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Friday, September 11, 2015

Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa

Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. 

Current fossil, genetic, and archeological data indicate that Homo 
sapiens originated in Africa in the late Middle Pleistocene. By the 
end of the Late Pleistocene, our species was distributed across every 
continent except Antarctica, setting the foundations for the 
subsequent demographic and cultural changes of the Holocene. The 
intervening processes remain intensely debated and a key theme in 
hominin evolutionary studies. We review archeological, fossil, 
environmental, and genetic data to evaluate the current state of 
knowledge on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. The emerging 
picture of the dispersal process suggests dynamic behavioral 
variability, complex interactions between populations, and an 
intricate genetic and cultural legacy. This evolutionary and 
historical complexity challenges simple narratives and suggests that 
hybrid models and the testing of explicit hypotheses are required to 
understand the expansion of Homo sapiens into Eurasia. 
Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa
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