Saturday, June 19, 2010

KhoiSan: As the "Oldest" Surviving "Tribes"

The reader may recall having heard the claim that the KhoiSan are the "oldest living human populations" at some point or another. The saying may well have taken the character of something of a religious faith within some circles. When the whereabouts of the source for this "understanding" is inquired, common references have been to the National Geographic human genome project web-page and Semino et al.'s (2001) study regarding the "deepest clades" for instance. The former bases this on rather flimsy material that KhoiSan male gene pools comprises of deep root clades like hg A, while the latter has every now and then fallen victim to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what is being related in the authors' findings within the contexts that they were made. Fact is the KhoiSan are no more representative of the oldest anatomical modern human beings any more than other living populations.