How early humans migrated from Africa to Europe

This 2015 video is called Map Shows How Humans Migrated Across The Globe.

From New Scientist:

New signposts on the path of early human migration

* 19:00 11 January 2007
* news service
* Jeff Hecht

An old South African skull and an ancient settlement along the Don River in Russia lend crucial support to the idea that modern humans spread from Africa across Eurasia only 50,000 years ago.

African fossils show that modern humans had evolved by 195,000 years ago.

Yet the only evidence of modern humans outside of Asia for the next 150,000 years is a couple of sites about 100,000 years old in Israel, which appear to have been abandoned as the Ice Age grew more severe.

It had been a mystery what our ancestors were doing before the first evidence of their presence in Australia 45,000 to 50,000 years ago, and about 35,000 years ago in Europe.

Genetic studies suggest that modern humans did not emerge from Africa until about 50,000 years ago, but that late date has been controversial.

Now, two new studies support the genetic evidence, says Ted Goebel at the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, US.

Originally found in a dry riverbed in 1952, the South African skull was unsuitable for radiocarbon dating.

One of the new studies has dated the sediment encased inside the skull to 36,000 years ago, and says the skull resembles the first modern humans who lived in Europe at about the same time.

Citing that resemblance, the team led by Frederick Grine of Stony Brook University in New York concludes that the South African fossil and its European contemporaries shared a recent common ancestor, and that modern humans had therefore arrived in Europe not long before. (Science, vol 315, p 226).

Artifact clues

The Paleolithic site in Russia is between 42,000 and 45,000 years old, predating early human finds in central and eastern Europe.

The only human fossils are teeth that cannot be identified by species, but the artifacts – including possible art and shells imported from more than 500 kilometres away – look like they were made by early modern humans, argue Mikhail Anikovich of the Institute of the History of Material Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, and colleagues (Science vol 315, p 223).

The location suggests that modern humans may have arrived from further east in Eurasia than in the classic depiction, in which Cro-Magnon man passed through Turkey into Europe, says Goebel.

Much more remains to be learned about modern human migration, but Goebel says the crucial sites will probably be in “places like Iran or Afghanistan, where European and US archaeologists haven’t been able to work for decades.”

Out of Africa migration of Homo sapiens and climate changes in Africa: here.

World’s oldest figurative sculpture? Here.

Early homo sapiens in China: here.

Early humans had sex for fun: here.

Neanderthal-sapiens relationships theory: here.

Neanderthals in Siberia: here.

Neanderthal DNA: here.

Neanderthal-human interbreeding? See here.

Neanderthals probably froze to death in the last ice age because rapid climate change caught them by surprise without the tools needed to make warm clothes, says an Australian researcher: here.

Neanderthals hunted marine mammals: here.

12 thoughts on “How early humans migrated from Africa to Europe

  1. Follow in 385,000 yr-old human footsteps
    Sat Oct 6, 2007 2:46pm ET146
    Science News

    NAPLES (Reuters) – Want to walk in the footsteps of the early humans? Tourists in Italy can do almost just that starting this weekend, after footpaths believed to have been left up to 385,000 years ago were opened to the public.

    The fossilized footprints, which Italian scientists say are among the oldest anywhere, extend along six trails at the edge of the Roccamonfina volcano in southern Italy.

    There is also a handprint, made when one of the primitive humans slipped on the soft earth.

    The fossilized footpaths were known locally as the “Devil’s Trails” for centuries because they were thought to be supernatural. Scientists first identified them properly in 2003, and had kept the area off-limits to the public until Saturday.

    Tourists cannot place their feet directly into the fossils, but can walk along the footpath from a safe distance.

    Paolo Mietto of the University of Padua in Italy said scientists had also discovered another set of tracks nearby that were now being excavated. He said the tracks in total point to more than six different individuals.

    “That says a lot about the potential for this site,” Mietto said.

    The footprints belong to primitive members of the human family about 1.5 meters tall, who walked upright with a free-standing gait’ and used their hands to steady themselves.

    © Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


  2. Oct 17, 5:53 PM EDT

    Early seafood, makeup found in S. Africa

    AP Science Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In one of the earliest hints of “modern” living, humans 164,000 years ago put on primitive makeup and hit the seashore for steaming mussels, new archaeological finds show.

    Call it a beach party for early man. But it’s a beach party thrown by people who weren’t supposed to be advanced enough for this type of behavior. What was found in a cave in South Africa may change how scientists believe Homo sapiens marched into modernity.

    Instead of undergoing a revolution into modern living about 40,000 to 70,000 years ago, as commonly thought, man may have become modern in stuttering fits and starts, or through a long slow march that began even earlier. At least that’s the case being made in a study appearing in the journal Nature on Thursday.

    Researchers found three hallmarks of modern life at Pinnacle Point overlooking the Indian Ocean near South Africa’s Mossel Bay: harvested and cooked seafood, reddish pigment from ground rocks, and early tiny blade technology. Scientific optical dating techniques show that these hallmarks were from 164,000 years ago, plus or minus 12,000 years.

    “Together as a package this looks like the archaeological record of a much later time period,” said study author Curtis Marean, professor of anthropology at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University.

    This means humans were eating seafood about 40,000 years earlier than previously thought. And this is the earliest record of humans eating something other than what they caught or gathered on the land, Marean said. Most of what Marean found were the remnants of brown mussels, but he also found black mussels, small saltwater clams, sea snails and even a barnacle that indicates whale blubber or skin was brought into the cave.

    Marean figured the early people, probably women, had to trudge two to three miles to where the mussels, clams and snails were harvested and to bring them back to the cave. Then they put them over hot rocks to cook. When the food was done, the shells popped open in a process similar to modern-day mussel-steaming, but without the pot.

    Marean and colleagues tried out that ancient cooking technique in a kind of archaeological test kitchen.

    “We’ve prepped them the same way,” Marean said in telephone interview from South Africa. “They’re a little less moist (than modern steamed mussels). They definitely lose some moisture.”

    Marean also found 57 pieces of ground-up rock that would have been reddish- or pinkish-brown. That would be used for self-decoration and sending social signals to other people, much the way makeup is used now, he said.

    There have been reports of earlier but sporadic pigment use in Africa. The same goes with rocks that were fashioned into small pointy tools.

    But having all three together shows a grouping of people that is almost modern, Marean said. Seafood harvesting, unlike other hunter-gatherer activities, encourages people to stay put, and that leads to more social interactions, he said.

    Yet 110,000 years later, no such modern activity, except for seafood dining, could be found in that part of South Africa, said Alison Brooks, a George Washington University anthropology professor who was not associated with Marean’s study. That shows that the dip into modern life was not built upon, said Brooks, who called Marean’s work “a fantastic find.”

    Similar “blips of rather precocious kinds of behaviors seem to be emerging at certain sites,” said Kathy Schick, an Indiana University anthropologist and co-director of the Stone Age Institute. Schick and Brooks said Marean’s work shows that anthropologists have to revise their previous belief in a steady “human revolution” about 40,000 to 70,000 years ago.

    On the Net:


    © 2007 The Associated Press.


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