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Extensive DNA Study Sheds Light on Modern Human Origins
September 20, 2012
"The deepest divergence of all living people occurred some 100,000 years ago, well before modern humans migrated out of Africa and about twice as old as the divergences of central African Pygmies and East African hunter-gatherers and from other African groups," says lead author Dr Carina Schlebusch, a Wits University PhD-graduate now conducting post-doctoral research at Uppsala University in Sweden.
Questions: Does this mean that African Pygmies and the "East African hunter-gatherers and 'other African groups' are not human as we understand the term today? If they are not human, what are they?
Question: Does this mean that once this "divergence" of the Khoe and San tribes took place in Africa, no further "evolution" happened? Are we not all still homo sapiens sapiens, despite thousands of years passing since this "divergence" -- well, except for problem groups like the Pygmies (and let us not forget so-called 'Neanderthal' man, and the mysterious Denisovians)? Are not Pygmies still Pygmies after even more thousands of years of their assumed "divergence" from whomever they are supposed to have "diverged" from?
Question: What is the difference between genetic drift and "evolution?"
The researchers also looked for signals across the genome of ancient adaptations that happened before the historical separation of the Khoe-San lineage from other humans. "Although all humans today carry similar variants in these genes, the early divergence between Khoe-San and other human groups allowed us to zoom-in on genes that have been fast-evolving in the ancestors of all of us living on the planet today," said Pontus Skoglund from Uppsala University.
Among the strongest candidates were genes involved in skeletal development that may have been crucial in determining the characteristics of anatomically modern humans.
Question: If in the past certain genes were capable of "fast-evolving" - is this still happening today? If not, why not? And, if so, where is the evidence of human beings "evolving" into something - other?