„10 Punkte, die man über die menschliche Evolution wissen sollte“

Razib Khan führt „10 Punkte über die menschliche Evolution an, die man man wissen sollte“:

1. The expansion/development of modern humans occurred within Africa for tens of thousands of before their expansion „Out of Africa.“ Most of the ancestors of non-African humanity seem to have started expanding rapidly from a small founder group of 100-1,000 50-75 thousand years years ago.

African humanity has a different and more complex historical pattern, with lineages which began diverging as early as 200,000 years before the present, and then mixing back with each other.

2) Related to #1, we’re one species, so rather than an expanding „tree“ from common ancestors, it’s better to think of a mesh which keeps coming back together, as some branches are pruned, and the whole pulses out periodically.
All major human populations seem to be the product of relatively recent fusions between diverged branches.
Africa was the source of modern humanity, but clearly there has been „back migration“ from Eurasia.

3) Many of the phenotypes we define as characteristic of various human populations are relatively recent.
E.g., the depigmented look of Northern Europeans, or the thick straight hair of East Asians.

4) The Denisovan version of EPAS1 which is found in Tibetans illustrates a general trend: we have adaptations from other very diverged human lineages through low levels of gene flow[2].

5) The transition to agriculture and complex „civilization“ seems correlated to pulses of highly fecund male paternal lineages.
Many of the common Y chromosomes today exhibit a pattern of diversification indicative of explosive population growth.

6) It seems unlike there is one singular genetic change which makes us sui generis or distinctive in relation to our hominin cousins.
This is less certain than 1-5, but I’m pretty sure that this is so.
Researchers have been looking for years, and not finding anything definitive, and I think there’s a reason.
There isn’t anything definitive.
Many genetic changes come together to make our lineage distinctive.

7) A lot of adaptation occurs through reemergence of old variation which is floating around in the human population.
For example, the lightening of skin across parts of Eurasia co-opt common mammalian pigmentation pathways.

8) Cultural flexibility does not negate biological evolution.
On the contrary, strong shifts in cultural norms seem to drive biology.
Lactase persistence is a clear case, but even something like malaria adaptation is ultimately due to anthropogenic environmental changes.

9) We are all equally descended from common ancestors.
There are no „most ancient“ human lineages.
We’re all equally recent by definition.

10) There are evolutionary genetic events in our history which are hinted at in the most recent data, so there are major lacunae in our knowledge.
The picture is well formed, but not complete.
E.g., there is evidence of pulses out of Africa ~100,000 years ago into Eurasia in both genetic and fossil data.
These lineages may have gone extinct, or, their contribution may be difficult to detect with current data sets.
But there is clearly more to be told in this story.

Farbensehen als Verbesserung der sozialen Kommunikation

Auf dem Blog „was wissen“ stellt die Autorin eine Theorie zum Farbensehen dar, die darauf abstellt, dass es insbesondere wichtige Informationen im sozialen Zusammenleben bot:

Wir erkennen Gemüts- und Gesundheitszustand ganz ohne Erklärung, Gestik oder Mimik: ein großer Vorteil im sozialen Leben. Vielleicht ist unsere Farbwahrnehmung sogar deswegen entstanden. Das ist zumindest die Theorie des Neurobiologen Dr. Mark Changizi. Seine Erklärung: Unser Farbsehen ist perfekt auf die Farbspektren unserer Haut abgestimmt.

Denn die farblichen Untertöne unserer Haut entstehen durch den Sauerstoffgehalts des Bluts und der Blutmenge. Je mehr Sauerstoff vorhanden ist, desto röter erscheint die Haut, je weniger, desto grüner. Und: Je stärker durchblutet, desto bläulicher, je weniger Blut, desto gelblicher


Tatsächlich sind die Augen aller Trichromaten perfekt, um den Unterschied zwischen sauerstoffreichem und sauerstoffarmen Blut zu erkennen. Das heißt den Unterschied zwischen roter und grün-bläulicher Hautfarbe, die sich je nach Affenart entweder im haarlosen Gesicht oder dem blanken Hintern zeigt. Changizi folgerte daraus, dass die Evolution das Farbsehen nicht etwa hervorbrachte, damit die Tiere reife rote Früchte an grünen Bäumen erkennen und essen können. Sondern, da die in sozialen Verbänden lebenden Tiere eine neue Ebene der Kommunikation aufgebaut haben. Ein Beispiel dafür sind Weibchen, die ihre Paarungsbereitschaft mit einem feuerrot gefärbten Hinterteil anzeigen – etwa bei Pavianen oder Schimpansen.

Die Studie dazu:

We investigate the hypothesis that colour vision in primates was selected for discriminating the spectral modulations on the skin of conspecifics, presumably for the purpose of discriminating emotional states, socio-sexual signals and threat displays. Here we show that, consistent with this hypothesis, there are two dimensions of skin spectral modulations, and trichromats but not dichromats are sensitive to each. Furthermore, the M and L cone maximum sensitivities for routine trichromats are optimized for discriminating variations in blood oxygen saturation, one of the two blood-related dimensions determining skin reflectance. We also show that, consistent with the hypothesis, trichromat primates tend to be bare faced.

Quelle: Bare skin, blood and the evolution of primate colour vision

Aus der Studie:

We should emphasize that the idea that colour vision is important for colour signalling is not new (e.g. Hingston 1933; Wickler 1967; Regan et al. 2001; Liman & Innan 2003; Waitt et al. 2003; Zhang & Webb 2003), except that typically it is assumed that colour vision was originally selected for some other reason. One of the main contributions we make here is the argument that colour vision is near-optimal for discriminating skin colour modulations, something that increases the prima facie plausibility of the hypothesis that trichromacy was originally selected for the perception of skin colour signalling. Other adaptive explanations have been put forth to explain primate colour vision, including advantages for frugivory (Allen 1879; Mollon 1989; Osorio & Vorobyev 1996; Regan et al. 2001; Surridge & Mundy 2002), and for folivory (Lucas et al. 2003). Our discussion here provides no answer as to which of these may more likely have been the original selection pressure for trichromacy, or whether all these hypotheses may be important contributors (Regan et al. 2001). One advantage of the skin colour-signalling hypothesis is that, whereas there is a wide variety of trichromat frugivory and folivory behaviour, skin colour modulation is due to fundamental properties of blood shared by all primates, and this could be key in understanding the universal M and L cone sensitivities of routine trichromats. There are other phenomena that colour signalling can explain but these others cannot, including the high degree of perceptual discriminability and colour-uncategorizability of skin tones (see electronic supplementary material, §2), the bareness of trichromat faces, and the close affinity of colour to blood, skin colour and emotional states

Finde ich durchaus interessant. Natürlich können auch schlicht eine Vielzahl von Faktoren zusammengespielt haben. Zu Geschlechtsunterschieden im Bereich des farblichen Sehen verweise ich noch auf diesen Artikel hier


Übersicht: Evolution, Evolutionäre Psychologie und Partnerwahl

1. Grundlegendes

2. Evolutionär relevanter Zeitraum

3. Sexuelle Selektion

4. Signalling

5. Kinder/Jugend/Spielen

6. Hormone

7. Verschiedene Konzepte

8. Geist vs Körper

9. Partnerwahl

10. Status

11. Schönheit

12. Sex:

13. Liebe

14. Vaterschaft

15. Geschlechterunterschiede

16. Sozialverhalten

17. Kritik

18. Spieltheorie

19. Videos