Fossil evidence and DNA

Less than 2 months ago, in Science magazine we learned that a single species of Homo has existed on different continents for the past 1.8 million years.

A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo

“The site of Dmanisi, Georgia, has yielded an impressive sample of hominid cranial and postcranial remains, documenting the presence of Homo outside Africa around 1.8 million years ago… The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide morphological variation within and among early Homo paleodemes. This implies the existence of a single evolving lineage of early Homo, with phylogeographic continuity across continents.”

Now we’re told that a species called Homo erectus “…became extinct within the last few hundred thousand years.”

At 400,000 Years, Oldest Human DNA Yet Found Raises New Mysteries by Carl Zimmer on Dec. 4, 2013

Excerpt:  They might have been a species called Homo erectus, which originated about 1.8 million years ago and became extinct within the last few hundred thousand years.

I’m confused by reports about work published in “Nature” that conflict with reports in “Science Magazine.” Should we expect the fossil evidence  and DNA evidence to correctly represent the same thing? If it does not, what does the evidence tell us about what some researchers know about human evolution? Why can’t science journalists like Carl Zimmer make it clearer what the scientists are trying to tell us? Note: he makes no mention of the results published in Science magazine.

Author: James Kohl

0 thoughts on “Fossil evidence and DNA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.