Aborigines, Europeans Share African Roots, DNA Suggests, National Geographic, Kate Ravilious, May 7, 2007 ... An older article from my backlog, but an important one.
Where did we come from? Part of the answer may lie in a new study that suggests Australian Aborigines and Europeans share the same roots-and that both emerged from a wave of African migrations more than 50,000 years ago. Both populations can be traced back to the same founders, according to study co-author Toomas Kivisild of the University of Cambridge. The finding may strike another nail into the coffin of the "multiregional" hypothesis-the idea humans evolved separately in different parts of the world. The scientists took blood samples from modern Aborigines and Asian populations and compared their DNA. The researchers then traced the family tree backward through their mitochondrial DNA (the female lineage) and Y chromosome DNA (the male lineage). "We could trace back to where the branches join by counting mutations in the DNA," said study co-author Phillip Endicott of the University of Oxford. Assuming an average DNA mutation rate, the scientists calculated how many years had passed since the populations split.
Boost for "Out of Africa" All of the Australian lineages fell within four DNA branches, which are associated with the exodus of modern humans from Africa between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. As the theory suggests, Africans are believed to have migrated on foot to Eurasia, the large landmass where the European and Asian continents join. The descendants of these migrants may have been able to cross a land bridge between Australia and neighboring New Guinea when sea levels were lower 50,000 years ago ... . Previously archaeologists have argued that the change in skeletal features seen in Aborigine fossils-from slender about 40,000 years ago to stocky about 13,000 years ago-signals a mixing between modern humans and more ancient populations such as the Neandertals ... . But the new DNA results suggest no such intermingling occurred. "This result provides strong evidence for the 'Out of Africa' hypothesis and gives the multiregionalists much less room to move," said Richard Gillespie ... at the Australian National University in Canberra. Gillespie was not involved in the study. The research will be published in tomorrow's edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
No Outside Influence The findings may also influence the debate over whether Asian groups migrated to Australia more recently. Over the last 10,000 years the archaeological record in Australia has changed significantly, including the first appearance of the dingo-a type of dog-and new stone tool industries, "which (may) represent the intrusion of new human migrations into the continent," study co-author Endicott said. However, the distinctiveness of the Aborigine DNA means the population has remained relatively isolated, ruling out the possibility of later influxes into Australia from Asia. "If there had been Asian migrations, we would have expected to see regional specific subgroups in the Aboriginal DNA," Kivisild, of Cambridge, said. "But they were completely absent." ...
As the article says, this finding is "another nail into the coffin" of what is today called the "multiregional" hypothesis but originally was called Polygeneticism, i.e. that the human race tree stemmed from multiple roots. This is opposed to what has been called the "out of Africa" hypothesis, but which more recently is being called (e.g. by Wikipedia), the "recent single origin hypothesis." This was originally called Monogenticism, the view that humans all stemmed from a single root.
This latter is consistent with the Biblical view. Indeed, as paleoanthropologist Richard E. Leakey noted, originally the "`out of Africa' hypothesis" was called, "the `Noah's Ark' hypothesis and the `Garden of Eden' hypothesis" (my emphasis)!:
"Instead of being the product of an evolutionary trend throughout the Old World, modern humans are seen in the alternative model as having arisen in a single geographical location. Bands of modern Homo sapiens would have migrated from this location and expanded into the rest of the Old World, replacing existing premodern populations. This model has had several labels, such as the `Noah's Ark' hypothesis and the `Garden of Eden' hypothesis. Most recently, it has been called the `Out of Africa' hypothesis, because sub-Saharan Africa has been identified as the most likely place where the first modern humans evolved. Several anthropologists have contributed to this view, and Christopher Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London, is its most vigorous proponent. The two models could hardly be more different: the multiregional- evolution model describes an evolutionary trend throughout the Old World toward modern Homo sapiens, with little population migration and no population replacement, whereas the `Out of Africa' model calls for the evolution of Homo sapiens in one location only, followed by extensive population migration across the Old World, resulting in the replacement of existing premodern populations. Moreover, in the first model, modern geographical populations (what are known as `races') would have deep genetic roots, having been essentially separate for as much as 2 million years; in the second model, these populations would have shallow genetic roots, all having derived from the single, recently evolved population in Africa." (Leakey, R.E., "The Origin of Humankind," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1995, pp.86-88).
The late Baptist theologian Bernard L. Ramm (1916-1992), more than 50 years ago echoed the point of the late Presbyterian theologian, Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921) that, "The unity of the human race [monogeneticism] is one of the most important matters in Christian theology ... Theology is more concerned with the proof that man is one, rather than the near or far antiquity of man. Polygeneticism [multiple origins] is far more damaging to theology than any teaching of the vast antiquity of man":
"The unity of the human race [monogeneticism] is one of the most important matters in Christian theology. The Genesis record implies the unity of the race. and Paul's affirmations in Romans 5:12-17 and 1 Cor. 15:21-58 clearly teach it. Warfield writes:So far from being of no concern to theology ... it would be truer to say that the whole doctrinal structure of the Bible account of redemption is founded on its assumption that the race of man is one organic whole, and may be dealt with as such. It is because all are one in Adam that in the matter of sin there is no difference, but all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:12f.), and as well that in the new man there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). The unity of the old man in Adam is the postulate of the unity of the new man in Christ. [Warfied, B.B., "On the Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race," in "Biblical and Theological Studies," Presbyterian & Reformed: Philadelphia PA, 1911, p.261]... The unity of the human race is capable of real defence. Anatomically the human body is the same form from pygmies to the giant Wattusies and from the fairest Scandinavian to the darkest negroid. Racial differences are superficial and are certainly of little survival value. Physiologically the race is one. Tests on pulse rate and breathing, show some variations which are not significant. Psychologically speaking, the powers of perception, the patterns of reaction, and the function of the central nervous system are similar in all the races. Physically the unity of the race is proven by racial interfertility. As far as we understand, the modern scientific anthropologists agree that mentally and physically the human race is one. ... Warfield asserts:[The antiquity of the human race] has of itself no theological significance. It is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on earth.' [Ibid, p.261]The reason for this assertion is obvious. The sin of Adam imputed to humanity depends on the unity of humanity, not on the antiquity of humanity. Theology is more concerned with the proof that man is one, rather than the near or far antiquity of man. Polygeneticism [multiple origins] is far more damaging to theology than any teaching of the vast antiquity of man. In order to clear the atmosphere about the antiquity of man certain notions very widespread among evangelicals must be corrected. (Ramm, B.L., "The Christian View of Science and Scripture,"  Paternoster: Exeter UK, Reprinted, 1967, pp.214-216. Emphasis original).
However, this also is "another nail into the coffin" of the view (which I myself for many years held) that the Biblical genealogies can be stretched back "between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago" to a literal Adam and Eve who are the biological ancestors of the entire human race. But if Adam (Heb. "Man") and Eve (Heb. "life") are reinterpreted as symbols representing the unity of mankind, then "the two books of God ["Nature and Scripture"]" can be seen to "recite the same story":
"If we believe that the God of creation is the God of redemption, and that the God of redemption is the God of creation, then we are committed to some very positive theory of harmonization between science and evangelicalism. God cannot contradict His speech in Nature by His speech in Scripture. If the Author of Nature and Scripture are the same God, then the two books of God must eventually recite the same story." (Ramm, Ibid., p.25).
Leviticus 26:36-39 36" 'As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. 37They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. 38You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers' sins they will waste away.