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For the last century, the idea of progressive evolution of the human type from more apelike ancestors has guided the acceptance and rejection of evidence. Evidence that contradicts the idea of human evolution is carefully screened out. Therefore, when one reads textbooks about human evolution, one may think, "Well, the idea human of evolution must be true because all the evidence supports it." But such textbook presentations are misleading, for it is the unquestioned belief that humans did in fact evolve from apelike ancestors that has determined what evidence should be included and how it should be interpreted. (138)

An abundance of facts suggests that beings quite like ourselves have been around as far back as we care to look--in the Pliocene, Miocene, Oligocene, Eocene, and beyond. Remains of apes and apelike men are also found throughout the same expanse of time. So perhaps all kinds of hominids have coexisted throughout history. If one considers all the available evidence, that is the clearest picture that emerges. It is only by eliminating a great quantity of evidence--keeping only the fossils and artifacts that conform to preconceived notions--that one can construct an evolutionary sequence. Such unwarranted elimination of evidence, evidence as solidly researched as anything now accepted, represents a kind of deception carried out by scientists desiring to maintain a certain theoretical point of view. (138)

Jean S. Aigner stated in 1981: "In south China the faunas are apparently stable, making subdivision of the Middle Pleistocene difficult. Ordinarily presence of an advanced hominid or relict form is the basis for determining later and earlier periods." This is a very clear exposition of the rationale for morphological dating. The presence of an advanced hominid is taken as an unmistakable sign of a later period. In other words, if we find an apelike hominid in connection with a certain Middle Pleistocene fauna at one site and a more humanlike hominid in connection with the same Middle Pleistocene fauna at another site, then we must, according to this system, conclude that the site with the more humanlike hominid is of a later Middle Pleistocene date than the other. The Middle Pleistocene, it may be recalled, extends from 100,000 to 1 million years ago. It is taken for granted that the two sites in question could not possibly be contemporaneous. With this maneuver completed, the two fossil hominids, now set apart from each other temporally, are then cited in textbooks as evidence of an evolutionary progression in the Middle Pleistocene! This is an intellectually dishonest procedure. (138)

The honest thing to do would be to admit that the evidence does not allow one to say with certainty that one hominid preceded the other and that it is possible they were contemporary. This would rule out using these particular hominids to construct a temporal evolutionary sequence. All one could honestly say is that both were found in the Middle Pleistocene. For all we know, the "more advanced" humanlike hominid may have preceded the "less advanced" apelike one. But by assuming that evolution is a fact, one can then "date" the hominids by their morphology and arrange the fossil evidence in a consistent manner. Scientists have arranged Chinese fossil hominids in a temperal evolutionary sequence primarily by their physical type. This methodology insures that no fossil evidence shall ever fall outside the realm of evolutionary expectations. By using morphological differences in the fossils of hominids to resolve contradictory faunal, stratigraphic, chemical, radiometric, and geomagnetic datings in harmony with a favored evolutionary sequence, paleoanthropologists have allowed their preconceptions to obscure other possibilities. In attempting to sort out this Middle Pleistocene hominid logjam, scientists have repeatedly used the morphology of the hominid fossils to select desirable dates within the total possible faunal date ranges of the sites. In this way, they have been able to preserve an evolutionary progression of hominids. Remarkably, this artificially constructed sequence, designed to fit evolutionary expectations, is then cited as proof of the evolutionary hypothesis. The empiric method undoubtedly has its limitations, and the fossil record is incomplete and imperfect. But when all the evidence, including that for very ancient humans and living ape-men, is objectively evaluated, the pattern that emerges is one of continuing coexistence rather than sequential evolution. (138)

Charles Darwin: …all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their cellular structure, their laws of growth, and their liability to injurious influences…[O]n the principle of natural selection with divergence of character, it does not seem incredible that, from such low and intermediate form, both animals and plants may have been developed; and, if we admit this, we must likewise admit that all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth may be descended from some one primordial form. (119)

A billion years ago, a bargain was struck: the delights of sex in exchange for the loss of personal immortality. Sex and death: You can't have the former without the latter. Nature, she drives a hard bargain. (119)

A simplified hypothetical reconstructuion of the genetic relationships of our probable ancestors.(6)

Several branches of our family tree have become extinct, including those belonging to the robust australopithecines, Neanderthals, and possibly a poorly understood "Third Man" and an Asian population contemporary with Neanderthals. Some descendants of Homo habilis survived to evolve into modern humans. To recognize by different names the changes in fossils representing this line, they are somewhat arbitrarily divided into Homo habilis, then Homo erectus beginning around 1.7 million years ago, then Homo sapiens beginning around 500,000 years ago. A. stands for the genus name of Australopithecus, H. for Homo. (114)

Science has shown that the chemistry of human genetics operates identically to that of other life forms and that the differences between humans and other animals in the "spelling" of their DNA sequence is slight--there is only about a 1% difference between a person and a chimp, for example, and only a 2% difference between a person and a mouse.(4)

Tooby and DeVore list six major areas in which we differ fundamentally from other contemporary primates: (1) bipedalism; (2) situation-appropriate, intensive male parental investment and an increase in female parental investment; (3) an unparalleled degree of hunting and meat consumption; (4) a change in the life history correlates: an extension of life span, an increase in the period of investment in offspring, a marked increase in the altriciality (i.e. the length of time the young remain in the direct care of and physically with the parents) of human young; (5) an expansion of ecozones occupied, from tropical woodland and forest into savanna areas, but eventually including every other terrestrial ecozone; and (6) concealed ovulation with continuous sexual receptivity. Given that chimpanzees and ourselves share a common ancestor, perhaps as recently as 5 million years ago, how did these differences arise?(7)

We can see traces of our origins in all of the earth's ancient life forms, from the earliest marine creatures through the tree-shrews that lived tens of millions of years ago to our last primate ancestors--but only in the crucial interval of two to one million years ago did our genus, Homo, become become the dominanat primate in the world, and not until just a few hundred thousand years ago did humans appear whom we can relate to ourselves by calling them, too, Homo sapiens. We reserve the ultimate accolade of "people like us," Homo sapiens sapiens, for only some of the humans who lived after about 150,000 years ago, and it was not until about 30,000 years ago that we alone came to constitute humanity.(9)


The Homo erectus skull (A) was long and low, compared to modern humans (B) with heavy brow ridges, no chin, and protruding jaws. In the transition from Homo erectus (C) to modern humans (D) the brain enlarged and the muscles controlling the head and neck were changed.  Presumably there were also changes in the internal structure of the brain, such as in the development of speech centers.(11)

To place human evolution in a time perspective, recall that life originated on Earth several billion years ago, and that the dinosaurs became extinct around sixty-five million years ago. It was only between six and ten million years ago that our ancestors finally became distinct from the ancestors of chimps and gorillas. Hence human history constitutes only an insignificant portion of the history of life. (114)

Over much of the world human teeth have become smaller during the past 30,000 years and some subtle changes in other aspects of our form and physiology have occurred, but not much about us physically is different from the people of 30,0000 years ago. Human brain size was slightly larger for some of the people at that time, but it is unlikely that they were of a fundamentally different mentality.(24)

The major contemporary models (that is, sets of linked assumptions, hypotheses, and interpretations of data) about how we changed from early African hominids into us, Homo sapiens sapiens, all require one to believe scenarios that, if not exactly impossible to believe, do require some dramatic leaps of faith.(9)

(above) One reconstruction of human origins. The split of the Neandrathals from the main human line remains controversial.(20)

All modern humans can trace thier origin to descendants of Homo erectus, but both the ancestral populations of H. erectus and the descendant populations of H. sapiens have expanded and contracted in response to many climatic and habitat changes, with the reslt that the very concept of "origin" in the context of gene pools can never be precisely determined; continuity occurred in some areas, replacement occurred in other regions, but the net effect was a very high degree of morphological variability within the single species which we today refer as H. sapiens.(21)

The variations in skin color in contemporary peoples seem to be the result of migration into differenct environments and subsequesnt adaptation. Early humans from Africa, whom we assume to have been dark skinned, invaded environments where heavy pigmentation interfered with the synthesis of Vitamin D, and eventually natural selection produced the blond, fair-skinned, blue-eyed human physical type typical of northern Europe: we must assume that small variations in skin pigmentation over hundreds of thousands or millions of years allowed those with lighter pigmentation to have a slightly greater reproductive "fitness" for living in more temperate environments.(3)

In this way, the world's "races" were formed, with natural selection acting on mutations in hundreds of gentetically determined features. Geographical barrieres have been a factor in channeling and constraining these migratory patterns: the Sahara, the Himalayas, and other natrual barriers have restricted the matings between peoples in different areas to the point that modern "races" evolved. Most biological scientists reject the term "race" as imprecise and misleading. Pattrerns of evolutionary variability in people seem best understood in terms of clines, or gradients of variation through time and space that are not easily and discretely compartmentalized.(3)

Skin color, for example, varies greatly if one examines people on a cline from Sweden to South Africa , and these variations are only crudely described as “black” and “white.” Also, some of the traits commonly used to identify “race,” such skin tone, eyelid shape, nose and lip shape, etc., also show immense variation along gradients through time and space, and often independently: that is, southern Indians, West Africans, some Pacific Islanders, and others share a relatively dark skin pigmentation but differ greatly in nose and lip shape, hair texture, and other features. (47)

If there is in fact an instinctive human urge to travel, it would be "adaptive" in an evolutionary sense, for long-term evolutionary sucess comes with dispersal and variation. Our ancestors accomplished both: they penetrated almost all of the world before the end of the Pleistocene, and although they remained a single species, they developed great variety in their physical forms and cultural adaptations.(24)

Critics contend that the reason for the lack of transitional fossils is simple: Darwin 's theory fails to meet the rigorous scientific criteria for proof because it is fatally flawed. The main tenets did not predict what has proved to be the outcome of more than a hundred years of research: missing links instead of transitional species. Darwin knew the flak would come should the fossil record not contain the necessary transitional species. Geneticists have long known that the vast majority of mutations are either neutral or negative. In other words, mutations are usually mistakes, failures of the DNA to accurately copy information. It would appear that this is not a very reliable primary mechanism and it needs to be, because natural selection is obviously not a dynamic force that could drive the kinds of changes that evolutionists attribute to the theory. (54)

In the case of the so-called pithecanthropus ape-man (aka Java Man, Homo erectus , the anthropologist Eugene Dubois found, in Indonesia , "human thighbone and the skullcap of an ape separated by a distance of forty feet. The year was 1891. He pieced the two together, creating the famous Java Man. But many experts say the thighbone and skullcap are unrelated. Shortly before his death, Dubois himself said the skullcap belonged to a large monkey and the thighbone to a man. Yet Java Man remains to this day, to many, evidence of man's descent from the apes, having been featured as such in New York 's Museum of Natural History until 1984. In the case of Piltdown Man, another missing link wannabe, this one "discovered" in England in 1910, the find proved to be a sophisticated fraud perpetrated, in all likelihood, by overly zealous Darwinists. And even the crown jewel of alleged human ancestral fossils, the famous "Lucy," found in Ethiopia in 1974, is indistinguishable from a monkey or an extinct ape, according to many anthropologists. (55)

There is simply is no way to understand cultural evolution without first considering the occurrences that changed human consciousness (the brain) roughly 40,000 years ago, 10,000 years ago, and 6,000 years ago. Mostly, we've considered the developments at these three specific points without attempting to account for the mental leaps that allowed for these developments--in much the same way that Darwinists fail to consider the importance of intermediate steps in the development of flowering plants from non-flowering plants. (69)

This is the crux of the problem we experience in trying to understand our own historical development by looking through the lens of Darwinism. It cannot account for the leap from a primitive way of life to civilization in such a compressed time period. Nor can it identify why these leaps were made within only a few groups, why all humans did not make them simultaneously. The Darwinian mechanisms cannot account for this kind of radical "evolutionary" divergence. (69)

This is a critical point. Typically, attempts to describe major advancements in technology and cultural development allude somewhat to the role of accident or chance. The belief that accident plays a major role in such discoveries amounts to Darwinism applied to human history. But this reliance on cultural Darwinism presents one of the major stumbling blocks to our understanding of history's enigmas and anomalies. (69)

These represent information that does not fit into generally accepted theoretical models. If data do not make sense when applied to a model, either the model is changed to allow for this information or the data are ignored or somehow explained away or made to conform to the model. Within the framework of accepted theoretical models, science cannot explain why specific peoples began diverging radically from the rest of human culture at certain intervals, especially around 4000 BC, a time when the culture of Mesopotamia was vastly different from that of the rest of the world. In 3000 BC the cultures of the Indus Valley, Egypt, and Peru diverged from the way of life most common at the time. By 1500 BC these cultures and the remainder of humankind experienced completely disparate development patterns. The homogeneity of humankind was a thing of the past. (69)

Russian agronomist and geneticist Nikolai Vasilov, who conducted extensive studies of the origins of agriculture, pointed to three of these sites as primary agricultural centers: the Middle East, China, and Mesoamerica. It is in these same areas that so many other technical advancements--mathematics, civil engineering, astronomy, and so on--had their origins. Darwinism, however, cannot explain this series of developments. How is it that humans departed not only from the hunter-gatherer norm for their own species, but also from primate norms--from those animals who differ from us by only a genetic fraction? (69)

Because there is virtually no genetic variance among human groups--certainly none that confers any significant difference in intelligence or technical genius--there is no genetic or evolutionary basis for the Sumerians suddenly to grow so far beyond people in other parts of the world. What of the theory that humans have an innate urge to become civilized--that is, to create a complex and stratified society with highly developed technology, aesthetics, and systems of law and government? Let us move forward 5,500 years from the beginnings of civilization in Mesopotamia. If this theory were to be borne out in fact, we should surely expect to find that the rest of humanity had followed the path of the development of Earth's first civilized cultures. And certainly by the sixteenth century AD we would see a more homogenous distribution of “civilized” humans. (69)

But that was not the case. There are libraries of personal journals, diaries, and various recorded eyewitness accounts from the colonial period showing that most human cultures in the world had not followed the path of civilization as it developed in ancient times, and those that had, such as the Aztec and Incan cultures, had not developed in the way that the world's most powerful cultures--Western European cultures--had. European colonialists applied the terms savages and heathens to the indigenous peoples they encountered, who in some cases lived more primitively than they. Certainly there was no indication that the Europeans, who believed they brought civilization to these peoples, were in fact superior in any area except technology, and they certainly demonstrated no moral supremacy. (69)

There were an estimated 50 to 90 million people in North and South America in the sixteenth century when Europeans made contact (the total world population at the time was roughly 400 million) and the portrait of the New World's cultural makeup was complex. As these surviving primitive cultures illustrate, and contrary to accepted theory, without external intervention or contact we have no internal need to alter our ways of life toward civilization. So the few ancient, fast-growing civilizations--the advanced nature of which we have archaeological proof--do not fit our theoretical models. Perhaps, then, it is time to change the model. Who or what lit a fire under these cultures? Perhaps now is the time to take as truth the explanations of our ancient ancestors: These cultures were contacted and stimulated by an advanced race; the cultures in the rest of the world were not. (69)

In fact, agriculture and civilization almost completely go against generally accepted Darwinian mechanisms. If we examine the record, we find that human culture as a whole did not develop in a slow, gradual, and incremental process of transformation from the primitive to the complex. Instead what we find is an explosion of development, a quantum leap compressed into a mere fraction of humanity's existence as a species, a radically changed way of being, and an entirely new survival strategy based on the human engineering of plants and animals undreamed of by those of the Paleolithic period. (69)

Natural selection creates stabilized biological systems that ensure the development of a normal wild phenotype, an organism that contains a broad diversity of properties that preadapt it to a wide variety of environmental conditions, thus ensuring survival of the species. Artificial selection does just the opposite. It breaks down precisely those stabilized systems, thereby creating gene combinations that cannot survive in nature. It has been said that when humans domesticated plants, plants in turn domesticated humans. (69)

Armies of scientists and weekend Darwinists eager to get dirty for the cause have participated in excavations around the globe in the interest of achieving one goal: to prove that the theory of evolution is valid. This long and massive effort has turned up roughly a quarter of a million fossils that are housed in museums all over the world—but has found no intermediate fossils of any significance. (68)

This fact alone poses a serious threat to Darwin’s theory. If life slowly evolved from simple to complex forms through a series of mutations in response to changing environmental conditions, as Darwinism claims, then there should be a superabundance of intermediate forms. Yet the fossil record does not bear this out. The picture of life on Earth as shown by fossils is that new, fully formed species appear out of nowhere, remain the same for long periods of time, and then disappear. (68)

One of Darwin's most vexing conundrums was trying to account for the sudden appearance of flowering plants. All of the primitive plants had propagated and survived successfully for hundreds of millions of years via asexual reproduction. Then, about 100 million years ago, flowering plants inexplicably emerged. Darwin referred to it as the "abominable problem."

Yet another concern lies in the fact that cycads and ferns are still with us and flowering plants are abundant, but the more developed alleged intermediate forms are not. Nor do we find transitional species of those insects and birds that would have had to evolve simultaneously with flowering plants. There is, in short, no evidence of the coevolution of flowering plants and the creatures required for their reproduction. (68)

…evolutionary theory has been used as a template to explain everything from the origin of the cosmos (the Big Bang) to the development of agriculture, civilization, and the existence of social hierarchies (the richest are the fittest). The theory assumes that everything evolves out of disorder in gradual, incremental steps toward the ultimate triumph of the winner in nature's grand lottery. But in its findings the human genome project has created additional obstacles for the theory of evolution. The project proved that there is only one tree of life and that it developed only once, which does suggest that the tree was planted--that intent and design, and not chance, were at work. It also shortened the time span during which life was to have evolved from the simplest forms to the most complex via random mutations. (68)

Darwin himself made it clear that his theory could be disproved: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." (68)

In the recently published book Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Michael Behe claims that biochemistry has indeed demonstrated this. We have to keep in mind that in Darwin's day a cell was thought of as an indistinct entity and no one knew anything at all about DNA. The technology to penetrate the cell and determine its biochemistry did not yet exist. Behe makes it clear that for "the Darwinian theory of evolution to be true, it [modern biochemistry] has to account for the molecular structure of life." In his book he proves that it does not. (68)

Behe contends that "[b]iochemistry has pushed back Darwin's theory to the limit. It has done so by opening the ultimate black box, the cell, thereby making possible our understanding of how life works." What he observes in the basic cellular processes are systems and dynamics that are irreducibly complex, and this evidence, he concludes, overwhelmingly disproves Darwin's theory: Cells could not possibly have been assembled piecemeal over any length of time. In order to share the rationale for his conclusion, Behe takes us to the microscopic level, where we can see that the theory of evolution fails to explain certain molecular and intracellular processes. He examines five main phenomena: blood clotting; the human immune system; cilia, oarlike bundles of fibers; transport of materials within the cell; and the synthesis of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. In every instance he finds systems that are so complex that no gradual, incremental, Darwinian route could produce them. "The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell--to investigate life at the molecular level--is a loud, clear, piercing cry of 'design!’” (68)

The modern human population is very homogeneous. As individuals our genes differ by only one tenth of 1 percent, regardless of race, gender, or ethnic ancestry. We are all virtually the same at the DNA level. According to a Discover magazine article: "Some anthropologists believe that this genetic homogeneity is the result of a 'population bottleneck'--that at some time in the past our ancestors went through an event that greatly reduced our numbers and thus our genetic variation." (69)

The academic sociobiological theory assumes gradual genetic mutations influencing behavior occur by chance and get reproduced because they enhance the survival capacity of a species. However, observations of humans and other species by researchers reveal very rapid rates of change. Thousands of generations would be required to account for the appearance of even relatively simple cultural variations if they depended only on genetic change through natural selection. Thus, natural selection cannot satisfactorily account for the cultural "big bang." However, observations of nature show that different groups of a species subjected to the same environmental conditions can still develop vastly different cultures. This invalidates the notion of ecological determinism. Neither accidental genetic mutation nor environmental determinism can account for the observed variety of choices made by conscious beings, including our genetically closest relative, the chimpanzee. (113)

After Ramidus came Australopithecus (with a cranium one quarter the size of Homo sapiens) at 4.0 million BC. Hominids known as Laetoli (in Tanzania, where Mary Leakey discovered their footprints) were dated at 3.5 million BC. The famous "Lucy" and "First Family" fossils (different types) were dated to 3.2 million BC. However, these hominid creatures cannot reasonably be thought of as humans. Although bipedal, they had small skulls, very different feet, sloping foreheads, and significantly different bone structures. Several of these basic types existed in parallel for millions of years, remaining in stable species with only intraspecies changes. Several types survived until about 1 million years ago, when all of them drop from the fossil record (as we now read it). But long before they disappeared, beings we label genus Homo (from the Latin for "man") came on the scene as early as 3 million years ago. This lengthy coexistence of different species with no known transition fossil undermines Darwin's natural selection theory, giving us the first so-called "missing link" between humans and other hominids. (113)

The erectus cranium size was larger than that of the other Homos, but their physical proportions resembled the seemingly older types. Their global diaspora indicates skills at adaptation and potential for development. They left artifacts of a surprisingly sophisticated stone tool technology, plus wood and seeds. (113)

Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) appear in the fossil record alongside transition humans for more than 100,000 years. (113)

Blood types cut across all racial lines. In fact, all current racial divisions are assumed to have preceded the divergence of Type A from Type 0 (the original blood type). The appearance of Type A seems to have resulted from a gene mutation rate four times faster than the common fruit fly. Thus, we need to seek explanations beyond random mutations, geography, diet, environment, and race to account for this. (113)

Neanderthals' head anatomy was so distinctive that, even if a Neanderthal dressed in a business suit or designer dress were to walk down the streets of New York or London today, everybody else (all the homines sapientes) on the street would be staring in shock. Imagine converting a modern face to soft clay, gripping the middle of the face from the bridge of the nose to the jaws in a vise, pulling the whole midface forward, and letting it harden again. You'll then have some idea of a Neanderthal's appearance. Their eyebrows rested on prominently bulging bony ridges, and their noses and jaws and teeth protruded far forward. Their eyes lay in deep sockets, sunk behind the protruding nose and brow ridges. Their foreheads were low and sloping, unlike our high vertical modern foreheads, and their lower jaws sloped back without chins. Despite these startlingly primitive features, Neanderthals' brain size was nearly 10 percent greater than ours! (114)

While a Neanderthal in a business suit or dress would attract attention today, one in shorts or a bikini would draw gasps. Neanderthals were more heavily muscled, especially in their shoulders and neck, than all but the most avid modern bodybuilders. Their limb bones, which took the force of those big muscles' contracting, had to be considerably thicker than ours to withstand the stress. Their arms and legs would have looked stubby to us, because the lower leg and forearm were relatively shorter than ours. Even their hands were much more powerful than ours; a Neanderthal's handshake would have been literally bone-crushing. While their average height was only around five feet four inches, their weight would have been at least twenty pounds more than that of a modern person of that height, and this excess was mostly in the form of lean muscle. (114)

The identity of the ingredient that produced the Great Leap Forward poses an archaeological puzzle without an accepted answer. It doesn't show up in fossil skeletons. It may have been a change in only 0.1 percent of our DNA. What tiny change in genes could have had such enormous consequences? Like some other scientists who have speculated about this question, I can think of only one plausible answer: the anatomical basis for spoken complex language. The answer seems to involve the structure of the larynx, tongue, and associated muscles that give us fine control over spoken sounds. Like a Swiss watch, all of whose many parts have to be well designed for the watch to keep time at all, our vocal tract depends on the precise functioning of many structures and muscles. I don't suggest that the Great Leap Forward began as soon as the mutations for altered tongue and larynx anatomy arose. (114)

Because evolution is conservative and reluctant to tamper with instructions that work, the DNA code incorporates documents--job orders and blueprints--dating back to remote biological antiquity. Many passages have faded. In some places there are palimpsests, where remains of ancient messages can be seen peeking out from under newer ones. Here and there a sequence can be found that is transposed from a different part of the message, taking on a different shade of meaning in its new surrounds; words, paragraphs, pages, whole volumes have been moved and reshuffled. Contexts have changed. The common sequences have been inherited from remote times. The more distinct the corresponding sequences are in two different organisms, the more distantly related they must be. (119)

These are not only the surviving annals of the history of life, but also handbooks of the mechanisms of evolutionary change. The field of molecular evolution--only a few decades old--permits us to decode the record at the heart of life on Earth. Pedigrees are written in these sequences, carrying us back not a few generations, but most of the way to the origin of life. Molecular biologists have learned to read them and to calibrate the profound kinship of all life on Earth. The recesses of the nucleic acids are thick with ancestral shadows. (119)

Startling similarities among the functional sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts are seen throughout the biological world, similarities that could not have come about unless--beneath the apparent diversity of life on Earth--there was an underlying and fundamental unity. That unity exists, it seems clear, because every living thing on Earth is descended from the same ancestor 4 billion years ago; because we are all kin. (119)

This is a principal means by which life evolves--exploiting imperfections in copying despite the cost. It is not how we would do it. It does not seem to be how a Deity intent on special creation would do it. The mutations have no plan, no direction behind them; their randomness seems chilling; progress, if any, is agonizingly slow. The process sacrifices all those beings who are now less fit to perform their life tasks because of the new mutation--crickets who no longer hop high, birds with malformed wings, dolphins gasping for breath, great elms succumbing to blight. Why not more efficient, more compassionate mutations? Why must resistance to malaria carry a penalty in anemia? We want to urge evolution to get to where it's going and stop the endless cruelties. But life doesn't know where it's going. It has no long-term plan. There's no end in mind. There's no mind to keep an end in mind. The process is the opposite of teleology. Life is profligate, blind, at this level unconcerned with notions of justice. It can afford to waste multitudes. (119)

There is a vast molecular industry that repairs or replaces damaged or mutated DNA. In a typical DNA molecule, hundreds of nucleotides are inspected every second and many nucleotide substitutions or errors corrected. The corrections are then themselves proofread, so that there is only about one error in every billion nucleotides copied. Long-lived organisms such as humans devote considerable attention to repairing the silent regions; short-lived organisms such as mice do not, and often die filled with tumors. Longevity and DNA repair are connected. (119)

Whether there were many instances of the origin of life on Earth or only one is a deep and perhaps impenetrable mystery. For all we know, there may have been millions of dead ends and false starts, unmourned ancient genealogies snuffed out as new ones arose. But it seems very clear that there's only one hereditary line leading to all life now on Earth. Every organism is a relative, a distant cousin, of every other. This is manifest when we compare how all the organisms on Earth do business, how they're built, what they're made of, what genetic language they speak, and especially how similar their blueprints and molecular job orders are. All life is kin. (119)

In a way, the longing for immortality, so characteristic of Western civilization, is a longing for the ultimate regression into the past--to our single-celled ancestors in the seething primeval ocean. (119)

Each long DNA double helix is called a chromosome. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The total number of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts is about 4 billion pairs of letters in our double-stranded hereditary instructions. The information content is roughly that of a thousand different books with the size and fineness of print of the one you're reading at this moment. While the variation from species to species is large, similar numbers apply to many other "higher" organisms. (119)

The more you know how to do, the more advanced you are--and, you might think, the better your chances for survival. But the DNA instructions for making a human being comprise some 4 billion nucleotide pairs, while those for a common one-celled amoeba contain 300 billion nucleotide pairs. There is little evidence that amoebae are almost a hundred times more "advanced" than humans, although the proponents of only one side of this question have been heard from to date. Again, some, maybe even most, of the genetic instructions must be redundancies, stutters, untranscribable nonsense. Again we glimpse deep imperfections at the heart of life. (119)

There are around ten thousand active genes in a typical "higher" mammal. Anyone of them may vary from individual to individual and group to group. A few are extinguished for a time or for all time. A few are spanking new and are being spread quickly through the population. Most are old-timers. How useful any given gene is (in the population of wolves or humans or whatever mammal we have in mind) depends on the environment, and that's changing too. (119)

On the basis of all the evidence, the closest relative of the human proves to be the chimp. The closest relative of the chimp is the human. Not orangs, but people. Us. Chimps and humans are nearer kin than are chimps and gorillas or any other kinds of ape not of the same species. Gorillas are the next closest relatives, both to chimps and humans. The more remote the kinship--when we go to monkeys or lemurs or, say, tree shrews--the less the similarity in sequence. By these standards, humans and chimps are about as closely related as horses and donkeys, and are closer relatives than mice and rats, or turkeys and chickens, or camels and llamas. (119)

A typical difference between your DNA--all of it, including the untranscribed nonsense--and that of any other human being is roughly 0.1% or less. By this standard, chimps differ from humans only about 20 times more than we differ from one another. That seems awfully close. We must be very careful that those "mortifying reflections" of which Congreve spoke do not make us exaggerate the differences and blind us to our kinship. If we want to understand ourselves by closely examining other beings, chimps are a good place to start. (119)

We're not descended from chimps (or vice versa); so there's no necessary reason why any particular chimp trait need be shared by humans. But they're so closely related to us that we might reasonably guess that we share many of their hereditary predispositions--perhaps more effectively inhibited or redirected, but smoldering in us nevertheless. We're constrained by the rules that, through society, we impose on ourselves. But relax the rules, even hypothetically, and we can see what's been churning and fermenting inside us all along. Beneath the elegant varnish of law and civilization, of language and sensibility--remarkable accomplishments, to be sure--just how different from chimpanzees are we? (119)

In a typical modern chronology, the line that would lead to us split off from Old World Monkeys about 25 million years (m.y.) ago; from the gibbons, 18 m.y. ago; from orangutans around 14 m.y. ago; from gorillas some 8 m.y. ago; and from the chimps approximately 6 m.y. ago. Bonobos and common chimps went their separate ways only about 3 m.y. ago; Our genus, Homo, is 2 million years old. Our species, Homo sapiens, is maybe 100,000 to 200,000 years old--the equivalent of the last day in the life of that fifty-year-old. (119)

To balance whatever dangerous tendencies we perceive in ourselves is the knowledge that in our ancestors and close relatives, violence is inhibited, controlled and, in encounters within the species at least, devoted mainly to symbolic ends; that we are gifted in making alliances and friendships, that politics is our business, that we are capable of self-knowledge and new forms of social organization; and that we are able, better than any species that ever lived on Earth, to figure things out and to build things that never were. (119)

According to Theodore Schurr of the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas, several laboratories, his own included, have found four main mtDNA lineages, called haplogroups, among the native populations of the Americas. Conveniently labeled A, B, C, and D, they are also found in most modern populations in Asia. The exception is Siberia, where B is absent. Importantly, the four haplogroups ­ A, B, C, and D - are never found among Europeans, Africans, or Australians. ...throughout recorded history, there has always been considerable intermarriage between Indians and people of both European and African origins, and it would be highly surprising if the H and L lineages were absent. But the other European haplogroup, known as X, is another story. It is found in both Europe and the Indian subcontinent, but nowhere else in Asia nor in the native populations of South America. Instead it is scattered among North American tribes as distant from one another, at least geographically, as the Ojibway of the upper Midwest, the Zuni of the Southwest, and the Bella Coola of the Pacific Northwest. (130)

Gamble and company stressed that it had taken nearly four thousand years for humans to spread north only eight hundred miles into a region they already knew existed. More important, however, was the nature of the evidence of the initial penetration of the northern third of the European continent. The earliest sites were few, small, widely dispersed, and virtually invisible, and Gamble ascribed them to what he called the "Pioneer Phase" of colonization, which by its very nature was highly ephemeral. For several thousand years, this would remain the case, until populations began to increase significantly, sites became larger and more common, and the threshold of visibility had been crossed. At this point, humans would have passed on to what Gamble called the "Residential Phase" of colonization. Standing as we were at Meadowcroft, one of literally only a handful of early New World sites, we heard Gamble's point loud and clear. Sites such as Meadowcroft and Monte Verde represent the Pioneer Phase in the peopling of the New World, while the Clovis horizon marked the threshold of visibility and the initiation of the Residential Phase. (130)

The earliest major branching on the genetic tree stood out dramatically. It showed the exodus of fully modern man, homo sapiens sapiens, from his African cradle. Other milestones were equally obvious and exciting. They signified the moments long ago when a few daring southeast Asians hopped a raft of opportunity to Australia, when Middle Eastern hunters, maybe in the pursuit of big game, forded the Bosporus Strait to enter Europe and when a small band of Arctic adventurers followed a causeway across the Bering Strait to the Americas. (131)

There have been remarkable variations in the rate of evolution. For long periods it has marked time, and then some force, hitherto unidentified, has initiated a phase of rapid change, a revolution changing so many forms of plant and animal life as to alter the general complexion of life on the earth. All paleontologists appear to agree on this point. Doctor Simpson uses the term "Virenzperiod" to define the periods of rapid change. Others refer to "explosive" phases of evolution or to "quantum evolution." It must be understood that development during these periods is rapid only relatively; new forms are still not created overnight. One phenomenon that frequently occurs during these periods is termed "adaptive radiation." This is a kind of explosion in which one form (or species) rapidly gives rise to dozens, scores, or even hundreds of new forms apparently at one and the same time. (132)

Displacements of the earth's crust appear to be the connecting link between these different processes: they explain, at one and the same time, ice ages, mountain formation, and the significant turning points of evolution. To sum up: It would seem that in crust displacement we have the missing factor that can bring all the other evolutionary factors into proper focus and correct perspective. By crust displacements we may accelerate the tempo of natural selection, provide the conditions of isolation and competition required for change in life forms, and account for periods of revolutionary change, for the distribution of species across oceans and climatic zones, and for the extinction of species. We may also account for the significant association of turning points in evolution with geological and climatic changes, presenting them as different results of the same cause. But for crust displacements to have had these effects, and if they are, indeed, to account for the evolution of species, they must have occurred very often throughout the history of the earth. (132)

Mutations are a continuing and inexhaustable source of variation, and they provide the raw material that is shaped by natural selection. Since mutations can duplicate, delete, invert, and rewrite any part of the genetic system in any organism, they can produce any change that evolution has documented. In this respect, evolution is as much a fact as anything we know in science. It is a fact that we humans did not appear suddenly on this planet, de novo creations without ancestors, and it is a fact that the threads of ancestry are clear for us and for hundreds of other species and groups. It's true that the historical record is incomplete, subject to interpretation and open to revision, especially in the light of new discoveries. Evolution is both a fact and a theory. It is a fact that evolutionary change took place. And evolution is also a theory that seeks to explain the detailed mechanism behind that change. What this means, of course, is that the microevolutionary processes so scorned by critics of evolution are more than sufficient to account for even the fastest transitions documented in the fossil record. The mechanism isn't missing, it isn't too slow, and it isn't even theoretical. The mechanism of evolution is real, is observable, and is more than adequate to the task at hand. (133)

What evolution does is to add parts that expand, improve, and sometimes completely refashion living systems. Once the expansion and remodeling is complete, every part of the final working system may indeed be necessary, just like the malleus, incus, and stapes. That interlocking necessity does not mean that the system could not have evolved from a simpler version - and in this case we know that is exactly what happened. As a result, events with quantum unpredictability, including cosmic ray movements, radioactive disintegration, and even molecular copying errors, exert direct influences on the sequences of bases in DNA. This means that life is built around a chemistry that provides an amplifying mechanism for quantum events, not unlike our randomized mouse, but with far greater significance. Mutations, which provide the raw material of genetic variation, are just as unpredictable as a single photon passing through a diffraction slit. Schrodinger didn't wonder what this could tell us about evolution, but the lesson is clear - the fact that mutation and variation are inherently unpredictable means that the course of evolution is, too. In other words, evolutionary history can turn on a very, very small dime - the quantum state of a single subatomic particle. It's not just a pair of colliding electrons that defy prediction. The mutations and genetic interactions that drive evolution are also unpredictable, even in principle. This is something biologists, almost universally, have not yet come to grips with. And its consequences are enormous. It certainly means that we should wonder more than we currently do about the saying that life is made of "mere" matter. The true materialism of life is bound up in a series of inherently unpredictable events that science, even in principle, can never master completely. Life surely is explicable in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry, just as Schrodinger hoped, but the catch is that those laws themselves deny us an ultimate knowledge of what causes what, and what will happen next. (133)

What evolution tells us is that life spreads out along endless branching pathways from any starting point. One of those tiny branches eventually led to us. We think it remarkable and wonder how it could have happened, but any fair assessment of the tree of life shows that our tiny branch is crowded into insignificance by those that bolted off in a thousand different directions. Our species, Homo sapiens, has not triumphed in the evolutionary struggle any more than has a squirrel, a dandelion, or a mosquito. We are all here, now, and that's what matters. We have all followed different pathways to find ourselves in the present. We are all winners in the game of natural selection. Current winners, we should be careful to say. It is often said that a Darwinian universe is one in which the random collisions of particles govern all events and therefore the world is without meaning. I disagree. A world without meaning would be one in which a Deity pulled the string of every human puppet, and every material particle as well. In such a world, physical and biological events would be carefully controlled, evil and suffering could be minimized, and the outcome of historical processes strictly regulated. All things would move towards the Creator's clear, distinct, established goals. (133)

Though those succession rules appear complex, they were based on what those who write about royal dynasties call "bloodlines"--what we now should recognize as sophisticated DNA genealogies that also distinguished between general DNA inherited from the parents as well as the mitochondrial DNA that is inherited by females only from the mother. The complex yet basic rule was this: Dynastic lines continue through the male line; the Firstborn son is next in succession; a half-sister could be taken as wife if she had a different mother, and if a son by a half-sister is later born, that son--though not firstborn--becomes the Legal Heir and the dynastic successor. (137)

When all the available evidence, implemental and skeletal, is considered, it is quite difficult to construct any kind of evolutionary sequence. What we are left with is the supposition that there have been various types of human and humanlike beings, living at the same time and manufacturing stone tools of various levels of sophistication, for tens of millions of years into the past. (138)

The California team devised a statistical model to measure the rate of MtDNA mutation over time. What they found was that different populations of humans living in diverse areas of the world exhibited different degrees of variation. The variation between Africans was found to be greater than that between any other population grouping, indicating that people from that continent are older than those from anywhere else. Their genes have had more time to mutate. The inescapable logic of this argument is that all modern hmans are in fact descendent from a single female living in Africa over 100,000 years ago. More recent research in other genetic areas, including Y-chromosome studies that look at paternal inheritance, has added its weight to this argument, and the same conclusion has been reached: Our genes tell us that we all share a very recent African origin. (142)

Diversity logically breeds change. It is reasonably straightforward, then, to see how the variety of plants at the bottom of the food chain in turn drives and defines the diversity of the animals that feed off them. With this vast vegetative splendor, it is not surprising that Africa has more different kinds of mammals than almost all the other continents combined. It is this diversity that spurred human evolution, providing the stimuli that drove the isolation of one line of apes, our earliest ancestors, to evolve over five million years into modern human beings. (142)

Today's chimps and gorillas are adaptations of large-bodied apes to tropical evergreen forests. Hominids, in contrast, are adaptations of large-bodied apes living everywhere except evergreen forests. In other words they became generalists. This is the fundamental difference between chimps (and their evolution over the past seven million years or so) and hominid, who developed from those apes that found themselves on the fringes of the forest. Faced by encroaching grassland, they had to adapt their lifestyles to a greater degree, a process that ultimately led to bipedalism, the ability to walk on two legs. (142)

...humans are the only primates that sweat, a process that enables the body to lose heat and that indirectly helps maintain internal temperature control. (142)

There is agreement, however, that the ape-men can be divided into two categories - the graciles and the robusts (who some argue should be recognized as a separate genus - Paranthropus, or "near man". As the names suggest, the gracile skulls had finer facial features, while the robusts had enormous jaws and teeth. (142)

The response in the greater hominid family to these conditions is interesting. Two contradictory evolutionary survival strategies emerge: One involves specialization - those hominids that adapted themselves very specifically to the harsh new habitats; and the second involves a generalist response - morphologically opportunist hominids who did not become too dependent on anyone habitat. The robust australopithecines were the specialists, adapting almost entirely to grassland food types, whereas early Homo was apparently a generalist, living and feeding in whatever habitat was most conducive to staying alive. In hindsight, human evolution obviously favored the generalists, who handled the stress of a changing environment more effectively and thereby crossed the cerebral Rubicon by developing bigger brains. (142)

The pattern of hominid evolution was not like a linear Chain of Being after all. It was like a bush of branches, only one of which made the grade to the later stages of human evolution, while the other branches were doomed to ultimate extinction. (142)

Because of the large gaps in the fossil record, it is by no means clear how much of the universe of early hominids we actually know; and there have been such a variety of new hominid finds that the relationship between them is confusing. As a result, and given that our overall sample is so small, any new hominid discovery has the potential to stand the entire science on its head. Because of the large gaps in the fossil record, it is by no means clear how much of the universe of early hominids we actually know; and there have been such a variety of new hominid finds that the relationship between them is confusing. As a result, and given that our overall sample is so small, any new hominid discovery has the potential to stand the entire science on its head. (142)

As best we can tell the first modern humans appeared in Africa between 100 and 200 kya. Between 100 and 10 kya they spread into Eurasia, across to Australia and eventually into the Americas. This period coincides largely with the time covered by the last ice age. (145)

Neanderthals had a relatively wide body and this body morpology, which among modern humans is always associated with cold environments, lends strong support to the view that they were 'cold adapted'. The modern humans that displaced Neanderthals in Europe did not have the same body proportions but, instead, were defined as being 'gracile' (longer and leaner), suggesting a more equatorial origin for these populations with subsequent northward migration in Europe. (145)

Palaeopathological studies of skeletons found on the eastern Mediterranean region provide a measure of these changes. During the late Palaeolithic (30 to 12 kya) the average height of mature males found in sites from the Ukraine and the Balkans to Israel and North Africa was about 177 cm, whilst for women the figure was 166.5 cm. Even by the late Mesolithic (10 kya), these figures had fallen by about 5 cm. This decline increased during the late Neolithic (5 kya) to between 10 and 15 cm. Matters improved during classical times (500 BC to AD 500) when men had an average height of around 170 cm, and women 157 cm. These figures remained typical for northern Europe until the Middle Ages. There was then a decline in stature, especially in urban areas, so that in the industrial towns of nineteenth-century Europe grown men were on average 12 to 15 cm shorter than the modern humans who first occupied the continent some 35 kya. (145)

Molecular biologists have now identified from the study of DNA that our genes are about 98 per cent the same as the African apes. (160)

The reality is that Neanderthals had a slightly larger brain than the average modern human. Furthermore, they existed for a staggering 1.5 million years before disappearing some 25,000 years ago. They therefore had an immense amount of time to develop their own form of sophistication. Anyone who doubts that they were fully human needs only to study the beautiful works of art that they left behind, or take in the clear signs of ritual and social structure. (160)

Africa

Anthropologists associate prehistoric North Africans with the European Cro-Magnon type. Among other physical characteristics, they were of great stature (5 feet 7 inches for the average man), had a wide face and a dolichocephalic (oblong) skull, and great cranial capacity (1,650 cubic centimeters). The North African Cro-Magnon was the dominant human type in North Africa until the arrival of proto-Mediterranean (Capsian) cultures. (70)

The fragment of a barbed bone harpoon at Taforalt indicates contact of some sort with the Magdalenians, and the “Mechta-Afalou" physical type associated with Iberomaurusian remains is of the same Cro-Magnon stock that seeded Upper Paleolithic Europe. Moreover, the Iberomaurusians do not appear to have been descended from the earlier occupants of the Maghreb, and their origins are still a mystery. But this unspectacular and art-poor North African culture is so far removed from Magdalenian traditions that it is difficult to see how both have been colonies of the same power. The Iberomaurusians not only lacked the Magdalenian artistic genius, at least imperishable materials, but the two cultures fundamentally diverged in burial customs and initiation procedures. Hundreds of Iberomaurusian dead have been recovered from large cemeteries in North African caves, as opposed to the scarce and usually isolated Magdalenian burials, and all Iberomaurusian crania show evidence of tooth avulsion in puberty (in this case the removal of the two upper central incisors and occasionally the two lower ones as well), presumably an adolescent initiation practice for which there are no parallels in Europe. (115)

After she considered various phylogenetic alternatives and found the evidence for all of them inconclusive, Shipman stated: "We could assert that we have no evidence whatsoever of where Homo arises from and remove all members of the genus Australopithecus from the hominid family...I've such a visceral negative reaction to this idea that I suspect I am unable to evaluate it rationally. I was brought up on the notion that Australopithecus is a hominid." Having reviewed the history of African discoveries related to human evolution, we can make the following summary observations. (1) There is a significant amount of evidence from Africa suggesting that beings resembling anatomically modern humans were present in the Early Pleistocene and Pliocene. (2) The conventional image of Australopithecus as a very humanlike terrestrial biped appears to be false. (3) The status of Australopithecus and Homo erectus as human ancestors is questionable. (4) The status of Homo habilis as a distinct species is questionable. (5) Even confining ourselves to conventionally accepted evidence, the multiplicity of proposed evolutionary linkages among the hominids in Africa presents a very confusing picture. Combining these finding with those from the preceding chapters, we conclude that the total evidence including fossil bones and artifacts, is most consistent with the view that anatomically modern humans have coexisted with other primates for tens of millions of years. (138)

...given the variability emerging in the hominid fossil record, we just don't have a universal rule that will allow us to say "this is Homo and this is not." (142)

Major haplogroups are continental or ethnically specific. Three of them (L1, L2 and L3) are sub-Saharan African lineages; nine (H, I, J, K, T, U, V, W and X) encompass almost all mtDNAs from European, North African and Western Asian Caucasians. The remaining haplogroups A, B, C, D, E, F, G and M embrace the majority of the lineages described for Asia, Oceania and Native Americans. (145)

When comparing parameters of health as revealed by prehistoric skeletons, in most instances older hunter-gatherer groups exhibited higher levels of health and nutrition than did the farmers who succeeded them. (170)

Southwest Asia

According to one physical anthropologist, all of the burials at Ain Mallaha were of the Robust or Eurafrican type of Proto-Mediterranean; all those at Nahal Oren were Gracile Proto-Mediterranean. She believes that these two sub-races, which still dominate the Mediterranean populations of today, diverged from a common ancestor many thousands of years before meeting again in tenth millennium Palestine. (115)

From one single region, the Middle East on Cavalli-Sforza's map, sprung all the colonizers who brought farming to Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia, India, Anatolia, Europe, Ukraine, and even Egypt. The genetic distance between the newcomers and those left behind had grown through time. But in addition he had shown that the branchings of the genetic tree conformed quite precisely to those of the linguistic tree. Cavalli-Sforza had, in fact, confirmed a suspicion of Charles Darwin's that "if the tree of genetic evolution were known, it would enable scholars to predict that of linguistic evolution." (131)

Egypt

 Petrie found from studying skeletons that sixty per cent of the members of the Thinite pre-dynastic court in Egypt were also Mediterranean men. (135)

Indus Valley

 Anatomists have learned from an examination of skeletons that the ruling classes in Mohenjo-Daro were Mediterranean men. (135)

China

 Most of the hominid bones discovered in the cave at Zhoukoudian were cranial fragments. Weidenreich particularly noted that the relatively complete skulls all lacked portions of the central part of the base. He observed that in modern Melanesian skulls "the same injuries occur as the effects of ceremonial cannibalism." Besides the missing basal sections, Weidenreich also noted other signs that might possibly be attributed to the deliberate application of force. For example some of the skulls showed impact marks of a type that "can only occur if bone is still in a state of plasticity," indicating that "the injuries described must have been inflicted during life or soon after death." Some of the few long bones of Sinanthropus found at Zhoukoudian also displayed signs that to Weidenrei suggested human breakage, perhaps for obtaining marrow. (138)

Europe

Once in Europe, the timing and geographical distribution markers suggests that Aurignacian group remained most prevalent in western and southern Europe, while the Gravettian group thrived in eastern and central Europe. As the climate worsened during the LGM, those carrying the' Aurignacian' marker apparently withdrew to refugia in the Iberian Peninsula and the Ukraine, while the Gravettian culture collected in the Balkans. After the LGM these groups moved out of the refugia and their populations expanded rapidly. (145)

South America

 

Andean peoples with extraordinary cardiovascular systems. Genetics and life-long exposure to the strains of life at high altitudes have produced people who can work hard in air extremely low in oxygen, while others unadapted to this environment can hardly function. (52)

Tradition held that the Incas were red or brown-haired. Being red-haired was a characteristic of certain sea-people and was totally foreign to American Indians. (135)

Furthermore, there are different proposals for which 'source' populations in Asia gave rise to New World populations: Y-chromosome data implicate Mongolia/ Manchuria and/or extreme southeastern Siberia as the ancestral homeland; whereas mtDNA data point to Mongolia, North China, Tibet and/or Korea as the candidate source regions in Asia. More specifically, it has been argued that the first wave of immigrants most closely resembled the prehistoric Jomon people of Japan and their closest modern descendants, the Ainu, from the island of Hokkaido. The Jomon and Ainu have skull and facial characteristics more physically similar to those of Europeans than to mainland Asians. (145)

Mesoamerica

 When the heavy tombstone was finally lifted, the sarcophagus contained the well­preserved skeleton of a white man who must have been at least 180 cm, or 70 inches tall; but the average height of a Maya rarely exceeded 150 cm, or 60 inches. The bas-relief was engraved with twenty-four hieroglyphs not yet deciphered. The sarcophagus was in the form of a fish - a symbol common to many ancient religions and probably hinting at the aquatic origin of man. (141)

Furthermore, there are different proposals for which 'source' populations in Asia gave rise to New World populations: Y-chromosome data implicate Mongolia/ Manchuria and/or extreme southeastern Siberia as the ancestral homeland; whereas mtDNA data point to Mongolia, North China, Tibet and/or Korea as the candidate source regions in Asia. More specifically, it has been argued that the first wave of immigrants most closely resembled the prehistoric Jomon people of Japan and their closest modern descendants, the Ainu, from the island of Hokkaido. The Jomon and Ainu have skull and facial characteristics more physically similar to those of Europeans than to mainland Asians. (145)

The history of the Xoloitzcuintli made a particularly useful candidate for exploring questions about the genetic origins of dogs in North America: did they come with the first people from Beringia, or were they domesticated North American wolves? Genetic analysis of Xoloitzcuintlis found there was no connection with New World wolves. The only common haplotype in this breed that is found in both wolves and dogs was identified as one presently found in a species of wolf in Romania and European Russia. The difference in the genetic profiles of the hairless dogs and the Romanian wolves suggests they separated some 40 kya. Given when the first Americans arrived in North America, the fact that dogs came with them suggests that the timing was closer to the split between wolf and dog rather than more recently, otherwise the Xoloitzcuintli would have closer links with a wider range of Old World wolves. This observation also supports the general case for active connections between dogs and men extending well back into the ice age. (145)

North America

 So far, all that the older skeletons tell us for sure converges with what the linguists and the molecular biologists tell us: that more than one group of people showed up here a long time ago and populated the entire hemisphere. This too is what the archaeological record now shows with considerable clarity. After more than a half century, the questions of who they were, when they got here, and how remain wide open. Indeed, we are living in one of the most dynamic periods in the history of New World archaeology. (130)

Furthermore, there are different proposals for which 'source' populations in Asia gave rise to New World populations: Y-chromosome data implicate Mongolia/ Manchuria and/or extreme southeastern Siberia as the ancestral homeland; whereas mtDNA data point to Mongolia, North China, Tibet and/or Korea as the candidate source regions in Asia. More specifically, it has been argued that the first wave of immigrants most closely resembled the prehistoric Jomon people of Japan and their closest modern descendants, the Ainu, from the island of Hokkaido. The Jomon and Ainu have skull and facial characteristics more physically similar to those of Europeans than to mainland Asians. (145)

The history of the Xoloitzcuintli made a particularly useful candidate for exploring questions about the genetic origins of dogs in North America: did they come with the first people from Beringia, or were they domesticated North American wolves? Genetic analysis of Xoloitzcuintlis found there was no connection with New World wolves. The only common haplotype in this breed that is found in both wolves and dogs was identified as one presently found in a species of wolf in Romania and European Russia. The difference in the genetic profiles of the hairless dogs and the Romanian wolves suggests they separated some 40 kya. Given when the first Americans arrived in North America, the fact that dogs came with them suggests that the timing was closer to the split between wolf and dog rather than more recently, otherwise the Xoloitzcuintli would have closer links with a wider range of Old World wolves. This observation also supports the general case for active connections between dogs and men extending well back into the ice age. (145)

Other

 

 It may seem an unlikely place to look for clues to the past inhabitants of Egypt, but the pieces of this puzzle are scattered far and wide. The Museum of the Canaries on the island of Gran Canarie boasts the largest collection of Cro-Magnon skulls in the world. Also of interest are agricultural terraces built from rounded boulders, of unknown origin, found throughout the islands. On the island of Tenerife lies a pyramid complex made of black volcanic stone. The architectural and engineering techniques used to build its six "step"-style pyramids are similar to those found in Mexico, Peru, and ancient Mesopotamia. The main pyramid complex, including its plazas, was found to be astronomically oriented to sunset at the summer solstice in the same way the pyramids of Egypt were oriented to cardinal points. (70)

When the first modern Europeans arrived in the Canary Islands during the early fourteenth century, they were surprised by the physical characteristics of its Guanche inhabitants, which were not too different from those of white populations in the southern regions of the Mediterranean. Investigators of the nineteenth century were further surprised by the similarity between the forty-thousand-year-old skeleton of Cro-Magnon man found in Dordogne, France, and remains of the Guanches. Some researchers believe the similarities were not only physical, but also cultural, as evidenced by the Guanche cave paintings at Galdar, Belmaco, Parque Cultural La Zarza, and Los Letreros caves, for example. As did Cro-Magnon cultures, the Guanche painted caves with zigzags, squares, and spiral symbols using red and black paint. The Guanche continued the practice of cave painting until the fourteenth century. (70)