Cavalli-Sforza Believes in Race

July 31, 2005

Geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sfroza likes to toe the left-wing party line by denying the existence of race and promoting anti-racism with oft-quoted statements like these:

The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise. [...] [My research is] expected to undermine the popular belief that there are clearly defined races, [and] to contribute to the elimination of racism. [...] The idea of race in the human species serves no purpose.

But his less-often quoted description of the genetic map from his book The History and Geography of Human Genes belies the "official" position he publicly endorses:

The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia.

There may be other scientists who put up a PC front like this to keep controversy at bay. But unfortunately, they provide ammunition to uninformed laymen with an anti-race agenda.


Out of Asia?

Study: Human Ancestors Originated in Asia

By Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News, May 31, 2005

Three newly discovered primate species that lived 30 million years ago suggest that our first ancestors originated in Asia and not in Africa, challenging the well-known "Out of Africa" theory about human evolution.

The actuality could be something a bit more complicated, such as "Out of Asia into Africa and Back to Asia," since some researchers now think Asian primates journeyed to Africa, where they evolved into humans, who then traveled both in and out of Africa.

According to a study published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, numerous fossil teeth for the three new anthropoids were found in the Bugti Hills of central Pakistan.

Scientists believe our world-traveling animal cousins were anthropoids, which means "apes" and refers to the group of primates from which humans evolved.

"The Oligocene period (30-25 million years ago) in South Asia was so far totally undocumented paleontologically," said Laurent Marivaux, lead author of the paper.

"So, it is not surprising that the discovery of fossilized animals from this period is totally new for science, and that they (may) change or modify substantially our previous view on mammal evolution, notably here, the evolutionary history of anthropoid primates."

He added, "The evolutionary history of these old anthropoid lineages represents the beginnings of the evolutionary history of humans."

Marivaux and his team named the new anthropoids Bugtipithecus inexpectans, Phileosimias kamali and Phileosimias brahuiorum. They were tiny and somewhat similar to today's lemurs, according to Marivaux, who is a paleontologist at the Institute of Evolutionary Science at Montpellier II University in France.

Their small, underdeveloped teeth reveal that the primates probably ate insects and fruit. Climate records for this period suggest that the animals lived in a warm, humid tropical rainforest.

Fossil remains for other animals indicate the primates shared the Asian rainforest with more than 20 different species of rodents, bats, carnivores, deer-like animals, pigs, a rhino-like creature, called Baluchitherium, and other primates.

Remains for later primates similar to the new anthropoids previously were found in China, Burma and Thailand. The newly excavated teeth now indicate that anthropoids had a larger range in Asia than thought, since the animals made their way to Pakistan.

Christopher Beard, curator and head of the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, told Discovery News that he generally agreed with the new conclusions.

"Together, the fossil anthropoid primates that are known from China, Thailand, Myanmar and now Pakistan constitute an impressive amount of data indicating that the 'higher primate' lineage that today includes all monkeys, apes, and humans must have originated in Asia, not in Africa as earlier scientists believed," Beard said.

He added that the new evidence, to him, indicated that "an early member of this (anthropoid Asian group) made its way to Africa, where they continued to evolve and diversify, eventually giving rise to living monkeys, apes and humans."

Christopher Wills, professor of biological sciences at the University of California, San Diego, agreed that early anthropoid evolution likely did not just occur in Africa.

Wills told Discovery News that the evolution probably included "substantial migrations over long distances, in and out of Africa perhaps."

Beard and Marivaux said the early anthropoids that stayed in Asia continued to evolve too, but not in a direction that led to apes and humans. The consensus among most experts is that humans only emerged in Africa.