Research NewsHuman Origins

Asian Hominids Grow Older

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Science  17 Nov 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5239, pp. 1116-1117
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5239.1116


In the conventional view, the first hominid to leave Africa was Homo erectus who departed about 1 million years ago. But new evidence suggests that early Homo reached central China between 1.7 million and 1.9 million years ago—800,000 years earlier than previously thought—and that this ancient wayfarer was notHomo erectus itself but an even earlier hominid. If this controversial scenario is correct, it could mean that Homo erectus is an Asian side branch of the hominid evolutionary tree, rather than part of the African lineage that led to humans.