NeoEssentialism, Species, and Molecular Phylogenetics Regarding Hominin Evolution

Caldararo Niccolo
2018 Archives of Gene and Genome Research  
A number of recent articles have appeared on the hominin Denisova fossil remains. Many of them focus on attempts to produce DNA sequences from the extracted samples. Often these project mtDNA sequences from the fossil remains of a number of Neandertal fossils and the Denisovans in an attempt to understand the evolution of Mid Pleistocene human ancestors. There are two problems with these papers, one concerns the degradation of the ancient DNA and its interpretation as authentic genetic
more » ... ic genetic information and the other concerns the idea of "species" versus that of "population" and the use of these ideas in the building of evolutionary diagrams to indicate ancestry and extinction. Since I have dealt with the issue of degradation elsewhere [1]. I will limit this paper to ideas of species and population. A central issue is what does human variation mean, how much population variation has there been in the past and how does this variation distinguish hominid speciation or simply a process of anagenesis. Some businesses today claim to be able to use DNA analysis to discover past ethnic identities and a new niche in restaurants is producing DNA menus. Perhaps some caution is in order.
doi:10.36959/998/782 fatcat:um6efrlqtrfwxniu7dj5edvuya