Science isn't dogmatic this story shows scientist are more than willing to reevaluate any theory based on new evidence.
In various alternative media the idea that all modern humankind essentially originated in East Africa (with some limited interbreeding with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and archaic Homo Sapiens in Africa) is called "just a theory". The Bering strait migration just "dogma". Sometimes it is used to various racist purposes such as arguing that American Indians are immigrants or Africans are inferior. That OoA - Bering Strait is a belief equal to the stories in the bible or passed along by tribal elders. Just another story.
Fig.1 - The current model of human origins based numerous DNA studies with thousands of participants from around the world. They find that all living humans originated 100% in Africa as Homo Heidelbergensis, named for where the first but not the oldest specimen was found. Then spread out over the world . The study found that most of our DNA, at least 98.5% comes from Homo Sapiens Sapiens which originated in Africa with minor interbreeding from Homo Neanderthalensis of Europe and the middle east, Homo Denisovan of the middle east and Asia, and an archaic Homo not specified of Africa. 20% of that non H. S. S. DNA is from neanderthals a figure often misinterpreted to mean non Africans are 20% neanderthal.(Image courtesy of Chris Stringer and Wikipedia)
In truth the Out of Africa theory has just as much support as General Relativity and the Bering strait migration has as much support as the law of mass energy equivalence. However many non-scientist question even the notion that the genus Homo evolved in Africa, then spread out to the rest of the world as Homo Erectus. That is to say they even reject the multiregional hypothesis and seem to insist that it is scientific to claim that they evolved or originated right in America, Australia, Asia, or Europe, without any African input even a million years + back.
Furthermore, they assert, that all evidence to support their ideas is suppressed by a worldwide conspiracy, or that evidence is interpreted to support the recent african origin of modern humans no matter what. (Which is really rich since a large gathering of scientist would not even agree on what to have for lunch much less what lies to tell if they were to tell them.)
Here are a few examples of what this article is countering.
The “Out of Africa” Theory has Been Officially Debunked (The Daily Stormer)
The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory (ancient-origins.net)
A whole series of articles on Indian Country Today on Bering strait theory which spends 3 parts talking about wrong headed religiously based notions. Yet still does not confront the modern science of DNA and millions of years old African fossil hominids. (One earlier article which runs with the fact that a scientist will not call a theory a "fact".)*
The next two aren't associated with news or news like organizations.
Bering Strait Land Bridge/ Theory - Native Perspectives call the Bull S@#ttT Theory by John Two-Hawk (Daily Kos)
What the Muslim Attitude Towards the Bering Strait Theory Should Be (Turtle Islan Muslims)
Homo sapien sapiens originated in Australia, not ‘out-of-Africa’ – DNA evidence (The Stringer, an Australian Aboriginal publication)
Misunderstanding what OoA theory and the Bering Strait Law say, many non-scientist internalize it as: Everyone in the world is black and American Indians are immigrants. Which is a grave misunderstanding. At least some of the reactions against it have a racial component. Some of the writing shows a lack of understanding of the scientific process and of the scientific vocabulary. Some of it is a classic inability to compartmentalize the religious and the scientific as different kinds of truth.
The basics of the scientific method.
- Identify a problem or ask a question.
- Do research to find out if anyone else has addressed the problem, OR perform initial experiments and observations to better understand the problem.
- Make a supposition or propose an explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. This is what is known as a hypothesis.
- Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.
- Analyze your data and draw a conclusion. Does the data support the hypothesis or does the data refute the hypothesis?
- Communicate your results so other scientist can perform experiments to confirm your findings or refute your findings.
In the case of the American Indian belief in a separate origin there exist the "Out of America" hypotheses. These are at least in the tradition of and spirit of science Out-of-America Vs. Out-of-Africa families of hypotheses. There are several hypotheses advanced their titles quoted directly. My summary application of the scientific method to them is in parentheses. Fig.2 -KNM-WT 15000 aka Turkana Boy, a very complete Homo Erectus skeleton dated to 1.6 million years.Right The famous Lucy, Australopithecus Afarensis skeleton about 4 million years old. If humans evolved in America there would be something like them found here. However, inspite of many digs no such fossils of humans can be found. The oldest possible dates on human habitation, even the dubious ones, are at most 100,000 years or so. Those datings are considered suspect. Even if they were not, they would push the date of migration back, but not the need for a Bering Strait migration.(Images courtesy of the Smithsonian)
- Out-of-America, with human origins from New World primates. (Either all humans originated from new world monkeys or just American Indians. This is falsified by numerous numerous fossils of hominids found in Africa which are over 4 million years old. Not one fossil of anything even like a great ape exist in America. This one is falsified by the observation that the center of human genetic diversity is in Africa .)
- Out-of-America, with human origins from an East Eurasian hominid. (Homo Neanderthalensis or Homo Denisovan migrated to America then as Homo Sapiens Sapiens back into EurAfrAsia. This one is falsified by the observation that the center of human genetic diversity is in Africa .)
- Out-of-America at the end of the most recent Ice Age. (Similar to the first hypothesis, but modern humans are the first to leave America. This one is falsified by the observation that the center of human genetic diversity is in Africa .)
- Out-of-America, with human origins from an East Eurasian hominid and with a “back-migration” at the end of the most recent Ice Age. (A combination of the best aspects of the first three. This one is falsified by the observation that the center of human genetic diversity is in Africa .)
- Out-of-Arabia/India with Archaic Admixture in Eurasia and Africa. (A hypothesis which has modern humans originating in India or perhaps Iraq-Iran-Afganistan region. This one is falsified by the observation that the center of human genetic diversity is in Africa . The only part of this that is true is the Archaic Admixture . Never the less all evidence says humans in Africa were modern in Africa and are the ancestors of all living humans. We are all for practical purposes equally modern.)
All of these hypotheses could be called the out of anywhere but Africa models. 99.9% of scientist would recognize them instantly as a hypothesis which fails to match the DNA data, and so can be safely relegated to the dustbin.
Another point of confusion is the notion of a scientific theory as "just a theory" and that theories at some point become laws of science (and therefore facts).
To the average person a "theory" is a guess. One guess is as good as another. They take the notion that a scientific theory is better than their "theory" personally since to them theory=guess. As if a theory is only a theory because of who makes the guess not because of the scientific process. What they think of the world "theory" is closer to the word hypothesis. All hypotheses are equal, but theories which have mounds of supporting evidence are not hypotheses.
All the DNA and all the fossils, rock solid observable facts, support Out of Africa-Bering Strait. A scientist who found a validated site which conclusively questioned the out of Africa model would be famous and able to ask for any resource they wanted. (See how much is written about the Dmainsi Skulls which question the existence of separate species Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus and make anthropologist question that long held idea.)
The average person thinks that a theory can become a Law of science and that only the laws are facts. This is a grave misunderstanding. If anything laws of science are less significant than theories.
- A law of science derives from observations and a simple hypothesis which expresses a simple logical or mathematical relationship between quantities which has also been verified by many experiments. Laws of science like E=MC^2 are simple mathematical or logical statements which have never been violated. Even if humans somehow evolved in America first....to get to EurAfrAsia they would need to migrate there via the Bering strait. That is why it is a law.
- A scientific theory derives from a basic principle or set of principles called postulates or theorems from which numerous hypotheses can be derived. A theory is supported when those hypotheses derived from it are confirmed by data. That said, the theory itself is never "proven" even if one or more of it's hypotheses become laws of science in their own rite. A well tested theory may contain several laws of science which are only small parts of a theory. The postulate of Out of Africa theory is that modern humans would arise from the place with the earliest fossil of modern humans, and the most genetic diversity. Basic population genetics. (The same postulates applied to the potato lead to the conclusion it was domesticated in a certain region of the andes).
That is not just an opinion, what I have written here are simply the facts.
In particular regarding the peopling of the Americas various sources will claim to have "THE" singular native American perspective on it, an anti-science perspective at that. I will admit part of the reason I write this article is so that it can be known not all people of Native American ancestry can be spoken for in such a manner by any finite number of sources. We are not all anti-science. We are not all threatened by the idea of belonging to one big family of all humankind.
As long as we are all agreed that Indians have lived on these lands for at least 20,000 years, about twice as long as anyone has lived in England, then I don't think we have anything to quarrel about. - http://www.native-languages.org/bering.htm
Peer Reviewed References:
- Stringer, C. (2012). "What makes a modern human". Nature 485 (7396): 33–35.doi:10.1038/485033a.
- Vernot, B.; Akey, J. M. (2014). "Resurrecting Surviving Neandertal Lineages from Modern Human Genomes". Science 343 (6174): 1017–1021.doi:10.1126/science.1245938. Editors summary: Non-African modern humans carry a remnant of Neandertal DNA from interbreeding events that have been postulated to have occurred as humans migrated out of Africa. While the total amount of Neandertal sequence is estimated to be less than 3% of the modern genome, the specific retained sequences vary among individuals. Analyzing the genomes of more than 600 Europeans and East Asians, Vernot and Akey (p. 1017, published online 29 January) identified Neandertal sequences within modern humans that taken together span approximately 20% of the Neandertal genome. Some Neandertal-derived sequences appear to be under positive selection in humans, including several genes associated with skin phenotypes.
*At least in the case of American Indians this issue is complicated by the fact that admixture with other races, especially African, has been used as an excuse to take their lands and rights. ("The Institutional Racism Against Black Indians "). Prejudices imposed from without and enforced by Indians on other Indians ("Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia denied VCI support for state recognition"). Further some ignorant people, even in the mainstream media will use Bering Strait theory to say that american indians are just immigrants. So some of their reaction is response to a great deal of ignorance directed at a relatively small population.