The fascination with origins is fascinating. We constantly wonder about our ancestors, and who our human ancestors were.
We want to see a clear picture, a single lineage, even if it comes from Africa and is associated with apes. We have accepted this since the mid-1980s when Chris B. Stringer proposed this. The change in the acceptability from Darwin’s time, when the thought of associating a human with an ape was repulsive, to postmodern times is not hard to see.
But wait: Genetic studies from the last 10 years prove that humans had sexual intercourse with Neanderthals. Well, that’s really repulsive. Can you imagine having sex with a Neanderthal? It is much nicer to imagine the beautiful primordial Eve, the mitochondrial Eve, who originated in Africa more than 1.5 million years ago. A direct descent from primordial Eve sounds good to me, especially since we are talking about such a beautiful name, Eve. But a cross with Neanderthals and Denisovans, the latter certainly being even more repulsive than Neanderthals, since they lived in Siberia… that is anything but acceptable.
An article from The Science clearly proves that species regularly reproduce outside their boundaries. I would say that in terms of evolution, common sense sees the need for interbreeding. No interbreeding – no evolution! If there is no dirt, there are no clean spots. If there is no pain, there is no ease. Interbreeding (dirt) is necessary to define the identity of a certain species. Any kind of deviation (mutation) is beneficial as long as it remains deviation and does not become mainstream. If it becomes mainstream, the system disintegrates (according to the power law), if there is no deviation, the system solidifies.
There is another lesson to be learned. There is no single line to our origins. There are origins, but we should think of them as plural origins. This thought is in contrast to Dawkins and the current DNA fascination. DNA is not a single God who conceived the mitochondrial Eve.
(This is the fourth revision of a post from 2011)