Humans Trekked Out of Africa Via Egypt, Study Suggests

Jun 8, 2015

by Charles Q. Choi

The major gateway for modern humans out of Africa may have been Egypt, a new genetic analysis suggests.

This finding may help scientists reconstruct how humans evolved as they wandered across the globe, the researchers added.

Modern humans first arose about 200,000 years ago in Africa south of the Sahara. When and how the modern human lineage crossed the Sahara and dispersed from Africa has long been controversial.

Previous research suggested the exodus from Africa started between 70,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, a recent study hinted that modern humans might have begun their march across the globe as early as 130,000 years ago, and continued their expansion out of Africa in multiple waves.

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5 comments on “Humans Trekked Out of Africa Via Egypt, Study Suggests

  • Australian Aborigines can date back to 45- 50,000 years on this continent. The oldest continuous culture in the world outside of Africa To get to Australia 50,000 years ago, implies they were part of an outflow that commenced prior to that. They also have the highest percentage of Denisovian DNA, along with Papua New Guinea highlanders.

    I hope they eventually track the dispersal out of Africa accurately so all the pieces of this wonderful puzzle can joined together. So many questions.

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  • The major gateway for modern humans out of Africa may have been

    Then Exodus is TRUE after all!! 😉


    A4D: I second DRA’s comment. That is a fascinating site, and I’ve only been on it for 5 minutes. 🙂

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  • The science of human species is still in flux, and because of the very small number of fossils discovered so far, it is often not possible to establish the species concept clearly. With a larger range of specimens, one can have some idea of the amount and type of variation that exists within a species. Lacking this information, a new set of bones that looks somewhat different can easily be classified as a “new” species, since no one really knows if it’s sufficiently different from other existing species which existed at that time to not fall within the limits of their variability. So we can expect that as our knowledge grows, the number of species will both grow (with new discoveries) and shrink (as people realize that specimens used to define new species weren’t so different after all).

    Here is a cautionary observation from Alan4’s reference link which touches on the dilemma of telling the story of human evolution. When I was a kid in the 50s we were taught that modern Homo sapiens evolved from Cro-Magnons whose fossils were found in southern France and dated to 30,000 to 50,000 years ago. Subsequent or (competing claims) found Homo sapiens fossils in Africa and elsewhere dating to 100,000 years ago, then a “new” discovery pushed the age back to 130,000 years, a still more recent finding set the benchmark at 164,000 years which held sway for several decades. Dating of the most recent human fossils place our origins at 200,000 years ago with speculations that we may hay emerged from as long ago as 300,000 to 250,000 years.

    Perhaps the irrational exuberance of paleontologists has generated competing claims about back-dating the original emergence and migration of Homo sapiens based on sparse evidence, a handful of fossil remains found in far flung locations. While the fossil record indicates clearly our evolution from earlier hominids, Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus along with many variants, it seems unscientific to construct embellished narratives of what Homo sapiens were doing, how and where they traveled and more or less when all of this was going on. The article states: Modern humans first arose about 200,000 years ago in Africa south of the Sahara Perhaps the authors slipped with sloppy diction but these creatures were certainly not “modern” humans. They are properly described in the literature as “archaic” humans still immersed in the evolutionary process that produced the current version. To be fair the article speaks of “controversy” surrounding human development, but the tendency is to start “educating” generations to tell what passes as a confirmed story about human evolution based on tenuous evidence combined with enthusiastic speculation.

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