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Study: Where did Homo sapiens go after Africa

Why is it in the news?

  • According to a new study, after leaving Africa, early Homo sapiens likely lingered for thousands of years in a geographic hub spanning Iran, southeast Iraq, and northeast Saudi Arabia before dispersing further.




More about the news

  • This region, part of the Persian Plateau, offered an ideal habitat for early human populations, characterized by diverse ecological settings ranging from forests to grasslands and savannahs, providing ample resources for small, mobile bands of hunter-gatherers.
  • Early humans in this hub lived as hunter-gatherers, practicing a seasonal lifestyle, and consumed a diet consisting of edible plants and various game animals such as wild gazelle, sheep, and goat.
  • The inhabitants of the hub likely had dark skin and dark hair, resembling certain modern-day populations in East Africa.
  • Cave art emerged concurrently with their departure from the hub, suggesting cultural advancements during their stay.
  • The dispersal of early humans from this hub laid the groundwork for genetic divergence between present-day East Asians and Europeans, shaping the genetic landscape of Eurasia.
  • The study utilized modern and ancient genomic data to identify this geographic hub, focusing on genomes dating from 45,000 to 35,000 years ago to unravel the early phases of human colonization in Eurasia.
  • The hub may have been a site of interaction between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, as evidenced by the presence of Neanderthals in the region before the arrival of Homo sapiens and the subsequent genetic admixture between the two species.
·       Homo sapiens emerged in Africa over 300,000 years ago, with a significant migration out of the continent occurring approximately 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, leading to the global spread of our species.

·       Homo sapiens was not the first human species to live outside of Africa – including the area encompassing the hub.

·       Ancient interbreeding by our species has left a small Neanderthal contribution to the DNA of modern non-Africans.

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