Evolutionary Anthropologists Startled by Racial Mixing in Africa
If they didn’t expect recent genetic mixing from Europe into Africa, how certain are they about older human migrations?
One thing is clear about early humans: they were a mobile group, often interbreeding with other groups. Ann Gibbons’ latest article in Science talks about a new genome from a human skeleton found in an Ethiopian cave. Dated by radiocarbon to be 4,500 years old, the genome shows unexpected mixing of African stock with Europeans. Gibbons writes about the surprising findings:
Africa is the birthplace of our species and the source of ancient migrations that spanned the globe. But it has missed out on a revolution in understanding human origins: the study of ancient DNA….
Until now. A paper published online this week in Science reveals the first prehistoric genome from Africa: that of Mota, a hunter-gatherer man who lived 4500 years ago in the highlands of Ethiopia…. And when compared with the genomes of living Africans, it implies something startling. Africa is usually seen as a source of outward migrations, but the genomes suggest a major migration into Africa by farmers from the Middle East, possibly about 3500 years ago. These farmers’ DNA reached deep into the continent, spreading even to groups considered isolated, such as the Khoisan of South Africa and the pygmies of the Congo.
Did evolutionary anthropologists expect this? They believe early man evolved much earlier and moved “out of Africa” into Europe and Asia many tens of thousands of years ago. That part of their story is unchanged by the new genome. What they missed with this study, though, implies that they could have missed other “startling” revolutions in the earlier part of the story, since data become progressively less accurate over time.
Here was one reaction from a well-known Harvard evolutionist:
Population geneticist David Reich of Harvard University is struck by the magnitude of the mixing between Africans and Eurasians. He notes that “a profound migration of farmers moving from Mesopotamia to North Africa has long been speculated.” But, he says, “a western Eurasian migration into every population they study in Africa—into the Mbuti pygmies and the Khoisan? That’s surprising and new.”
Gibbons ends by casting doubt on the status of modern theories about human migrations, quoting Jason Hodgson, an anthropological geneticist from Imperial College London:
Migrations into and out of Africa were likely complex and ongoing. “This study is significant on its own,” Hodgson says. “But hopefully it is only just the beginning of ancient African genomics.”
This implies that ancient African genomics has been more anecdotal than empirical. That may change, now that DNA from African bones is becoming more available (Nature).
A related early-man story argues that human languages are “less arbitrary than long assumed” (Science Daily). An international team found that “the sounds and shapes of words can reveal aspects of meaning and grammatical function.”
Human history goes back just thousands of years in the Biblical timeframe. Look: 3,500 years to 4,500 years puts this migration into a reasonable post-Flood period. And look where the migration started: Mesopotamia, right where the Bible puts the Tower of Babel.
The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is the most detailed, credible and verifiable account of human migrations in any historical written record. Recorded by Moses around 1440 BC, it most probably includes records known to Moses from his education in Egypt and earlier sources accessible to him. In this amazing record (which flows seamlessly into the time of Abraham, where secular history provides independent corroboration), the sons of Ham migrated to Africa and the far east. The sons of Japheth migrated to Europe and India, forming the Indo-European cultures with their shared languages. The sons of Shem stayed primarily in the middle east. Individual names of the three sons of Noah and their offspring can be traced through extra-Biblical records to places like Egypt, Greece, Ethiopia, Crete, and even as far as China. There’s no reason to reject the Genesis 10 record except for the evolutionary appetite for long ages.
But how reasonable are those long ages? Evolutionists have to believe that ancient humans, fully our equivalent in stature and brain size, were too stupid to build a city, ride a horse, or plant a farm until civilization suddenly exploded on the scene inexplicably just a few thousand years ago. The most ancient cultic site found in Turkey, Gobekli Tepe, doesn’t fit their evolutionary narrative at all (3/10/09). One said, “…one has to wonder how these supposed hunter-gatherers had advanced knowledge of masonry and stonework if they were the first civilization.” Evolutionists must believe that tens and even hundreds of thousands of years ago, “hominids” made tools, used fire, and even traveled across continents but were too stupid to make a permanent dwelling. Long ages are a curse to history, not a benefit. The long ages required by their theory makes their story unreasonable, given what we know about human nature.
By contrast, the Bible presents a reasonable history we can relate to. It describes mankind as intelligent from the beginning. After Eden, Cain and Abel were shepherds and farmers. Cain built a city, and his grandsons were making musical instruments, forging metals and perfecting agriculture. After the Flood, Noah’s descendants were building a magnificent Tower of Babel within a few centuries (100 to 500 years, as conservative estimates go). The languages were not arbitrary, but intelligently designed by God, who had a purpose for driving the nations to scatter and repopulate the earth. Then people groups with their common languages scattered across the globe within a few centuries, not tens of thousands of years. Wherever we see humanity, we see wanderlust, technology, and intelligence. We still don’t know how they built some ancient monuments of incredible mass and precision.
This article by Ann Gibbons points out how surprised the evolutionists continue to be. She mentioned the “revolution in the study of human origins” from genetics that is now just beginning to affect their stories about Africa. It’s like every new finding contradicts their expectations, requiring them to invent new lies to cover up the last ones. The Bible has stood the test of time. It has the ring of truth. Truth doesn’t evolve. It doesn’t need to.