coffin nails for MR and OoA

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 15:22:11 -0600

I just read a fascinating article which presents serious challenges to both
extreme views of human origins in anthropology and amazingly tends to
support a view which is much more compatible with the way Scripture
describes human origins IF one views humanity as being more than 2 million
years old.
The two competing views are multiregionalism (MR) which was
espoused by Franz Weidenreich with his polycentric model for human origin.
This was a view in which the populations were viewed as evolving into modern
humans simultaneously. The simultaneity was choreographed by gene flow
between the various groups of humans (See Wolpoff and Caspari, p.201).
Wolpoff and Alan Thorne have updated Weidenreich's view (Thorne and Wolpoff,
1981) This view could be labeled "gene flow multiregionalism" (gfMR).
Multiregionalism was given a very bad name in the early 1960s by Carlton
Coon who removed the gene flow from the model (Wolpoff and Caspari, p. 163)
and thus believed that each different ethnic population became human at a
different time from different ancestors. Each ethnic group was isolated from
the others. Coon believed that each group had crossed the sapiens threshold
at a different time. This of course raised all sorts of racist questions
like, who was the last group to become human? Coon's view could be labeled
"no flow multiregionalism" (nfMR).
Because of the racist implications of Coon's MR, as opposed to
Weidenreich's multiregionalism, many anthropologists rejected
multiregionalism and developed a bias in favor of any view except
multiregionalism. So when in the late 1980s Cann, Stoneking and Wilson
(1987) published their analysis of mtDNA lineages purporting to show that
all modern humans were the descendants of a single female who lived
somewhere between 60 and 200,000 years ago, anthropologists jumped on the
bandwagon with vigor. This view is probably the most widely accepted view in
anthropology today. It is known as the Out of Africa(OoA) hypothesis. Modern
humanity, in this view, was seen as a unity who had arisen far too recently
for there to have been any genetic continuity with the earlier populations.
This view required that an originally small band of Africans completely
replaced all archaic forms of the genus Homo with very little genetic
intermingling of the two populations. Other implications are that there
should be a genetic split between Africans and non-Africans, Eve must have
resided in Africa, and that the geographic distribution of genes must
reflect the total replacement of the archaic population. These predictions
of the Eve theory are testable.

A significant minority of anthropologists even today accept
multiregionalism(gfMR) but none I know of accept Coon's version of nfMR.
Until recently most of the arguments in favor of MR have been based upon
continuity of regional features seen in ancient fossils and modern
populations of the same region. Examples among others are the shovel shaped
teeth and wormian bones of modern NE Asian populations and similar shovel
shaped teeth among the fossils found at Zhou Kou Dian (Peking Man; Walker
and Shipman, 1996, p. 74; Wolpoff and Caspari, p. 194-195) and the
occurrence of the horizontal oval mandibular foramen only in Neanderthal and
modern European populations (Wolpoff and Caspari, 296-297). But until
recently, the molecular data, especially the mtDNA data, supported the OoA
In 1991 Alan Templeton (1991, p. 737) published a short note
critiquing the mathematical validity of Cann, Stoneking and Wilson's
mathematical technique. He raised serious problems which were admitted to
by at least one of the authors of the original paper, Stoneking (Hedges,
Kumar, Tamura and Stoneking, 1991, p. 737). Even committed OoA advocates
like Stringer have admitted that Templeton's critiques carried a big sting.
(see Stringer and McKie, 1996, p. 12127-128). Templeton followed his 1991
note with a full critique in 1993.
Last year, Templeton (1997) published a more comprehensive
statistical analysis of mtDNA data and showed serious misfits of the mtDNA
data both with OoA and Coon's version of MR, nfMR. This paper closed some
loop holes left by his 1991 and 1993 publications. He starts out by noting
that all of the assumptions of the OoA hypothesis do not discriminate
against a gene flow model of MR (Weidenreich and Wolpoff's view). The OoA
hypothesis requires that Eve lived in Africa. But in the gene flow model
Eve could live in Africa or anywhere else. Thus an African Eve does not rule
out gfMR. And Templeton points out that as yet no one has proven where Eve
Templeton then notes that the original Cann, Stoneking and Wilson
paper was not sampled properly geographically to actually test whether or
not there was a split in humanity predicted by the OoA in which Africans and
non-Africans should form two branches of the Human family. Templeton's data
rules out the split. He writes(1997, p. 355-356):

"The cladistic procedures outlined here provide a rigorous method
for inferring whether the geographical pattern of variation is consistent
with an historical split (fragmentation) or no split(recurrent gene flow)
using criteria that are completley explicit. For example, in analyzing the
mtDNA of tiger salamanders, a clear split into eastern and western lineages
was detected for mtDNA. Using the same explicit criteria, there was no
split among any human populations. Quite the contrary, the present analysis
documents recurrent and continual genetic interchange among all Old World
human populations throughout the entire time period marked by mt DNA.
Accordingly, estimating a date for a 'split' of Africans from non-Africans
based on evidnece from mtDNA is certainly allowed by many computer programs,
but the results are meaningless because a date is being assigned to an
'event' that never occurred."

After the analysis by Templeton, he concludes (1997, p. 351):

"Given the consistent and strong evidence for gene flow among Old World
human populaitons, the multiregional hypothesis with no gene flow and the Out
of Africa replacement hypothesis can be rejected as models for the evolution
of modern humans. The gene flow model is compatible with two other scenarios
for the evolution of modern humans: the multiregional model with gene flow,
and the single geographical origin model with subsequent spread via gene flow
and selection."

The gene flow MR hypothesis has all of the traits for modern men arising in
different localities, each spreading throughout the population like
intersecting waves. The single geographical origin model has the entire
suite of modern characteristics appear in one place and spread out to all
the other populations of humans via gene flow.

And here is what I find interesting. Both of the above views can be
consistent with a Biblical view of anthropology if the origin of humanity is
moved far back in time, i.e., at least a couple of million years. The Bible
has traditionally been interpreted to mean that Adam and Eve are the
primordial parents and that humanity spread across the earth from them.
Noah and his family represent a secondary constriction of the human race and
after that time, the human race spread out over the earth.
Placing these events within the past 100,000 years as most
Christians do, ignores modern data on nuclear genetics and ignores the
cultural evidence for religion, clothing and speech among hominids living
between 400 thousand and 2 million years ago (400 kyr Homo erectus altar,
Gore 1997, p. 110; manufacture of animal hide, Johanson et al, 1994, p. 165;
language-Falk, 1989, p. 141-142) . The nuclear DNA data clearly seems to
indicate that humanity is much older than old-earth Christians have wanted
to believe, especially since the advent of the Eve hypothesis. Templeton
discusses the nuclear genetic data in relation to the mtDNA (Templeton,
1997, p. 353):

"If the coalescence
time of mt DNA is truly about 200,000 years ago, then the expected coalescence
time of almost all nuclear genes are going to be commonly greater than one or
two million years. This places the expected coalescence times of much nuclear
DNA into a period in which all humans probably lived in Africa. Hence,
studies on nuclear DNA are expected to have an African root under all
hypotheses of modern human evolution."

and (Templeton, 1997, p. 356),

"There is not a single nuclear genetic distance study that corresponds to
the expectations of the African/non-African split hypothesis, and whenever
the distance data were explicitly used to test for goodness of fit to the
split hypothesis, it has always been rejected. Moreover, the only study to
date that directly compares mitochondrial and nuclear genetic data in the
same samples of major continental populations found inconsistencies in the
genetic distance trees that 'undermine the genetic evidence for an African
origin of modern humans'. Ironically, despite this overwhelming evidence
that there never has been a genetic split between Africans and non-Africans
but rather genetic interchange, the premise of a split is so ingrained that
many authors of these studies still talk about an African/non-African split
and date this 'event' that their own data indicates never occurred."

Only by placing Adam and Eve in the 2+ million year temporal range is the
genetic and cultural data capable of being incorporated into a Biblical


Cann, R.L., M. Stoneking and A. C. Wilson, "Mitochondrial DNA and Human
Evolution," Nature 325(1987):31-36

Falk, Dean, "Comments", Current Anthropology, 30(1989):2:141-142

Gore Rick, "The First Europeans," National Geographic, July, 1997.

Hedges, S. Blair, S. Kumar, K. Tamura and Mark Stoneking,
"Human Origins and Analysis of Mitochrondrial DNA Sequences,"
Science, 255(1991), p. 737

Johanson, Donald, Lenora Johanson, and Blake Edgar, Ancestors, (New York:
Villard Books, 1994).

Stringer, Chris and Robin McKie, "African Exodus, (New York: Henry Holt, 1996).

Templeton Alan R., "Human Origins and Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA
Sequences," Science, 255(1991), p. 737

Templeton, Alan R., "The 'Eve' Hypotheses: A Genetic Critique and
Reanalysis," American Anthropologist, 95(1993):1:51-72

Templeton, Alan R., "Testing the Out of Africa Replacement Hypothesis with
Mitochondrial DNA Data," in G. A. Clark and C. M. Willermet, ed., Conceptual
Issues in Modern Human Origins Research, (New York: Aldine de Gryuter,
1997), pp329-360

Thorne, A. G. and M. H. Wolpoff, "Regional Continuity in Australasian
Pleistocene Hominid Evolution," American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Walker, Alan and Pat Shipman, The Wisdom of the Bones, (New York:
Alfred Knopf, 1996)

Wolpoff, Milford and Rachael Caspari, Race and Human Evolution, (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1997).


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


Foundation, Fall and Flood