Humans leave Africa

Humans leave Africa - NEWS & ANALYSIS HUMAN EVOLUTION...

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HUMAN EVOLUTION Did Modern Humans Travel Out of Africa Via Arabia? . Andrew Lawler JEBEL FAYA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES —The barren desert and hills here seem wholly inhospitable, with sparse rain and sandy soil supporting only a few nomadic Bedouin. But things were di f erent 125,000 years ago, when the desert was savanna, with plentiful water and game, and under the protection of a rock overhang, a group of hominids whiled away their time making stone tools. A Germanled team argues on page 453 that these tools were made by modern humans who may have crossed directly from Africa as part of a migration spreading across Europe, Asia, and Australia. Although most researchers agree that our species came out of Africa in one or more waves (see p. 392 ), those dates are more than 50,000 years earlier than most believe our ancestors left the continent. The audacious claim by Simon Armitage of Royal Holloway, University of London, and colleagues is sparking interest and controversy. “This is really quite spectacular,” says archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who has previously argued that Homo sapiens left Africa before the massive eruption of an Indonesian volcano 74,000 years ago, a catastrophe thought to have left much of Asia unlivable for early humans (Science, 5 March 2010, p. 1187 ). “It breaks the back of the current consensus view.” But others, such as archaeologist Paul Mellars of the University of
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Humans leave Africa - NEWS & ANALYSIS HUMAN EVOLUTION...

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