Review

Human Evolution Out of Africa: The Role of Refugia and Climate Change

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Science  16 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6074, pp. 1317-1321
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215627

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Ancient Human Migration

During the past 100,000 years or so, modern humans migrated from Africa into Eurasia, completely replacing existing populations of Neandertals by about 20,000 years ago. This occurred as the climate cooled toward a glacial maximum. Stewart and Stringer (p. 1317) review some of the recent evidence for how this demographic transition occurred. Data from ancient genomes of Neandertals and Denisovans coupled with our improved understanding of the role of refugia in driving evolution during the Ice Ages suggest that such refugia were important in the pace and pattern of change.

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