Humans evolved in southern Africa around 200,000- 350,00,000 years ago, then expanded out to the rest of the world around 100,000 years ago. Several lines of evidence point to an African origin for Homo sapiens. Human diversity is highest there, both in terms of genes and languages, suggesting a long history on the African continent. There’s also an extensive fossil record of primitive humans. What’s more, our closest relatives, chimps and gorillas, live in Africa, along with a diverse fauna of baboons and monkeys like vervets and colobus. Humans seem to be part of a radiation of higher primates, apes…

The first modern humans appeared between 200,000 and 350,000 years ago, based on estimates made from our DNA. However, no bones of modern Homo sapiens are known from this time, or for tens of thousands of years afterwards. Instead, we have fossils of primitive-looking Homo sapiens- people with big brow ridges, low skulls, and massive jaws like Neanderthals. If the estimated time of human origins based on DNA is correct, these people couldn’t have been our direct ancestors. Instead, they were contemporaries of the first modern humans, a primitive and extinct side branch of our species. …

By Dr. Nicholas Longrich

Dr. Nicholas Longrich

Around 100,000 years ago, give or take a few tens of thousands of years, modern humans traveled out of Africa. But how? The answer seems obvious- we walked. Surprisingly, fossils, artifacts and our DNA tell a different story. Instead of traveling by foot, modern humans may have left Africa by sea, on primitive rafts or boats.

Our species originated in Africa. Human beings’ closest relatives, the chimps and gorillas, live there, and human DNA and languages are most diverse there, suggesting a long period of evolution in Africa, and recent arrival elsewhere. …

By Dr. Nick Longrich

What marine reptile paleontology tells us about specialization, diversity, and mass extinction

Dr. Nick Longrich

Dr. Nick Longrich, Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath

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