Or someone does. We haven’t quite figured this out yet:
All modern humans descended from a solitary pair who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, scientists say.
Scientists surveyed the genetic ‘bar codes’ of five million animals – including humans – from 100,000 different species and deduced that we sprang from a single pair of adults after a catastrophic event almost wiped out the human race.
These bar codes, or snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells, suggest that it’s not just people who came from a single pair of beings, but nine out of every 10 animal species, tooLeigh McManus, “All humans are descended from just TWO people and a catastrophic event almost wiped out ALL species 100,000 years ago, scientists claim” at Daily Mail, November 24, 2018
Animal species? [Noah! Wake up. Get sober. Put on a tie… Somebody give ‘im a washcloth… ]
Actually, this story originated last May:
Who would have suspected that a handheld genetic test used to unmask sushi bars pawning off tilapia for tuna could deliver deep insights into evolution, including how new species emerge?
And who would have thought to trawl through five million of these gene snapshots—called “DNA barcodes”—collected from 100,000 animal species by hundreds of researchers around the world and deposited in the US government-run GenBank database?
That would be Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who together published findings last week sure to jostle, if not overturn, more than one settled idea about how evolution unfolds.
It is textbook biology, for example, that species with large, far-flung populations—think ants, rats, humans—will become more genetically diverse over time.
But is that true?
“The answer is no,” said Stoeckle, lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution.
For the planet’s 7.6 billion people, 500 million house sparrows, or 100,000 sandpipers, genetic diversity “is about the same,” he told AFP. [Agence Presse France] Marlowe Hood, “Sweeping gene survey reveals new facets of evolution” at Phys.org
Story seems to have slept a bit. Then got picked up again by the Daily Mail the other day.
An exciting new paper in the journal Human Evolution has been published which you can read here. Popular science reports such as this have incautiously claimed, “They found out that 9 out of 10 animal species on the planet came to being at the same time as humans did some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.”
But to be more precise, what they actually found is that the most recent common ancestor of those species seems to have lived during that time period.
This could indicate intelligent design, an event where species came into existence for the first time. But it could also indicate something else, such as a population crash (or crashes) that affected almost all life on Earth. Either way, if the paper is right, it would be a shock to established scientific expectations.
“This conclusion is very surprising,” co-author David Thaler of the University of Basel is quoted as saying, “and I fought against it as hard as I could.” His co-author is fellow geneticist Mark Stoeckle of Rockefeller University in New York. Andrew Jones, “New Paper in Evolution Journal: Humans and Animals Are (Mostly) the Same Age?” at Evolution News and Science Today
The recent Daily Mail retread of this story offers a valuable take-home point: Much on offer from science today is very provisional knowledge at best and flimflam at worst, bolstered by research on what’s wrong with the people who don’t trust it.
We just don’t know the history because we don’t know enough to fill it in reliably. Don’t trust anyone who tells you we do.
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See also: John Sanford on claims about brand new nylonase genes
Ann Gauger talks about Adam and Eve with World editor Marvin Olasky Gauger found two papers a few years later which suggested that the number of variants (allegedly disproving Adam and Eve) was much smaller. She is working on “an alternative population genetics model that doesn’t depend on evolutionary assumptions.”