Proof of the Out of Africa Theory of Human Evolution

From the NY Times:

An international team of researchers reported yesterday that the age of the South African skull, which they dated at about 36,000 years old, coincided with the age of the skulls of humans then living in Europe and the far eastern parts of Asia, even Australia. The skull also closely resembled skulls of those humans.

The timing, the scientists and other experts said, introduced independent evidence supporting archaeological finds and recent genetic studies showing that modern humans left sub-Saharan Africa for Eurasia between 65,000 and 25,000 years ago; probably closer to 45,000 to 35,000 years ago for Europe.

Until now, however, paleontologists had been frustrated by the absence of fossils to test the hypothesis of most geneticists that the people of sub-Saharan Africa and in Eurasia at that time were one and the same -- modern humans. The human fossil record in Africa from 70,000 to 15,000 years ago had been virtually blank.

Some scientists, on the other hand, have contended that the migration could have begun as early as 100,000 years ago and that in the intervening time, contact with more archaic populations like the Neanderthals could have produced recognizable changes in what became the modern humans of Eurasia. But no scientists in the migration debate have disputed that ancestors of the human species originated in Africa.

In a report in today's issue of the journal Science, a research team led by Frederick E. Grine of the State University of New York at Stony Brook concluded that the South African skull provided critical corroboration of the archaeological and genetic evidence indicating that humans in fully modern form originated in sub-Saharan Africa and migrated, almost unchanged, to populate Europe and Asia.

Here is the article in Science.


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Right,this isn't really proof of the out of Africa hypothesis. (The out of Africa hypothesis, by the way, is firmly established and does not really need any proof.)

I've made a few comments in my blog (click the name) but I'm willing to go into this more if people are interested.

It is a find worthy of news, but of course, it will be hard to get the story straight.