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Out of Africa – revised version now on the conveyor belt

17 December 2012

The Out of Africa hypothesis – humans are said to have migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, has remained remarkably robust in spite of a lot of contradictory evidence in recent times. It has achieved consensus status and therefore a lot of shove is required for a relook at the basics of what has become an article of faith rather than a purely scientific model. At http://phys.org/print274630312.html … a Canadian team form the University of Alberta, have found evidence of modern humans living in Tanzania 200 to 300,000 years ago (in the Middle Palaeolithic period) when Neanderthals populated Europe and western Asia. Therefore, they could have migrated out of Africa much earlier than 60,000 years ago – and I assume we are talking about people akin to Bushmen. It is further suggested a 'genetic bottleneck' of some kind is responsible for the more recent dates and we have noted in previous postings that dating genetic changes is currently being reassessed in any case. If the genetic bottleneck has anything to do with the super volcano event around 74,000 years ago this too has recently been challenged. So, the authors of this study have one view – but other anthropologists differ. Lots of possibilities remain so expect the story to change with different people viewing the situation through different lenses.

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