A new paper claiming that modern humans originated in northern Botswana some 200,000 years ago is being criticized by experts, who say the researchers relied on unproven and outdated techniques while also excluding competing lines of evidence.
The paper received a tremendous amount of press coverage (see here, here, and here), but given the controversy that now surrounds this research, it’s a wonder the paper, published [October 28] in Nature, managed to pass peer review—at least according to the many experts we spoke to. The complaints we received from scientists were almost too many to mention, the most serious being a weak and inconclusive genetic analysis, the failure to cite and address competing archaeological evidence, sweeping assumptions about one particular group of indigenous southern Africans, and an outdated “colonial” approach to the subject matter.
“I think it’s a terrible piece of scholarship that has taken us back in time to around 2004 and completely undermined science in the public eye,” archaeologist Eleanor Scerri of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History said in an email to Gizmodo. “The work is incredibly arrogant in how it ignores archaeology and physical anthropology.”
Read full, original post: Scientists Say New Research Tracing the Origin of Modern Humans to Botswana Is Deeply Flawed