Re: Gene flow?

Susan S. Chin (
Sun, 22 Dec 1996 21:30:17 GMT

Ludvig Mortberg ( wrote:
: Gene flow? Between homo erectus and homo sapiens and neanderthals. Did
: it ever occur to you that they all may have been seperate species. I
: mean how much gene flow do we have between lions and tigers, or
: between chimps and gorillas? None , because they cannot have fertile
: offspring!

That's been the standard problem though, how closely do morphological
characteristics of our "paleo-species" correlate with "real time"
biological species? I don't think it's as simple as "they are differing
species (morphologic criteria), therefore they are incapable of
interbreeding" Remember that a species definition encompasses more than
just interbreeding capabilities, but chronology, geography, physiology,
behavior, ecology, etc etc

: I think that if we apply standard criteria for differentiating between
: species among primates in general to hominids it could clear up things
: significantly. Take all extant species of baboons and see how they
: differ. And then take a look at a neanderthal cranium beside a cro
: magnon. What would you say?

Well, how useful is it to compare extant species of baboons with one
hominid lineage, Homo sapiens, which does make it to the present time,
with one, the Neanderthals, which obviously became extinct. The question
has always been, and continues to be: did some of those Neanderthal genes
make it into any of the existing populations of Homo sapiens? If so, it
wouldn't necessarily mean Neanderthal morphology would be retained
through time unless selected for... but really, how do we know the two
species were incapable of interbreeding? We don't. Nor do we really know
that they could either. But you can't rule it out.