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Thread: Bryan Sykes new book

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    Bryan Sykes new book

    Sykes, Bryan "The Nature of the Beast: The first scientific evidence on the survival of apemen into modern times" London: Coronet Hodder & Stoughton c) 2015.
    Page count: 432
    Publication date: 17 Sep 2015
    Paperback: 8.99
    ISBN: 9781444791242

    Click on the Hodder & Stoughton to go to their page on the book. There is also a preview Kindle listing on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Nature-Bea.../dp/B00J37958E
    Last edited by dp; 04-09-2015 at 07:49 PM.
    Grace and good eure and long prosperitee. [Lydg. Mum. Goldsmiths]

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    The scientist has taken a very steep tumble from the days when he operated the first mtDNA and Y chromosome testing service (Oxford Ancestors), who when others were testing 67 plus markers, stuck to his venerable 10 Y-STR markers and mtDNA HVR1 - and in so doing made some serious errors (recall the English fellow Dr. S termed a descendant of Ghengis Khan - but with SNP testing by a reputable firm was found to be "plain old" R1a). His published work on the S.... and other British surnames was pioneering for us genetic genealogists. He was a major competitor when we stated our DNA testing corporation. OA is somehow still in business, although how many kits a year are processed is unknown to me - apparently he opts for "elegant simplicity" (according to the website). More gaffs ......................... The whole embarrassment over the Yeti - Bigfoot thing. I always wondered how he kept his affiliation with Oxford - but one of the articles says they since 2007 he has not been a faculty member, let alone a member of the "Institute" that Dr. S admits inventing to "round out" his credentials. A piece of work - but I did enjoy his feather weight "Seven Daughters of Eve" (I think the first book published for a general audience on mtDNA) and "American DNA" books (the latter published recently). His academic credentials seem very solid indeed - I can't understand the directions he chose - considered among fellow geneticists to be something of a showman and publicity hound. Interesting chap. Hopefully he can find his way in less controversial directions - although like myself, seems to be getting "a little long in the tooth", and retirement may be looming largely.
    Last edited by falconson1; 04-10-2015 at 08:11 PM.

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    If I were to guess the "why"s of all this, I would say "money." He might be humiliating himself, but he's getting rich doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Mc View Post
    If I were to guess the "why"s of all this, I would say "money." He might be humiliating himself, but he's getting rich doing it.
    If I could hit thanks twice I would. dp :-)
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    In one sense, Sykes' attitude is admirable: He wants to subject alleged discoveries to rigorous scientific testing, instead of refusing to examine them out of haughty narrowmindedness. He apparently had the courage and drive to find and test descendants of Zana, the famous 19th-century "wild woman" of the Caucasus, and from them to back-estimate her own DNA. He reportedly found:
    ---
    Sykes explained that while the woman, said to stand 6 feet 6 inches tall, was genetically 100 percent African, she showed little physical or genetic resemblance to any group living in modern Africa.
    ---

    This is quite newsworthy in itself, if verified. It means that Zana had a DNA profile that falls into the African category but is nevertheless clearly distinct from any known present-day African population.

    Sykes' problem, of course, is that he not only tolerates pop-sci overhyping and distortion, he actually encourages and participates in it, thereby greatly reducing his own credibility and--much worse--diminishing scientific interest in his alleged discovery. Attempting to connect Zana to an "abominable snowman" is logically inexcusable, and a grave insult to her descendants.

    We can only hope that Sykes will publish a paper with all supplemental data necessary for others to independently confirm or refute his claim--just as most researchers are doing for ancient DNA.
    Last edited by lgmayka; 04-11-2015 at 12:24 AM.

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    Both Sykes and the publishers seem to be exaggerating and over-hyping the Zana story. The book provides no evidence to support any of the claims made in the press and also fails to mention the two papers that were critical of the ancient polar claims.

    According to the book mtDNA testing was done on a tooth extracted from a skull purporting to belong to Zana's son Khwit. The haplogroup was L2c. Sykes says he checked the available databases but there were no sequences that matched exactly. However, he doesn't say which databases he searched. He also did DNA testing on six of Zana's descendants who were found to have between 3.7% and 8.8% African DNA. He then goes on to say "I hope to know soon whether Zana was indeed a survivor of an antique race of humans". There is supposedly going to be a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it seems rather odd to speculate against the evidence in a book before the paper has appeared.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DebbieK View Post
    He also did DNA testing on six of Zana's descendants who were found to have between 3.7% and 8.8% African DNA. He then goes on to say "I hope to know soon whether Zana was indeed a survivor of an antique race of humans". There is supposedly going to be a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, but it seems rather odd to speculate against the evidence in a book before the paper has appeared.
    I was wondering how you could have already read it, when it is scheduled for publication in September. But that is merely the paperback edition. Amazon is currently selling the hardcover edition, and it already has one (mostly favorable) review.

    In regard to the issue you bring up, the question is whether:
    - His analysis of the African DNA is already complete, but his comments about the results have to remain ambiguous until publication of the paper? Or
    - His analysis of the African DNA is nowhere near complete, and he is hawking the book in order to raise money for the analysis, paper-writing, etc.

    Of course, citizen scientists would prefer that he simply release any data he has as quickly as possible, but if he serious about publication in a peer-reviewed journal he can't do that yet.
    Last edited by lgmayka; 04-11-2015 at 11:20 PM.

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    The book is already out in the UK and was published last week:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nature-Beast...dp/1444791257/

    I was actually sent a PDF copy of the book by The Sunday Times as they originally wanted me to comment on it. In the end they only cited Tom Gilbert.

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    I took Oxford Ancestor's MtDNA test and all they told me was I was descended from Ursula. I mean that is not at all useful is it. When I asked Hillary Prince if I could upgrade that or get more specific details she was unfriendly and unhelpful. So I had to google what Haplogroup Ursula was. Total amateur hour.

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