Out of E.Asia II

David Marcus Woodcock (dmw@engin.umich.edu)
31 Oct 1995 14:47:12 GMT

Out of East Asia II

My contention is that all the evidence cited by the Out-of-Africa
proponents can be explained by the following scenario. Moreover,
it is consistent with the fossil data cited by Wolpoff and Thorne
for the multiregionalist position.

Throughout the Pleistocene glacials E.Asia was effectively isolated
from W.Eurasia/Africa by the Tibetan and Siberian ice sheets and the
Burmese jungle. Gene flow occurred through the Eurasian steppe
during interglacials and interstadials. Apparently from at least 400 to
120 kya the contact was sufficiently limited so` as to allow a
considerable divergence between eastern and western populations.

In the West the neandertal developed; in the east the gracile
sapiens type developed. In addition on each side of the world was
a N-S cline, enhanced by the Med barrier in the West and SE Asia
jungle in the east.

Limited E/W contact led to a divergence in technology as well.
Westerners developed the Acheulian stone technology;
easterners probably used bamboo for similar purposes -- cutting edges,
points, etc. This is evidence of limits to contact from about 1.5 mya to
120 kya. However, flint knapping is a skill requiring considerable
skill and knowledge, and its result is not greatly valuable to
people that have alternatives. Thus the technique may not have
spread east readily by cultual difusion.

During the last interglacial [abt 120 kya] eastern groups migrated over
the steppes to the west, assimilating/replacing smaller western groups.
The late Acheulian was assimilated too, and quickly spread into E.Asia.
By 115 kya access to the east was getting much more difficult, but a
relatively large sapiens population was establshed in the west. It
spread quickly into the Levant and Africa, reaching the Cape by 100kya.
However, the gracile newcomers did not have the technology and
knowledge to compete in glacial Europe with the neandertals.
In Africa the newcomers with a phyaique and culture developed
largely in temperate/subtropic conditions were in a more
competitive position ;western groups were assimilated/replaced.
Gracile sapiens populations grew quickly in glacial Africa,
which had much more savanna than at present.

During the glacial [ 100-60 kya ] the Sundaland variety of sapiens
rafted to NG/Au. Lithic technology had advanced in the East between
115 and 60 kya; they probably had the most advanced of that date.

The interstadial of 40 kya opened Europe to the Levant sapiens
and a new wave from the East. Forest expansion cut the neandertal
food supply and made much of their culture obsolete. The
newcomers with a technology much improved over that of 70k years
earlier, and better adapted to forest conditions moved in.
As far as I know the new lithic flake technology appears in
Europe suddenly. As comparable technology dates from Australia
at about 60 kya the simplest explanation is that it was
developed in the East -- perhaps to conserve stone in an
area where good stone was rare.

When the glaciers returned they had the technology to compete with the
neandertals. Again the smaller bands of neandertals were assimilated
or replaced.

All this agrees with the fossil evidence.
1] All 'archaic homo sapiens' in the West -Europe and Africa seem
intermediate between erecctus grade and neandertal.
2] gracile sapiens type appears abt 100 kya from the Levant to
3] probable sapiens/neandertal hybrids appear at Shanidar [n.iraq]
abt 50 kya
4] In SE Asia and NE Asia we have transitional forms from erectus
to sapiens. [Indeed so smooth is it that the 2 terms prob.
should not be used to designate different species]
Precise dates are missing [ C14 useless beyond 50 kya]
but when some one gets one by a new method or new find I predict
E.Asia sapiens will occur before 120 kya, and earlier than
any found in Africa.

--David Woodcock