The Recent African Genesis of Humans; New Look at Human Evolution; Special Editions; by Rebecca L. Cann and Allan C. Wilson; 8 Page(s)
In the quest for the facts about human evolution, we molecular geneticists have engaged in two major debates with the paleontologists. Arguing from their fossils, most paleontologists had claimed the evolutionary split between humans and the great apes occurred as long as 25 million years ago. We maintained human and ape genes were too similar for the schism to be more than a few million years old. After 15 years of disagreement, we won that argument when the paleontologists admitted we had been right and they had been wrong.
Once again we are engaged in a debate, this time over the latest phase of human evolution. The paleontologists say modern humans evolved from their archaic forebears around the world over the past million years. Conversely, our genetic comparisons convince us that all humans today can be traced along maternal lines of descent to a woman who lived about 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa. Modern humans arose in one place and spread elsewhere.