News Commentary – June 5, 2012
While still largely accepted in some quarters, the idea that humanity’s roots lie solely in Africa is being questioned in the wake of new archaeological finds.
Among these is the discovery of early human fossils in a cave in southern China’s Guangxi province.
Although academics are still debating whether the jawbone found came from an early human or a Neanderthal, the bone itself was dated to over 100,000 years old.
The “Out of Africa” theory maintains that modern humans evolved from a common homo-erectus ancestor in Africa; who then left Africa and migrated across the world between 150,000 and 100,000 years ago.
However, other discoveries have been made elsewhere in recent years that also challenge this theory about humanities origins.
The discovery late last year of early stone tools near Dhofar is another that doesn’t quite fit with the “Out of Africa” model. The tools dated to over 100,000 years old point to the emergence of what could be recognised as early humans in the Arabian Peninsula long before it was thought there were any in the region.
Moreover, the theory that stipulates all humans originated in a single migration from Africa is now being challenged by new genetic discoveries.
In fact reports of discoveries that dispute the prevailing “Out or Africa” theory are coming in from around the world.
Researchers at Australian National University said they had analysed DNA taken from human remains discovered near Lake Mungo in New South Wales. Dating put the remains at between 56,000 and 65,000 years old.
ANU anthropologist Alan Thorne said that neither “Mungo Man’s” completely modern skeleton nor its DNA had any links with human ancestors from Africa found in other parts of the world.
Neither of them [the skeleton or DNA] show any evidence that they ever were in Africa,” Thorne told Reuters. “There’s modern humans in Australia that have nothing to do with Africa at all.” (ABCNews Jan 9, 2012)