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New research led by UC Davis anthropologist Tim Weaver adds to the evidence that chance, rather than natural selection, best explains why the skulls of modern humans and ancient Neanderthals evolved differently. The findings may alter how anthropologists think about human evolution.
Weaver et al. (2008) assume a model of "mutation-drift equilibrium." This is an assumption that the effective population size has not changed over time in the populations under consideration -- in this case, the Neandertal and human populations back at least as far as their common ancestor.
But their analysis assumes that genetic drift accounts for all changes. I don't deny the role of genetic drift, but I do deny that it explains much about recent skeletal evolution in humans. Random chance cannot do much in a very large population in a few hundred generations.