Friday, February 12, 2010

Homo erectus and EDAR?   posted by p-ter @ 2/12/2010 07:17:00 AM

In Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne has the following parenthetical aside about population variation in morphology in H. erectus:
(H. erectus from China...had shovel-shaped incisor teeth not found in other populations)
This stopped me dead in my tracks: modern East Asian populations have similar tooth morphology, caused in part by a positively-selected nonsynonymous change in the gene EDAR. Could this be an example of convergent evolution of tooth morphology in hominins?

However, a cursory google suggests that shovel-shaped incisors might be thought to be a trait general to H. erectus, not specific to Asian populations. Can anyone clarify this?