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Thread: Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago

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    Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago

    Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, substantially earlier than indicated by most DNA-based estimates, according to new research by a UCL academic.

    The research, published in Science Advances, analysed dental evolutionary rates across different hominin species, focusing on early Neanderthals. It shows that the teeth of hominins from Sima de los Huesos, Spain - ancestors of the Neanderthals - diverged from the modern human lineage earlier than previously assumed.
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea...-nam050919.php
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    Let's see what critique it will get.

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    Chris Stringer has this to say on twitter:

    Pushing the ancestor so far back creates probs in matching genetic+fossil data.The dating of the Sima sample, with very Nea-like teeth, is key. This site is well dated to ~430ka but I would like to see direct dating applied to the fossils to confirm they are definitely that age..
    https://twitter.com/ChrisStringer65/...33933448663040

    and also points to this:

    ‘Dental shape in [Sima] is unexpectedly derived toward the Nea condition, both in expression of Nea discrete features & in extreme degree of postcanine reduction in..number and size of cusps..Dental shape..is so derived that it is not representative of other Nea populations’
    https://twitter.com/ChrisStringer65/...54745702486021

    It seems that Sima de los Huesos is the main cause for the redating. But Sima is also the one with the strange mtDNA. Could that be related?

    EDIT: Maybe we could think up wild ideas. Such as: Neanderthals originated from Heidelberg admixted with the predecessors of AMH, and especially the predecessors of the Irhoud men? Then the mtDNA in Sima would be ancestral Heidelberg, and coincidentally sampled from a population that has both this and the Neanderthal mtDNA that is closer to AMH. The latter became the default as a result from a founder effect. Neanderthals have been near extinction more than once.
    Last edited by epoch; 05-18-2019 at 03:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    Chris Stringer has this to say on twitter:



    https://twitter.com/ChrisStringer65/...33933448663040

    and also points to this:



    https://twitter.com/ChrisStringer65/...54745702486021

    It seems that Sima de los Huesos is the main cause for the redating. But Sima is also the one with the strange mtDNA. Could that be related?

    EDIT: Maybe we could think up wild ideas. Such as: Neanderthals originated from Heidelberg admixted with the predecessors of AMH, and especially the predecessors of the Irhoud men? Then the mtDNA in Sima would be ancestral Heidelberg, and coincidentally sampled from a population that has both this and the Neanderthal mtDNA that is closer to AMH. The latter became the default as a result from a founder effect. Neanderthals have been near extinction more than once.
    Denisovans are continuing Heidelbergs, then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    Denisovans are continuing Heidelbergs, then.
    This would make Neanderthals significantly closer to AMH than Denisovans so would be easy to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaikorth View Post
    This would make Neanderthals significantly closer to AMH than Denisovans so would be easy to see.
    It wouldn't if the admixture was small, would it? Say 20%-30%. More or less like EHG is closer to MA1 than to WHG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    It wouldn't if the admixture was small, would it? Say 20%-30%. More or less like EHG is closer to MA1 than to WHG.
    It would have to be pretty small amounts since these tests are quite sensitive, using your example normal D-stats can detect that EHG is closer to WHG than MA-1 is or closer to MA-1 than WHG is or closer to WSHG than to MA-1, so checking if Neanderthal is significantly closer to AMH than Denisovan is should be testable using the ancient South African as AMH. Even if the statistic is significant, something super-archaic in Denisovan might be throwing it off instead of AMH in Neanderthals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaikorth View Post
    It would have to be pretty small amounts since these tests are quite sensitive, using your example normal D-stats can detect that EHG is closer to WHG than MA-1 is or closer to MA-1 than WHG is or closer to WSHG than to MA-1, so checking if Neanderthal is significantly closer to AMH than Denisovan is should be testable using the ancient South African as AMH. Even if the statistic is significant, something super-archaic in Denisovan might be throwing it off instead of AMH in Neanderthals.
    I like to stress that this all is just a bunch of free thoughts and wild ideas, but the roughly 9% Neanderthal admixture in Oase 1 was enough to give a noticeable change in dental characteristics. The teeth were already considered proof of Neanderthal admixture before DNA was sampled. And the current thinking of the mtDNA in Sima is that later on a very old AMH-Neanderthal admixture event introduced the later mtDNA. That must have been at least 270.000 years old.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms16046

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