The term “genetics,” was first coined in 1905 by English geneticist William Bateson in a personal letter to colleague Alan Sedgwick. Since then, genetics has emerged to be the center of evolutionary research for more than a century.
This last week, the research article in the journal Science entitled “A High-Coverage Genome Sequence from an Archaic Denisovan Individual” captured media headlines worldwide.
The Los Angles Times covered the story with the title “Genome of Ancient Denisovans May Help Clarify Human Evolution.” Pinky DNA Points To Clues About Ancient Humans” was the title of the story by NPR news. The story was covered by USA Today, NBC News, FOX News, CBS News, ABC, BBC News, and the prestigious journal, Nature.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute (M.P.I.) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, using an advanced new method of analysis, have sequenced the complete DNA genome from a fragmented female finger bone discovered in a Denisova cave in Siberia in 2008,
The new method extracts the genome using single-strand DNA sequencing, rather than double-stranded — a technique that turns a single strand into a double strand of DNA, boosting the amount of sample material. The technique allows for examination of DNA that has decayed from a double to a single stranded DNA.
Mike Bunce, an expert in ancient and degraded DNA from Murdoch University in Western Australia says, “Now, we’ve got really detailed genetic code of the Denisovans, Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, and we can map out where these interactions occurred.”
The evidence, however, was surprising. Bunce notes the study shows “some pretty strong evidence” that Denisovans interbred with humans.
The evidence points to interbreeding between Denisovas and humans. Self-sustaining reproduction can only occur within a single species. The Denisovas, then, and humans are the same species.
“It was the first time a new group of distinct humans was discovered” via genetic analysis rather than by anatomical description, said Svante Pääbo, a senior researcher at the M.P.I. The key word is “distinct humans.”
The Denisovas, therefore, are simply a distinct group of humans, rather than one of the long sought after transitional missing links needed to support the concept of human evolution. The “Denisova Dilemma” continues.
“Indeed, far from supplying ‘a nice clean example of ‘gradualistic evolutionary change’,” according to Casey Luskin in Science & Human Origin, “the record reveals a dramatic discontinuity between ape-like and human-like fossils. Human-like fossils appear in the record, without clear evolutionary precursors, making the case for human evolution on fossils highly speculative.”
In the words of Ann Gibbons, author of The First Human, The Race to Discover our Earliest Ancestor, “The story of human evolution has lately become as complicated as a Tolstoy novel.”
Without DNA or fossil record evidence for transitional “missing links” in human evolution, as anticipated by Darwin and the evolution industry complex, the theory of biological evolution remains a philosophy, not a scientific fact.