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Detecting genetic drift versus selection in human evolution
 

Summary: Detecting genetic drift versus selection in
human evolution
Rebecca Rogers Ackermann*
and James M. Cheverud
*Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa; and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology,
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63130
Edited by Henry C. Harpending, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, and approved November 17, 2004 (received for review August 12, 2004)
Recent paleoanthropological discoveries reveal a diverse, poten-
tially speciose human fossil record. Such extensive morphological
diversity results from the action of divergent evolutionary forces
on an evolving lineage. Here, we apply quantitative evolutionary
theory to test whether random evolutionary processes alone can
explain the morphological diversity seen among fossil australopith
and early Homo crania from the Plio­Pleistocene. We show that
although selection may have played an important role in diversi-
fying hominin facial morphology in the late Pliocene, this is not
the case during the early evolution of the genus Homo, where
genetic drift was probably the primary force responsible for facial
diversification.
craniofacial biology early hominins evolutionary processes

  

Source: Ackermann, Rebecca Rogers - Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town
Cheverud, James M. - Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine