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

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]

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