Ann Gauger posted a new article at Evolution News & Science Today critiquing Venema’s claims about the improbability of a single couple founding the modern human population.
Overall, my criticism of the latest article goes back to an analogy I previously used. Let’s say that a whale washed up on shore. Scientist A estimates the weight of the whale at 10,000 pounds using Method A. Scientist B estimates the weight of the whale at 4,000 pounds using Method B. Many more scientists estimate the weight of the whale using those previous methods and new methods, and their estimates come in at 3,000 to 10,000.
Someone critical of those findings points to the spread in those estimates and asks “Could the weight of the whale be 2 pounds?”. That seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? I think it is valid to point out that these methods aren’t accurate down to the single individual in an effective population size. However, what are the chances that several independent methods are all wrong by three orders of magnitude for population sizes over the last 200,000 years? As others have stated, it is so improbable as to be ignored.
On top of all of this, the effective population size is almost always much lower than the census population size which is the actual number of people in a population. The effective population size is the minimum number of individuals you would need to model a larger population. The effective population size for modern human populations can be orders of magnitude less than the actual population sizes. For example:
"Phase I of the HapMap project produced between 18 and 22 million SNP pairs in samples from four populations: Yoruba from Ibadan (YRI), Nigeria; Japanese from Tokyo (JPT); Han Chinese from Beijing (HCB); and residents from Utah with ancestry from northern and western Europe (CEU). For CEU, JPT, and HCB, the estimate of effective population size, adjusted for SNP ascertainment bias, was ∼3100, whereas the estimate for the YRI was ∼7500, consistent with the out-of-Africa theory of ancestral human population expansion and concurrent bottlenecks."
Obviously, there are more than 3,100 Han Chinese from Beijing. [edit: These population sizes may be referencing 200,000 to 10,000 years before present instead of modern populations, so ignore this last reference. I am keeping this section in since it was quoted by others.]