Sexual Selection, Timing and an X–Y Homologous Gene: Did <i>Homo Sapiens</i> Speciate on the Y Chromosome?

Tim J. Crow

in The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780197263112
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734885 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Sexual Selection, Timing and an X–Y Homologous Gene: Did Homo Sapiens Speciate on the Y Chromosome?

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This chapter provides a theory of the speciation of modern Homo sapiens, that a single gene played a critical role in the transition from a precursor species. The theory is founded upon the following: firstly, the premise that hemispheric asymmetry is the defining feature of the human brain and the only plausible correlate of language; secondly, an argument for a specific candidate region (the Xq21.3/Yp11.2 region of homology) based upon the reciprocal deficits associated with the sex chromosome aneuploidies, and the course of chromosomal change in hominid evolution; and thirdly, a particular evolutionary mechanism (sexual selection acting on an X-Y-linked gene) to account for species-specific modification of what initially was a saltational change. These postulates relate to the case of modern Homo sapiens. On the basis of the recent literature, the discussion argues that the third premise has general significance as a mechanism of speciation.

Keywords: Homo sapiens; X chromosome; Y chromosome; hemispheric asymmetry; hominid evolution; saltational change

Chapter.  7576 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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