Representational image of the Out-of-Africa event.

Did Mankind First Exit Africa 100,000 Years Ago?

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Recent archaeological evidence indicates that between 130,000 to 100,000 years ago there was an exit of anatomically modern humans out of Africa into the Americas and Eastern Eurasia. This view is supported by the discovery of African artifacts in the Middle East, Brazil, and Crete, and 80,000-100,000-year-old human teeth in China. The findings suggest that humans left Africa much earlier than originally believed.

Archaeologists have now speculated that there was an Out of Africa (OoA) event around 100,000 years (or more) ago, given the presence of anatomically modern human (AMH) populations in the Levant at the Qafzeh-Skhul caves. According to Holiday (2000):

"The Qafzeh-Skhul hominids have sometimes been referred to as "Proto-CroMagnons" (e.g., Howell 1957; Vandermeersch 1996) because of their presumed similarity to the famous Aurignacian-associated hominids from Western Europe....Specifically [Brace], he notes that "in both the details of its dental and craniological size and from Qafzeh is an unlikely proto-Cro-Magnon, but it makes a fine model for the ancestors of modern sub-Saharan Africans"(p.63). 

Left: Es Skhul Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel (CC BY SA 3.0). Right: A skull found in the cave, which represents an archaic and anatomically modern human

Left: Es Skhul Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel ( CC BY SA 3.0 ). Right: A skull found in the cave, which represents an archaic and anatomically modern human ( CC BY SA 3.0 ).

Geographical Barrier Prevents Movement Out of Africa

Alasdair Wilkins (2011) interviewed scientist Adrian Parker, who observed that:

“We need to go back to where modern humans emerged in east Africa. This occurred approximately 200,000 years ago. The period between 200,000 years ago until 130,000 years ago corresponds to a time when there was a global ice age. During ice ages, global sea levels fall as water becomes locked up in the vast ice sheets in the northern and southern hemispheres. When ice ages occur, the world's major desert belts also expand and thus modern humans would have been restricted to east Africa as the deserts of the Sahara and Arabia posed major geographical barriers that prevented movement out of the region. By 130,000 years ago, global climatic conditions changed and we moved into an interglacial, a period of warmer, global temperatures. At this time, the Indian Ocean monsoon system was forced northwards, bringing rainfall into Arabia. The previously arid interior of Arabia would have been transformed into a landscape covered largely in savannah grasses with extensive lakes and river systems.”

Artist’s depiction of an Ice Age on Earth.

Artist’s depiction of an Ice Age on Earth. ( CC BY SA 4.0 )

The warmer global temperatures, beginning around 130,000 years ago, during the interglacial period made it an ideal time for an OoA event. It appears that the first OoA exit was to Arabia, where archaeologists have found tools dating back 125,000 years.

Paleontologist Tony Marks claimed these tools came from Africa in an interview by Wilkins. In the interview Marks noted that:

"A comparison of contemporaneous Paleolithic assemblages from the north showed they totally lacked the bifacial tool production found at assemblage C. Their technique was quite different. Thus, they were unrelated. In east Africa, however, there were contemporaneous Paleolithic assemblages that not only used bifacial techniques to make some of their tools, but also used the other two techniques, blade production and radial (levaloir). An origin in east Africa for assemblage C people therefore was most plausible based on the stone tools and how they were made."

Example of bifacial silcrete point from M1 phase (71,000 BC) layer of Blombos Cave, South Africa; scale bar = 5 cm.

Example of bifacial silcrete point from M1 phase (71,000 BC) layer of Blombos Cave, South Africa; scale bar = 5 cm. (Vincent Mourre / Inrap/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Early Anatomically Modern Humans in Crete and Brazil

Archaeologists believe that the OoA exit to Arabia may have been overland. The discovery of African artifacts in Crete and Brazil dating to 100 thousand years ago indicate AMH used boats to reach these areas.

Thomas F. Strasser and Eleni Panagopoulou found 2,000 stone artifacts on the southwestern shore of Crete at Plakias dating to around 125 thousand years ago. Dr. Runnels, an archaeologist working in the region said the tool kit included hand axes, cleavers, and scrapers made in the Acheulean style. Acheulean tools were made in Africa by AMH around this time.

Stone tools found on Crete are evidence of early migration by sea.

Stone tools found on Crete are evidence of early migration by sea. ( Nicholas Thompson and Chad DiGregorio )

The Island of Crete is 200 miles (321.87 km) away from the Libyan coast. The only way these artifacts could have reached the island is by sea.

Comments

No reader should assume that Dr. Guidon is correct with her 100,000 year-old human occupation of Brazil. Be very skeptical until substantive scientific data confirms that: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/americas/discoveries-challenge-...

Clyde Winters's picture

Charcoal is recognized as a reliable indicator of human habitation. For example, Prof. Peter Veth of the University of western Australia, in a recent article published in the Quaternary Science Reviews, used charcoal, dated by ANSTO's Centre for Accelerator Science for Aboriginal settlement at Barrow island between 46.2ky and 51.1kya. This illustrates that charcoal can be a reliable artifact to denote ancient settlements. As a result, Dr. Guidon findings can not be so easily dismissed.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-evidence-earliest-occupation-coasts-austra...

To put it bluntly, charcoal is simply cooked wood. It is formed when wood is heated under low oxygen conditions like when a forest fire drops burning wood into a cave. The simple presence of charcoal in and of itself is NOT proof of human activity. Without proper archaeological context like a hearth, wind break or evidence of butchered bone, it is just charcoal. Nothing I have read to date regarding this site puts humans there before 25,000 years BP at the earliest and even that date is on shaky ground. The 100,000 year BP date claimed has no basis in fact. At best, all that can be said is that there was a low oxygen fire event at Cerro de Capivara about 100,000 ago. As to the refutation of the Clovis First Theory, that has been well established for over 20 years. That being said, I would not be surprised at all to find American sites with definitive proof of human habitation at 25,000 years BP. Hell I would not be at all surprised to find a human Presence in the Americas contemporaneous the Lake Mongo finds in Australia at 50,000 years BP. However, dates of 100,000 years or more are in the realm of pure fantasy at this point in time.

Clyde Winters's picture

These comments are pure speculation. Professional archaeologists would not claim a site was 100ky old, and risk ridicule by their peers.

The Brazilian researchers make it clear that the charcoal was found in a hearth. If there had been a low oxygen fire event at Cerro de Capivara 100,000 ago, the charcoal would have been found over an extended area, and it would persist in the fire burn area over time, instead of inside a hearth.

In summary, the amount of charcoal produced by a fire event would be found over a widespread area where the burn occurred , not inside of a hearth.

They reported a hearth like structure which is a nice way of saying rocks. It's also a nice way of bending the truth. No, there would not necessarily be charcoal spread over a large area. There would be ash which is easily washed away by rains. Charcoal would only be formed in low oxygen environments like caves and rock falls and would be preserved there as it is sheltered from the weather. Just as it is at Cerro de Capivara. Which do you think is more likely?.

Clyde Winters's picture

You are right ash would be washed away by rain. The only problem with your theory is that ancient man would be in the rock shelter to find protection away from the rain. You admit that , " Charcoal would only be formed in low oxygen environments like caves and rock falls and would be preserved there as it is sheltered from the weather." As a result, charcoal would not be found inside a rock shelter as a natural phenomena.This means that a human had to physically carry the wood into the rockshelter to make a fire and produce charcoal..

A rockshelter is just an openings in a canyon wall. What I think was most likely is that given the fact we are talking about a hole in a wall, I have to agree with Dr.Nieda Guidon that Africans made a hearth, and the charcoal she found was the result of making a fire.

Interesting finding. Think more archeologists need to read Z. Sitchin's Earth Chronicals. Cuneiform clay tables mention this already.

From the article: The discovery of African artefacts in Crete and Brazil dating to 100 thousand years ago indicate AMH used boats to reach these areas.

Is that a certainty? Was Crete an island then or, could sea levels have been low enough to allow modern humans to walk there? Regarding Brazil, is it not more likely that modern humans arrived there by land via North America, after crossing the Bering Strait?

No, it is not a certainty. It is in fact, rank speculation. There is no evidence what so ever that modern humans crossed the Atlantic to populate the Americas. Not from Europe, not from Africa. ALL genetic and archaeolocical evidence to date indicates that the Americas were populated from Siberia in 2 waves. The first consisting of the ancestors of all Native Americans (Indians) and a second, much later one consisting of the ancestral Eskimos. This is not even open to debate. It is a fact. The only question are when and by what route this took place. While it is certain that some Siberians did cross the Bering land bridge after some time on the Beringian sub-continent, it is quite likely that others arrived via boat along the west coast of North America. While the majority of the coast north of Southern California was icebound at the time, there were quite a few ice free land falls along the way. I would speculate that the Americas were initially populated from the middle (S.California to N. Mexico) to the north and south. The age of sites in the American Southwest and Central America seems to be bearing this out. Of course, sea levels were as much as 200 M lower then they are today so much of this archaeology is now submerged. There is hope though. Under water Archaeology is making technological leaps and bounds. Sites are now being explored at the bottom of the Black Sea and in Doggerland (between England and Denmark/Holland) and the tech will only get better with time.

Clyde Winters's picture

There is abundant evidence Africans crossed the Atlantic, especially the African material from Brazil and the Solutrean artefacts found in North America, and the genetic evidence of Paleoamericans carrying D4, which is the same as the African M1 lineage.
The Solutrean sites in the Americas is evidence of Africans in Paleoamerica. The oldest North American culture is not the Colvis culture.
There is no evidence that the first Americans crossed the Beringa to enter America. The Archaeological evidence does not point to any ancient site in Asia were the predecessors of the Paleoamericans came from. Name one archaeological site from Asia that relates to a Paleoamerican site.
There is no archaeological evidence that situate the Clovis people in Siberia.Stanford, Dennis J. and Bruce Bradley , In Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture, noted that "Our evaluation of the Beringian data is that there is no [archaeological] evidence of Clovis ancestors in Siberia. The oldest fluted points in Alaska are younger than western Clovis and much younger than the early sites in eastern North America”.
Stanford and Bradley (2012) maintain that sites dating between 25,000-13000 years ago, namely the offshore Cinmar site, Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania, Oyster Cove on the Chesapeake Bay, Cactus Hill in Virginia, and the Miles Point site. They claim that tools at this site resemble Solutrean tools, not Eurasian tool kits (Stanford and Bradley ,2012).Europeans did not introduce the Salutrean culture to the North America. There is no way Europeans could have made it to North America during the Ice Age. Salutrean culture originated in South Africa and was spread to North Africa, and later Europe and America.. This pottery tradition was taken to Europe and America by Africans. The earliest dates for the Salutrean culture come from Africa, not Europe.
Many researchers have recognized that the Solutrean culture of Iberia probably originated in Africa ( Burkitt, 2012; Childe, 2001; Debenath et al, 1986; Debenath and Dibble,1994; Tiffagom, 2007 ) . It is the mainstream view of Spanish prehistorians (Pericot, 1950). Pericot (1950,1955) believed that the tanged points at the Parpallo site of the Solutrean were of Aterian cultural origin. Burkitt ( 2012) said that there were Algerian tools similar to the Solutrean tool kit. Gordon Childe (2009) claimed that the North African and Spanish populations that used the Solutrean tools were in direct communication.
The African hypothesis for the origin of the Solutrean culture has been revised by Debénath et al (1986) and Ramos (1998). Debénath et al ( 1986) argues that Iberomarusians crossed the Straits of Sicily, into Tunesia 25-22kya, and progressively drove the Solutreans out of North Africa into Iberia. Debénath et al (1986) maintains that this migration OoA matches the origination of the Solutrean culture after 21ky. The Solutrean tanged points are at least 18-19ky old at Estremadura, Calderirao Cave and Parpalló Cave in Valencia ( Straus, 2001).
Researchers have found evidence that Solutrean artifacts have been found on North American sites where PaleoAmericans remains have been found. These artefacts support an early African migration to America before people crossed the Beringa.

The so-called genetic evidence does not point to Siberia. The genetic data points to South American Native Americans, not North American Native Americans. In addition, some researchers attempt to imply that the earliest aDNA comes from Siberia this is false too.
The Mal’ta individual in Central Eurasia is not related to the Eskimos or the Beringa. The Mal’ta site artefact assemblages, especially the mobiliary art, it may be interpreted as related to the Gravettian, which spread from West into Central Eurasia, west of Lake Baikal, not the Bering Strait.
There is no continuity between the Anzick man and contemporary mongoloid Native Americans. In A genomic view of the peopling of the Americas, by Pontus Skoglund, and David Reich: http://genetics.med.harvard.edu/reichlab/Reich_Lab/Welcome_files/Skoglun...
the researchers noted that " The most surprising finding was that the Anzick individual is from a population more closely related to Central Americans and South Americans than to some northern North Americans (including all speakers of Algonquian languages studied to date), despite the apparent common ancestral origin of Native Americans across the continents. "

Look at how researchers make confusing statements,. If the Anzick man is not related to contemporary "northern North Americans (including all speakers of Algonquian languages studied to date)", there is in reality no "apparent common ancestral origin of Native Americans across the continents " .

Haplogroup M was a common Paleoamerican haplogroup. Most contemporary Native Americans carry mtDNA that belongs to the M macrohaplogroup, name A and B.

Paleoamericans carried haplogroup M, e.g., the 5000 year old skeletons carrying haplogroup M from China Lake, British Columbia (Malhi et al., 2007), and more than likely Naia of Mexico who was D1 and the Anzick child who belonged to the D4 clade.

The Anzick child and Naia carried the D haplogroup , which is the name for M1, in Asia. Haplotypes with HVSI transitions defining 16129-16223-16249-16278-16311-16362; and 16129-16223-16234-16249-16211-16362 have been found in Thailand and among the Han Chinese (Fucharoen et al, 2001; Yao et al, 2002) and these were originally thought to be members of Haplogroup M1, which is of African origin. However, on the basis of currently available FGS sequences, carriers of these markers have been found to be in the D4a branch of Haplogroup D , the most widespread branch of M1 in East Asia (Fucharoen et al, 2001; Yao et al, 2002). The transitions 16129,16189,16249 and 16311 are known to be recurrent in various branches of Haplogroup M, especially M1 and D4. The Paleoamericans as noted by Nives were related to Africans, Melanesians and Australians, not Mongoloid people.

The skull in the photo is strange. It has a small forehead and brow ridges which make me wonder whether it is from a modern human. Could it have been from a hybrid of modern humans and another human species?

That is a reconstruction of Skhul V, a skull that has been variously described as a Progressive Neanderthal, an Archaic Modern Human and a human/Neanderthal Hybrid. These fascinating Hominids inhabited the area from about 80,000 to 120,000 years BP. They do not appear to have left any living descendants. Unfortunately, all efforts to get DNA samples from the Skhul, Qafzeh and Tabun hominids have been to date, unsuccessful.
It important to note that this site, along with the rest of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula are still considered to be part of Africa archaeologically and ecologically speaking. Therefore, these dates do not alter the current Out of Africa theory. We are still looking at a first Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) diaspora event at between 80 and 85 thousand years BP with AMH reaching as far as Western India before the Toba Event at about 73,000 years BP. These numbers are solidly backed up by genomic and archaeological evidence. As to the "hand axes" from Crete, I am not familiar with the finds but, given the author's history of accepting speculation as fact I am doubtful. From the point of view of someone who can actually make an Aschulaen hand ax, I would have to say that the heavy matrixing (the veins of inclusions throughout the stone) makes it VERY unlikely that these "tools" are of human manufacture. Chances are that any attempt to knapp that stone would very quickly result in a small pile of pebbles.

Clyde Winters's picture

Your comments are nothing more than speculation. You have presented no evidence except your own ideas that the tools from Crete are not the result of human manufacture.

Trenton W. Holliday,in "Evolution at the Crossroads: Modern Human Emergence in Western Asia, American Anthropologist,102(1) [2000], tested the hypothesis that if modern Africans had dispersed into the Levant from Africa , "tropically adapted hominids" would be represented in the archaeological history of theLavant,especially in relation to the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids. This researcher found that the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids (20,000-10,000),were assigned to the Sub-Saharan population, along with the Natufians samples (4000 BP). Holliday also found African fauna in the area.

Holliday confirmed his hypothesis that the replacement of the Neanderthal people were Sub-Saharan Africans. This shows that there were no European types in the Middle East Between 20,000-4,000BP. Moreover, we clearly see the continuity between African culture from Nubia to the Levant.
Below are a few other quotes from the paper by Holliday they show that the population at this time were Negroid in Southwest Asia.

"In this light, some of the more robust assignments (albeit not 95% of the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids to the sub-Saharan African sample (e.g., Qafzeh 8 at 85%, Skhul 4 at 71%) are remarkable indeed" (p. 62).

"The Qafzeh-Skhul hominids have sometimes been refered to as "Proto-CroMagnons" (e.g., Howell 1957; Vandermeersch 1996) because of their presumed similarity to the famous Aurignacian-associated hominids from Western Europe....Specifically [Brace], he notes that "in both the details of its dental and craniological size and from Qafzeh is an unlikely proto-Cro-Magnon, but it makes a fine model for the ancestors of modern sub-Saharan Africans"(p.63).

"taken as a whole, the work of Tchernov seems to support the findings of the current research that the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids have their origins in Africa, while the Neanderthals are from cold to temperate biomes"(p.64).

"The current study demonstrates African-like affinities in the body shape of the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids. This finding is consistent with craniofacial evidence (Brace 1996) and with zooarchaeological data indicating the presence of African fauna at Qafzeh (Rabinovich and Tchernov 1995; Tchernov 1988, 1992)" (p.64).

As you can see the Qafzeh-Skhul hominids were Africans. These Africans also carried their flora and fauna into the Levant with them.

Quote : These Africans also carried their flora and fauna into the Levant with them.
As today's Dutch tourist with their caravans carrying their potatoes and vegetables everywhere !
How ridiculous !!.
All official theories( just theories, nothing more) are superb examples of syllogism fallacy and Byzanthinian mantra's in a continuous tautological rituals and academic shamanic incantation !
This Pandemic Centrum -Africanism really sucks !
Science for money, nothing more nothing less !
Please get real and look around you to the real reality. It is there but the science as it is s not able to see !
You can not see the forest because the fallen trees !

There is not any logical and rational explanation about this African Homo Migrantus Touristicus Ubiquitarus !

Quote: African culture from Nubia to the Levant.

Culture !!?? Incredible how the "specialists"plays with such complex concept !
Wie veel weet is niet geleerd, Wie geleerd is ,weet niet veel ! ( Lao-Tse)
Hoe meer kennis mensen hebben des te vreemdere dingen maken ze Tao Meng !

Clyde Winters's picture

Your comment about the research of Holliday, i.e.,Who knows a lot is not learned. Who's learned does not know much! (Lao-Tse)", is unfair and biased. How can you claim a learned archaeologists who is well respected by his peers " does not know much! ", when he has conducted hundreds of archaeological excavations, and you have done none. Instead of making uninformed comments you should read the article by Holliday.

The Article appeared in American Anthropologist, you should be able to buy it on line:

Trenton W. Holliday,in "Evolution at the Crossroads: Modern Human Emergence in Western Asia, American Anthropologist,102(1) [2000]

I agree almost totally with Clyde Winters eloquent and accurate comments. I would add that one look at a 19th century photograph of a N. American Indian will show clearly defined sharply angled, European features. 'We' were there 1000s of years before he Asiatic’s could negotiate a northern passage blockaded by mile high glaciers! Nonetheless most of what is now the USA was largely ice free quite early on. European and Africans had relatively easy access via land bridges that were submerge some 9,000 or 10,000 years ago. Whilst the existence of such land bridges is contested by, frankly wildly out of kilter geologists, the proven presence of modern man living in S. America and Central America, and Australia many thousands of years ago, cannot be otherwise explained. In considering these essentially fantastic exploration/immigrations, we need to take account of the realities these adventures faced. The first and most demanding impediment was that whole families had to be so engaged. Sending small party, plus supplies, a favoured plan in more modern history, was not a practical idea when shanks pony was the only likely mode of transport, even with some animal carrying supplies and providing a mobile foodstore. Even mounted – perhaps on carts - progress was inevitably painfully slow. Scouting parties would be limited to only a few days for similar reasons. The way ahead was unknown territory, certainly no other humans – these courageous people were pioneers! Quite soon it would have become necessary to call a halt, foster a new community and expand it until a further such advance became practicable. This would take at least a hundred years and probably a great deal longer. Circumstances control events. But whatever their problems, they eventually succeeded!

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