cavalli-sforza on San
Sun, 5 Feb 1995 15:33:01 GMT

Someone earlier queried what cavailli-Sforza et al has to say about
San and the origins of humans. Couresty of my scanner, this
is it:

p. 176. The map of the early distribution of Khoisanids (fig.
3.2.2) shows the sites of presumed skeletal remains of the
San. The proximity of East and North Africa to Southwest Asia
makes it extremely likely that there was admixture between
Africa and West Asia.

An alternative hypothesis should be considered. Some peculiar
external characteristics of Khoisans, and the uniqueness of
clicks, have struck the imagination of many anthropologists
to the point that some scholars have considered the Khoisan a
separate race of very remote origin (Coon 1963). In line with
this, some linguists have seen the clicks as primordial
sounds of human language, preserved only in Khoisan. Data
from the analysis of an approximately 700-nucleotide region
of mtDNA, already discussed in section 2.4 (Vigilant et al.
1989), seem to give some weight to the idea that Khoisan are
direct descendants of primitive human ancestors. Our analysis
of gene frequencies on the basis of the admixture hypothesis
leads to the opposite conclusion, namely, that Khoisans are
the result of a relatively early admixture between Africans
and Asians. It is not easy, however, to distinguish between
the two hypotheses that Khoisans are the root of all humans
or the result of an admixture, for in many respects these two
hypotheses give the same expectations, especially looking at
gene frequencies. At this time and until further data
accumulate and other analyses are made, it may be useful to
consider both hypotheses possible and wait for further
elements that may help in distinguishing them.

Norman Buchignani e-mail address: BUCHIGNANI@HG.ULETH.CA
Department of Anthropology
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada