Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Key Mutation May Have Led To Homo Erectus Speciation
A mutation in a gene related to the way the body reacts to sialic acid, a kind of sugar, arose two or three million years ago, around the time that Homo Erectus and Homo Eragaster evolved. This gene may have been selectively favored because it conferred malaria resistance, and may have facilitated the ability of these hominins to eat red meat. It may also have reduced the fertility of couples where one member has the mutation and the other does not, leading to more rapid speciation.