Perhaps the main problem is the search for a root.
The picture we carry of an evolutionary tree is well acknowledged as too simplistic, but the offer of an intertwined bush in its place is also a simplistic idea.
It’s much more like dribbling different cans of paint on the floor and letting them run and mix and cross tracks back and forth mixing and mingling as it goes.
We have an idea of species evolving from one form to another. But evolution works by beneficial mutations growing within a population. This must occur over multiple generations. Individuals within a species may breed with others who carry the mutation and/or (and there is no mutual exclusivity) those who don’t. Our definition of a species is a group that doesn’t (not can’t) normally breed with other similar groups. But the point at which such preferential mating becomes established must necessarily be woolly. And we know that ancient hominins interbred.
Seeking an evolutionary “line” is a fruitless occupation. There isn’t a line, there is a blend.
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> On 20 Feb 2018, at 14:12, BRIGGS JOHN <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> There are many comments that could be made, here are a few:
> 1. The Basque area refuge is probably a myth - we don't even know where the Basques came from: the Romans make no mention of them so they probably weren't in the Basque Region in Roman times.
> 2. White skin was probably picked up from the Neanderthals, who had been in Northern climes for about 500,00 years - plenty of time for evolutionary pressure.
> 3. Stephen Oppenheimer's medical speciality was as a tropical paediatrician.
> John Briggs