Early human migrations

Early human migrations are the earliest migrations and expansions of archaic and modern humans across continents beginning 2 million years ago with the out of Africa migration of Homo erectus. This initial migration was followed by other archaic humans including H. heidelbergensis, which lived around 500,000 years ago and was the likely ancestor of both Denisovans and Neanderthals.

Within Africa, Homo sapiens dispersed around the time of its speciation, roughly 300,000 years ago.[1] The "recent African origin" paradigm suggests that the anatomically modern humans outside of Africa descend from a population of Homo sapiens migrating from East Africa roughly 70,000 years ago and spreading along the southern coast of Asia and to Oceania before 50,000 years ago. Modern humans spread across Europe about 40,000 years ago.

The migrating modern human populations are known to have interbred with local varieties of archaic humans, so that contemporary human populations are descended in small part (below 10% contribution) from regional varieties of archaic humans.[2]

After the Last Glacial Maximum, North Eurasian populations migrated to the Americas about 20,000 years ago. Northern Eurasia was peopled after 12,000 years ago, in the beginning Holocene. Arctic Canada and Greenland were reached by the Paleo-Eskimo expansion around 4,000 years ago. Finally, Polynesia was peopled after 2,000 years ago, by the Austronesian expansion.

The earliest humans developed out of australopithecine ancestors after about 3 million years ago, most likely in Eastern Africa, most likely in the area of the Kenyan Rift Valley, where the oldest known stone tools were found. Stone tools found at the Shangchen site in China and dated to 2.12 million years ago are considered the earliest known evidence of hominins outside Africa, surpassing Dmanisi in Georgia by 300,000 years.[3]


Between 3 and 2 million years ago, Homo erectus spread throughout East Africa and to Southern Africa (Telanthropus capensis), but not yet to West Africa. Around 1.9 million years ago, Homo erectus migrated out of Africa via the Levantine corridor and Horn of Africa to Eurasia. This migration has been proposed as being related to the operation of the Saharan pump, around 1.9 million years ago. Homo erectus dispersed throughout most of the Old World, reaching as far as Southeast Asia. Its distribution is traced by the Oldowan lithic industry, by 1.3 million years ago extending as far north as the 40th parallel (Xiaochangliang), and its late phase (after 0.5 million years ago) as far as the 47th parallel (Vértesszőlős) in Europe.

Key sites for this early migration out of Africa are Riwat in Pakistan (~2 Ma?[4]), Ubeidiya in the Levant (1.5 Ma) and Dmanisi in the Caucasus (1.81 ± 0.03 Ma, p = 0.05[5]).

This page was last edited on 19 July 2018, at 09:51 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_human_migrations under CC BY-SA license.

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