News & AnalysisHUMAN EVOLUTION

Did Modern Humans Travel Out of Africa Via Arabia?

Science  28 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6016, pp. 387
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6016.387

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Summary

One hundred twenty-five thousand years ago, when the Sahara desert was savanna, with plentiful water and game, a group of hominids made tools under the protection of a rock overhang in Jebel Faya, United Arab Emirates. A German-led team argues on page 453 of this week's issue of Science that these toolmakers were modern humans who may have crossed directly from Africa as part of a migration spreading across Europe, Asia, and Australia. Although most researchers agree that our species came out of Africa in one or more waves (see p. 392), those dates are more than 50,000 years earlier than most believe our ancestors left the continent.

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