Sunday, August 13, 2006
Fragments of ostrich eggs, perforated beads and finely shaped arrowheads have provided the first firm archaeological evidence for the 'out of Africa' origins of the world's human population.
Scientists have found stark similarities in the ancient cultural artefacts made and used by Stone Age people who migrated out of Africa and into Asia more than 50,000 years ago.
It is the first time that archaeologists have been able to link African and Indian artefacts so closely together even though they were discovered 3,000 miles apart - suggesting they were made by the same people, albeit of different generations.
Until now the 'out of Africa' hypothesis, developed by physical anthropologists and geneticists, has relied almost entirely on the analysis of human skeletal remains or on DNA studies. But a comparative study of Stone Age artefacts found in Africa and India, carried out by Professor Paul Mellars, a Cambridge University archaeologist, has revealed remarkable cultural and technological similarities that suggest a common origin.
The above news report from The Independent (UK) is based on:
Going East: New Genetic and Archaeological Perspectives on the Modern Human Colonization of Eurasia
Science 11 August 2006:
Vol. 313. no. 5788, pp. 796 - 800
The pattern of dispersal of biologically and behaviorally modern human populations from their African origins to the rest of the occupied world between ~60,000 and 40,000 years ago is at present a topic of lively debate, centering principally on the issue of single versus multiple dispersals. Here I argue that the archaeological and genetic evidence points to a single successful dispersal event, which took genetically and culturally modern populations fairly rapidly across southern and southeastern Asia into Australasia, and with only a secondary and later dispersal into Europe.
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