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Scientific theory and the origin of humans

Published 20/10/2016

I must say that I admire Norman Campbell's ability (Write Back, October 17) to meld time and distance to his will.

Norman ascribes the Pontic Steppe, north of the Black Sea, to the Greater Middle East - and why not - and all of humanity to eight survivors of a global flood event 4,500 years ago.

However, scientists are far from convinced by that argument and Tucci and Akey's recent paper in Nature (October 13), labelled "a map of human wanderlust", argues there are two conflicting models for human dispersal that date either to 40-80,000, or 120-150,000 years ago and both originate in Africa.

It is also worth pointing out that Irish archaeologists (Mallory, 'The Origins of the Irish' and Mallory and O Donnaghain, 'The Origins of the Population of Ireland') observe that the earliest evidence for occupation of Ireland dates to circa 7,000 BC, or some 9,000 years ago.

Lastly, I should qualify these observations. As both a Byzantinist (The Early Byzantine Christian Church) and Patristics scholar (AIPS), I'm not averse to treating the Bible as a history text. And, as an archaeologist, I have worked on biblical sites, such as Dr Ken Dark's Nazareth Project, where we surveyed and recorded the archaeological site preserved beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Israel.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

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