Human Subspecies

In Brief

“No race is superior, no race is inferior – they are all just a bit different.” — Stefan Molyneux
Subspecieism is the belief that all modern Homo sapiens are not the same. Subspecieists believe that there is vast diversity among modern humans, and that that diversity ought to be recognized, celebrated and preserved.
Note – Subspecieism is often times defined as Human biodiversity or Human variation.  Race Realism is also consistent with Subspecieist views, though population diversity deniers use the term as a pejorative.

Roots of Subspecieism

“Linneus… an 18th century Swedish botanist who took it upon himself to categorize every single living being on the planet…  and he did a pretty good job… he actually coined the phrase Homo sapien. But looking around the world at the diversity of humans he said, well you know, we seem to come in discreet subspecies or categories.” — Geneticist, Anthropologist Spencer Wells,  TED Global 2007
Modern Subspecieists follow in the footsteps of many of the great 18th and 19th century anthropologists and naturalists including Darwin, Linneus, Herbert Spencer, Francis Galton and the more contemporary Franz Weidenreich, Carleton Coon, James Watson (Watson and Crick), Luca Cavalli Sforza, Desmond Morris and Robert Ardrey.
Their views fell out of favor for some 60 years, starting in the late 1940s. James Watson for example,the co-founder of DNA, was shunned and accused of “racism” for suggesting varied degrees of intelligence in differing ethnic groups. (The Guardian 2007).
But now everything has come nearly full circle. Newly unearthed hominid fossils along with groundbreaking genetics research is confirming the views of the old guard anthropologists and paleontologists. It is all happening at a remarkably fast pace. Still, few of the old guard have yet to receive their due.

Modern Human Diversity

“Wherever Homo arose, and Africa is at present the most likely continent, he soon dispersed, in a very primitive form, throughout the warm regions of the Old World….If Africa was the cradle of mankind, it was only an indifferent kindergarten. Europe and Asia were our principal schools.” — Carleton Coon, The Origin of Races (Google Books)

Ethnic Europeans significant Neanderthal DNA

Genetics experts such as Swedish biologist Dr. Svante Pääbo and his colleague Johannes Krauseof the Max Plank Insitute in Germany, have discovered that whites have as much as 2 to 4% Neanderthal DNA. Genetics researcher Adrian Briggs, stated unambiguously that the DNA of “Humans and Neandertals are 99.5 percent identical,” (Digital Journal2010)
And there is much evidence to suggest that percentage could be even more. Archaeologist and British writer Peter Frost asserts, “Neanderthal admixture in present-day Eurasians is probably a bit higher than the estimated 1 to 4%.” (Unz.com 2017)
In a 2019 Simons Foundation lecture (10:10), famed Paleontologist Richard Leakey remarked, “It’s very clear.  Not everyone has a proportion of a genetic make-up from Neanderthal.  But some do. It’s about 4%.”
In 2012, Geneticist Spencer Wells gave a Neanderthal DNA test to 3 journalists at a UCD-San Diego conference.  WSJ’s James Fallows, of Scottish ancestry, scored a stunning 5%, The Atlantic 2013. (See clarification from Dr. Wells Tweeted to Subspecieist.com Jan. 2019 in site Archives). 
Huw Goucutt, archaeologist with the Max Planck Inst. in Leipzig, Germany suggests archaic introgression to be “4 to 6%.”
Americans taking 23 and Me are surprised to find they score 4% Neanderthal and above.  A San Francisco DNA test taker was quoted “It’s way cool to be a cave man.”  (5 News – KPIX, 2017)

Modern Euros uniquely adapted

Europeans’ Neanderthal admixture could explain exceptional abilities in logic, reasoning, innovation and adaption to challenging environments.

Chris Stringer, Financial Times, July 2019: “Some Neanderthal DNA… seemingly gave advantages in areas such as…  environmental adaptation and were accordingly retained and even accentuated.”

Prof Clive Finlayson, a friend of Chris Stringer and director of the Gibraltar Museum explains (BBC Jan. 2019), “the bulky Neanderthals may not have been as suited as our long-distance running ancestors to chasing herds across the mammoth steppe… [however] they were probably better… at ambush hunting large animals at close quarters from cover.”

Spencer Wells,  Journey of Man, (1:02): “The Ice Age was to cut the first Europeans off, eliminating any contact with the outside world. In isolation they developed distinctive traits. Their hair color changed; the shape of their noses changed; even their height. Today, people with European ancestry… look pretty different from our distant ancestors.”

Northern Extremes

According to the NY Times Dec 2016, “gene variants in Inuit who live in Greenland… may help them adapt to the cold by promoting heat-generating body fat.”  Inuits have an “evolutionary advantage” to overcome extremely cold temperatures from an unusually high mix of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA.
The Evenki reindeer herders of extreme northern Siberia and neighboring Siberian populations from the Tungusic language group, also have this Neanderthal and Deniosvan admixture.  (Phys.org 2019). 

The African Continent

“We do know that African populations derive some small fraction of their DNA, possibly as much as 5%… from archaic lineages that we haven’t discovered… there is some sign of some archaic lineage that’s contributed to some populations. What we don’t know is the identity of that lineage… It could be Naledi?”– Dr. John Hawks, lecture Oct 2017 Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

According to Harvard professor of genetics David Reich, Africa has “the greatest human diversity in genetics in the world.”    Svante Pääbo on a possible archaic mix: “I think there’s good reason to think that they mixed with other forms inside of Africa.  There’s some indications of that in the genomes of present day Africans.” (UCTV 2018). His colleague and friend, Pascal Gagneux, Dir. of the Center for Anthropology at UCD-San Diego, conference June 8, 2019 agrees: “They [Africans] do not have that 2% of Neanderthal.  They have some other archaic introgression, which is super interesting.”

Some Western Africans are descended from the Hazda, while others originate from unknown Hominids. Arun Durvasula and Sriram Sankararaman from the University of California in Los Angeles have described the ancestor as a “ghost species” or quite possibly Homo Naledi a “small-brained hominin” on the “African plains 250,000 years ago.” (IFL Science2018)

Peter Frost (NatGeo) suggests, about 13% of the African genome comes from these archaic “paleoafricans” who “lacked something modern humans had” putting them at a disadvantage. Frost writes this might explain the “limited capacity for symbolic thinking and social organization.”

Very recent fossil finds suggest “a little-brained shadow lineage was lingering on from a much earlier period,” at the same time Homo sapiens roamed the African plains.

Omer Gokcumen, prof. of biology at the Univ. of Buffalo believes “This unknown human relative could be a species that has been discovered, such as a subspecies of Homo erectus…”  (BigThink.com 2018)

Dr. Lee Berger, Resident Explorer at National Geographic believes the admixture could be with “primitive… tiny brain” Homo naledi (NatGeo 2015), and adds moderns and archaics lived side-by-side and may even have interbred: “You can imagine how disruptive that might have been.”

 

The San Bushmen of the Kalahari

The Khoe-San of the Kalahari have separate lineage from other Africans.  Spencer Wells (PBS National Geo) has called the bushmen (Khoisan) and the related click-speaking !Kung tribe in Namibia, the last remaining original humans.  Wells says that of all the people on earth “the San are direct descendants of our oldest ancestors.”

David Reich agrees, “The Khoe-san are such a genetically distinctive people,” (phys.org).

British Science Journalist  (NatGeo, The Atlantic) Ed Yong calls the Khoisan “one of the oldest human groups on the planet.”

Some such as Dutch science writer R.C. Camphausen have even suggested that these Africans may indeed be the only remaining pure-breed “100 percent Homo sapiens.”

Geneticist Dr. Shi Huang  points to a study on SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) from 2010 covered by National Geographic: “All of the Bushmen had a version of the vitamin D receptor that is associated with denser bones and three of them have a variant linked to better sprinting performance. Some of the SNPs grant the carrier the ability to taste bitter plant chemicals…to avoid toxic plants. One of !Gubi’s variants could allow him to break down foreign substances or resist parasites.”

Archaic Introgression in Sub-Saharan Africans?

A research paper issued in July, 2019 by Cindy Santander, Francesco Montinaro & Cristian Capelli, “Searching for archaic contribution in Africa,” cites 2018 a new “machine learning method, ArchIE” that found “SubSaharan populations derive 2–19% of their genetic ancestry from an archaic population that diverged before the split between Neanderthals and modern humans.”

The ArchIE method also led to another starling find, that “the archaic ancestry in Yoruba is best explained by admixture with an archaic ghost population more than the possibility of Neanderthal ancestry from backmigration or from admixture with an extant modern human population.”

19th Century Variance in Modern Humans

Denisovan DNA in modern Asians

East Asians have roughly 5% Denisovan DNA.  According to ScienceMag.org:  “Denisovans interbred with H. sapiens… present-day human genetic makeup reflects that varied background, as in modern Melanesian populations… 4 to 6% [of DNA is] derived from Denisovans.”

Additionally, some isolated populatons may have Homo Erectus DNA.  Chinese Palaeoanthropologists suggest this could explain Asians’ “facial flatness” (Paleoanthropology.net). The discovery of the Dali skull in China’s Shaanxi province has led many paleontologists to conclude [that] “Homo erectus must have shared DNA with Homo sapiens” (NewsWeek 2017).

Wu Xinzhi, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing is a leading advocate of this view.  He asserts, “it’s increasingly clear that many Asian materials cannot fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution” (Scientific American 2016)

Indian Ocean, Australia and Polynesia

Very recent archaeological finds suggest other previously unknown sub-species in islands off the Asian continent, including Homo Florensiensas (Hobbit man).

Australian and New Guinean aboriginal lines can be traced back to archaic humans, 60,000 to 80,000 years ago.   Svante Pääbo puts the New Guinean Denisovan percentage at fully 7%. (UCTV 2018). Pääbo and other geneticists believe they “may have [also] mated with a previously-unknown human species.” (SmithsonianMag.com Sep 2016)

One particular population on isolated islands off of India is a complete mystery.  Spencer Wells, Insitome Q&A, 2017: “I’d be surprised at this point to see a [DNA mapping] result that would completely turn everything on its head. I mean, maybe the Sentinelese…”

Tibetans

High Plateau Tibetans like the Evenki reindeer herders northern Siberia have significant Neanderthal and Deniosvan admixture.
From New Scientist Nov 2018: “Most Tibetans carry an unusual stretch of DNA in their genomes…The Denisovan DNA seems to help Tibetans cope with the limited oxygen supply at altitude.” Professor Rasmus Nielsen at UC Berkeley on Tibetans – [higher altitudes] “when they breath they get about 60% more oxygen” (5-KPIX).
From Geek.com, May 2019, “160,000 Year Old Jawbone found in Tibet Cave”:
“According to the scientists, the Denisovans had already adapted to living in this high-altitude… genetic studies found present-day Himalayan populations to carry the EPAS1 allele in their genome, passed on to them by Denisovans, which helps with adaptation to their specific environment.”

Supremacy?

“Thinking that one race is “superior” to another is like saying that the brown bear is “superior” to the polar bear.  The question makes no sense – each species adapts to its local environment.  That doesn’t mean that they will flourish as well in each other’s environment though.” — Canadian Libertarian philosopher, YouTube and podcast broadcaster Stefan Molyneux, Twitter Dec. 2018