Did Infectious Disease Gene Changes Conquer The Human Evolution Bottleneck?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 04:30 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Around 100,000 years ago, human evolution was in a rut, modern human ancestors consisted of 5-10,000 individuals living in Africa.Yet modern humans somehow emerged from this population bottleneck, expanding dramatically in both number and range, and replacing all other co-existing evolutionary cousins, like Neanderthals. What caused this bottleneck in the first place?  Answers range from gene mutations to cultural developments like language to climate-altering events, like a massive volcanic eruption. Maybe there is another possible factor: infectious disease. read more

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