Mitochondrial Eve problems

From: Glenn Morton (glenn.morton@btinternet.com)
Date: Thu Jan 02 2003 - 15:51:59 EST

  • Next message: RFaussette@aol.com: "two genesis accounts don't spoil the broth for kabbalists"

    I have been reading a bunch of anthro books over the holidays and ran across
    a couple of very interesting facts which have an impact on whether or not
    mitochondrial Eve can tell us anything about human ancestry. For those who
    might not know, mitochondrial Eve (mtDNA Eve) is the lady who was lucky
    enough to have left her mitochondrial DNA in all modern humans. She is
    believed to have lived between 100 and 200 kyr ago. Her mitochodria in all
    of us has been taken as proof that there was no interbreeding between the
    peoples who came out of Africa aproximately 150,000 years ago and the
    previous old world populations, i.e., Neanderthals and H. erectus. This out
    of Africa view holds that there was a total replacement of the ancient
    hominids by the moderns.

    Many Christians have attached themselves to this theory, claiming that Eve
    is equal to Biblical Eve. While there are lots of reasons this can't be the
    case, the thrust of this note is that the logic these conclusions is
    falsified by observational evidence.

    We will start with chimpanzees. Chimpanzee females, when they become
    sexually mature have a high chance of leaving the home group. Pusey writes:

    "During my study, one female from the Kasekela and one from the Kahama
    community reached adolescence. Each, after mating within the natal
    community, visited the other community while sexually receptive. While both
    were fearful of and reluctant to mate with some of the males in their own
    community, they eagerly approached and mated with males from the new
    community, and these males also appeared to find them more attractive than
    their own females. While the Kahama female eventually joined the Kasekela
    community permanently, the Kasekela female returned, pregnant, after six
    months. Since then, almost all females have made similar visits to other
    communities during adolescence, and over half of them have left their home
    community permanently. Over the same period many new females have joined
    the community and settled thee at adolescence; others have visited for
    various periods, often in the face of considerable aggression from resident
    females. At Mahale, Tai and Kibale an even higher proportion of females
    (about 90 percent or more) have emigrated permanently during adolescence."
    Anne E. Pusey, žOf Genes and Apes: Chimpanzee Social Organization and
    Reproduction,Ó in Frans B. M. de Waal, editor, Tree of Origin: What Primate
    Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard
    University Press, 2001), p. 20

    This behavior is called patrilocal because the men stay put and the women
    migrate. What is the effect of this pattern of behavior over time? In
    chimpanzees we find:

    žSome individuals at Gombe shared mitochondrial genes with individuals
    several hundred kilometers awayůevidence for extensive successful migration
    by females in the recent past.Ó Anne E. Pusey, žOf Genes and Apes:
    Chimpanzee Social Organization and Reproduction,Ó in Frans B. M. de Waal,
    editor, Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social
    Evolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 22

    In other words, this type of behavior has the effect of spreading the female
    mitochondrial all over the place. And eventually, as with humans, one female
    chimp will be the progenitor of all chimp mitochondria although chimps have
    about 8 times the diversity of mtDNA as humans. Unlike humans, chimps can't
    cross major rivers. (see William C. McGrew, žThe Nature of Culture:
    Prospects and Pitfalls of Cultural Primatology,Ó in Frans B. M. de Waal,
    editor, Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social
    Evolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 248)

    Now when we turn to mankind we find that ancient hunter-gatherers were
    patrilocal also. Luis Arsuaga notes:

    žWhat is more, the majority of hunter-gatherer groups on record were or are
    patrilocal, meaning that sons stay in their birth groups while daughters
    leave theirs. Based on this evidence, many researchers believe it more
    likely that prehistoric hominids were also patrilocal, although Hawkes and
    her colleagues disagree.Ó Juan Luis Arsuaga, The NeanderthalŪs Necklace,
    transl. By Andy Klatt, (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), p. 164

    The effect of this is that if Human/Neanderthal interbreeding took place,
    and Neanderthals were few in number, that human females could have spread
    their mtDNA and eventually replaced the Neanderthal mtDNA. And if this
    happened, then the Neanderthal's whose mtDNA has been tested and found to be
    different from ours may have a different explaination. The three Neanderthal
    mtDNA's come from the Feldhofer Neanderthal(~40,000 years old), Mezmaiskaya
    (>45,000 years old) and Vindija (G3 level 42,400 years old). Note that the
    ages of all these Neanderthals, whose different mtDNA is taken as proof that
    there was no interbreeding between them and the moderns, are from a time
    period BEFORE modern humans even are believed to have entered Europe. Thus
    the fact that their mtDNA was different is only due to the fact that they
    were an isolated community prior to the anatomically modern human invasion.
    Their early dates preclude them from providing any information concerning
    any possible interbreeding.

    As I have posted earlier on this list, there is ample evidence for this
    crossbreeding and the evidence used against it is totally and logically
    irrelevant to that question.

    References

      L. V. Golovanova, et al, "Mezmaiskaya Cave: A Neanderthal Occupation in the
    Northern Caucasus," Current Anthropology, 40(1999):1:77-86,

    glenn

    see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
    for lots of creation/evolution information
    anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    personal stories of struggle



    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sun Jan 05 2003 - 02:22:08 EST