The Multiregional Evolution of Humans; New Look at Human Evolution; Special Editions; by Alan G. Thorne and Milford H. Wolpoff; 8 Page(s)
Three decades ago the paleoanthropological community was locked in a debate about the origin of the earliest humans. The disagreement centered on whether the fossil Ramapithecus was an early human ancestor or ancestral to both human and ape lineages. Molecular biologists entered that discussion and supported the minority position held by one of us (Wolpoff) and his students that Ramapithecus was not a fossil human, as was then commonly believed. Their evidence, however, depended on a date for the chimpanzee-human divergence that was based on a flawed "molecular clock." We therefore had to reject their support.
Paleoanthropologists are again engaged in a debate, this time about how, when and where modern humans originated. On one side stand some researchers, such as ourselves, who maintain there is no single home for modern humanity-the idea that humans originated in Africa and then developed their modern forms in every area of the Old World. On the other side are researchers who claim that Africa alone gave birth to a new species of modern humans within the past 200,000 years. Once again the molecular geneticists have entered the fray, attempting to resolve it in favor of the African hypothesis with a molecular clock. Once again their help must be rejected because their reasoning is flawed.