On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, eaai9067
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai9067


  • Map of sites with ages and postulated early and later pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.

    Regions of assumed genetic admixture are also shown. ka, thousand years ago.

  • Fig. 1 Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.

    Archaic human distributions are also shown. (A) Initial dispersal(s) of Homo sapiens, based on sites predating 60 ka. (B) Subsequent migration pathways of H. sapiens, based on evidence from the most important sites dated to between 60 and 30 ka. Yellow stripes and translucent orange represent tentative ranges for Neandertals and early Homo sapiens, respectively.

  • Fig. 2 Age ranges for the presence of different hominin taxa (modern humans, Neandertals, Denisovans, and H. floresiensis) in all major regions of Asia.

    The dotted line represents the proposed 60-ka exodus out of Africa supported by various studies. If the 60-ka model is correct, modern humans should not appear in Asia earlier than that. NGRIP, North Greenland Ice Core Project.


  • Table 1 Background data for all Asian Late Pleistocene sites associated with early modern humans that appear in Fig. 1A.

    Triple plus signs indicate high confidence (hominin fossils and archaeology found in clear association with solid dates); double plus signs, medium confidence (hominin fossils and/or archaeology found in association or questionable association with dates); single plus sign, weak confidence (hominin fossils and/or archaeology found in questionable association with dates).

    Site number in Fig. 1ASitePresent-day countryProposed age range
    (thousand years)
    Hominin fossilsArchaeologyConfidenceReference
    9Skhul, QafzehIsrael120 to 90Yes (H. sapiens)Yes+++ (50, 51)
    10Jebel QattarSaudi Arabia75None reportedYes++ (110)
    11MundafanSaudi Arabia100 to 80None reportedYes++ (31)
    12Aybut Al AuwalOman105None reportedYes++ (111)
    13Jebel Faya CUnited Arab Emirates125None reportedYes++ (112)
    14Katoati, 16R DuneIndia96, 80None reportedYes++ (95)
    15JwalapuramIndia85 to 75None reportedYes++ (33)
    16HuanglongChina100 to 80Yes (H. sapiens)Yes++ (35)
    17LunaChina120 to 70Yes (H. sapiens)Yes++ (40)
    18LiujiangChina130 to 70Yes (H. sapiens)None reported+ (32)
    19FuyanChina120 to 80Yes (H. sapiens)None reported++ (37, 41)
    20ZhirenChina100Yes (H. sapiens)None reported++ (36)
    21Tam Pa LingLaos63 to 46Yes (H. sapiens)None reported++ (39)
    22CallaoPhilippines67Yes (H. sapiens?)Yes++ (38)
    23Lida AjerSumatra73 to 63Yes (H. sapiens)Yes++ (42)
    24MadjedbebeAustralia65None reportedYes++ (63)

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