Tracing our ancestry, Mark Stoneking

Interviewee: Mark Stoneking. Tracing our ancestry.

The bones tell us about what happened in terms of morphology. I mean we look at DNA, and we can say well we trace all of our ancestry back to a common ancestor who lived a 140 to 280,000 years ago, but if you want to ask what that individual was, was that modern human, was it archaic human, was it something else, that information comes from the bones. We can't say anything about what an individual looked like based on their, their DNA sequence. So the fossil record gives us information on when the traits that make up, the actual morphological traits that comprise modern humans, when and where those arose. But, what, neither the genes, nor the bones tell us about, at least directly, is behavior, is what those individuals were doing, what sort of resources might they have been using. How were they, what was the nature of their behavior, what was their group size, what were they relying on \u2013 hunting, fishing, gathering, those sorts of things. That information comes from the archaeological record.

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