PerspectiveAnthropology

How did Homo sapiens evolve?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6395, pp. 1296-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6659

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Over the past 30 years, understanding of Homo sapiens evolution has advanced greatly. Most research has supported the theory that modern humans had originated in Africa by about 200,000 years ago, but the latest findings reveal more complexity than anticipated. They confirm interbreeding between H. sapiens and other hominin species, provide evidence for H. sapiens in Morocco as early as 300,000 years ago, and reveal a seemingly incremental evolution of H. sapiens cranial shape. Although the cumulative evidence still suggests that all modern humans are descended from African H. sapiens populations that replaced local populations of archaic humans, models of modern human origins must now include substantial interactions with those populations before they went extinct. These recent findings illustrate why researchers must remain open to challenging the prevailing theories of modern human origins.