坚决不当北京人的后代

西直门外大街北京天文馆旁边,有个中科院古脊椎动物与古人类研究所和古动物博物馆,古动物博物馆以前叫古脊椎动物博物馆,我在它刚刚建成的时候经常去,里面讲述数十亿年的动物进化史,展出很多古动物化石,包括恐龙和猛犸象。想想进化的漫长和人生的短促,不安的心情会平静很多。

 

上周六,我又来到这座博物馆,展品比从前丰富了不少,有很多学生来参观,比从前热闹。我看到在同一座楼里,还多了个古人类博物馆,不过,看样子不是新建开的。我已经有10多年没来过这里,对于博物馆来说,我已是 “不知有汉,无论魏晋”了。

 

可是这座古人类馆让我大吃一惊。我发现,中国的古人类研究水平似乎还停留在我上小学的那个年代。小学的历史课本曾提到,在北京房山的周口店,生活过北京人和山顶洞人。老师对我们说,北京人是山顶洞人的祖先,山顶洞人是我们的祖先。

 

过了很多年,我才知道根本不是这么回事。北京人和山顶洞人的差异很大。北京人生活在50万年前甚至更早,眉骨、吻部都很突出,脑容量只有现代人的2/3;山顶洞人生活在约3万前,外貌和脑容量和现代人类差不多。一个山顶洞人如果生活在现代社会,肯定和你我一样,也能学会打字、上网。

 

如果山顶洞人真是北京人进化而来,就应该有考古上的证据。可是直到目前,在中国仍然没有找出特征介于两者之间的人类头盖骨化石。北京人也许是一个已经灭绝了的物种,并不是山顶洞人和我们的直系祖先。

 

中国人到底从哪里来?这取决于你相信单地起源说还是多地起源说。单地起源说认为,今天所有人类全部来自非洲。在人类进化的历史上有过两次大迁徙。200万年前,非洲出现了直立人(Homo erectus),由于气候变化,部分直立人走出非洲,向世界各地迁移。它们走到欧洲,成为尼安德特人(Neanderthal),走到北京房山地区,成为北京人。在接下来的100多万年,世界各地的直立人一直处于独自进化的状态。大约在20万年前,非洲的直立人率先实现质的飞跃,进化成为现代人(Homo Sapiens),他们会制作工具和武器,懂得分工合作,适应性能力很强。现代人又开始走出非洲,遍及全世界,取代了各地的直立人,成为当前所有人类的直系祖先。

 

多地起源说认为,现代人是由各地的直立人独立进化而来的,古人类馆看来完全支持多地起源说。他们把元谋人、北京人、柳江人、山顶洞人的头骨化石依次排列展出,把北京人、山顶洞人的复原头像放在一起,必定是想告诉参观者,他们之间的进化关系。实际上,元谋人、北京人是早期直立人,柳江人、山顶洞人就是现代人,和我们没有什么差别。找不到这两类的人的过渡物种。

 

对基因的研究彻底否定了多地起源说。人类的Y染色体完全继承自父亲,线粒体中的DNA完全继承自母亲。基因变异存在规律,根据不同个体的基础序列差异和变异速度,可以推算出他们的共同祖先。经过测定,人类的全部线粒体基因都来自14万年前生活在东非的一位女性,人类全部Y染色体也来自6万年前的非洲。中国人和世界其他地方的人一样,也是从非洲来的。

 

在基因证据面前,多地起源论者修改了他们的观点。他们承认现代人来自非洲,但认为当地的直立人并没有被取代,而是与现代人融合,共同成为现代人类的祖先。可近年来,科学家从3.8万年前的尼安德特人的骨骼化石上提取了线粒体基因,并进行测序,结果发现尼安德特人的基因并不在现代人类的基因变异范围之内,也就是说,两者没有发生过融合。科学家还估算出尼安德特与现代人类开始各自独立进化的时间:52-80万年前。

 

去年是达尔文诞辰400周年,央视科教频道还播过有关人类进化的纪录片,里面提到人类进化的最后一环正是在10多万年前的非洲完成的。这批人后来走出非洲,征服了全世界。目前还不清楚,他们和生活在当地的直立人之间发生过什么。有可能现代人把当地的直立人都杀光了,但更可能的是逐步取代了它们。原先的直立人因为竞争不过现代人,生活空间不断受到挤压,最终彻底消亡。

 

现代人具备了其他物种无法超越的竞争优势。尼安德特人和现代人共存过很长时间,与现代人相比,他们身体更强壮,更吃苦耐劳,更适应环境。可是现代人更有“想象力”,可以在事情尚未发生之前,推断出各种可能的结果,并为之做好准备。这种想象力是现代人类在非洲的恶劣环境下进化得来的,是尼安德特人后天怎么努力也无法获得的一种能力。

 

古人类博物馆对古人类基因研究成果只字不提,仍然坚持本地起源说,但在一个不太显眼的地方说到了基因交流,认为中国本土的直立人可能与外来人种融合,一起构成了中国人的祖先。前面提到过,在对人类基因的研究中从来没有找到这样的证据。就是从常理判断,基因交流也十分荒谬。直立人和现代人已经各自独立进化了几十万年,两者的智力和体貌相差巨大,彼此会视对方为怪物。尤其是现代人,已经进化出了艺术和审美能力,会和直立人产生基因交流的愿望吗?一个人能对一只黑猩猩产生性欲吗?

 

看完央视那套科普节目,我还以为中国人非洲起源说已经是定论,没想到古人类博物馆竟然还在如此顽固地坚持旧说。这是为什么?一个可能的原因是中国考古学者的民族感情过于深厚,认定我们中国人就应该与众不同。但我认为还是私心在作祟。基因科学在古人类学上的广泛应用,已经把人类进化的研究提升到了分子生物学的层面。这不是古人类所的专长。一旦承认基因的证据,这些研究人员只有搜集原始材料的份儿,研究工作就得交给分子生物学家了。研究了一辈子,最后却靠边站了,谁愿意接受这个事实?但无论怎样,博物馆不应该对现代科学的研究成果视而不见,毕竟有很多小孩来这里参观,别把人家耽误了。

 

我绝不愿意当北京人的后代,它的脑容量只有现代人类的三分之二,样子又是这么丑。如果中国人真的带有北京人的基因,绝不是什么好事。如今中国的科学技术赶不上外国,各种伪科学如此盛行,难道都是北京人惹的祸?


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