New discoveries are shedding light on early humans, and the evidence suggests some of our assumptions were wrong.
The “Out of Africa” theory holds that early humans migrated out of the continent about 60,000 years ago in one single wave, and populated the world as we know it today. But one new study – which we reported on recently – and a host of evidence discovered in recent years is challenging many of our preconceived notions of our earliest ancestors.
The journal Science has published a new study that relies on fossil evidence in China indicating that mankind may have arrived in Asia 70,000 to 120,000 years ago, which is certainly much earlier than scientists have previously believed. So while there may have been a large migration wave 60,000 years ago, it wasn’t the first time mankind had ventured out of Africa.
And that’s not all we’ve found in recent years that call into question prevailing theories about Homo sapiens. Other recent studies indicated that our species interbred with Neanderthals, an extinct early human species that lived in Europe and Asia. The species died out 40,000 years ago, but signs of interbreeding date back 100,000 years ago, another key piece of evidence suggesting that Homo sapiens had left Africa earlier than current theories hold.
It’s further indication that we have a lot more to discover about our species, and that we are at an exciting time in science when we are unraveling some of the biggest mysteries about mankind’s origins.