Iraq Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

Representational image of the Out-of-Africa event.

Did Mankind First Exit Africa 100,000 Years Ago?

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

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.

The New York Times reported that humans were in Brazil 100,000 years ago. Dr. Niede Guidon claims that Africans were in Brazil 100,000 years ago. The evidence that fire existed in Brazil 65 thousand years ago is an indication that man was at the site at least 65,000 years ago, since researchers found charcoal, which is the result of fire making.

In a New York Times video, it was noted that Dr. Niede Guidon supports her dating of a human population in Brazil 100,000 years ago to ancient fire and tool making. Dr. Guidon, who conducted excavations at the site, notes at 2:09 the site is 100,000 years old. At 3:17 in the video scientists proved that the tools are the result of human craftsmanship.

Migration Evidence in China

In addition to African artifacts indicating an OoA migration 100,000 years ago we also have teeth found in China supporting this event. Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford, UK, claims that 47 human teeth were found in a limestone cave system in Daoxian, China.

47 teeth found in Fuyan cave in Daoxian province in Southern-China.

47 teeth found in Fuyan cave in Daoxian province in Southern-China. ( S.Xing / XJ.Wu/ Universiteit Leiden)

María Martinón-Torres, a palaeoanthropologist at University College London, and colleagues Wu Liu and Xiu-jie Wu at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing found the teeth. These palaeoanthropologists proved the teeth were human teeth. This means that AMH were in China by 100 thousand years ago, like the people at Qafzeh caves found in Israel and in southern Crete.

In summary, the new evidence of anatomically modern humans (AMH) in Arabia, on Crete, and now in Brazil around 100,000 years ago suggests that AMH left Africa before 60 thousand years ago. The archaeological evidence from the Americas and Eurasia make it clear that people left Africa 100 thousand years ago to settle other parts of the world. This indicates that although there is firm archaeological evidence man began to settle Western Eurasia and other parts of the world 60 thousand years ago, during the interglacial period between 130-100 thousand years ago mankind probably made its first OoA exit.

Top image: Representational image of the Out-of-Africa event. Source: Alizul

By Clyde Winters


Ewen Callaway, (2015) Teeth from China reveal early human trek out of Africa "Stunning" find shows that Homo sapiens reached Asia around 100,000 years ago.

Charles Q. Choi, (2011) Ancient Arabian Artifacts May Rewrite 'Out of Africa' Story,

Holiday, T. (2000). Evolution at the Crossroads: Modern Human Emergence in Western Asia, American Anthropologist,102(1).

New York Times video: Human’s First Appearance in the Americas @:

JOHN NOBLE WILFORD, (2010) On Crete, New Evidence of Very Ancient Mariners,

Alasdair Wilkins , (2011) 100,000-year-old human settlement in U.A.E. overturns what we know of our evolution,



i liked the part of article that says it is supposition of some that a migration took place and it probably did as we can see that migrations take place daily, back and forth and in all direction toward the infinity of space... bits of fossilized turds and bone are hardly worth much but then gamblers do not need too much.

Clyde Winters's picture

Stop making stuff up. Naia is only dated to 12,000BC. This is around the time the earliest boat in Nigeria was found the Dafuna boat dating t0 8,500 BC. So as you can see Africans were early making boats. In addition people have made it to America from Africa in all types of sailing craft.
You know the PaleoAmericans were not mongoloids so their were no Asians in the Americas until the first mongoloid skeletons were found in the Americas dating to 6000BC. Craniometric quantitative analysis and multivariate methods have determined the Native American populations. This research indicated that the ancient Americans represent two populations, paleoamericans who were phenotypically African, Australian or Melanesian and a mongoloid population that appears to have arrived in the Americas after 6000 BC.
The determination of the Paleoamericans as members of the Black Variety is not a new phenomena. Howells (1973, 1989, 1995) using multivariate analyses, determined that the Easter Island population was characterized as Australo-Melanesian, while other skeletons from South America were found to be related to Africans and Australians (Coon, 1962; Dixon, 2001; Howell, 1989, 1995; Lahr, 1996). The African-Australo-Melanesian morphology was widespread in North and South America. For example skeletal remains belonging to the Black Variety have been found in Brazil (Neves, Powell, Prous and Ozolins, 1998; Neves et al., 1998), Columbian Highlands (Neves et al., 1995; Powell, 2005), Mexico (Gonza’lez-Jose, 2012), Florida (Howells, 1995), and Southern Patazonia (Neves et al., 1999a, 1999b).
We don’t have to depend on just paintings to acknowledge the Negro/African presence in America before 1492, we also have the facial reconstructions of paleoAmericans that have resulted from craniometrics that show these people were Blacks. The bioanthropologist Walter Neves’s reconstruction of the first Americans evidenced Negroid features for the Paleoamerican we call Luzia. What made this finding startling was that Neves using the mahalanobis distance and principal component analysis, found that 75 other skulls from Lagos Santa, were also phenotypically African or Australian (Neves et al., 2004).So stop trying to claim there were no Blacks in America before 1492, Blacks had been in America 94,000 years according to Dr. Nieda Guidon before the mongloid Native Americans found in America today arrived in the United States 6000 years ago.
Coon CS (1962). The Origin of Races (New York: Knopf).
Dixon EJ (2001). Human colonization of the Americas: timing, chronology and process. Quaternary Science Review 20 277–99.
Gonza´lez-Jose´ R, Hernande´z M, Neves WA, Pucciarelli HM and Correal G (2002). Cra´neos del Pleistoceno tardio-Holoceno tempramo de Me´xico en relacio´n al patro´n morfolo´gico paleoamericano. Paper presented at the 7th Congress of the Latin American Association of Biological Anthropology, Mexico City.
Howells WW (1973). Cranial Variation in Man: A Study by Multivariate Analysis of Patterns of Difference among Recent Human Populations, Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University) 67.
Howells WW (1989). Skull Shapes and the Map: Craniometric Analyses in the Dispersion of Modern Homo, Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University) 79. Early Holocene human skeletal remains from Cerca Grande 497
Howells WW (1995). Who’s Who in Skulls: Ethnic Identification of Crania from Measurments, Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University) 82.
Neves WA and Hubbe M (2005). Cranial morphology of early Americans from Lagoa Santa, Brazil: Implications for the settlement of the New World. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102(18) 309–18, 314.
Neves WA and Meyer D (1993). The contribution of the morphology of early South and Northamerican skeletal remains to the understanding of the peopling of the Americas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 16(Suppl) 150–1.
Neves WA and Pucciarelli HM (1989). Extra-continental biological relationships of early South American human remains: a multivariate analysis. Cieˆncia e Cultura 41 566–75.
Neves WA and Pucciarelli HM (1990). The origins of the first Americans: an analysis based onthe cranial morphology of early South American human remains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 81 247.
Neves WA and Pucciarelli HM (1991). Morphological affinities of the first Americans: an exploratory analysis based on early South American human remains. Journal of Human Evolution 21 261–73.
Neves WA and Pucciarelli HM (1991). Morphological Affinities of the First Americans: an exploratory analysis based on early South American human remains. Journal of Human Evolution 21 261-273.
Neves WA, Gonza´ lez-Jose´ R, Hubbe M, Kipnis R, Araujo AGM and Blasi O (2004). Early Holocene Human Skeletal Remains form Cerca Grande, Lagoa Santa, Central Brazil, and the origins of the first Americans. World Archaeology 36 479-501.
Neves WA, Powell JF and Ozolins EG (1999). Extra-continental morphological affinities of Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1: A multivariate analysis with progressive numbers of variables. Homo 50 263-268.
Neves WA, Powell JF and Ozolins EG (1999). Extra-continental morphological affinities of Palli-Aike, Southern Chile. Interciencia 24 258-263, Available:
Neves WA, Powell JF and Ozolins EG (1999a). Extra-continental morphological affinities of Palli Aike, southern Chile. Interciencia 24 258–63.
Neves WA, Powell JF and Ozolins EG (1999b). Modern human origins as seen from the peripheries. Journal of Human Evolution 37 129–33.
Neves WA, Powell JF, Prous A and Ozolins EG (1998). Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1: morphologial affinities or the earliest known American. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 26(Suppl) 169.

First off. There is absolutely no evidence, archaeological, genetic, paleontological or otherwise that Europeans, Africans or Australians were here before North East Asians. Every ancient Native American genome examined to date proves that ALL Native Americans are descended from a common ancestor about 25,000 years ago. Second. Recent finds have conclusively shown that the coastal ice sheets were in fact, quite passable and therefore, there was no need to wait 10,000 years for them to retreat. There were numerous, game rich and ice free areas up and down the west coast from Alaska to So California. So, Asian immigrants could have easily hopped, skipped and jumped down the coast to Mexico and Central America where, incidentally, the OLDEST human remains in the Americas outside of Alaska, have in fact been found. Remains which, once again, are directly ancestral to today's Native Americans. Why are there no remains along the coast? Because most of the ice age shoreline is now hundreds of miles out to sea and under hundreds of feet under water! Third, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE for land bridges between the Americas and Africa, Europe or Australia. However, there is AMPLE evidence for a subcontinent called Beringia between Asia and North America as well as human remains dated to 24,000 BCE in Alaska and the Yukon. Clyde Winters has suggested that Ancient non Asians used boats to make the trip to the Americas but, once again, the only thing missing is EVIDENCE. There is no evidence for sea going vessels at 24,000 years BCE in Africa, Europe, Australia or anywhere else. While it is quite possible that dugouts and skin boats existed in those places, They are not ocean going vessels and it is highly unlikely that anyone could cross thousands of miles of open sea in one. Cruising up and down the coast between ice free enclaves is, however, quite doable.

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!

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]


Clyde Winters's picture

Clyde Winters

Dr. Clyde Winters is an Educator , Anthropologist and Linguist. He has taught Education and Linguistics at Saint Xavier University -Chicago. Dr. Winters is the author of numerous articles on anthropology, archeogenetics and linguistics. His articles have appeared in the Journal... Read More

Next article