Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How many human species again?

Neanderthals. Denisovans. And, of course "modern" humans.

The assumption that modern humans appeared in east Africa as a new species has been challenged - by remains found in Morocco and all over the continent that push our existence back 100,000 years, but also imply that...well, what?

What if we didn't appear in one place and spread? What if modern humans, even before spreading out and mingling with Neanderthals and Denisovans, were already a blend, descended from a variety of species.

Which all reminds us that "human" means "genus homo." And challenges, as is happening so often these days, the very definition of a species.