[Taxacom] Homo sapiens hybridization
kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Sep 1 22:46:30 CDT 2011
Molecular evidence discovered by Svante Paabo of Germany and
others is demonstrating that even living populations of Homo sapiens
still contain genes from both classic Neanderthals and the Denisovans of
Siberia. I have always included Neanderthals within Homo sapiens and am
increasingly confident that they could easily interbreed (and thus were
Now the more precise question is whether the subspecies Homo
sapiens neanderthalensis should be confined to populations in Europe and
extreme western Asia, or whether it should also include the less
specialized Siberian forms like the Denisovans (or should the later be
named a separate subspecies).
And I am not aware of molecular data having been obtained for
heidelbergensis and related forms, but given the morphological data thus
far, I believe that any molecular data that might be discovered would
likewise definitely extend the species Homo sapiens back to include
those populations as well (and perhaps even the earlier forms that I
prefer to classify as Homo sapiens antecessor).
Therefore the really big question in my mind is more concentrated
on the wider question of which of the subspecies of Homo erectus (H. e.
erectus or H. e. ergaster) gave rise to Homo sapiens antecessor (etc.).
Anyway, I really see no advantage to calling so many of these separate
species, instead of subspecies of broader species. Well, actually there
is one advantage in doing so---press coverage (which too often
sensationalizes differences and ignores similarities). For instance, it
is more exciting to call the "hobbit" Homo floresiensis, rather than
Homo erectus floresiensis. Same for Homo georgicus instead of Homo
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