Thursday, May 27, 2010

From Teosinte to Maize : The Single Domestication of Corn in the Balsas Valley of Southern Mexico 9000 Years Ago - LexiLine Journal 543

Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years - NYTimes.com

This is a delightful article by Sean B. Carroll tracing the history of maize as it developed out of a single domestication of teosinte in ca. 7000 B.C. in the Balsas Valley of southern Mexico.

For the scientific article at the root of the story, see A single domestication for maize shown by multilocus microsatellite genotyping by Yoshihiro Matsuoka, Yves Vigouroux, Major M. Goodman, Jesus Sanchez G., Edward Buckler, and John Doebley, where the Abstract reads:
"There exists extraordinary morphological and genetic diversity among the maize landraces that have been developed by pre-Columbian cultivators. To explain this high level of diversity in maize, several authors have proposed that maize landraces were the products of multiple independent domestications from their wild relative (teosinte). We present phylogenetic analyses based on 264 individual plants, each genotyped at 99 microsatellites, that challenge the multiple-origins hypothesis. Instead, our results indicate that all maize arose from a single domestication in southern Mexico about 9,000 years ago. Our analyses also indicate that the oldest surviving maize types are those of the Mexican highlands with maize spreading from this region over the Americas along two major paths. Our phylogenetic work is consistent with a model based on the archaeological record suggesting that maize diversified in the highlands of Mexico before spreading to the lowlands. We also found only modest evidence for postdomestication gene flow from teosinte into maize. "
See also Rio Balsas most likely region for maize domestication by Christine A. Hastorf who writes, inter alia:
"It is curious that with so much interest in the topic of plant domestication in archaeology, geography, and botany, it took until 2005 to include this region of Mexico in our search for the roots of domestication. This investigatory blind spot is most probably because visible early plant evidence was uncovered in dry conditions. Following the data, scholars pursued domestication where they could easily find the evidence, ignoring the regions where the interactions were more likely to occur."
In other words, without the genetic evidence, mainstream archaeology would still be looking for evidence of domestication in the WRONG places because that is where "drilling" for the truth was the easiest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Revisited: Neandertal Man Rediscovered by Mainstream Science as Us - LexiLine Journal 542

In spite of unequivocal genome-based evidence that the Neandertals*** did not die out but left their traces in modern man, the nay-sayers in the long-deluded archaeological profession are apparently not easily giving up their totally erroneous theories.

As written by David Perlman, Science Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle in Neanderthal in all of us, DNA study indicates:
"... Richard G. Klein, a noted archaeologist at Stanford who has long worked on the evolution of Neanderthals and humans, has serious reservations about the work. He is known for his research into the fossil record showing how modern humans replaced the Neanderthals throughout Europe thousands of years ago.
The Pääbo group's report, he said, "contradicts everything we know about the archaeological record. Their evidence is really wobbly and it bothers me a lot. But it's very important stuff if it's right - and I really do hope it's right."
One of the main problems that I have found in dealing with mainstream archaeology over the years in fact has been the archaeologists' hopeless reliance on their own home-spun theories, whatever their origin, regardless of the actual probative evidence.

The Neandertal issue is only one very representative example of the absolute evidentiary follies which pervade mainstream archaeology, and which have in many areas of archaeological study become so entrenched that no voice of reason challenging those theories is heard.

Thankfully, genetic studies are changing and will continue to change many of the totally nonsensical notions published by archaeologists over the last centuries, decades and years.

There is no probative evidence in archaeology or elsewhere -- and there never has been such evidence -- that Neandertals died out as a separate species, to be replaced by modern man.
Rather, it is equally compelling to argue that Neandertal man in one way or another evolved into viz. merged into modern man, either by the path of evolution or by the path of interbreeding with another human primate form.

The details, of course, will remain a conundrum for many years to come, but we can at long last bury the useless theory that Neandertal man occupied all of Europe and western Asia, only to be fully replaced by newcomers from Africa. That theory was always based on sand.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Neandertal Man Rediscovered by Mainstream Science as Us - LexiLine Journal 541

Neandertal is a location in Germany and I have been there. The popular spelling Neanderthal is incorrect. But, that is a minor matter. The Neandertal Genome right now is a blockbuster story, as headlined by the New York Times, Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans.

But first, let us ask a serious question. What in world is wrong with a good deal of the people in mainstream science, especially those in the humanities-related professions? Is your average alleged "mainstream scientist" just a well-educated but otherwise uncritical and unthinking "yes man" running like a lemming to the sea blindly following whichever theory or professor in authority happens to be in vogue at the moment??

The above question has surfaced again as relates to "new" genetic research findings just published in Science magazine concerning Neandertal Man in A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome.

The team of researchers under the direction of Svante Paabo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, but involving numerous universities throughout the world, relate findings which -- totally contrary to the established faith in mainstream science -- now suggest that Neandertal Man did not just "die out", never to be seen again, but in fact left significant genetic traces in our modern human heritage, as normal logic would have expected. The Abstract to the May 7 publication provides:
"Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asia before disappearing 30,000 years ago. We present a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than 4 billion nucleotides from three individuals. Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other."
But, in fact, the influence of Neandertals is surely far greater on modern man  than the above abstract suggests, especially for the dawn of modern man in Europe and western Asia.  We need only to examine a National Geographic News article of October 25, 2007 by Brian Handwerk titled Some Neandertals Were Pale Redheads, DNA Suggests, which points to the Neandertal DNA test results of Carles LaLueza-Fox of the University of Barcelona, whose team:
"[F]ound an unknown mutation in a key gene called MC1R.
Also present in modern humans, the gene regulates a protein that guides the production of melanin, which pigments hair and skin and protects from UV rays.
Variations in this gene's sequence limit melanin production in people with pale skin and red hair, although the particular mutation found by the researchers is not known to occur in modern humans.
The team tested the gene in living cells to see what effect the previously unknown variant would have had on the Neandertals who carried it. The test tube experiment showed that the variant suppressed the production of melanin, and thus likely gave the Neandertals who carried it red hair and pale skin."
Handwerk also has an article at National Geographic News on Odd Skull Boosts Human, Neandertal Interbreeding Theory where he writes:
"A human skull from a Romanian bear cave is shaking up ideas about ancient sex.
The Homo sapiens skull has a distinctive feature previously found only in Neandertals, providing further evidence of interbreeding between the two species, according to a new study....
Recently the fossil was radiocarbon dated to 33,000 years ago and thoroughly examined, revealing the controversial anatomical feature.
The otherwise human skull has a groove at the base of the back of the skull, just above the neck muscle, that is ubiquitous in Neandertal specimens but has never been seen in the remains of a modern human, argues study leader Erik Trinkaus, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri."
Accordingly, there is far more yet to be found as concerns the relationship of Neandertal man to modern humans, especially in Europe and western Asia, you can be sure.

So why have the majority of mainstream scientists and, unforgivably, the mainstream news media, been comfortable with accepting the position that seemed the most illogical, i.e. that the Neanderthals died out without leaving a trace? I presume that this must be either a kind of Rorschach test into the minds of many of those professing to be independent scientists, or it shows that many scientists are merely "followers" and not independently-thinking researchers. Similarly and unfortunately, much of the news media has merely a parrot function.

At LexiLine -- the discussion group on the History of Civilization -- I wrote in the year 2005 as follows in connection with my thoughts on Human Migration and the Rh Blood Protein:
"It is true that the current Neanderthal discussion is vexing. What I myself have seen written about the Neanderthals in past and present writings seems mostly to consist of overly broad conjectures based on very little evidence. I am of the impression that neither laymen, nor the news media, nor even mainstream scientists know enough about this yet. See in this regard also Michael P. Germano and his posting on Neanderthals Again? Has the Media Got It Right?
What is significant is the geographic area in which we have thus far found Neanderthal remains, which largely corresponds to what we would today call Europe. See http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_2.htm
A number of years ago, before it became fashionable, I suggested that humans formed from an interbreeding of two primate groups, based upon blood types. See http://www.lexiline.com/lexiline/lexi9.htm, see in this regard also http://www.dadamo.com/wiki/wiki.pl/Related_blood_group_factors_in_animals where it is written:
"In the ABO blood group system, humans and chimpanzees both have A blood group antigens, but the DNA nucleotide sequences are different. The differences are not minor.
Surprisingly, humans and gorillas both have blood group B, and their DNA nucleotide sequences are pretty much identical, with only minor differences."
However, I would imagine that such interbreeding, if it occurred, would have to have taken place before Man arrived in Europe. Indeed, where the territories of gorillas and chimpanzees in Eastern Africa meet is where we find the first evidence of human skulls. How the Neanderthals fit into this picture is still anybody's guess and will ultimately have to be decided by deciphering their human genome, as is being done."
You don't find any mainstream scientists quoting my work because they only quote people they know, whether they be right or wrong, the main thing being that they are considered "authorities" in their field. The "correctness" of the science of such authorities is beside the point.

However, I am at least gratified to read at BBC that one of the people, John Hawks, who I sometimes read for his apparent openness of mind in this field, is quoted at the BBC in Neanderthal genes 'survive in us' as follows:
"John Hawks, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, told BBC News: "They're us. We're them. ""
At his john hawks weblog Hawks has a longish posting titled "Neandertals Live!" which is well worth reading to consider some of the new fascinating issues beyond the normal news hype.

Crossposted from LawPundit.

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