Monday, July 2, 2018

No L3(M,N) Back migration took Place

Vicente M. Cabrera, Patricia Marrero, Khaled K. Abu-Amero and Jose M. Larruga, Carriers of mitochondrial DNA macrohaplogroup L3 basal lineages migrated back to Africa from Asia around 70,000 years ago, BMC Evolutionary Biology201818:98,
Cabrera et al (2018) argue that Africans migrated out of Africa earlier than 60,000 years ago, and Eurasians introduced  mtDNA L3 (M,N) as the result of a back migration to Africa 70,000 years ago because this is the statistical coalescence age of haplogroup L3. This hypothesis lacks congruence for two reasons, 1) there is no archaeological evidence of a back migration from Eurasia to Africa; and 2) West Eurasia , was dominated by Neanderthals up until 44,000 BC when anatomically modern humans entered West Eurasia via Iberia.

The archaeological evidence makes it clear that AMH were in California, China, the Levant and the Mediterranean Islands 130-100,000 years ago (kya) (1). The fossil record indicates that mastodon were being butchered in California 130kya, and AMH were on Crete (1). Human teeth have been found in China dating between 120-80kya (3). In the Levant skeletal remains have been found in Skhul and Qafzeh caves dating between 125 kya (2). In addition there is the presence of lithic assemblages in Arabia Peninsula dating to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) around 125-75 kya (4).
Just because AMH had expanded out of Africa 100kya does not mean that they were not Africans.

 In fact these early AMH migrants in Eurasia, continued to practice their African culture. For example,  Trenton W. Holliday, tested the hypothesis that if modern Africans had dispersed into the Levant from Africa, "tropically adapted hominids" would be represented in the archaeological history of the Levant, especially in relation to the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids(5).  Dr. Holliday noted that "In this light, some of the more robust assignments (albeit not 95% of the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids to the sub-Saharan African sample (e.g., Qafzeh 8 at 85%, Skhul 4 at 71%) are remarkable indeed" (p. 62).

 The skeletal remains from  Qafzeh-Skhul  (20,000-10,000),were assigned to the Sub-Saharan population, along with the  Natufians samples (4000 BP) (5). Holliday also found African fauna in the area (5).

In Summary, Holiday observed that “ "The current study demonstrates African-like affinities in the body shape of the Qafzeh-Skhul (QS) hominids. This finding is consistent with craniofacial evidence (Brace 1996) and with zooarchaeological data indicating the presence of African fauna at Qafzeh (Rabinovich and Tchernov 1995; Tchernov 1988, 1992)" (p.64). “
The fauna and zooarchaeological remains from QS, indicate the hominids here exploited African fauna (5). Holliday (5) claims the QS people were Proto-Cro-Magnons, because they were similar in dental and craniological size to the Aurignacian hominids (5,10). Except for the AMH at QS, the vast majority of hominids in the Levant were Neanderthal. Neanderthal remained supreme in Eurasia until 34kya.

The discovery of Sub-Saharan skeletons, flora, fauna in the Levant indicates that there was continuity between the original African migrants out of Africa and people in the Levant up to 4000BP. This archaeological, indicates that there was continual migration of Africans into Eurasia, not vice versa.
Thusly, when Cabrera et al  argues that “With these data at hand, we assess the possibility of the following scenario: L3 exited from Africa as a pre-L3 lineage that evolved as basal L3 in inner Asia. From there, it expanded, returning to Africa as well as expanding to southeastern Asia, giving rise to the African L3 branches in eastern Africa and the M and N L3 Eurasian branches in southeastern Asia, respectively” (6).

This argument fails because the Neanderthal occupied Eurasia up to 44kya(7-10) when Cro-Magnon Africans crossed from Africa into Iberia. As a result, there was no where in Eurasia for L3(M,N) to originate and disseminate back to Africa because there was sustained African presence in the Levant as indicated by the African skeletons, flora and fauna (6).


1.Winters, C.  DID MANKIND FIRST EXIT AFRICA 100,000 YEARS AGO?, Ancient Origins, 2017.
2.Shea JJ, Bar-Yosef O. Who Were The Skhul/Qafzeh People? An Archaeological Perspective on Eurasia’s Oldest Modern Humans. J Isr Prehistoric Soc. 2005;35:451-468.
3.Liu W, MartinĂ³n-Torres M, Cai Y, Xing S, Tong H, Pei S, Sier MJ, Wu X, Edwards RL, Cheng H, et al. The earliest unequivocally modern humans in southern China. Nature. 2015;
4.Armitage SJ, Jasim SA, Marks AE, Parker AG, Usik VI, Uerpmann H-P. The southern route “out of Africa”: evidence for an early expansion of modern humans into Arabia. Science. 2011;331:453–6.
5. Holiday, T. (2000). Evolution at the Crossroads: Modern Human Emergence in Western Asia, American Anthropologist,102(1) .
6. Cabrera V M, Patricia Marrero, Khaled K. Abu-Amero and Jose M. Larruga, Carriers of mitochondrial DNA macrohaplogroup L3 basal lineages migrated back to Africa from Asia around 70,000 years ago, BMC Evolutionary Biology201818:98,
7. Winters, C. (2008). Aurignacian Culture: Evidence of Western Exit for Anatomically Modern Humans. South Asian Anthropologist, 8, 79-81.
8.Winters, C. (2010). Origin and Spread of the Haplogroup N. Bioresearch Bulletin, 3, 116-122.
9.Winters, C. (2011). The Gibraltar out of Africa Exit for Anatomically Modern Humans. WebmedCentral BIOLOGY, 2, Article ID: WMC002311.
10. Winters, C. (2014). Were the First Europeans Pale or Dark Skinned?. Advances in Anthropology, 4, 124-132.

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