I see this theory (and it is just that, a theory) paraded in the media as if it is a gospel believed by all. The truth is, should you happen to read a lot of DNA studies and anthropology publications, that support for the OOA theory is far from a consensus; in fact it seems to pretty much an even split, with support for it declining a little recently with the advent of some studies pointing out a variety old genes that just can’t be shoe-horned into the OOA paradigm.
I can’t wondering if the ‘we are all from one recent African origin’, and ‘race is a social construct’ are being pushed in tandem, as if we are that closely related we can’t be that different.The ‘no race’ party line that’s taken in the media would have a hard time if it turned out we have mixed in with other subspecies as we expanded out. As one of my blog readers has suggested, it also seems to be more acceptable to religious people, being fairly compatible with the whole ‘Adam and Eve’ religious concept.
Erik Trinkhaus is one of the major supporters of Neanderthal introgression. Personally, I think the fact that later Neanderthals get harder to distinguish from modern humans in Europe the more recent they are, is a pointer that they were interbreeding.
The Oase 2 and Muireii skulls, and skulls from Mladec, all of which are thought to show some archaic/Neanderthal traits.
More Human-Neandertal Mixing Evidence Uncovered
ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2006) — A reexamination of ancient human bones from Romania reveals more evidence that humans and Neandertals interbred.
Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., Washington University Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences, and colleagues radiocarbon-dated and analyzed the shapes of human bones from Romania’s Petera Muierii (Cave of the Old Woman). The fossils, discovered in 1952, add to the small number of early modern human remains from Europe known to be more than 28,000 years old.
Results were published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The team found that the fossils were 30,000 years old and principally have the diagnostic skeletal features of modern humans. They also found that the remains had other features known, among potential ancestors, primarily among the preceding Neandertals, providing more evidence there was mixing of humans and Neandertals as modern humans dispersed across Europe about 35,000 years ago. Their analysis of one skeleton’s shoulder blade also shows that these humans did not have the full set of anatomical adaptations for throwing projectiles, like spears, during hunting.
The team says that the mixture of human and Neandertal features indicates that there was a complicated reproductive scenario as humans and Neandertals mixed, and that the hypothesis that the Neandertals were simply replaced should be abandoned.
European early modern humans and the fate of the Neandertals
A consideration of the morphological aspects of the earliest modern humans in Europe (more than ≈33,000 B.P.) and the subsequent Gravettian human remains indicates that they possess an anatomical pattern congruent with the autapomorphic (derived) morphology of the earliest (Middle Paleolithic) African modern humans. However, they exhibit a variable suite of features that are either distinctive Neandertal traits and/or plesiomorphic (ancestral) aspects that had been lost among the African Middle Paleolithic modern humans. These features include aspects of neurocranial shape, basicranial external morphology, mandibular ramal and symphyseal form, dental morphology and size, and anteroposterior dental proportions, as well as aspects of the clavicles, scapulae, metacarpals, and appendicular proportions. The ubiquitous and variable presence of these morphological features in the European earlier modern human samples can only be parsimoniously explained as a product of modest levels of assimilation of Neandertals into early modern human populations as the latter dispersed across Europe. This interpretation is in agreement with current analyses of recent and past human molecular data.