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Razib Khan's Unsupervised Learning

Apr 9, 2021

Listeners to some of my podcasts on human evolution often tell me, in a friendly enough manner, that the jargon is often tough going. To be frank I can actually empathize with this. It is difficult for me to keep up with all the paleogenetics, let alone the ins and outs of paleoanthropology. What’s the difference between ergaster and heidelbergensis? Are Denisovans a species? Where in Africa did modern humans emerge? There are dozens of questions like this.

This is why I often touch base with Dr. Chris Stringer, an eminent paleoanthropologist who also happens to be incredibly accessible.

Chris is the author of many books and hundreds of papers on human evolution. He is also vocal on Twitter. Since he is not shy about offering his opinion and assessment, I reached out to him to get his take on the past one million years of human evolution as it stands now. Chris was also an author on a recent paper, The Origins of Modern Human Ancestry, which serves as an excellent starting point for the discussion on this episode of Unsupervised Learning.

We discuss:

- What is Homo erectus?

- Were Denisovans one species?

- Where is “Out of Africa” in 2021?

- How many species were present in Southeast Asia ten years ago?

- Lots about the origins of anatomically modern humans