Preprint Communication Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Human Origins in Southern African Palaeo-wetlands? Strong Claims from Weak Evidence

Version 1 : Received: 15 November 2019 / Approved: 17 November 2019 / Online: 17 November 2019 (00:55:26 CET)

How to cite: Schlebusch, C.M.; Loog, L.; Groucutt, H.S.; King, T.; Rutherford, A.; Barbieri, C.; Barbujani, G.; Chikhi, L.; Jakobsson, M.; Eriksson, A.; Manica, A.; Tishkoff, S.A.; Scerri, E.M.; Scally, A.; Brierley, C.; Thomas, M.G. Human Origins in Southern African Palaeo-wetlands? Strong Claims from Weak Evidence. Preprints 2019, 2019110193 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0193.v1). Schlebusch, C.M.; Loog, L.; Groucutt, H.S.; King, T.; Rutherford, A.; Barbieri, C.; Barbujani, G.; Chikhi, L.; Jakobsson, M.; Eriksson, A.; Manica, A.; Tishkoff, S.A.; Scerri, E.M.; Scally, A.; Brierley, C.; Thomas, M.G. Human Origins in Southern African Palaeo-wetlands? Strong Claims from Weak Evidence. Preprints 2019, 2019110193 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0193.v1).

Abstract

Chan and colleagues in their paper titled “Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations” (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1714-1) report 198 novel whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and infer that ‘anatomically modern humans’ originated in the Makgadikgadi–Okavango palaeo-wetland of southern Africa around 200 thousand years ago. This claim relies on weakly informative data. In addition to flawed logic and questionable assumptions, the authors surprisingly disregard recent evidence and debate on human origins in Africa. As a result, the emphatic and high profile conclusions of the paper are unjustified.

Subject Areas

human origins; mitochondrial DNA; Africa; human evolution

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