Before Farming

Apportioning human variation

the regional dimension of biomedical research

Before Farming (2010), 2010, (4), 1–9.

Abstract

A major theme in the long and distinguished career of Alan Thorne was the specific demonstration of the influence of regional continuity in human evolution, and an emphasis on the importance of regional influences in general on the biology of human populations. These themes were carried out with meticulous attention to detail in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Explored here are some examples of his work along these lines in the attempt to understand the evolutionary significance of the Liang Bua Cave skeletons, particularly LB1. Alan Thorne made important individual contributions to diagnosis of the sex of LB1, and to the demonstration that the LB1 and LB6 mandibles provide no support for the idea that these specimens represent a new hominin species. Appreciation of the importance of regional factors is extended to consider how rare medical conditions such as Laron Syndrome might vary due to the expression of heterogeneous mutations in different environments.

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Eckhardt, Robert