by Philipp Gunz,
a biological anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
His research group studies the evolution of human development with a focus on the evolution of the face and brain
The models and heuristics we use in human evolution deeply affect the way the record is constructed. For many years, debates between classic Multiregional and out of Africa models advanced the state of knowledge regarding human origins. The introduction of molecular methods seemed to resolve the debate by identifying the African continent as the cradle of our species. More recently, however, the discovery of gene flow between Homo sapiens and more divergent hominins showed that the dominant Out of Africa model (OOA) was overly simplistic. As a result, aspects of classic Multiregionalism have been re-ignited. At the same time, there have been concurrent attempts to modify the simple OOA model to accommodate the new evidence. However with ever-richer archaeological, anthropological, genetic and paleoecological data available, are such formulations still useful or are they now constraining the emerging picture of human origins? This talk offers a provocative new view that ultimately transcends the need for overly polemic models and debates that have long affected interpretative approaches.Read more