(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers found that genetic data and fossils do not indicate a single point of origin for modern humans.
Experts from the Museum, the Francis Crick Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Human History have teamed up to unravel the various lineages in the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens.
They argue that it is currently impossible to pinpoint a specific point in time when modern human ancestry was restricted to a place of birth.
The well-known signs of the first appearance of anatomical or behavioral traits that are often used to define H. sapiens correspond to a variety of evolutionary histories.
Their new article, published in the journal Nature, provides an overview of our current understanding of how modern human ancestors across the globe can be traced back to the distant past, and which ancestors it passes through during our time travel.
Professor Chris Stringer, a co-author and researcher at the museum, says: “Some of our ancestors lived in groups or populations that can be identified in the fossil record, while very little is known about others.
Over the next decade, a growing understanding of our complex origins should expand our geographic focus to regions previously considered peripheral to our evolution, such as Central and West Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. ”
Three key stages of our pedigree are surrounded by core questions, including:
– the worldwide expansion of modern humans between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago and the last known contacts with archaic groups such as Neanderthals and Denisovans
– African origins of modern human diversity about 60,000-300,000 years ago
– complex separation of modern human ancestors from archaic human groups from about 300,000 to one million years ago
Pontus Skoglund of the Francis Crick Institute says:
“ Contrary to what many believe, neither genetic nor fossil records have yet revealed a specific time or place of origin for our species.
Such a moment in time may not have existed when most of our ancestors were found in a small geographic region and the traits that we associate with our species appeared. In the meantime, it would be useful to abandon the idea of a single time and place of origin.”
An interdisciplinary analysis of growing genetic, fossil and archaeological evidence will undoubtedly reveal many new surprises about the roots of modern human origins.
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