Date of Award

6-2003

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The Recent African Origin Model of human evolution posits that anatomically modern Homo sapiens evolved in a speciation event 100-200 kya somewhere in Africa. One prediction implicit in this statement is that there was little or no gene flow connecting populations of archaic Homo sapiens. Any evidence to the contrary would imply that speciation was unlikely and would force a rejection of the RAO model. Past studies, relying on individual specimens, have indicated there is no real evidence of gene flow among these populations. This study examines the pattern of morphological variation in the browridge present in modern and archaic Homo sapiens in Africa, Western Asia and Europe through analysis of demes. A dendrogram was produced using Cluster Analysis in NTSYSpc. The results indicate that gene flow did occur among demes of archaic Homo sapiens with a pattern consistent with the geographic distribution of the demes, forcing the rejection of the Recent African Origin model's interpretation. In addition, the Middle Eastern deme occupies an important position in the Cluster Analysis, suggesting that it was a hybrid zone.

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