Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Neandertal/Modern Human confluence, Part ?

In an article entitled "Skull shows possible human/Neanderthal breeding," Al-Reuters reports that a skull found in a Romanian cave shows exactly that. It reads in part:

DNA samples taken from Neanderthal bones suggest there was no mixing, or at least that any Neanderthal genetic contribution did not make it to the modern DNA pool.

But Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis has in the past found bones that he believes show both modern human and Neanderthal traits, and now he and colleagues have found a skull.

What the article does not recound is the eruption that occurred the last time there was a "hybrid" discovery, which occurred at a cave at Lagar Velho, Portugal. Trinkaus demonstrated what he thought were hybrid characteristics, while Ian Tattersall viewed it as nothing more than a chunky Gravettian kid. Trinkaus' response was nothing short of apalling, calling into question Tattersall's scientific abilities, his upbringing and his ancestry. Tattersall's original article on the Lagar Velho child is here and his response to Trinkaus' screed is here. I have been unable to find Trinkaus' vitriolic response to the article anywhere on the net. That is, perhaps, just as well.

Glenn Morton, writing for the ASA, commented on the Lagar Velho remains at the time. Lets hope this new find does not generate the kind of responses that the Lagar Velho child did.

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