal species and reported mean expected heterozygosity of 5.1%. In comparison,
Takahata (1995) reports an unbiased estimate of protein heterozygosity in humans of 10-14%.
[42] Also, Nei’s 1987 text Molecular Evolutionary Genetics gives an estimate of mean
heterozygosity for classical protein polymorphisms of 0.148 in humans, and has this to say
about the general level of genetic diversity in other organisms:
“In the last two decades, the extent of protein polymorphism has been studied for numerous
organisms ranging from microorganisms to mammals by using electrophoresis. In most of
these studies, the extent was measured by average gene diversity or heterozygosity. In early
days, the estimate of heterozygosity was based on a small number of loci, so that its reliability
was low. In recent years, however, most authors are examining a fairly large number of loci
(20 loci or more).
Average heterozygosity or gene diversity varies from organism to organism. In general,
vertebrates tend to show a lower heterozygosity than invertebrates. If we consider only those
species in which 20 more loci are studied, H is generally lower than 0.1 in vertebrates and
rarely exceeds 0.15. In invertebrates, a large fraction of species again show an average
heterozygosity lower than 0.1, but there are many species showing a value between 0.1 and
0.4. In plants, the number of loci studied is generally very small, so that the estimates are not
very reliable. However, if we consider only those species in which 20 or more loci are studied,
the average heterozygosity is generally lower than 0.15 except in Oenothera, where
permanent heterozygosity is enforced by chromosomal translocations (Levin 1975; Nevo
1978; Hamrick et al. 1979; Nevo et al. 1984). The highest level of gene diversity so far
observed is that of bacteria (H=0.48 based on 20 loci in Escherichia coli, Selander and Levin
1980; H = 0.49 based on 29 loci in Klebsiella oxytoca, Howard et al. 1985).” [43]
Obviously, humans are not at the low end of the genetic diversity spectrum, particularly in
relation to other mammals.
We might wonder how humans could have accumulated so much genetic diversity when we
are such an evolutionarily ‘young’ species, but this assumes that the human species arose by
an extreme founding event – a time at which the entire species’ diversity resided in just a few
individuals – and that all humans today are descended from those few founders. This
supposed event is often conflated with the concept of “mitochondrial Eve,” a woman who lived
roughly 200,000 years ago and is the most recent common ancestor of all human mtDNA.
This conflation is incorrect, however, because the coalescence of mtDNA to a single ancestor
back in time does not imply a demographic bottleneck, but is expected even in a population of
constant size.[44] Avise (2001) has noted that in a hypothetical population with 15,000
breeding females (about three times the long-term human estimate), reasonable variances in
reproductive success would likely see mtDNA coalesce to a single founding lineage in 300,000
years (~15,000 human generations), without any change in population size.[45] Thus, the
coalescence time of human mtDNA doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a population
bottleneck or speciation event, but rather is more or less a function of long-term effective
population size, with a large standard error.[46] Variants of nuclear autosomal genes, having
a four-fold greater effective population size than mtDNA, generally coalesce in the
neighborhood of 800,000 years ago.[47] This indicates that a substantial amount of our
existing genetic variation originated in the population ancestral to modern humans.
In sharp contrast to the shallow genealogy of human mtDNA, some alleles of the major
histocompatibility complex appear to coalesce over 30 million years ago, long before the
emergence of the hominid lineage.[48,49] Some MHC genes are known to have over two
hundred alleles,[50] maintained by balancing selection at loci where heterozygosity confers
some fitness advantage. Several researchers have demonstrated that humans retain too
much ancestral MHC diversity for a severe bottleneck to have ever occurred during human
evolution.[51-53] There’s fairly wide agreement that the long-term effective population size of
humans has been roughly 10,000,[54] making it unlikely that the sum total of our genetic
diversity has ever resided in fewer than several thousand individuals.
Additionally, the genetic profile of humans is much different from that of other large mammals
that are believed to have experienced a recent demographic bottleneck. The cheetah, for
example, is thought to have had a severe population contraction sometime during the late
Pleistocene. While cheetahs apparently have had time to accumulate a moderate amount of
variation at some rapidly evolving loci, current populations display very little allozyme or MHC
variability.[55] Another example is the moose. Old World and New World subspecies are
estimated to have diverged at least 120,000 years ago, but sometime before divergence a
bottleneck must have occurred that reduced both allozyme and MHC diversity to a fraction of
that found in humans.[56]
Q: Haven’t human populations been separated for too short a time for distinct races to have
Although there is some evidence of non-African archaic contributions to the modern gene
pool,[57] it appears likely that current human populations derive largely from a single African
population, and diverged something less than 150,000 years ago. While time of separation is
important in evolutionary divergence, effective population size can be an equally important
factor.[58] While the overall size of the human species has probably never been reduced to a
handful of individuals, populations that migrated out of Africa may well have remained
relatively small for thousands of years before beginning to expand toward their current
numbers.[59,60] If so, divergence due to random genetic drift would have occurred rapidly in
the absence of high gene flow.[61]
An example of this has been observed in a North American elk herd re-established from a
small number of founders. Between 1915 and 1924, 34 animals from two large herds in the
western U.S. were released in north-central Pennsylvania. The herd remained at about this
size for 50 years and now numbers about 550. Very low microsatellite heterozygosity (0.222)
and very large genetic distance from the source populations (pairwise FST = ~0.45) now
characterize this herd.[62]
It has also been proposed (originally by Darwin) that sexual selection (mate choice) may
promote the retention of physical features in populations long after neutral genetic variation
has been replaced by gene flow, and that this might help explain the prominent morphological
variation among human groups.[63]
At any rate, divergence times for major subdivisions within the human species, while relatively
shallow, are certainly not unique when compared to subdivisions within many other mammal
species. An appendix to Avise et al. (1998)[64] lists eleven mammal species with major
phylogroups that diverged between 100,000 and 500,000 years ago, based on mtDNA
sequence divergence. Being a single genetic locus, mtDNA is subject to selection effects and
a large amount of random variation, so these times are probably not terribly reliable. For
example, mtDNA has indicated 2-3 million years of isolation between western and eastern
gorilla subspecies in Africa, but a recent study of multiple nuclear loci provided little support for
that time depth.[65] A related situation exists in chimpanzee taxonomy, particularly with
regard to the distinctiveness of the eastern (P.t. schweinfurthii) and western equatorial (P.t.
troglodytes) subspecies. Studies utilizing nuclear loci,[66,67] as well as more thorough
sampling of mtDNA, are calling into question earlier mtDNA results that indicated long
separation. As some of these chimp researchers point out, “The current volatile state of
chimpanzee molecular taxonomy is largely due to the fact that studies to date have relied
heavily on only a handful of genetic loci.”[68]
Q: Isn’t there actually more genetic distance between populations within the traditional human
races than between the major races themselves?
In 1972, Richard Lewontin studied global variation at seventeen protein polymorphisms,[69]
and found that about 85% of genetic variation existed between individuals within a given
population. The next largest portion, about 8%, was found between populations within
continents, with the remaining 6% of variance attributable to differences between the major
human races (Fig. 2). The ~85% within-population figure has been affirmed numerous times,
while the relative size of the other components of variance probably depends on the specific
populations chosen for analysis, and is often the reverse of Lewontin’s findings. In any event,
many data sets have been assembled since 1972 for classical polymorphisms and all other
genetic markers, and as a general rule, populations within continents are more closely related
to one another than they are to the populations of other continents. This pattern can be seen
in any matrix of global genetic distances, such as those assembled by Cavalli-Sforza et al. in
The History and Geography of Human Genes.
Population genetic studies often report AMOVA statistics (Analysis of MOlecular VAriance),
which show the hierarchical proportions of variance between aggregates of the individuals
sampled. The following is a discussion of worldwide data on autosomal microsatellites and
RFLPs, Alu insertions, mtDNA and Y chromosome STRPs:
“The hierarchical AMOVA analysis shows that, with the exception of Y STRPs, all systems
show much less differentiation between populations within continents than between
continents. This result is expected when there is greater gene flow between populations that
are in close geographic proximity to one another. The autosomal values…are especially small,
ranging from 1.3% for the RSPs to 1.8% for the Alu polymorphisms. This is in agreement with
the small continental GST values shown in table 4…they are highly consistent both with one
another and with previous analyses of worldwide variation in autosomal microsatellites and
RFLPs, which also show considerably greater differentiation between continents than between
populations within continents… The fact that there is little differentiation between populations
within continents has important implications in the forensic setting, in that it supports the
current practice of grouping reference populations into broad ethnic categories when
autosomal STRP data are used…” [73] (Fig. 3)
Q: How genetically differentiated are human continental populations (the major races) from
one another compared to populations of other species?
Before the advent of conservation biology and modern phylogenetics, subspecies were
normally delineated by morphological characteristics. The “seventy-five percent rule” goes
back to 1949, stating that subspecies classification is merited if at least 75% of individuals can
be correctly assigned to their group by inspection.[74] This rule isn’t in common use today, but
the importance of genetically-based morphological differences is still apparent in many recent
phylogenetic studies. Some biologists argue that a 70 or 75 percent rule should still be a
standard criterion in taxonomy, as applied to individuals outside of hybrid zones where the
ranges of subspecies overlap.[75]
On the basis of morphology, we can compare the traditional human races (as well as some
minor races) to chimpanzee subspecies. Individuals of the former can be correctly assigned
at much greater than 75% accuracy,[76] while the latter are morphologically indistinct, and
difficult or impossible to classify when raised in captivity.[77,78]
Of course, the domestic dog demonstrates that morphological difference doesn’t necessarily
correlate with underlying genetic difference, so let’s look at population differentiation from a
genetic perspective. Many measures of divergence or ‘genetic distance’ are in use today, the
most common being FST, originally developed by the late population geneticist Sewall Wright.
FST is a statistic that describes the proportion of variance within a species that is due to
population subdivision. It can be estimated in a variety of ways (e.g., by AMOVA [79] or theta
[80]), but the general expression is FST = (Ht-Hs)/Ht where Ht is the genetic diversity within
the total population, and Hs the average diversity within subpopulations. Its value can be
considered inversely proportional to gene flow, or indicative of the length of time two
populations have been evolving separately, and may vary according to which locus or family of
loci are under study. As mentioned earlier, haploid loci like mtDNA and the NRY have
effective population sizes one quarter that of autosomal loci, making them much more
sensitive to drift and thus to the effect of population subdivision. Other types of loci have their
own unique evolutionary characteristics, so we need to remember that an FST value based on
one class of loci may or may not be representative of the overall evolutionary distinctiveness
of the populations in question. For these reasons, values based on several types of loci should
be considered before drawing any firm conclusions.
Keeping the preceding caveats in mind, these are qualitative guidelines suggested by Sewall
Wright for interpreting FST:
“The range 0 to 0.05 may be considered as indicating little genetic differentiation.
The range 0.05 to 0.15 indicates moderate genetic differentiation.
The range 0.15 to 0.25 indicates great genetic differentiation.
Values of FST above 0.25 indicate very great genetic differentiation.” [81]
Table 2.
Here are some comparative figures for humans and other species (again, sampled across
most or all of their ranges except as noted), based on autosomal microsatellites:
Species FST
Gray wolves (North America) [82] 0.168
Pumas [83] 0.167 (mean pairwise)
Humans (14 populations) [84] 0.155 (AMOVA)
Asian dogs (11 breeds) [85] 0.154
European wildcats (Italy) [86] 0.13
Humans (44 populations) [87] 0.121 (AMOVA)
Coyotes (North America) [88] 0.107
Wolverines (North America) [89] 0.067 (mean pairwise)
Jaguars [90] 0.065
African buffalo [91] 0.059
Polar bears [92] 0.041 (mean pairwise)
Canada lynx [93] 0.033
Humpback whales [94] 0.026 (mean pairwise)
Additionally, Uphyrkina et al. (2001) employed mtDNA and microsatellites to identify nine
leopard subspecies by our phylogeographic criteria. Unfortunately for the sake of comparison,
the authors reported microsatellite RST rather than FST values. RST is an FST analogue, but
their values can be quite different numerically. However, if the RST/FST ratio for leopards is
similar to those of other felids [95,96] the maximum reported RST value of 0.363 would
correspond roughly to an FST of 0.14-0.15, very similar to the human value at microsatellite
loci. The mean proportion of private (population-specific) microsatellite alleles for the nine
revised leopard subspecies was found to be 6.3%, compared to a mean value of 7.1% for
three major human continental populations [97] while the mean Nei’s genetic distance DS for
allozymes between the leopard subspecies identified by Miththapala et al. (1996) is 0.019
(range 0.002-0.047) [98] and can be compared to the protein distances between three major
human races (mean 0.037; range 0.028-0.048). [99]
Wolverines, polar bears, Canada lynx and humpback whales have not traditionally been
divided into subspecies, while two or more subspecies (or ‘breeds’ in the case of the Asian
dogs) have been named in all of the remaining non-human species listed above. The overall
FST value for African buffalo is not particularly large, but the mean value of 0.095 between the
central African population and other populations was considered large enough to support their
traditional subspecies status. Based on cranial morphology and geography, 24 subspecies of
the gray wolf in North America were reduced to five in 1995, while North American coyotes are
considered to have eastern and western subspecies.
For our purposes, the studies of population structure in the big cats are especially informative,
since these used phylogeographic criteria to suggest possible taxonomic revision. Jaguars
have traditionally been divided into eight subspecies, but Eizirik et al. (2001) considered the
population structure too weak (FST = 0.065) to warrant naming any. In contrast, distinct
phylogroups were readily apparent within both pumas and leopards, although somewhat fewer
than classically described (6 vs. 32 in pumas, and 8 or 9 vs. 27 in leopards).
It should be noted that high phenotypic diversity in some domestic animals (such as the Asian
dogs) is mostly the result of selective breeding for quantitative traits, rather than the long-term
allopatry or local adaptation that leads to morphological distinctiveness in “natural”
populations. As expected, the average microsatellite distance between these dog breeds as
measured by Nei’s genetic distance DA (0.194) [100] is correspondingly smaller than the
average distance between fourteen human populations (0.322). [101]
Human FST values of 12-15% are typical not just for microsatellites, but also for classical
protein polymorphisms,[102] autosomal RFLPs[103] and Alu insertions.[104] Values for
mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome are substantially higher. It would seem, then, that
the level of genetic differentiation among human populations is not especially small, and in fact
is entirely adequate for race designation, particularly when coupled with consistent
morphological differences.
Q: Which human populations qualify as major races?
The construction of reliable evolutionary trees involves a number of technical issues, such as
sampling design, mutation mechanisms, genetic distance measures and particularly, treebuilding
algorithms. Nonetheless, the topology of human trees (Figs. 4, 5) is remarkably
consistent regardless of which class of loci are considered, and principal component analysis
of genetic data also produces predictable clustering (Fig. 6). Either method gives a good
visual overview of the general relatedness of the world’s populations.
By analysis of classical markers, Nei & Roychoudhury (1993) identified five major human
clades: sub-Saharan Africans, Caucasians, Greater Asians, Australopapuans and
Amerindians. Evolutionary trees constructed with autosomal RFLPs,[105] microsatellites[106]
and Alu insertions[107] show similar topology. Frequently, Amerindians are grouped together
with Asians, indicating four major clades, and it has been suggested that this should be a
minimum.[108] Obviously, additional structure exists within each of these groups, but as we’ve
seen, it’s generally weak compared to the differentiation among the ones listed here. For this
reason alone, the term ‘race’ applies well to these major groupings.
In terms of our phylogeographic definition, each of the major human clades has a
geographical association (slightly less clear today than 500 years ago, but only slightly); each
has a distinguishing set of phenotypic traits; phylogenetic partitioning is apparent and
consistent at multiple genetic loci; and substantial intergroup genetic distances (i.e., FST)
indicate unique natural histories on an evolutionary timescale.
The criticism can be made that the placement of some populations located between the “cores
zone” of these major races (e.g., Europe or East Asia) is ambiguous. However, in non-human
taxonomy this would not normally invalidate the subspecies status of well-differentiated core
populations.[109,110] In fact, zones of intergradation have traditionally been taken as
evidence that core groups are indeed subspecies rather than different species.[111] While
some clinal variation in the genetic traits of subspecies is generally the rule, human variation
tends to show extensive zones where clinal gradients are relatively flat, separated by short
zones of steeper gradient. This pattern can be seen on the dust jacket illustration of The
History and Geography of Human Genes.
In conclusion…
Some will find provocative the idea that humans display a subspecies-like population
structure, but given that the major human subdivisions revealed by modern genetics had
already been recognized as early as 1775,[112] it shouldn’t be as provocative as the
alternative notion, i.e., that human races don’t exist.
So if we do belong to different biological races, what, if anything, does this mean? Subspecies
are closely related by definition, and human races appear to be less genetically distant than
the major phylogroups of many other species.[113] While FST values for neutral variation are
by no means negligible from a population genetics point of view, it’s significant that the
overwhelming majority of genetic variation is found within populations, reaffirming the
importance of treating people as individuals. It’s also significant that the FST value for the
most prominent racial trait – skin color – has been estimated to be about 0.60,[114] which
means that the visible variation between races greatly exaggerates overall genetic differences.
Admixture in some populations further clouds the picture. The average European contribution
to the gene pool of American blacks has been found to be about 20%,[115] and admixture
between the major races in some other regions is substantially higher.
Nevertheless, when the taxonomic term is used consistently across species, it’s difficult to see
any justification for the common assertion that human races are merely ‘social constructs.’
The motivation behind the assertion is a positive one, but denying biological realities at the
outset is unlikely to lead to productive social dialogue on coping with human differences.
FST Follies
In 1998, American Anthropologist published a paper by Alan Templeton entitled “Human
Races – A Genetic and Evolutionary Perspective” [116] which seems to have had broad
influence on the race question within anthropology and the social sciences. In the first section
of the paper, Templeton cites a 1997 article from Herpetological Review entitled “Subspecies
and Classification.”[117] Templeton asserts that, according to this paper, an FST value of .25
or .30 between populations is a “standard criterion” for subspecies classification. He then
provides a graph showing FST (or FST analogue) values for humans and 12 other species of
large mammals (Fig. 7). (The human value of 0.156 is from a 1997 paper, “An Apportionment
of Human DNA Diversity”[118] in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.) Two of
the non-human values listed are lower than that for humans, but the other ten values are
substantially higher, and appear to support Templeton’s claim that human populations are only
weakly differentiated.
There are several curious things about this. First, there is little, if any, corroboration in the
recent literature for an FST value of .25 or .30 being a standard criterion for subspecies
designation. Secondly, if you actually read the paper by Smith et al., they never mention
anything about FST values. Rather, they say that “overlap [of differentiae] exceeding 25-30%
does not qualify for taxonomic recognition of either dichopatric populations or parapatric
populations outside of their zones of intergradation.” What the authors are referring to here is
not an FST value, but simply the long-standing 75 (or 70) percent rule discussed earlier.[119]
Templeton’s misinterpretation is all the more obvious when you consider that this subspecies
rule and FST have an inverse relationship, i.e., a 75 percent rule implies greater differentiation
than does a 70 percent rule, whereas an FST value of 0.25 indicates lesser differentiation than
does a value of 0.30. Additionally, FST is generally used to assess neutral genetic variation in
these kinds of studies, which, as we’ve seen, can be quite different from expressed
morphological variation.
The most interesting thing, however, about Templeton’s FST comparison is the fact that he
uses a human value (0.156) based on autosomal loci (microsatellites and RFLPs), while nine
of the ten largest non-human values, including the eight highest, are based on mitochondrial
DNA. This is quite misleading, because FST values for mtDNA are expected to be much
higher than autosomal values.[120,121] The primary mechanism causing populations to
diverge is usually genetic drift, and the magnitude of the effects of drift is inversely proportional
to population size, as shown by Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza (1976) through computer
simulations (reproduced in Ref. 17, p.14). The four-fold greater effective population size of
autosomal loci vs. mtDNA virtually ensures that FST values based on the latter will be
substantially greater than values based on the former, and in fact this is nearly always
observed in population studies. Since mtDNA is maternally inherited, sex-biased dispersal
can also play a role in elevating FST for species in which males disperse over greater
distances than do females.
In the present paper, every attempt has been made to use comparable data.
Some typical comparative FST values for autosomal and mitochondrial loci, respectively, for
similar or identical samples:
Jaguar[122] 0.065 vs. 0.295
Puma [123] 0.167 vs. 0.467
Gray wolf [124,125] 0.168 vs. 0.76
References (At end of whole paper)
The citation for this paper is:
Goodrum, J. The Race FAQ. July 2002. http://www.goodrumj.com/RaceFaq.html
While I have characterized this view of H. s. sapiens speciation as “speculation”,
almost all of it is well supported by published and peer reviewed research. My suggestion that
‘nakedness’ forced archaic Eurasian sapiens into elaborated culture is the only unique and
speculative element of this hypothesis. Accordingly, I feel it is useful to provide a brief
introduction to the genetics of hominid hairiness, or, in the case of humans, near nakedness.
The following excerpt is from Klein and Takahata’s, WHERE DO WE COME FROM? The
Molecular Evidence for Human Descent, Springer-Verlag, 2002, beginning on page 203.
Discussing the differences between the chimpanzee and human genomes, they say:
“Several laboratories are currently hunting the genes associated with sapientine
characters, but no successes have as yet been reported. At present, three genes are known
that differentiate humans from chimpanzees and other primates functionally, but their
involvement in the development of any sapientine morphological or behavioral character is not
The first gene they discuss is of no particular interest, but the second is most
“The second gene is a member of a large family of loci which specify keratins, the
proteins of intracellular filaments in cell layers covering body surfaces, such as the epidermis
of the skin, and in hair and nails, which are derived from the epidermis. The “soft” keratins of
the epidermis and other epithelia are encoded in a different set of genes (KRT) than the “hard”
keratins of hair (KRTH). Both the soft and the hard keratins are of two types, acidic (A) and
basic (B) and are organized in A-B pairs in the filaments. In humans, there are nine genes
encoding acidic keratins (KRTHA) and six genes specifying basic keratins (KRTHB). One of
the KRTHA genes has a stop codon in the middle of its sequence: it is a nonfunctional
pseudogene (KRTHAP1). This defect has been found in all humans tested, but not in the
chimpanzee or gorilla, in which the corresponding gene appears to be functional. The
inactivating mutation is estimated to have occurred 240,000 years ago.”
Note that date for inactivation of the gene for hairiness. I feel that it tends to
corroborate the theory advanced below, in two respects. First, the era of inactivation so closely
precedes other evidence of incipient modernity (the FoxP2 gene, domestication of the dog,
Hss fossils) that it is plausible to speculate regarding its possibly causative correlation.
Second, the late date of inactivation lends support to the common-sense view that early, lowculture
Eurasian hominids had effective pelts. We may be assured of that because there are
occasional cases of modern humans who grow a complete coat of hair. Klein and Takahata
point out that such ‘atavisms’ reveal that the underlying genetic capacity still exists, and can be
re-activated by a single, minor mutation.
“In the same way as a character can be lost as a result of a single mutation, it can be
regained if the function of the mutated gene is restored by another mutation. The return-tofunction
mutation can either take the form of a reversal of the original change or that of a
different mutation that compensates for the effect of the first one.
The reappearance of a character believed to have been present in a remote ancestor
is known as ‘atavism'(from Latin atavus, ancestor). The resurrection of the character indicates
that the complex pathway leading up to it is still intact and that the gene responsible for the
character is still present in a form that can be reactivated.”
Then, writing about the specific case of interest, they say:
“consider, as an example, human nakedness. One of the characteristic features
accompanying the emergence of mammals from theriodont reptiles was the appearance of
hair on the outer body surface.
There can be little doubt that the ancestors of humankind had bodies which were
covered by a coat of hair similar to that found in other primates. The strongest evidence of this
is the observation that rare atavistic mutations lead to the recurrence of hair growth in humans
to produce a coat of hair resembling that of certain other primates. Since the Middle Ages,
some 50 cases of a condition clinically classified as “generalized congenital
hypertrichosis”have been recorded. The surface of their bodies was covered by dense hair as
observed in our ape ancestors. In one of the best studied cases involving 19 individuals of a
Mexican family, the origin of the condition could be traced back to a gene on the X
chromosome. Presumably a mutation in this gene restored its function and thus initiated the
expression of the pathway leading to full hair cover. This pathway must therefore still be intact
in every one of us and it takes only a small step to its manifestation.
The difference between possessing a coat of hair or appearing naked is actually far
less dramatic than most people think. We are not really ‘hairless ‘on most parts of our bodies;
in fact we have almost the same density and distribution of hair follicles in our skin as
chimpanzees or gorillas. Most of our body hair is generally much shorter and finer, however,
so that it is almost invisible. Regardless of the mechanism responsible for the transformation
from clearly visible to almost invisible hair, the cases of hypertrichosis demonstrate that this
mechanism can be flipped on or off rather easily at the molecular level.”
Speculations on Speciation
Homo ergaster and a taxon with affinities to H. habilis (tentatively georgicus) were in
Eurasia before 1.8 million years ago. Future discoveries may establish yet more ancient
antecedents of humanity in Eurasia. Certainly, our ancestors were adapting to temperate and
higher latitudes, even before H. erectus evolved.
There is evidence (Mishmar, et al. 2003) of mtDNA adaptations to cold that persist in
modern times. One may assume that directly selected nuclear genetic adaptations occurred
early, and (at that low culture level) one of the first was for hirsute specimens. It may be
inferred, from knowledge of genetic potentials that, within a few thousand generations,
Eurasian hominids, living in temperate and higher latitudes, had effective pelts.
After more than seventy-five thousand generations of selection, H. heidelbergensis
lived in northern Europe. They were large, robust hominids with capacious brains. The need to
provide for winter sustenance was a powerful selective force, and their mere survival in
northern Europe indicates that they possessed initiative and providence, ‘common sense’, and
forethought: this is, at least, rudimentary intelligence.
There are spears, designed to be thrown, in northern Europe dating from more than
300 thousand years ago, with archaic sapiens remains from about the same era, and there are
tools from Siberia and Finland, dated to that era. Taxonomists have recently affirmed Heidi’s
classification as Homo, while propinquity, dental anatomy, and cranial capacity make him at
least a potential human ancestor. Whether archaic sapiens differentiated from Heidi or evolved
independently, they were adapted to and living at high latitudes in Eurasia, several hundred
thousand years ago. It is reasonable to assume that high-latitude populations of archaic
sapiens also possessed pelts, having inherited that characteristic from their adapted, low
culture progenitors.
Infant mortality was high, longevity low, and a sparse population experienced
continuous, heavy selection, with interludes of extreme pressure and regional depopulation
followed by recolonization. Only females who made heavy investments in parental care had
much chance of attaining replacement fertility; this selected them for behavioral propensities
that may be termed ‘sustaining virtue’. Unsupportive males were selected against, resulting in
behavioral patterns that may be thought of as incipient ‘family values’. Females who were
fortunate enough to acquire such mates gained relative fitness. To the extent that females had
and made choices leading to sustaining mates, and/or reinforced pair bonding they
experienced relative fitness. This sort of behavior is only an elaboration of that which is
observed in chimps.
This elaboration and intensification of mutual sustenance and pair-bonding created a
nascent, nuclear family and facilitated reproduction. A feedback-cycle became established, in
which the most committed to parental care and mutual assistance achieved such superior
reproductive success that those behavioral patterns became normal. While selection would
have remained so severe that no seriously debilitated individual was likely to achieve
replacement fertility, such families would have been able to preserve marginally fit infants. If
they matured into fit specimens, they too could achieve reproductive success. Under
reasonably favorable circumstances, infants could be preserved who would have been too
‘helpless’ to survive without elaborated caregiving. Consequently, neotenic young could
survive and mature into fit individuals.
Only those phenotypes whose expressions of neoteny were favorable, neutral, or only
slightly detrimental, survived, even with parental care. Expressions of neoteny that could not
be compensated for by elaborated parental care continued to be eliminated. Given the
association of neoteny with paedeomorphic traits such as nakedness, some females would
have been born, who didn’t grow an outer pelt until puberty. Only the most committed
caregivers would have been able to raise such female young, who possessed only a downy
undercoat for the first decade of their lives, except in favorable eras and areas. Neotenic
males should have been viable, and inbreeding would have been common in sparse
populations, so some lineages would have acquired a propensity for producing neotenic
young, and those clans would have developed the most elaborated caregiving behavior.
We may infer that there was an established, if somewhat casual, use of animal skins
for rudimentary protection from the elements. It would have been natural for parents, with an
established propensity for caregiving, to use such skins to protect children without a full pelt.
When they did survive until puberty, and gained a normal coat, they had certain advantages.
We are entitled to assume that a longer period of neurological development produced a more
highly developed form of cognitive function in these ancestral hominids. If they were able to
survive to puberty, they would have benefited from higher levels of ‘g’ and experienced relative
fitness. They would have been more gracile, but, while not as strong as the ancestral species,
they were still robust by comparison to modern humans.
Higher intelligence would have facilitated cultural developments such as processing
skins to make, perhaps at first, capes, sleeping covers, and shelter enhancements. Later,
rudimentary clothing, at least for the young, and regular use of fire, would have enhanced
fitness. As neoteny was associated with ‘g’, and intelligence facilitated social interaction, as
well as cultural elaborations, those lineages which were most neotenic would have become
the most fit and successful, particularly in variable conditions and new environments. Neotenic
individuals might also have enjoyed certain physical advantages, such as needing less food to
survive. In hot weather it would have been easier for them to transpire excess body-heat; they
weighed less, so they could have run faster and farther than the ancestral type. It is widely
believed that the ability to run fast, for long distances, has been selected for, and it is easy to
imagine its survival value.
Neotenic lineages would have been more successful at recolonizing depopulated
areas, or seizing opportunities in general, and successful lineages would have become clans.
Their ‘social skills’ would have facilitated conflict resolution and enabled larger groups to
pursue mutually beneficial endeavors, such as competing with and displacing solitaries or
smaller family groups. A proto culture emerged, in which neotenic young were normal, and
routinely sustained, to mature into intelligent, fit specimens who cooperated in extended
kinship groups. Social interaction became very important, and selection for the capacity to
interact successfully simultaneously selected for yet more ‘g’.
A mutation of the FoxP2 gene, crucial for the interpretation of rapid and complex
speech, may be as much as two hundred thousand years old, though some research indicates
it is recent enough to be associated with the upper paleolithic cultural explosion (Enard et al.,
2002). Communication skills fostered increasingly sophisticated verbalization and recognition
of social cues and signals. The feedback cycle of selection for intelligence was intensified, as
the basis for real language was established and elaborated. That permitted new levels of
social interaction, which led to even more success in exploiting resources and competition with
other hominids.
In East Asia, by a hundred thousand years ago, casual scavenging of predator kills
had developed into systematic exploitation of the wolves’ capacity to pursue fleet game.
That lead to domestication of dogs, who were, themselves, differentiated from wolves by
neoteny. They matured into an amenable creature that could pattern on humans as packalphas,
and behave with ‘puppyish’ submission even when mature. A rationalized relationship,
exploiting the canids’ physical capacities, elevated the clans who possessed them to even
higher levels of resource exploitation, permitting greater population density. That created
another cycle of selection for social skills and intelligence. This population may have been
isolated from central Asia until the ice sheets retreated, around 60 thousand years ago. On the
other hand, elements of this population may have entered central, and S W Asia prior to
Oxygen Isotope Stage 4 and the eruption of Mt. Toba.
Inhabitants of central Eurasia were savagely selected by the ”nuclear winter” following
the eruption of Mt. Toba, sometime after 75 thousand years ago. Authorities are in
disagreement as to the severity of the eruption’s effects. Some claim that Toba caused
”temperatures around the world to plummet”; created ”a broad human extinction zone in
India”, ”a six year nuclear winter”, and was ”a global catastrophe for all living things”. Others
say the effects were less severe, but genetic research indicates that, at one time, the protohuman
population was reduced to only a few thousand breeding pairs, and it may have been
in this era. The Eurasian Eves’ mtDNA lineages are at least 65 thousand years old, and
(considering effects of recombination and repetitive mutation) probably date to approximately
the era of Toba’s eruption. See: Plural Lineages in the Human mtDNA Genome.
One imagines that some fled south to escape the devastated environment. The Herto
skulls, and other fossils, reveal that radiations into the tropics, by Eurasian sapiens, had been
going on since ancient times. This gene flow had ‘modernized’ the indigenous erectus, and
created an advanced, hybrid population. By 100 thousand years ago there were protoanatomicly-
modern sapiens in S W Asia. The effects of Toba probably precipitated a new
radiation of advanced Eurasian sapiens into S W Asia.
By 55 thousand years ago, the East Asian population that had domesticated dogs was
established in Central Asia, at the beginning of the interglacial era. True-human artifacts have
been discovered there, dated from 50,000 years ago. From that time on, the Aurignacian
culture spread through Europe and S W Asia; the Cro-Magnon type developed and expanded
into Europe; the original, East Asian type radiated throughout Asia. The tropics were relatively
densely populated by adapted and disease resistant erectus-hybrid populations created by
previous radiations of archaic sapiens. Those tropical populations were further hybridized by
the initial and subsequent radiation of modern humans. Such populations have persisted into
the present era, as revealed by the genetic research discussed in Age and Origin of the
Human Species.
Australian Ancestry
In Age and Origin of the Human Species I pointed out that fossil evidence shows the
earliest inhabitants (Mungo Man) had a more modern morphology than later Australians. I
have suggested that the first humans to settle Australia were derived from Eurasian sapiens,
albeit they became somewhat hybridized with erectus during their radiation through the
tropics. The much more recent Australian population typified by the Kow Swamp specimens
was so robust, and the skull features so primitive, that some have argued they were H.
erectus. While the weight of opinion seems to be that they are not erectus, it can’t be denied
that they manifest many diagnostic features of that taxon. In fact they have strong affinities to
the Ngandong skulls, which are erectus, but show so much sapiens influence that Rightmire
excludes them, as atypical, when considering the spectrum of conserved features that
characterize the erectus taxon: The Evolution of Homo Erectus; Cambridge, 1990; see, for
instance, Figure 40, page 196. I have suggested that the Ngandong specimens were an
erectus-sapiens hybrid type, and representative of the population that migrated into Australia
and left the Kow Swamp fossils. Having lived in close association with tropical S E Asian
erectus for over 20,000 years, the Kow Swamp type was much more affected by hybridization
than the population that originally settled Australia.
Lightly shaded areas, on the map below, were above sea-level during the last glacial
epoch, when so much water was locked up in ice. From after 30 kya until 12 kya, S E Asia
was almost connected to Australia, which was joined to New Guinea until 8 kya. Of course,
sea levels were lowest during and shortly after glacial maximum, and the channels separating
Australia from Asia were then at their minimum width. It was during this era that the Kow
Swamp type, erectus-hybrid population was able to migrate into Australia.
Fig. 1, [Map from Ingman and Gyllensten; Mitochondrial Genome Variation and Evolutionary
History of Australian and New Guinean Aborigines; Genome Research 13:1600-6, 2003]
The original colonists of Australia arrived much earlier. Dates as early as 62 kya have been
attributed to the oldest human fossil in Australia (Mungo Man; LM3) but in Nature (Feb 20,
2003) a multidisciplinary team reported 42 kya. It is evident, just from the location of the find,
that Mungo Man was not among the first to arrive; nor is it likely that era’s only human bodies
to be fossilized and discovered would have been the very earliest people to step ashore.
There was a glacial epoch between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago (Oxygen Isotope Stage 4)
and an ice sheet covered much of the central Asian plain during that era. About 74,000 years
ago Mt. Toba erupted, creating a broad extinction zone in India and a ‘nuclear winter’ that
lasted for several years. The effects of Toba and the glacial era seem to have driven the
inhabitants of central Asia south. Hoffecker states, in Desolate Landscapes: Ice Age
Settlement in Eastern Europe, on page 19, that, “The scarcity of artifacts in the loess bed that
overlies the [central Asian plain] suggests that much of the plain was abandoned between
73,000-55,000 years ago.” I have suggested that there was a massive migration of advanced
Eurasian archaic sapiens, out of central Asia, into S W Asia, N Africa, and India. I believe that
elements of this radiating population reached and colonized Australia during the OIS 4 era,
which is plausible, as sea-levels were relatively low then. Conversely, suggested later dates
for first settlement are less credible, due to the difficulty of crossing wider ocean expanses as
the ice melted and sea-levels rose.
There is genetic evidence for Australian colonization during OIS 4 in Mitochondrial Genome
Variation and Evolutionary History of Australian and New Guinean Aborigines (Ingman &
Gyllensten,2003). They state that the “estimate of a genetic coalescent for Australian
Aborigines with individuals from outside Australia based on mitochondrial HVS1 sequences
ranges from 60,000 to 119,000 years, depending on which substitution rate is used”. They
note that other research, on mtDNA D-loop sequences yields a range of 51,000 to 85,000
years ago, for an “expansion date”. The expansion date is when a small founding population
began to multiply significantly. They give an mtDNA coalescence date for the N
macrohaplogroup, which includes all but one Australian lineage, as 71,000 years ago, with a
confidence interval of plus or minus 12,000 years. The M haplogroup’s was 78,000 years ago,
with the same confidence interval. So the evidence indicates that Australia was settled during
OIS 4.
Mishmar (2003) gives a coalescent for both M and N as 65 kya, which is within the
confidence interval op cit. I interpret that data to mean that most of the ancient Eurasian
mtDNA lineages were lost, either during the era of Mt. Toba’s eruption, or by subsequent
lineage sorting. As an example of the latter, the LM3 mtDNA lineage, which is the most
ancient human mtDNA lineage known, survived at least until 42 kya among migrants to
Australia, but was lost sometime before the present.
Afrocentrists have argued that the original Australian population came ‘Out of Africa’, while,
on my view they came from Eurasia. It is indisputable that the Australian mtDNA derives from
macrohaplogroups M and N (Ingman & Gyllensten, 2003), which are Eurasian lineages. It is
true that a few African populations’ lineages have affinities to M and N, and afrocentrists
interpret that to mean M and N diverged from the African genome. I argue that the evidence
and time constraints indicate M and N lineages were carried into Africa by Eurasian radiation:
see Plural Lineages in the Human mtDNA Genome (on site). Note that all but one mtDNA
lineage in Australia is derived from the N macrohaplogroup, which contains the European
lineages. In other words, to argue that the first Australians were Africans, requires one to
assume that M and N are derived from the African genome, rather than being indigenous to
Eurasia: I contend Plural Lineages falsifies the assumption of a single African source for all
modern mtDNA.
There are a few African populations that have some mtDNA with affinities to M and N, and
you can see examples of them on the branches under box 2, such as the Yoruba. The
afrocentrist who drew the ‘tree’ below has assumed that the African mtDNA is ancestral to the
Eurasian. However, LM3, the oldest known mtDNA, is Eurasian!
Macrohaplogroups M and N are in the dotted-line boxes of the graphic below: N is 1; M is
2. You’ll note that ALL the lineages within the boxes are Eurasian. That sole M lineage is most
plausibly associated with a more recent radiation that occupied New Guinea. It is remarkable
that the migrants who settled Australia were derived specifically from the population that later
became Europeans, suggesting that the first settlers of Australia began their migration AFTER
the M and N haplogroups diverged. Of course, it is possible the M haplogroup could have
been present in the proto-Australian population and was lost by lineage sorting. After all,
Mungo’s mtDNA is unlike ANY modern lineage! In other words, the population that first came
to Australia included at least one type of mtDNA that has since been lost, and does NOT
correspond to any of the extant, and supposedly ancestral, African lineages. One sequence
from Mungo’s mitochondria found its way into the nuclear DNA of ancient humans and is
carried, on chromosome 11, by many contemporary people. The extraction of mtDNA from
LM3 was reported by Adcock, et al. and published as Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient
Australians: implications for modern human origins. It was printed in Proceedings of the
National Academy of Science, USA 98 (2001) page 540. Figure 2, below from Ingman and
Gyllensten, 2003, loc. sit; reproduced by them, from Saitou and Nei, 1987.

The ”implications for human origins” are that modern humans are NOT ‘all Africans’!
African replacement is contraindicated by the population distribution of the relic mtDNA
sequence inserted in chromosome 11. In A Nuclear ‘Fossil’ of the Mitochondrial D-loop and
the origin of Modern Humans, by Hans Zischler, et al, published in Nature 378:489-492, page
491, we read,“Overall, 39% of chromosomes tested carried the insertion. In four African
populations, the frequency of chromosomes carrying the insertion ranges between 10 and
25%, whereas it varies between 38% and 78% in populations tested in Europe, Asia, Oceania,
and South America.” The highest frequency of insertions were among the Japanese @ 65%;
an Amerind tribe (Surui) @ 78% and the Melanesians @ 68%: Europeans were @ 54%.
Clearly, this insertion of ancient, indigenous Eurasian mtDNA, into the nuclear DNA, occurred
outside of Africa, probably in N E Asia. Since the proto-Australians carried the mtDNA lineage
that was inserted, it is more likely that they were an Eurasian population. Nuclear DNA, as
discussed below, practically excludes the possibility that Australians are derived from Africans.
Therefore, since Australian mtDNA is derived from the N lineage, and LM3 from the insert,
there is no justification for the assumption that M and N are of African origin. This evidence is
more consistent with the view that those lineages were carried INTO Africa by the radiation of
Eurasian humans (H. sapiens sapiens). Only the unjustified assumption that ALL modern
mtDNA comes from a single, African source allows the presumption that M and N are Africanderived.
Previous sequence analyses of the chromosome 11 insert had revealed NO allelic variation
in any sample from any part of the world. While exhaustive analysis indicates that the LM3
sequence derives from the same mtDNA lineage that engendered the insert, there are 14
nucleotide differences. The range of differences between the LM3 sequence and
contemporary sequences is at the upper end of the range of differences between
contemporary sequences. Since the number of differences is a proxy of age, we can infer that
LM3 was as old as the older African lineages by 42,000 years ago! The range of differences
between the insert sequence and contemporary sequences extends well beyond the range of
differences between contemporary sequences. This indicates that the lineage leading to the
insert sequence diverged well before the most recent common ancestor of living human
mtDNA sequences. In other words, the LM3 lineage is as old as the ‘African Eve’, and the
insert is far older than LM3 … perhaps as much as 14 mutations older!
Because mtDNA accrues variation much more rapidly than nuclear sites, and because
there was no observed allelic variation in the insert, it is plausible that those 14 differences
accrued to the LM3 mtDNA lineage since the era of the insertion event. Thus, it is evident that
insertion occurred long before the coalescence of the most ancient African mtDNA lineages.
Given the geographical distribution of that chromosome 11 insertion, It is hard to imagine
stronger evidence for the continuity of archaic Eurasian populations.

The length of the line, from left to right, corresponds to the estimated time-depth of that
lineage. Note that the insertion ‘branch’ extends far to the right of the most ancient African
mtDNA lineages, as well as the Neanderthal specimen. Even so, I think the scale understates
the insertion’s antiquity, as 14 mutations, plus the 40 thousand year age of the Mungo
specimen, represents an immense time-span! In an equivalent sequence of that Feldhofer
neanderthal specimen, Krings et al. found ”11 transitional differences from the [modern
human] reference sequence”(as reported in DNA sequence of the mitochondrial hypervariable
region II from the Neandertal type specimen, PNAS Vol. 96, 5581-85, May 11, 99).
Approximately half those differences may have accrued through changes in the human
lineage. By contrast, it is hardly possible that as many differences accumulated in the
chromosome 11 insert as occurred in the LM3 lineage, because nuclear DNA changes much
more slowly than mtDNA, let alone the hyper-variable region. Accordingly, we may infer that
the coalescent between the LM3 lineage and the chromosome 11 insert is significantly older
than the most recent common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals. Krings estimates the
mtDNA of humans and Neanderthals began to diverge 465,000 years ago; add in the 40,000
year age of LM3 and it is looks as if the insertion on chromosome 11 occurred at least half a
million years ago, or even a million, as Kring’s upper age estimate is 741,000 years ago!
Here is the lineage diagram Adcock presents. Note the tree is rooted in the common
ancestor of Homo and Pan; the Neanderthal lineage is separate from Hss; and one of the
Australian fossils robust types is also shown as distinct from all other modern human lineages.
I contend such specimens resulted from hybridization with Asian erectus.
Figure 4, from Adcock, 2001, op cit
As noted, the modern Australians’ mtDNA comes from macrohaplogroup N (and, to a minor
extent, from M) and that they have affinities to Europeans. That is remarkable, when you
consider that the original settlers must have lived in S E Asia for some time, and that later
waves of migration to Australia show strong affinities to the erectus-sapien-hybrid Ngandong
population. In fact, that tends to corroborate the view I expressed in Age and Origin: Eurasian
sapiens radiated through the tropics, interbreeding with indigenous erectus, and later
migrations displaced the most primitive of those hybrid populations.
As the afrocentrists claim the M and N lineages diverged from the African mtDNA genome
in N E Africa, it is instructive to compare the nuclear DNA of Africans and Australians. On
page 75 of The History and Geography of Human Genes (Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi & Piazza;
Princeton, ’94) we find that Africans and the people of Australia & New Guinea are the most
UN-related populations on the face of the earth! The Bantu and N. Guineans have a genetic
distance of 3372, while the Australians are 3272, exceeded only by the Thai at 3364. To put
these units of genetic distance into perspective, consider that Europeans are separated by
distances two or three orders of magnitude less! English and Italians are separated by only 4
units, compared to the 3,272 units that separate the Australians from typical Africans. Even
the Basques and Greeks are only separated by 5 units; the Lapps and Danes by 204. There is
another common method of calculating genetic distance, and it is expressed in a different
numerical scale. The same authors used that method too, and it yielded equivalent results:
Africans and the Australians are the most UNrelated populations on earth.
IF Africans settled Australia and M & N macro-haplogroups are African derived, one might
suppose that the Australians would be substantially more closely related to the African
populations that have some mtDNA lineages with affinities to the M and N haplogroups. But,
compare the people of Australia and N.G. specifically to the Africans that are descended from
the population supposed to have been ancestral to the M and N macrohaplogroups: the
Yoruba for instance. The Yoruba’s distance from the most unrelated west-African group is only
398. The N E Bantu’s distance to the Bane, at 153, is less than the difference between groups
of Bantu, and the Bane cluster with the Yoruba. Note how the Bantu {“BNT”} and Bane group
(along the 2nd principle component axis) while all the northern African populations are
separated by the first principle component. On my view, that is because N African populations
are the ones most affected by gene flow from Eurasian radiations, especially since the
agricultural era. By contrast, the less-mixed African populations are separated from each other
by distance from the second principle component axis.
Fig. 5, from Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, and Piazza, page 178, op cit.
Bear in mind that the ‘genetic distance’ figure is based on sound data: the frequency and
distribution of various alleles and polymorphisms. However, the ‘trees’ that authors construct
with that data are usually based on debatable assumptions: that Africans are an ancestral
population, and that modern humans are all descended only from H. sapiens. On my view,
Africans are a hybrid population, created by the interbreeding of Eurasian sapiens with H.
erectus, just as the Australians were. In order to accurately reflect the human lineages, such
trees would have to distinguish between the ancestry of Eurasians and the tropical populations
created by recent back-cross hybridization with remnant erectus. The trees would, in fact have
to be networks. To give him his due, Cavalli-Sforza acknowledges that as a possibility, loc cit
page 81. The authors state that, ”a tree with inter-connections would be highly desirable”,
albeit he is apparently only considering the mingling of modern human populations, rather than
taking erectus into account.
All but 2% of the ‘bootstrap’ trees generated by Cavalli-Sforza et al. showed the first
separation between Africans and all other populations, but the way ”all other non-Africans”
grouped is significant. 1) in 25%, the Australians+NG+Pacific islanders & S E Asians vs. all
other non-Africans; 2) in 24%, Pacific islanders+S E Asians vs. all other non-Africans; 3) in
15%, Australians+NG vs. all other non-Africans; 4) in 8%, Europeans+extra-European
Caucasoids vs. all other non-Africans; 5) in 8%, Americans vs. all other non-Africans. In the
other 18% of trees the sub-clusters disintegrate. The authors say, ”For instance, in some of
them New Guineans and Australians part from each other, one of the two being separated
from all other groups in the second fission”. What is really indicated, as the authors
acknowledge, is ”a trichotomy, separating the three sub-clusters of NG+Australians; S E
Asians + Pacific islanders; and all other non-Africans. The bottom line: NG/Australians and
Africans are the most unrelated populations on earth, but BOTH of them are very different
than all other non-Africans, with the reservation that there are affinities between S E Asians
and NG/Australians, as might be expected due to relatively recent population mixing. I contend
that the ‘out of Africa’ hypothesis cannot account for this. By contrast, the hypothesis that
Australians and Africans are erectus-sapiens hybrid populations, is completely consistent with
such data, even explanatory of it.
A ‘principal component map’ shows the genetic difference between European and African
populations in a graphic manner that facilitates appreciation of their minimal relationship, and
avoids the unwarranted assumptions inevitable in the ‘trees’ that ignore the recent, as well as
ancestral, influence of erectus. Ancient Eurasian sapiens’ radiations led to erectus-sapien
hybrid populations, such as represented by the Herto skulls in N Africa, and even more
advanced forms in S W Asia. But the well-adapted tropical populations were very much larger
than the radiating Eurasian’s, and they absorbed the early migrations, preserving a great deal
of the erectus genome. Later sapien radiations, especially since the agricultural era, displaced
the most primitive groups, but, to a great extent, those large, hybrid populations still exist.
Fig. 6, Cavalli-Sforza, et al., page 81, op cit.
Since there is less genetic affinity between Africans and the populations of Australia and N.
Guinea than anyone else in the world, it is obvious that Africans didn’t settle Australia. That
casts doubt on the afrocentrist assertion that macrohaplogroups M and N are derived from the
African mtDNA genome, and tends to corroborate the view advanced in Plural Lineages, that
M and N are indigenous to Eurasia.
The question naturally arises: why are Australians and Africans so genetically different if
they were both created by Eurasians interbreeding with erectus? I contend that it is because
the S E Asian and African erectus were so long separated, with so little gene flow between
them. There, as in the mtDNA insert on chromosome 11, are the ‘deep genetic lineages’ the
afrocentrists say should exist if the multiregionalist model is correct! The S E Asian and
African erectus genomes were so divergent because they had been separated for over a
million years, and that deep division is only partially unified by both interbreeding with
Eurasians, principally with the population that became Europeans. That is also why there are
some affinities between Europeans and Africans, in spite of their vast phenotypic differences,
and deep genetic separation. The afrocentrists try to interpret this as meaning that Africans
are ancestral to Europeans, but, for all the reasons documented in Age and Origin, Plural
Lineages, and elsewhere, that is impossible. In contrast, those affinities are well explained by
my hypothesis of Eurasian radiation into Africa, with interbreeding between sapiens and
African erectus.
Yet another method of graphic representation reveals the genetic relationships between
Eurasians and Africans. A ‘neighbor-joining-tree’ by the cited authors is particularly valid
because it is NOT ‘rooted’; in other words, no assumptions are made about which population
is ancestral.
Fig. 7 (and following) from Cavalli-Sforza, et al., page 91, op cit.
Three significant aspects of the topology are that the Europeans have a CENTRAL location,
on VERY SHORT branches (d & e), and there is MAXIMUM SEPARATION between
Melansians (which includes Australians) and Africans. With respect to branch ‘e’, its minimal
length indicates how closely related the Europeans are to the COMMON ancestor of Asians.
One might interpret the very short ‘d’ branch as indicating how similar Europeans are to the
original H. sapiens sapiens type, while their central position could support the same view. One
might also view it as consistent with slight introgressive hybridization (of a common ancestral,
Eurasian Hss type) with archaic sapiens in central Asia and Europe, leading to differentiation
of the Euro-type. I attribute the long ‘c’ and ‘g’ branches to the influence of the archaic, and
widely diverged, remnant erectus genome on both African and Australian/ New Guinean
The Genetic Reality of Race
In WHERE DO WE COME FROM: The Molecular Evidence for Human Descent (Springer,
2002) Klein and Takahata write, on page 381,
”The species, as the only biologically definable category, provides a dividing line in
biological classification. Most of the other categories (genus, family, order, etc) are positioned
above the species level, while only a few are in the sub-species level. The latter, which include
variety, subspecies, and race, are poorly defined and ambiguous. Any deviation from the
holotype, the specimen on which the description of a new species is based, is referred to as a
variety, even when the deviation is in a single morphological character. A subspecies is a
population or a group of phenotypically similar populations inhabiting a geographically defined
region and differing from other populations of the same species in diagnostic characters. Race
is used by taxonomists either as a synonymn of sub-species or as a designation of a local
population within a sub-species. Different variants, subspecies, or races of the same species
are either known or expected to interbreed if given the opportunity.’’
[Note that only a single character is enough to distinguish a ‘variety’, and SOME distinguishing
designation is certainly called for between Europeans and Asians. Thus we can conservatively
say Euros and Asians are different varieties.
Next, consider that statement, ”race is used by taxonomists either as a synonym of subspecies
or as a designation of a local population within a sub-species”. That means race
signifies a greater distinction than variety, and it might be used to distinguish a ‘lesser’
difference than subspecies.
Klein and Takahata discuss how the gorillas are divided into subspecies by their fur length and
color or various morphological characteristics. They go on to say,]
”All this is biological reality which raises few emotions. Taxonomists may disagree on the
number, delineation, name, indeed on the very existence of the subdivisions in a particular
species, but other than that they find nothing objectionable about the notion of species
consisting of populations between which gene flow has been reduced, because of the
geographical distance between them, for example.” and ”Biologically, H. sapiens is a species
like any other and as such it might be expected to be differentiated into subspecies, especially
since its global distribution creates opportunities for adaptation to different climatic conditions
and so for morphological divergence.”
[Commenting on the current, PC effort to deny the very existence of race, K and T write,]
”The proposal to scrap the concept of race altogether is currently only one extreme in a
range of views. It is certainly not shared by all anthropologists and is by no means the majority
opinion of the public at large. It appears to be a conclusion reached more on the basis of
political and philosophical creeds than on scientific arguments. Correspondingly,
anthropologists who do hold this opinion often attempt to shout down their opponents rather
than convince them by presentation of facts. Their favored method of argumentation is to label
anybody who disagrees with them as racist. The public, however, seems unimpressed by their
rhetoric. It refuses to believe that the differences they see are a mere figment of their
imagination. A lay-person can tell with a high degree of accuracy where individuals come from
just by glimpsing their features.”
[The authors give a specific example and go on to write,]
”Except for some anthropologists, everybody else seems to be able to distinguish people
from different parts of the world at a glance by their outward appearance. This apparently is
also the view of some government administrators in countries with programs designed to fight
racial discrimination. Obviously, there is a credibility gap between some anthropologists on the
one side and the public, as well as the governments of some countries, on the other. One way
to settle the arguments among anthropologists and to reconcile anthropologists with the public
might be to move away from physical characteristics and focus on the genes. If races are real,
they should have a genetic basis separable from environmental and cultural influences.” and
”Provided the races separated a long time ago, random genetic drift should have diversified
their genetic composition even in the absence of selection. It can be expected that the longer
ago the races diverged, the greater the differences between them will be. Even if there has not
been enough time to ‘fix’ different alleles in distinct races, at least differences in gene
frequencies should have been generated.”
[The research discussed in Letter to the Editor of Discover (posted on site) describes the
results from the sort of study Klein and Takahata suggest. It turns out there ARE fixed alleles
that vary by race, and different frequencies that are associated with Africans, Europeans, and
Asians. In other words, there ARE genetic ‘races’ in spite of the disingenuous statements that
are publicized in an attempt to obfuscate and deny the facts. Everyone has noted that
Europeans have white skins; many of them have lightly pigmented eyes and hair; on the other
hand Africans have dark skin, hair, and eyes, while Asians have dark eyes and hair, and
Eurasian hair has a different texture from that of Africans.
Harding et al. (in Evidence for Variable Selective Pressure at MC1R, Amerian Journal of
Human Genetics, 66:1351-61, 2000) studied the MC1R gene, which influences the
pigmentation of eyes, hair, and skin. They found that all Africans, and tropical indigenes in
general, had an ancestral form of the gene, as also found in chimps: there were NO nonsynonymous
alleles. Thus, they contend that MC1R is tightly constrained in the tropics; this
implies that any population radiating ‘Out of Africa’ would have been black. By contrast, there
were several alleles, at various frequencies among European populations, accounting for the
observed ubiquity of white skin, and substantial frequency of light hair and eye colors. These
alleles could ONLY have arisen in populations that left the tropics a very long time ago, or
never lived there to begin with. It would have taken a long time for the mutations in these
alleles to occur and then rise to the observed distribution. Harding et al. calculate that at least
a hundred thousand years, and possibly more than twice that long, might be required for one
of these alleles to reach its current frequency. I defy any population geneticist to produce a
credible model of genetic mutation and diffusion that turns an all-black African population into
an all-white European population in the 50 to 70 thousand years that current Out of Africa
models permit! And remember that those same afrocentrists claim the African radiation
replaced the indigenous Eurasians, rather than interbreeding with them, so they can’t
postulate acquisition of MC1R alleles from archaic Europeans, followed by selection to
achieve fixation of euro-genes; that would be more like absorption than replacement!
Moreover, they must, but can’t, explain why the putative African radiation in Asia produced an
entirely different variety and set of alleles. The afrocentrists appeal to selection, but Harding
finds evidence that MC1R has NOT been selected at Euro-specific alleles, though it has been
tightly CONSTRAINED to the ancestral form in the tropics. Klein and Takahata, writing of the
various attempts to explain what kind of selection would make ALL Europeans white, or
account for their eyes and hair, concede that,]
“None of these explanations is fully satisfactory” and “Satisfactory explanations are also not
available for hair color and texture, eye color, and other external differences between human
[Before the recent advances in genetics it was possible to contend that black Africans were
somehow converted into Eurasians. Geneticists speak glibly of ”drift” as if it were a serious
theory for how ALL those putative black Africans turned white in Europe and yellow in Asia;
and not just their skin color, but all the other soft tissue, cranial, and intellectual features.
Everybody changed completely and there was no mix of people with different degrees and
phenotypic expressions of afro-characters. What kind of a pseudo-science theory of
population dynamics could yield an ALL white-characteristic Europe from blacks? There is an
old saying that some ideas are so dumb only highly educated people can believe them.

As noted above, no satisfactory explanations were forthcoming for such conversion, but the
socio-political, PC ‘virtue’ of an African origins theory was irresistible to academia and media
opinion makers. The early research on mtDNA was misinterpreted to support the ”African
Eve”, or ”Out of Africa” theories, by asserting that all human mtDNA came from an African
woman. This assertion is maintained today, and it continues to be represented as ‘proving’
African replacement, even though the data does NOT justify such an assumption. See Plural
Lineages in the Human mtDNA Genome (posted on site) for contraindications.
Since the morphological, genetically mediated, differences between Europeans, Asians,
and Africans are so obvious, those who wish to deny the biological reality of race are forced
(against all common-sense) to argue that such differences are statistically trivial. Lewontin, for
instance, argues that since ”only” 15% of the variation in the human genome is completely
correlated to race, that such differences are trivial. As noted in the closing paragraph of Letter
to the Editor of DISCOVER, this is a deceitful argument. Klein and Takahata are quite PC on
the subject of race, but they have too much scientific integrity to misrepresent the data as
Feldman does; here is what they say,]
”Formally, these findings demonstrate, first, that the species is indeed subdivided into
genetically definable groups of individuals and, second, that at least some of those groups
correspond to those defined by anthropologists as races on the basis of physical characters.”
[Klein and Takahata note that, in spite of the genetic findings, many continue to argue that
such distinctions are trivial. Then they write,]
”By contrast, Sewall Wright, who can hardly be taken for a dilettante in questions of population
genetics, has stated emphatically that if differences of this magnitude were observed in any
other species, the groups they distinguish would be called subspecies.”
[So, while genetic research does support traditional and common-sense racial distinctions, it is
even more consistent with a nuanced view that the major distinction is between the indigenes
of New Guinea/Australia and sub-Saharan Africans versus Eurasians. The differences
between Europeans and northern Asians are minor by comparison, so the old tri-racial
distinction of white, yellow, and black, while not invalid, is not strictly accurate from a
taxonomic perspective. Genetically, we should regard Europeans and northern Asians as
varieties of H. s. sapiens; the sub-Saharan Africans and Australian/NG populations as
subspecies, and the back-crossed hybrid indigenes of N. Africa and much of southern Asia as
one or more races.
Klein and Takahata write,]
”One can extend Wright’s argument even further. The more than two hundred species of
haplochromine fishes in Lake Victoria differ from each other much less than the human races
in their neutral genes, although they are presumably distinguished by genes that control
differences in their external appearances. The same can be said about at least some of the
currently recognized species of Darwin’s finches and about other examples of recent adaptive
radiations. In all these cases, reproductively isolated groups are impossible to tell apart by the
methods used to measure differences between the human races. Obviously human races are
not reproductively isolated (interracial marriages are common and the progenies of such
marriages are fully fertile) but the external differences between them are comparable to those
between the cichlid fishes and Darwin’s finches. Under these circumstances, to claim that the
genetic differences between the human races are trivial is more a political statement than a
scientific argument. Trivial by what criterion? How much difference would Lewontin and those
who side with him consider non-trivial?”
[Actually Klein and Takahata understate human racial differences by calling them
”comparable” to the finches and cichlids, because only an expert can tell those birds and
fishes apart, while any ordinary person can tell another person’s race at a glance!
K and T go on to write,]
“By mixing science with politics, geneticists and anthropologists are committing the same
infraction of which they are accusing other scientists, whom they themselves label as racists.
Even worse, by dismissing genetic differences as insignificant, they play into the hands of
genuine racists who can easily demolish this claim.”
[These genetic differences between human races offer an important test of the Out of Africa
theory, and it fails!]
“Multiregionalists have no difficulty explaining the 10-15% differences between the human
groups. Since they assume that the differentiation began up to 2 my ago, when H. erectus
established founding populations in the different regions, there has been sufficient time to
accumulate the differences. Uniregionalists [Out of Africa theorists] who assume that the
differentiation into groups began after the exodus of H. sapiens from Africa, are at a
disadvantage, because calculations indicate that only under highly unrealistic assumptions
(e.g., no gene flow between populations) would the time interval suffice for the origin of the
observed differences.”
Here is some research that gives a perspective on the claims that differences between human
races are genetically insignificant.
In Number of ancestral human species: a molecular perspective
D. CURNOE*, and A. THORNE, (in HOMO Vol. 53/3, pp. 201-224) write:
“Nuclear DNA
Our analyses using 24 genetic distances provide an estimated speciation rate of 1-13 with a
mean of 4 for all DNA distances (table 1). Some of the speciation rates in table 1 are <1. This
results from the fact that some of the distances between humans and chimpanzees, when
halved, are below those between Africans and Asians.”
Just think about that: some of the genetic differences between Africans and Eurasians, are
more than half as great as between the consensus human genome and chimpanzees!
Compare the research cited above, in regard to the great difference between African and
Eurasian nuclear and mtDNA, to the deceptive statements by Feldman, as quoted in Discover
magazine (IMO…, posted on site).
Next, consider how ‘racial’ differences, between Eurasians and sub-Saharan Africans,
compare to the difference between modern humans and pre-human species of Homo.
“We estimate the mean distance between H. sapiens
and «terminal» H. neanderthalensis from 16 distances to be around 0.08%. This is a very
small distance and is less than half the estimated genetic difference between living sub-
Saharan Africans and Eurasians (Starr & McMillan 2001). The mean of 8 genetic distances
between H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis is 0.026-0.027. This is equivalent to the genetic
distance between Papua New Guineans and Thais or Na Dene and Indonesians (Cavalli-
Sforza et al 1994).”
So, the difference between the modern human consensus genome, and H. neanderthalensis,
is less than half the difference between s-S Africans and Eurasians. These are the differences:
twice as much as the gulf between Hss and Hn, which Lewontin and the race-deniers call
What about the genetic distance to H. erectus?
“Homo sapiens and … H. erectus living about 0.3 Ma, … may have shared an ancestor
around 1.5 Ma (a total divergence time of 2.4 million years). The distance between them as
determined from the mean of 16 distances may have been around 0.19%. This is about
equivalent to the estimated genetic difference between living sub-Saharan Africans and
Eurasians of 0.2% (Starr & McMillan 2001). The mean of 8 other genetic distances between H.
sapiens and H. erectus is 0.065-0.068. This overlaps the range of distances for living humans,
with the lower estimate identical to the distance between «Bantu» and «Eskimo» (Cavalli-
Sforza et al 1994).”
So, modern Eurasians and s-S Africans are about as genetically distant as modern humans
are from H. erectus! The authors say erectus and modern humans may have shared a last
common ancestor about 1.5 million years ago. Notice how that fits with the data on fossil
mtDNA included on chromosome 11 (see Australian Ancestry) which also implies that African
erectus and Eurasians had diverged for more than a million years, before [on my view]
hybridization between Eurasian sapiens and tropical erectus produced the indigenous
populations of Africa and southern Asia.
Even authors who have, in the past, minimized the importance of racial genetic distinctions are
now admitting that the shibboleths, ‘race is a social construct’ and ‘we are all the same
genetically’, are just plain wrong. As one reviewer wrote,
“New support for the existence and significance of group, or racial, differences in medicine
comes from several contributors to the [then] current Nature Genetics, a leading journal of
genetics. This already widely noted issue is devoted to the question of whether inherited
differences between groups should be considered in medical research and treatment, and
though various authors deny the relevance of such differences, Sarah Tishkoff (University of
Maryland) and Kenneth Kidd, of Yale, in “Implications of biogeography of human populations
for race and medicine” report that racial differences indeed exist, while Joanna L. Mountain
and Neil Risch, both of Stanford, in “Assessing genetic contributions to phenotypic differences
among ‘racial’ and ‘ethnic’ groups,” recognize racial disparities and regard them as important
for medical treatment.”
The reviewer comments that,
“The careful (and sometimes cautious) findings of these scholars may seem all too obvious,
but they are an important corrective, in an authoritative source, to efforts to use such recent
advances in genetic knowledge as the Genome to obscure the fact and the importance of
racial differences.” The reviewer continues, writing of a recent Stanford study that …
“…found a very close correlation between individuals' racial self-identification and the
evidence from their DNA. In Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and
Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies, which appears in the February 2005 issue
of the American Journal of Human Genetics, a dozen researchers report the way the 3,636
individuals studied classified themselves racially tallied almost perfectly with their racial type
as indicated by 326 signposts in their DNA: only 5 participants volunteered a racial identity at
variance with that indicated by their genetic material. Intriguingly, the study also determined
that the DNA of self-identified African-American and Hispanic participants, despite their
substantial genetic admixture from other racial groups (and despite their historical tendencies
to identify with other racial groups), jibed with their expressed racial membership as often as
did those of whites and East Asians. The largest of its kind to date, the Stanford study focused
on four major racial groupings (white, East Asian, African-American, and Hispanic) and was
conducted in fifteen locations in the United States and Taiwan. Study leader Neil Risch,
currently a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, believes that the
demonstrated ability of prospective patients to accurately specify their group DNA can save
time and money otherwise spent on painstaking individual genetic testing. … Without knowing
how the participants had identified themselves, Risch and his team ran the results through a
computer program that grouped individuals according to patterns of the 326 signposts. This
analysis could have resulted in any number of different clusters, but only four clear groups
turned up. And in each case the individuals within those clusters all fell within the same selfidentified
racial group.”
Risch said,
“people’s self-identified race is a nearly perfect indicator of their genetic background,
contradicting the race-as-social-construct view”.
I commend those authors for having the courage to tell even a little of the truth about this PCcensored
A paper by Deka, et al., titled: Population genetics of dinucleotide (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n
polymorphisms in world populations (Am J Hum Genet. 1995 Feb;56(2):461-74) is both
pertinent and long-ignored.
“We have characterized eight dinucleotide (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n repeat loci located on human
chromosome 13q in eight human populations and in a sample of chimpanzees. Even though
there is substantial variation in allele frequencie at each locus, at a given locus the most
frequent alleles are shared by all human populations. … The microsatellite loci examined here
are present and, with the exception of the locus D13S197, are polymorphic in the
chimpanzees, showing an overlapping distribution of allele sizes with those observed in
human populations.”
This study compares the genetic distances of eight human populations (Samoans, North
Amerindians, South Amerindians, New Guineans, Kachari [Mongolids], Germans, more
generalized Caucasians, and Sokoto: sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria) to each other and to
chimpanzees. The data were analyzed two ways – with Nei's standard genetic distance, and
with modified Cavalli-Sforza distance.
Using Nei's method, the Nigerian-chimp distance was 1.334 +/- 0.375, by far the closest value.
By the Cavalli-Sforza method, the Sokoto Nigerians were again the closest to chimps (0.539)
by a large margin. The farthest were again the South Amerindians (0.712), with the Germans
(0.680) and general Caucasians (0.667) being a very close third and fourth behind the South
Amerindians as well as Samoans (0.711) and North Amerindians (0.697). So, while the two
methods give slightly different orders, in both cases the Nigerians are by far the closest group
to the chimps. Once again, given the first method, these sub-Saharan Africans were at 1.334
while all the other groups ranged from 1.527-1.901, and given the second method they were at
0.539 while the other groups ranged from 0.643 (Kachari again) to 0.712.
Finally, there have been numerous publications asserting that modern humans are 99.9%
genetically identical. EVEN if that were true, there are so many loci in the human genome that
a tenth of a percent of them would be MILLIONS! As one of the authors (quoted below)
observes, “that could explain differences” … NO doubt!
However, that 99.9 figure is WRONG. As posted September 8th, 2004, in World Science:
“New research casts doubt on the widely accepted belief that humans are 99.9 percent
genetically identical. That statement has been used to argue that race isn't real.
But two new studies suggest that percentage is too high, researchers say … “The 99.9
percent number is pure nonsense,” wrote Michael Wigler, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory,
New York, in a recent e-mail. “I will not say anything more about it.” … Wigler is a co-author of
one of the two studies, which is published in the July 23 advance online edition of the
prestigious research journal Science. In it, the researchers wrote that they were surprised to
find large-scale differences in human DNA. “There is considerable structural variation in the
human genome [genetic code], most of which was not previously apparent,” they wrote.
Wigler’s group sampled DNA from 20 people from around the world. They detected 76 major
differences among the people, differences known as copy number polymorphisms. This
means that some sections of genetic code are repeated, but the numbers of repetitions vary
among people.
This “could explain why people are different” … said Scherer, whose team reached similar
findings to those of the Cold Spring Harbor group.
“At first we were astonished and didn't believe our results because for years we had been
taught that most variation in DNA was limited to very small changes,” Scherer said. But later
he learned Harvard University researchers were making similar observations, so the groups
combined their data and reached the same conclusion.
The Cold Spring Harbor team found that these changes affected the code for 70 genes [just in
the small set studied]. These included genes involved in Cohen syndrome – a form of mental
retardation – as well as brain development, leukemia, drug resistant forms of breast cancer,
regulation of eating and body weight.
That [99.9%] figure has become one of the most prominent pieces of their [“race-isn't real”
proponents] argument since about four years ago, when the number came from scientists
associated with the Human Genome Project, a 13-year program to map the human genetic
Lander – a researcher who has been quoted in published reports giving the 99.9 percent
figure, and who works with the Whitehead Institute in Boston – didn’t respond to phone calls
and e-mails requesting comment for this story. His secretary said he was abroad.
Also unreachable was Craig Venter, chairman of the Institute for Genomics Research in
Rockville, Md., U.S.A. He was president of a company whose research produced the 99.9
percent figure in 2001, Celera Genomics. He didn't return phone calls or repeated emails.
.Miami University’s Jon Entine, author of, “Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and
Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It,” wrote, in an e-mail:
“Rats are about 95 percent the genetic equivalent of humans. These are ridiculous
statements, although technically accurate. The use of the 99.9 percent figure by the popular
press and scientists is, frankly scandalous.”
[I agree.]
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