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Human evolution researchers stick Botswana origin claims with “colonialism” label


The recent claim, you will recall from our earlier story, is that modern humans came to exist in northern Botswana roughly 200,000 years ago. But, we are told, the claim relies on “unproven and outdated techniques while also excluding competing lines of evidence.” Worse—and this is the kiss of death—it exhibits “colonialism”:

The new paper, co-authored by geneticist Vanessa Hayes from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney, is unique in that it pinpoints the exact place and time of our species’ emergence. The paper received a tremendous amount of press coverage (see here, here, and here), but given the controversy that now surrounds this research, it’s a wonder the paper, published this past Monday (October 28, 2019) in Nature, managed to pass peer review—at least according to the many experts we spoke to. The complaints we received from scientists were almost too many to mention, the most serious being a weak and inconclusive genetic analysis, the failure to cite and address competing archaeological evidence, sweeping assumptions about one particular group of indigenous southern Africans, and an outdated “colonial” approach to the subject matter…

“I think it’s a terrible piece of scholarship that has taken us back in time to around 2004 and completely undermined science in the public eye,” archaeologist Eleanor Scerri of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History said in an email to Gizmodo. “The work is incredibly arrogant in how it ignores archaeology and physical anthropology. It’s really staggering how they try to speak with authority about a subject area they clearly know nothing about.”

George Dvorsky, “Scientists Say New Research Tracing the Origin of Modern Humans to Botswana Is Deeply Flawed” at Gizmodo

The millions of silent dead remain silent though their stories would doubtless contradict much respectable mainstream opinion about them.

See also: Controversial claim: First humans came from what is now Botswana One is tempted to wonder, how would “storytelling” differentiate the Garvan team from many other human evolution researchers?

This is all to the good/ Controversies like this give the subject a good airing although I think the accusations of racism or colonialism may be overstepping the bounds a little.. Seversky

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