Petralona Cave - Greece

The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory


This is the account of the discovery of a skull that has the potential to change what we know about human evolution, and a suppression and cover-up which followed.   

In 1959, in an area called Chalkidiki in Petralona, Northern Greece, a shepherd came across a small opening to a cave, which became visible when a thick covering of snow finally melted.  He gathered a group of villagers to help him clear the entrance so they could go inside and explore.  They found a cave rich in stalactites and stalagmites. But they also found something surprising – a human skull embedded in the wall (later research also uncovered a huge number of fossils including pre-human species, animal hair, fossilized wood, and stone and bone tools).   

Petralona SkullThe skull was given to the University of Thessaloniki in Greece by the President of the Petralona Community. The agreement was that once the research was done, a museum would be opened featuring the findings from the Petralona cave, and the skull would be returned to be displayed in the museum – something that never happened.

Dr Aris Poulianos, member of the UNESCO's IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences), later founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece, and an expert anthropologist who was working at the University of Moscow at the time, was invited by the Prime Minister of Greece to return to Greece to take a position of a University Chair in Athens.  This was due to the publication of his book, ‘The Origins of the Greeks’, which provides excellent research showing that Greek people didn’t originate from the Slavic nations but were indigenous to Greece.  Upon his return to Greece, Dr Poulianos was made aware of the discovery of the skull at Petralona, and immediately started studying the Petralona cave and skull.

The ‘Petralona man’, or Archanthropus of Petralona, as it has since been called, was found to be 700,000 years old, making it the oldest human europeoid (presenting European traits) of that age ever discovered in Europe. Dr Poulianos’ research showed that the Petralona man evolved separately in Europe and was not an ancestor of a species that came out of Africa. 

In 1964, independent German researchers, Breitinger and Sickenberg, tried to dismiss Dr Poulianos’ findings, arguing that the skull was only 50,000 years old and was indeed an ancestor that came from Africa.  However, research published in the US in 1971 in the prestigious Archaeology magazine, backed up the findings that the skull was indeed 700,000 years old.  This was based on an analysis of the cave’s stratigraphy and the sediment in which the skull was embedded within.  Further research in the cave discovered isolated teeth and two pre-human skeletons dating back 800,000 years, as well as other fossils of various species.

Today, most academics who have analyzed the Petralona remains say that the cranium of the Archanthropus of Petralona belongs to an archaic hominid distinguished from Homo erectus, and from both the classic Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, but showing characterists of all those species and presenting strong European traits.  A skull dating back 700,000 which is either Homo sapien or part Homo sapien is in direct conflict with the Out of Africa theory of human evolution.  

Petralona Man

Further excavations continued in the cave of Petralona with the participation of international researchers (46 specialists from 12 separate countries), which provided further proof of Dr Poulianos’ claims, including remarkable findings like fossilized pieces of wood, an oak leaf, animal hair and coprolites, which enabled accurate dating, as well as the almost continuous presence of stone and bone tools of the Archanthropus evolutionary stage, from the lower (750,000 years) to the upper (550,000 years) layers of sediment within the cave.

The research, after an interruption due to the dictatorship in Greece, continued up to 1983. It was then ordered by the government that all excavations at the site were forbidden to anyone, including the original archaeological team, and for 15 years nobody had access to the site or to the findings – no reason was provided by the government.  Was this denial of access to prevent the extraction of whatever new scientific conclusions remained hidden within the incredible fossils embedded within the layers of the caves’ walls? 

After the Anthropological Society of Greece took the case to the courts, 15 years later they were again allowed access to the cave.  Since then the Ministry of Culture is trying in any way to overcome the Courts decision and further trials proceed.

Aris PoulianosDr Poulianos’ findings contradicted conventional views regarding human evolution and his research was suppressed.  Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home in 2012 and the culprits were never been found. He and his team have been denied further access to the cave to complete their research and study, and the whereabouts of the skull is now unknown.  

Today a sign sits outside the cave of Petralona stating that the skull found in the cave was 300,000 years old, and on Wikipedia today you will see references dismissing the evidence and trying to date the Petralona skull within acceptable parameters – between 160,000 and 240,000 years old.  

Recently, Professor C.G. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor of the University of Cambridge sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture in Greece saying that the correct date of the skull is 700,000 years old and not 300,000. He has also challenged the government’s suppression of information regarding this incredible discovery. 

The Greek Ministry of Education, Religions, Culture and Sports,

Bouboulinas 20-22,

Athens 106 82,


5 September 2012

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of the European Anthropological Association, which is the umbrella professional and academic association linking all of the national European biological anthropology and human biology societies, to express our concerns about the conservation of the Petralona Cave and Skull, the misinformation of the dating of the skull, as well as the treatment of personnel associated with the conservation of the Cave.

The bases of our concerns are that the skull has been damaged through many scratches and the crown of a tooth (1st molar) cut off. As requested by Anthropological Association of Greece what is required is a detailed description of the present status of the skull, so that no one in future can arbitrarily damage it further. There is also the problem of dating which has been scientifically dated at about 700,000 years ago not 300,000 as is given at the information desk. There is a very detailed record of the excavations and findings which need to receive further public presentation but which have never been catalogued so as to prevent specimens going missing.

It is very unfortunate that the Greek Archaeological Department stopped Dr Aris Poulianos from further work in the Cave without any explanation. It is also very worrying that Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home earlier this year and the culprits have not been found. He was also verbally abused when attempting to give an invited presentation to teachers and school children.

Senior anthropologists and geologists have also been denied access to the Cave and the specimens for further study on a number of occasions without substantive reasons. Earlier this year there has also been misinformation given to the Greek Parliament concerning financial aspects of the Cave.

I look forward to receiving answers to these questions.

Yours faithfully

Professor C G N Mascie-Taylor MA, PhD, ScD (all Cambridge), FSB, FNAS (Hungary)

Professor of Human Population Biology and Health and President of the European Anthropological Association


The most important conclusion of Dr Poulianos' research regards the co-existence of all main anthropological types (African – Kobi, Asian – Beijing and European – Petralona) at the same almost period (700,000, 500,000 and 750,000 respectively). That means: the appearance of the today human main populations (races or even better phyllae - from the Greek language and that’s why polyphyletic etc) is tending to almost 1,000,000 m.y.a. and not to only 10,000 or 30,000 years as currently considered world wide.

However, independently if there is a scientific dispute on the above, it is only sad to become aware that research is not allowed to those who are not coordinated to the “standard” knowledge, risking even their lives in front of gun shooters. 

Is this a cover up of an incredible discovery that the powers-that-be do not want us to have access to?  You be the judge.

By John Black

Related Links

Petralona Cave (GR)

Petralona Cave

The 40th Anniversary since the discovery of the Petralona Archanthropus' skull

Aris Poulianos

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The Petralona hominid Site: Uranium-series re-analysis of ‘layer 10’ calcite and associated paleomagnetic analyses

The significance of the fossil hominid skull from Petralona, Greece

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i think that the Greek government is trying to play down any importance of such finds so as to be able to sell off land..... economic climate there is soaring into disaster. They attack anyone deemed "socially undesirable", in their eyes, in a fashion reminiscent of nazi Germany for purely economic reasons, so it figures that their stance here, seen yet again , is due to that.

Except, as the article says, this started decades ago, well before the current economic crisis there.

Checking on the page today, someone has gone in and changed the entry to correct dates and added reference materials for Dr. Poulianos’ findings and research, including his son's involvement in the museum. Yet the entry is very sparse and severely downplayed, and much information pertinent to the find is missing. Thank you for this informative follow-up article, and the truth on this very important find.

My question refers to this statement "research published in the US in 1971 in the prestigious Archaeology magazine." What is the name of the magazine and issue date. I'm interested in reading more.

Cassi's picture

The name of the magazine is "Archaeology" as for the issue # and date, I could not give that to you.

Poulianos A. N. (1971) - Petralona: A middle Pleistocene Cave in Greece. Archaeology, 24: 6-11.

Zuell's picture

When the truth is finally discovered there is always a coverup. Especially concerning the Greeks. Its a repeat. Of the article you published earlier about the Greek government trying to coverup the discovery of underwater structures discovered by a diver.


I read Zuells comment about underwater discoveries in Greece, or near Greece.( I was on the page about the discovery of the skull found in the Petralona caves) I would like very much to read about these structures found underwater. Can someone be kind enough to send a link or point a way to this info. Thanks in advance

Very intriguing, to say the least.

malisa wright

Justbod's picture

Very interesting - would be great if this could be investigated / verified further.....


Celtic, Viking & Mythical sculptures, carvings & artwork:

Justbod Blog:


As often happens with this sort of consiracy claim, there is one big question that comes to mind: WHY would the Greek government try to suppress this story if it was true? What do they gin by hiding such a game changing discovery? The answer: nothing at all, making the entire concept ludicrous

aprilholloway's picture

It's not so much about what they have to gain, it's more about what they have to lose if they don't.  The skull discovery contradicts conventional perspectives about the 'Out of Africa theory', which is taught is almost every school and written in virtually every ancient history book.  It is part of human nature to defend pre-conceived ideas, particularly those that are deeply rooted. Unfortunately our human psychology is not very good at changing an idea that we firmly believe to be true. Just think about how many scientists were put to death during the medieval era for daring to challenge mainstream perspectives. Of course it is not as drastic as that now, but there are still plenty of examples of new perspectives being dismissed or suppressed because they rock the boat just a little too much. 

Sometimes there are more sinister motives to cover-up scientific discoveries or breakthroughs. And though the more common approach by those wishing to silence a scientist/s and to suppress his/her/their discovery or breakthrough is to use propaganda, in the form of counter- theories, debunkers, and other opposing forces (I call them Mouth-Whores) that use little evidence which is twisted regardless, and instead make wild accusations and launch personal attacks on the scientists or anyone that supports their findings or gives them a platform to speak. The actual science is buried, usually all it takes is for the information to be ignored for a period of time before it no longer exists in the public mind.

However, I can assure you that much more extreme measures that aren't a question of whether scientists or researchers targeted are to be eliminated, but are those comprising the rings closest to the targets are to be eliminated as well. It seems that these measures are usually reserved for those who could, through their breakthrough and their network of supports ability to spread it, intentionally or not, ignite an economic or technological revolution. The fast onset and economic viability of the breakthrough are primary factors.

So in the areas such as archaeology, new discoveries that threaten the currently accepted and university scholar approved history of things, (which was given to them, and defended by them, rather than introduced or theorized and considered and evaluated and re-evaluated) are missing the element of a rapid onset economically, and thus unlikely to warrant eliminating people. That isn't necessary when the power structures ability to control what the masses are exposed to via the media as well as their ability to steer public opinion using fear and propaganda disseminated via the same is so thorough. The scientists are simply blacklisted, labeled quacks and fired, or have their grants pulled.
the fact that Dr. Poulianos and his wife were attacked in their home is puzzling, I lean towards the culprits being idiots reacting emotionally to their beliefs being threatened but I don't know that for sure.

Nobody has suppressed anything. It's been openly debated. Since Poulianos found the skull, it was tested using Magnetic Spin Resonance. He was wrong about the date. He's never presented any evidence to overcome this. Furthermore, more recent developments (like DNA technologies) have shown that his theories about H. sapiens ancestry are completely wrong. The skull is most likely H. heidelbergensis, and is less than 400,000 years old. It isn't our ancestor. It's the Neanderthals' ancestor. Case close. Pseudoarchaeology is so week.

You "real" Archaeologists are the only ones in right to debate these things, correct? And still most of you are not even basically educated in physics, chemistry and molecular biology. You are the ones not understanding what you are talking about. What you are doing, is ordering the technology people around, so that you get the result you want from datings, sequensing and so on. Otherwhise you find some other technology people, with some clever ideas of how to get around it. One good example is the redating of " Littlefoot" totally corrupt!

Like so many things in science today, politics trumps facts.

We did not descend from Africans and I have seen nothing , ever, to change my mind.

How about saying you don't believe we descended from 'Africans' (whatever you may mean by that term), rather than stating it as if it's a fact, and one which you cannot prove?

I totally agree Brad, it just shows the outright prejudice of bigoted people, who through an indoctrinated, cultural upbringing, hold fast to predetermined positions on scientific and archaeological discoveries. Mixed into their views are the racial and religious dogma that has been espoused for the past 1700 years by the controlling and predominant elite establishment of western civilization, the Roman Catholic Church, who have held the unofficial position of our cultures moral judges. They hold also the unofficial position as our 'thought police' through the censorship, suppression and control of all information that may become accepted into mainstream society. Just as Copernicus, Galillaeo and Darwin struggled to have their discoveries accepted as being based on observed truths, they were subjected to the most vile slander and public ridicule just for having discovered some pertinent facts that were contrary to the views that the controllers of western christian society wanted us to have. Let me state now, in clear concise words so that any other persons who may wish to input their dogmatic and inflexible viewpoints into any other scientific based research discussions will fully understand. The role of all science based research (which includes all the fields such as archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, genetic, etc) is to not hold any preconceived or established viewpoints, the facts that are discovered are exactly as they are; facts or truthful and undeniable hard evidence. From these newly discovered facts conclusions and theories can be drawn which then need to be tested to establish whether they have any basis of truth according to the evidence that is on hand. At no stage can it be said that a complete picture has been drawn until all the evidence and research has been tested and even then new discoveries may alter the picture being drawn. The key thing is to have a completely open mind and to accept that we dont know everything already and that every new piece of information may completely change our concept of what is the truth. The truth is established when hard evidence and fully tested and proved theories combine to provide real knowledge of what has happened or is happening. The answer to the statement "we are not descended from Africans' can be found in the research being done on our DNA, the human genome along with the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes provide vital hard evidence and factual information of where we originated from. Of course there may be out there more fossil evidence that may point to other unknown species that could have existed and evolved completely outside of Africa, but according to the genetic evidence, backed by the fossil record it appears that the original hominids that were our ancestors evolved originally in Africa. Unless it is discovered in other continents that other primates also evolved separately to our African primate cousins and that their DNA exists in other unknown hominid species, then the undeniable facts according to our DNA is that we came from Africa, we are related by our DNA to African chimpanzees and even earlier to African gorillas, as are our cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, we can all trace our lineage through our DNA back to Homo Erectus and also back to Chimpanzees and earlier primates who all have been found only in Africa. (Erectus did migrate out of Africa and settled in Europe and Asia, whereby they evolved to become the Neanderthal and Denisovan species, but the earliest fossils are found in Africa and our DNA is linked to much earlier primates such as chimpanzees, which still being alive today, we can readily compare our DNA too.) Of course if Erectus fossils can be found outside Africa that are older than what we already have, then the story may change, but as of now the evidence points to an African cradle for all Hominid species originally.

Craig, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. What i'm interested to know is how you came to conclude and accept as fact, this strong opinion you have that "we did not descend from Africans". Do you base it on the variation of the different races of modern humans as we have today?
It has been established that modern humans each belong to different races of the species know as Homo Sapiens. Most of these races have developed separately outside of Africa, the genetic mutations that establish these characteristic variations between each race, such as skin, hair and eye colour, nasal definition and shape, height and body structure, all appear as 'markers' on each of our strands of DNA, by looking at the 'markers' displayed in any of the supposedly later developed races, it is possible to see that prior to the appearance of the latest mutational 'marker,' there are also present in the DNA, previous 'markers' that are the same as in other races that have been known to be of an older establishment. These different 'markers' are known collectively as types of Haplogroups. We can easily trace through our DNA what type of Haplogroup we descend from. In this way it is possible to see each type of Haplogroup having originally developed from a parent Haplogroup, much like tracing a persons bloodline, but having all the correct information permanently recorded in our DNA. By tracing the Haplogroup lineages back through the DNA and finding the relevant races of people who dont have any newer 'markers' we can trace the Haplogroup lineage all the way back to its source.....which, in all cases originates from one main source found within the Negroid races still present and living in Africa today. So clearly we did descend originally from 'Africans', and there can be no disputing the clear evidence that this is so.
But, i'd just like to add something here, that in some ways supports your view without removing the fact of the Haplogroup genetic markers. Sometime after the first group of the source Haplogroup known as type L migrated out of Africa, and before they then migrated further onward, they met and interbred with another species of Hominid known as Neanderthal, all people who descend from this first group that left Africa carry some small amount of Neanderthal genes within their DNA, the fact that everyone who exists outside of Africa today has some Neanderthal genes within them and all the pure stock of humans who remained in Africa up until today do not carry any Neanderthal genes within their DNA, clearly shows that we are not the same species of Homo Sapiens as those we left behind in Africa. We are a hybrid mix of two closely related species of the genus Homo, although only a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA exists within us, the added benefits their genes gave to us were clearly purposely selected for. From Neanderthal we gained the FOXP2 gene, which is related to language, at around the time of this interbreeding, changes happened to the genetic development of our hearing. This is said to be in response to having developed a more rich, tonal language and our hearing had to adjust to be able to hear these higher and lower tonal sounds. There are other genetic benefits we gained from Neanderthals and also more came in from interbreeding with the Denisovan species. I'm in the process of developing a book on this subject and i'll discuss there in more detail the many more beneficial genetics we derived from these two species, but to give credence to your statement 'we did not descend from Africans', well in fact we did, but we are not the same species as them anymore, except for recent genetic drifting of our genes back into our parent African humans, by all other accounts we are in fact an improved hybrid species, as distinct from those in Africa that are 'pure' Homo Sapiens, we out-of-Africans are in fact a newer species (albeit with only a slight difference in genetics, these new genetics packed a lot of power in driving our development), we are now the Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
All of this and much more will be discussed in my forthcoming book on the subject.

Peter,you start with the preconseption of the OOA theory, and then find a way to explain every new occurance, find or result based on this preconception. Sadly, geographical tracks are not registered in our hard copies, so really, you cannot tell this by the genes. I would say though, that it is easier to find logic in humans having their roots from a continent, where the genetic diversity still is greater, rather than the opposite. The extinction theory is really a thin straw to hold on to. Also, the fossil record only tell you where the conditions were ideal for fossilisation. But wake up! compare those foot prints found recently in Norfolk with the slightly older ones found in Africa and understand that you have all been looking at the ancestors of the Chimps and Gorillas, evolving from originally bipedal apes that came in from Asia and then Homo Sapiens came into Africa only some 300 000 years ago, only a few different groups untill historical times began. But I may be wrong, but you may also be wrong, but you should not be advocating the openmindednes, when you are so deep into some doctrine yourself.

Peter, I found your ideas about this so called new species and superior hybrid species as well as the idea of an older, inferior, non-hybrid species to be provocative and, well, probably just plain wrong--but I did some checking first. It seems that the only Africans that do not have Neanderthal genes are Sub-Saharan: "“The only modern populations without Neanderthal admixture are the sub-Saharan groups,” Discovery News quoted Carles Lalueza-Fox from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at Barcelona, Spain, as saying. ";_ylt=A0SO80TlM81T3WsAHXNXNyoA;_... And I really doubt there is any credible peer reviewed evidence that they are inferior to those of us who may have Neanderthal and/or Denisovan DNA. Plus, as we keep mixing, there will probably be people of sub-Saharan descent with Neanderthal DNA very soon--if there are not already. It isn't like everyone of this descent has agreed to have their DNA sequenced and made public. (Not that I agree that Neanderthal DNA provides any advantages . . . .)

Meanwhile, if Neanderthal DNA does in fact provide advantages, it is interesting to note that "it occurs in 9% of Western Europeans, the "center" of ancient Neanderthal populations, but is PRESENT IN 25% OF NATIVE AMERICANS, by far the highest prevalence worldwide." The comments on the thread below are very interesting. So, the deal here, is you can't really claim a group of people are a new improved hybrid species--when only 9% of the people so claimed contain the genes you think make it so . . . .

Further, " . . . In the Sardinian and French genomes from Europe we find genomic regions of Neanderthal origin and few or no regions of Denisovan origin. In contrast, in the Han Chinese, the Dai in southern China, and the Karitiana and Mixe in the Americas, we find, in addition to regions of Neanderthal origin, regions that are consistent with being of Denisovan origin . . . " If there were, in fact, a new improved hybrid species, which I do not believe to be the case, it does not include all people who left Africa. It apparently includes only 9% or Europeans, while including much larger percentages of Chinese and Native Americans . . . .

Even with 700 to 800 thousand year old humans in Europe, they'd have still come from Africa, albeit earlier than currently thought. Even Neanderthals and Denisovans came out of Africa. As far as why the Greek gov't would want to hush it up just doesn't make sense. A new archeological discovery brings a lot of attention and a lot of money to the area. The gov't should be all about that especially in the current economic climate.

Cassi's picture

Where is your ABSOLUTE proof that ALL humans have to come out of Africa? I totally disagree with the out of Africa theory, there are too many finds that keep pushin the "certain" dates off the table. And there are too many limits on the DNA studies as well. We have 7 Billion people on the planet so how does the DNA of 1000 to 2000 people show any NORM or STANDARD in our history and evolution. That is only 0.00000029% of the population; there is nothing statistically realistic about that fraction.

No Neanderthal remains have ever been found in sub Saharan Africa; ditto Denisovan. At Dmanisi in Georgia, the fossil remains, remarkably in tact, appear to be homo erectus and are older than homo erectus found in Africa. If all humanity's origins can be definitively as opposed to speculatively to Africa then it was an exodus that occurred nearly two million years ago, not the current utterly preposterous suggestion of 60-100kya. Out of Asia is still a viable theory but sadly if you say that out loud, many will accuse you of being a racist, a Nazi or white supremacist, as if science serves social agendas as opposed to a search for accuracy and truth.

seriously? You're kidding right? Out of Asia? what exactly is that even? Of course an exodus took place at the time of Homo Erectus 2 million + years ago! It hurts my mind how little people actually do their homework before commenting on these things. The question isn't whether or not Homo Erectus left Africa (and evolved into Neanderthal, Denisovan, etc.). That is a well known and well supported scientific fact. The question is whether HOMO SAPIEN evolved from HOMO Erectus simultaneously everywhere in Asia (called the multi-regional hypothesis [not out of Asia, whatever that even means]), or if it evolved from a specific variant of Homo Erectus IN AFRICA (the Out-of-Africa hypothesis)! as for now, the evidence suggests that Homo Sapien evolved from a variant of Homo Erectus IN AFRICA, and then left to eventually meet up with its distant cousins (also evolved from Homo Erectus I might add) the Neanderthals, Denisovans, Floresienses, etc. I am sincerely boggled at how many people don't even seem to understand what it is they are actually arguing against, including the author of this article! While I am not denying that Homo Sapien could have plausibly evolved from an Erectus somewhere in Asia (or even elsewhere) the oldest fossil evidence for Homo Sapien is in Southern Africa! Only following this time do we see evidence for HOMO SAPIEN elsewhere in the world, suggesting a migration by HOMO SAPIEN OUT OF AFRICA. this has nothing to do with a social agenda... at least not for me. It's science, plain and simple.

Your post is filled with hypothetical statements presented as scientific fact that it screams "I once took Anthropology 101 online and got a C-!" The evidence you suggest that proves AMH evolved solely in Africa before spreading and replacing is not convincing. The evidence, such as it is, pertains to fossils that include robust, archaic features, yet are still categorized as homo sapiens. The few that might not reflect features atypical of homo sapiens or AMH are so incomplete and scant it renders their taxonomy erroneous and baseless at worst, disingenuous and suspect at best. I am basically a subscriber to Multiregionalism insofar as I think the evidence we have thus far (fossil and genetics, although there remains significant conflict between the two) suggests that populations evolved in relative isolation for long periods of time. The Out of Africa theory became pc gospel around the time of Mitochondrial Eve, which allegedly proved that we are all the descendants of either one woman or a small group of women, who Rebecca Cann, one of the study's authors, claimed "probably lived in Africa." Notice Cann did not state that Africa WAS the origin of homo sapiens just that she believed it was probable. However, even Cann's (along with the late Wilson and Stoneking) "probably" is based on shoddy data. OOA was predicated on assumptions, one of the major ones related to rate of mutation and the so called "molecular clock." There's too much conjecture and prediction factored into this concept and upon closer examination by other scientists, the molecular clock did not prove accurate. One of the other concepts that has played a starring role in OOA is African genetic diversity. This led OOA's authors' to make yet another assumption (guesses ARE NOT scientific nor are they "evidence") that it meant Africans were the oldest population because their diversity was because time equals mutations and therefore, because they were the oldest, all other populations descended from them. My sister is older than I am, but I am not descended from her. A populations age does NOT speak to whether other populations are descended from them or not. Also, African genetic diversity could just as likely, if not more, be the result of the high variation that we know existed on the continent. Interbreeding between these variable populations would easily lead to more genetically diverse descendants. Yet, the three scientists who authored OOA turned away from any other obvious or plausible explanation and picked which explanations best fit their emerging theory. Legitimate scientific theories are not predicated on such arbitrary, capricious choices. I could go on, but from your post you clearly possess a shallow depth of knowledge in this area and do not have any advanced degrees in relative fields.

Within the last few years the Neanderthal genome was sequenced by Svante Paabo and his team at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzip. This tremendous achievement definitively showed that no Africans share the genome, but some modern Europeans do up to 4%. Using the same techniques they had painstakingly developed, the Paabo's team also sequenced the Denisovan gene and found traces of it today in Papua New Guinea.
As for the Petralona skull and its reputed age, its existence as a possible undiscovered hominid in Europe does not mean that modern Europeans are descended from that being. If the age of 700,000 or even 500,000 years is correct, most certainly no DNA will be recoverable, so even if other remnants are found, we will most likely never know.
It is undoubtedly an intriguing find and the reluctance of the Greek government to allow research is puzzling.

Tsurugi's picture

"If the age of 700,000 or even 500,000 years is correct, most certainly no DNA will be recoverable..."

No problem. We just need to call in some paleontologists, who regularly extract genetic material from 60+ million year old dino remnants.

Well Tsurugi

When Prof Svante Pääbo:s team at the Max Plank institute in Leipzig managed to recover and piece together DNA from 400 000 year old bone material from Spain, then we might hope for this possibility for even more ancient DNA. The impeeding factor is the corrupt authorities and "scientists".

Tsurugi's picture

Sorry. My comment was meant facetiously. I agree that genetic material is extremely unlikely to survive hundreds of thousands of years, much less tens of millions...yet paleontologists regularly find dino remains with intact organic material containing dna.

OK, the circumstance for DNA remaining for extreme timespans would be that it is not allowed to be broken down by bacteria, archaics or by oxidation. For this to happen, I suspect a body would first have to be dried out and then sealed in. In such a case it would be too dry for bacterial or archaic decomposition and the oxygen being trapped in would be exploited for oxidicing the more readily oxidisible compounds like fatty substanses, also more accessible tissues would be broken down first. So DNA from bonemarrow fom such a sealed in body makes sense. My guess is that allready when succesful with material being 400000 years old, it will be possible also with material being millions of years old. It will require a database not only on comparable DNA, but also with the ablility to recognice short fragments being cut at any position. If the fragments become too short, then they would make no sense in any case, because then those sequenses would be found in organisms most everywhere. For this reason, one might even want to have such a find somewhere with a relatively calm seismic history, because if the preservation circumstances have been perfect on those other issues, the remaining threat would be ultra vibrations to shear down the size of the DNA fragments.

Tsurugi's picture

Your explanation makes sense. But what dinosaurs were dried before they were sealed up? They are usually found in sedimentary rock, aren't they? ...which implies some sort of catastrophic event, which leaves no time for dessication prior to them being sealed in sediment.
Also, what about fossilization? Can organics trapped in an anaerobic mineral environment escape fossilization over millions of years?

Tsurugi, I guess you are right about that many fossils stem from catastrophic events and these ones may not be the ideal ones for finding remaining DNA. Probably this would have to be found in those more rare cases when a body have been preserved first by drying. I can imagine one other occurance of such a preservation even from a catastrophic event, and that would be if a body was heated to about 80 C over a period of at least several hours. Then thermotropic archaics and bacterial spores couldall have been destroyed and still all DNA will stay undenatured.

If organic matter is substituded by mineral matter is one other issue depending on other factors, but would not allways be the case

Tsurugi's picture

Ok. So what kind of events might meet those criteria? Perhaps, a mudslide caused by a volcanic eruption of a mountain with an icecap...? The mud might be hot, but below the boiling point of water, 170F or 80C. The bodies of animals and plants caught in it would be slow-cooked, but not dessicated or dried out, at least not initially.

Still, presuming the mud is made mostly organically inert by the heat, so the bodies of the trapped animals do not biodegrade, I don't know how they would escape petrification/fossilization,... so maybe a hot mud slide isn't a good example. Tar pits, maybe...?


A tar pit would be a good we would also need to have those bodies sealed in for the DNA to be preserved. The strong case for DNA still is that it is the most robust of the soft tissue molecules of the body. The enormous length of a full chromosome makes it sensitive for being sheared down to smaller fragments though, but if it is not fragmented down too much, it is still readable. If petrifiacation will take place, would depend on the type of sediment, if the hollow formed by the body would really be sealed in, how deep in the sediment-sedimentary rock it is buried. and probably yet other factors. I would think it to be possible to extract DNA in some cases, eventhough it would be very rare.

A mudslide would also be a good possibility, with that type of occurance you are describing. Even better if the slide would be going out to the sea, so that those bodies carried along with the mudslide would be submerged both by the mud and over this the seawater. The problem is that no one would be looking for it if it is still submerged.

Tsurugi's picture

True, if it were out to sea, no one would find it. Hard enough to get archaeology done on the sea floor, much less paleontology done under the sea floor.

Also, I keep thinking of Pompeii, which was buried under, what, 50 feet of volcanic ash? But all that remained of the people and animals were hollow places inside the rock which the ash had become...and that was only a few thousand years.
For organics to survive for tens of millions of years, it would have to be incredibly singular circumstances, indeed.

Also, I am not sure in which way they go ahead on the extraction of a sample from an ancient bone with their current methods, but I suppose that they should rather drill out a plug instead of a powder from that bone and then saturate it in a relevant buffer, before taking further steps in the preparation method. Otherwhise, they will also risk shearing the DNA material down by the actual extraction method.

i welcome any and all discoveries that downplay the importance of africa in the evolution and dispersion of human beings.mainly because most of what we are taught is total garbage meant to raise the self-esteem of native africans,mainly west africans.the afro centrists would have us believe that the original human beings were all dark skinned negroes.there is much evidence to the contrary in fact.just look at the san people of africa.they are the genetically oldest people on the a pic of these people they are hardly negroes.they have very light skin compared to other native africans and their facial features are often more asian looking than african.i always laugh when i hear someone say"all people were originally black"or that "we all come from africa".are we really sure of this?recent studies suggest that the original primates evolved in asia and moved into africa,who's to say that hominids didn't arise in asia as well?the fact is we still know very little of our origins,and unfortunately as this article shows what little we do know is politicized.

I think and feel Suppression of Scientific Evidence is Terrible!

The human genome has been sequenced. Millions have had their DNA tested. Every human tested so far can trace their original roots back to Africa, even the tens of thousands year old Neanderthal remains and Denisovan remains, that have been tested. This is science, presuming that this is some sort of political issue is denying facts.
People in Africa have a variety of skin color. People closer to the equator all over the world tend to have darker skin, which might block harmful UV rays and provide camouflage, people in temperate and arctic zones tend to have lighter skin, which allows more vitamin D to be absorbed. Skin color is an adaptation to the environment.
Maybe a two legged creature evolved somewhere other than Africa (Sasquatch?), but we haven't found the remains, and it is highly unlikely that the creature could breed with humans or their cousins because of the inability of the DNA to match up; which is why a dog and cat can't produce offspring as an example.
Stating that these millions of human DNA tests (billions of dollars, tens of thousands of scientists from hundreds of universities and other scientific institutions such as National Geographic) are somehow a plot to give a certain group of humans "self-esteem" is ludicrous.
You are right that everything in our evolution has not been written yet, but I do know that the earth isn't flat. Going backward because it "feels" better has no place in scientific discovery.
The scientific method allows for you to have a different hypothesis: do the research and prove it.

Deb, your science and grasp on the facts are both wrong. The evidence you suggest exists whereby all human genomes offer proof of African origin is either an example of either personal confusion or misinterpretation of something you read. Out of Africa remains purely hypothetical. The rate of mutation (molecular clock) used by replacement theorists to pinpoint a supposed African exodus is speculative and subject to error. Additionally, recent fossil analysis from Dmanisi makes OOA look more unlikely than ever. But so many careers, sociopolitical agendas, and egos have been tightly tethered to OOA meaning it won't go down easily, no matter what the evidence shows.

Maybe if you can explain (molecular Clock) to these people they might understand. I still want to know why some hypochondria is present in north America and South America . Yet there is none is in central America.I agree with you on all your post. I just don't think people understand how time keeps ticking on. and only certain things can happen in a given time period.

As Deb says above. Also, the latest DNA sequencing of Neanderthals seems to indicate that us Whiteys got our particularly light coloured skin from interbreeding with the Neanderthals (who'd had an evolutionary headstart to getting the pale skin useful for the latitude). The fact that this was downplayed (the headlines were talking about the genetic disease which came with it) makes me think this isn't some skin-colour conspiracy, as much as a reflection of insecurities living in a culture that prefers darker skin tones.

That's some seriously silly, stupid garbage you're espousing there. Are you yourself a neanderthal? Have any nice white robes in the attic?

Brad, why is it that Caucasians or Europeans are the only people on earth not allowed to take pride in who they are? A recent study of the San genome was touted as support for OOA, although it was not stated clearly why, but the main point of the alleged scientists who conducted the research on the San genome was, to paraphrase their words, "we are thrilled we can go to the San and give them their rightful place in the history of human origins and celebrate with them on their upcoming heritage day" Sweet sentiment, appalling science. Legitimate scientific research is NOT conducted or interpreted in service of anyone's sociopolitical or racial agenda. Yet it was such an agenda that gave birth to OOA.

I think we are seeing a streak of "doth protest too much" - the "facts" are always in development on this subject and we should not be yelling at each other declaring one side or view to be either right OR wrong - there are alternative ideas of where we all came from -
try :
for one very revolutionary approach to the subject of our origins - highly controversial but truly fascinating !! I am keeping an open mind.
Forget trying to substantiate any notions of white superiority - you are a completely mixed bundle of genes whether you like the idea or not !!

Victoria, please read this. While I am intrigued and encouraged by your ability to keep and open mind, there are issues to discuss. Yes there are many alternative "ideas" as to where we came from. In the early 80's it was actually posited by at least one physical anthropologist that humans went through a sub-aquatic phase. This hypothesis was moved forward much in the same manner as the pig-chimp hybrid hypothesis that you have provided here, by likening the morphological characteristics of humans to that of the dolphin. However, following loads of scientific scrutiny, these hypotheses fall flat on their backs. There are degrees of scientific rigor. And simply because alternate hypotheses exist doesn't make them more credible or even equally as credible when compared with the current substantiated paradigm. They deserve attention and experiment only insofar as they haven't been demonstrated to fall flat on their backs when tested against the available evidence. After all, we functioned quite well for a time believing that the Earth was flat, but to revive such a hypothesis after years and years of scientific rigor and scrutiny is utter rubbish. Furthermore, to claim that an unsubstantiated hypothesis of pig-chimp hybridization is revolutionary appeals to the emotions, and to a spirit of inquiry, yes, but not to scientific scrutiny. Therefore, I do believe that we very well should be claiming that one side is Wrong. To not do so would defeat the very foundations of scientific inquiry. We are in the business of proving things wrong. Whether or not we can unequivocally state that one side is Right, however, is another matter. We can only claim that it is right only insofar that it hasn't been proven wrong. In conclusion, I state that the Out of Africa hypothesis has not been proven wrong, that it is supported by loads and loads of evidence and that alternate hypotheses on the matter (including the one in this article) do not stand up to the available evidence and continued scientific scrutiny. Am I suggesting that we should stop looking for alternative explanations? No... of course not. However, I am suggesting that simply stating an alternative hypothesis is most certainly not enough. We must subject the alternative hypothesis to the same level of scientific scrutiny that has led to the widespread acceptance of the current paradigm; that is, BY APPEALING TO THE EVIDENCE, rather than by appealing to our emotions.

oops... Im sorry... Veronica*


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