Research ArticleEVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestors interbred with a distantly related hominin

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Science Advances  20 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 8, eaay5483
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay5483

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  • Super-archaic coastal diaspora?
    • Marc Verhaegen, Medical Doctor, Study Center for Anthropology, B-2580 Belgium.

    Thanks a lot for this very interesting article, which confirms the coastal dispersal model (Munro 2010).

    Already in 2002, we proposed the continental shelf hypothesis: when sea-levels dropped during Pleistocene glacials (after c 2.6 Ma), our hominid tool-using ancestors, who already had waterside and shallow-aquatic foods in their diet (Cunnane & Stewart 2010) "were ideally preadapted to colonize the newly formed beaches, embayed lagoons, reef back-channels and near-shore islands" of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean shores (Verhaegen & Munro 2002). It was at the coasts that archaic Homo collected waterside and shallow-aquatic foods: shellfish is are extremely rich in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA, which helps explain the drastic brain enlargements of the genus Homo (Cunnane & Stewart 2010). And it was at the coasts that archaic Homo evolved pachyosteosclerosis, the very heavy, thick and dense skeletons, which are exclusively seen in littoral animals (e.g. de Buffrénil et al. 2010).

    Throughout the Pleistocene glacials, these archaic Homo populations (superachaics, neandersovans and all erectus-like populations) colonized the African and Eurasian coasts and islands, probably repeatedly, e.g. there is archeological evidence of archaic Homo for shellfish consumption as far as Java (Joordens et al. 2014) and shellfish diving from Italy (Villa et al. 2020 ). "Paleo-anthropologists often discuss when early Homo left Africa, but if Plei...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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