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Evolution                  100,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

In General

The multiple ways in which Homo spaiens diverged physically and behaviorally from pre-sapiens forms of Homo in the period between about 300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago are collectively referred to as the "Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition." This "transition" is visible in many radical changes, such as (1) an increase of average human brain size from about 1,000 to about 1,400 cubic centimeters; (2) changes in physical form such that modern Homo sapiens sapiens have less robust skeletons, a more prominent chin, smaller or absent brow ridges, smaller teeth, a higher rounded skull, and other physical characteristics; (3) increased human population numbers and densities. (18)

To explain the relatively slow rate of technological change between 2 million and 100,000 years ago, we must reflect on the fact that not only were our ancestors of this era less intelligent, there were also many fewer of them. Although technolgical innovation is not a simple product of the number of minds available to create new ideas, a strong relationship exists between population numbers and innovation in the simple hunting-gathering economies of the early and middle Pliestocene. Even as late as 500,000 years ago, there were probably only a million people in the entire worlde. Also, people of this era tended to live much shorter lives. Few survived past thirty years of age, and people learn a great deal and retain considerable creativity past thirty.(24)

As incredible as this story may sound, mitochondrial DNA research on domesticated cattle and dogs place their origins, respectively, at about 200,000 years ago and over 100,000 years ago. (113)

In a typical modern chronology, the line that would lead to us split off from Old World Monkeys about 25 million years (m.y.) ago; from the gibbons, 18 m.y. ago; from orangutans around 14 m.y. ago; from gorillas some 8 m.y. ago; and from the chimps approximately 6 m.y. ago. Bonobos and common chimps went their separate ways only about 3 m.y. ago; Our genus, Homo, is 2 million years old. Our species, Homo sapiens, is maybe 100,000 to 200,000 years old--the equivalent of the last day in the life of that fifty-year-old. (119)

The fossil evidence for modern human origins in the critical time period between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago is, like that of the archaics, frustratingly rare. In fact, the entire fossil evidence of anatomically modern-looking humans from around the world, and over 60,000 years, wouldn't fill a card table. Nevertheless, the fossil evidence that does exist points to an African origin for modern humans. But once outside of Africa, there is little fossil evidence of any candidate for truly modern human morphology anywhere near the ages of these finds. Thus, the fossil evidence leads us to the conclusion that modern human morphology comes out of Africa. (142)

Cut off from the rest of Africa by the arid conditions of the hinterland, an isolated population eking out an existence on the Cape coastal plains began to take on a modern morphology, led mostly by a physical gracilization and an increase in brain size. The out-of-Africa hypothesis that has been put forward by scientists like myself and Christopher Stringer of the Natural History Museum of London holds that this genetically modern population eventually expanded out of the region, through Africa and into the rest of the world. Their superior brainpower and adaptive cultural behavior gave them the edge over the Homo heidelbergensis and neanderthal populations that were the descendants of the first wave of expansion of Homo erectus out of Africa around 1.5 million years ago. Within the relatively short space of a few tens of thousands of years, these relative newcomers replaced the existing Homo populations that had scattered around the world. (142)

The fossil record then suggests that around 100 kya modern humans began to spread farther afield. The traditional view is that modern humans colonized the Old World from the Levant. This appears to be consistent with the presence of undisputed Homo sapiens fossils dated to around 100 kya from Skhul and Qafzeh in what is now Israel. Here there may have been an overlap with Neanderthals, who appear to have occupied the region at times between 100 and 60 kya. (145)

The recent discovery of artefacts in Eritrea's Red Sea coast dated around 125 kya has shifted attention toward the possibility of a southern route out of Africa. After Arabia, humans could have easily moved along the coastline to India and Indonesia, and then made the more heroic leap to Australia. This shoreline expansion, hopping across narrow stretches of sea, would fit particularly well with claims that modern humans had arrived in Austalia before 60 kya. ...the genetic measurements provide convincing evidence that the last wave of colonisation out of Africa was the only successful one. (145)

115,000 BC Modern humans existed (160)

Africa

Measuring variations in mitochondrial DNA in different populations today, scientists have concluded that all humans are descended from one common female ancestor who lived in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago--the hypothetical "Eve." (75)

We can see traces of our origins in all of the earth's ancient life forms, from the earliest marine creatures through the tree-shrews that lived tens of millions of years ago to our last primate ancestors--but only in the crucial interval of two to one million years ago did our genus, Homo, become become the dominanat primate in the world, and not until just a few hundred thousand years ago did humans appear whom we can relate to ourselves by calling them, too, Homo sapiens. We reserve the ultimate accolade of "people like us," Homo sapiens sapiens, for only some of the humans who lived after about 150,000 years ago, and it was not until about 30,000 years ago that we alone came to constitute humanity.(9)

About all scholars agree on is that: (1) there were humans living in Europe and western Asia by 500,000 years ago but they were not Homo sapiens spaiens; (2) a distinctive form of human, the "Neanerthals," who were different from us in important anatomical ways, lived in Europe, western Asia, and perhaps North Africa between about 100,000 and 40,000 years ago; and (3) by 30,000 years ago all the Neanderthals and other distinctive physical forms of humans, except ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens, hade disappeared.

A long childhood is considered one of things that separate so-called modern humans from the first Homo sapiens and older human species, such as Homo erectus. Now a study of a 160,000-year-old early Homo sapiens child found in North Africa may change how early—and where—we think modern humans arose. European researchers used x-ray imaging to study the growth patterns of teeth in the juvenile fossil found in Morocco. Similar to tree rings, the patterns are a record of aging. What they revealed is that this fossil is the earliest known human with a long childhood, according to Tanya Smith, an anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. In the teeth the scientists found signs of modern-human development patterns—that is, relatively long periods of slow development and growth. A prolonged childhood is seen as necessary for the type of learning that leads to culture and complex society. The juvenile fossil "showed an equivalent degree of tooth development to living [modern] human children at the same age," the report authors write. Kullmer said that the discovery of a relatively long human childhood about 160,000 years ago points to "a complex social system in early Homo sapiens groups. Probably, social behavior was one of the important survival strategies of early humans."(31)

Most paleoanthropologists, and especially geneticists, think this fateful transition (the period when archaic Homo sapiens evolved into the modern species) occurred between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Geneticists think the "African Eve," the one common ancestor of all living humans, lived at about this time. (75)

Humans' Earliest Footprints Discovered: Dr. David Roberts, a South African geologist, was the first to lay eyes on the three footprints in rock within 20 feet of the edge of Langebaan Lagoon, about 60 miles north of Cape Town. He was acting on a hunch. He had been picking up rock fragments that had apparently been chipped by human ancestors. And the surrounding gray sandstone was marked by animal tracks. Several different dating techniques were applied in analyzing the rock bearing the prints, and they all agreed on an age of 117,000 years, give or take a few thousand years. Judging by the length of stride and the foot size, eight and a half inches long, the individual was no more than five feet, six inches tall, probably shorter. (75)

Some of the strongest fossil-bone evidence of anatomically modern Homo sapiens has been collected at the mouth of the Klasies River, 375 miles from the footprint site. A cave there was occupied by early human hunters between 60,000 and 120,000 years ago. (75)

 

Phylogenetic dating of the appearance of "Adam and Eve" places Adam before Eve in sequence. That is compatible with the scenario from the millennia-old clay tablets. DNA studies suggest the appearance of Caucasoids (assumed by scientists to have migrated from Africa to the Middle East) dates from around 100,000 BC. The Sumerian accounts suggest that around this time the Anunnaki began to intermarry with Homo sapiens, resulting in a new, rapidly multiplying hybrid. This sexual mixing of Anunnaki-human genes may account for the sudden appearance of Caucasoids in the Middle East. (113)


The footprints of "Eve" in the sandstone of a fossil dune at Langebaan Lagoon have been dated to approximately 117,000 years before present. (142)

The earliest dates for modern human range from 100,000 to 150,000 years ago. In southern Africa, their fossils date from 75,000 to 120,000 BC. (113)

...regression studies (using mtDNA) show all modern humans appear to be genetically related possibly as far back as 230,000 years. Africans (the oldest) are considered to have been clearly well established between 130,000 and 80,000 BC. (113)

The results of Wilson, Stoneking, and Carin's research, as well as subsequent DNA research conducted around the world, has reached the remarkable results...namely a common origin of all living humans as recent as 100,000 years ago. Furthermore, African peoples show a greater diversity in their mtDNA than do any other groups from around the world. This suggests that modern humans have been living in Africa longer than anywhere else. The genetic-Eve hypothesis is just a logical extension of these results - that is, that all modern humans can trace their origins to a small group of females, in fact a single female, living somewhere in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. (142)

Geneticists Trefor Jenkins and Himla Soodyall have convincing evidence that the Khoisan, Negroid, and Pygmy populations of Africa have different evolutionary histories, having separated from a common stem around 150,000 years ago. Through his excavation of sites like Klasies River Mouth, he has made a convincing case that the Khoisan people of the Western Cape are the last vestige of a living link to the stone ages. Known before the era of political correctness as the Bushmen, their ancestors have been resident in the subcontinent for tens of thousands of years. These were the people responsible for the first art in the world, probably the first burials, the use of ocher, and the development of other culturally modern forms of behavior. (142)

The first being considered to be truly manlike--"Advanced Australopithecus"--existed in the same parts of Africa Some 2,000,000 years ago. It took yet another million years to produce Homo erectus. Finally, after another 900,000 years, the first primitive Man appeared; he is named Neanderthal after the site where his remains were first found. (146)

Between their appearance in Africa more than 100,000 years ago until about 50,000 years ago, or even a bit later, the archaeological record does not evidence a quantum leap to modern-looking cultural behavior. Although these ancient, moodern-looking people may have looked just like us, their artifacts do not reflect that they thought like us. Only after 50,000 years ago, in the period called the Upper Paleolithic in Europe and Asia and the Late Stone Age in Africa, do we see what appears in the archaeological record to be an intellectual leap forward.  (170)

Southwest Asia

 About all scholars agree on is that: (1) there were humans living in Europe and western Asia by 500,000 years ago but they were not Homo sapiens spaiens; (2) a distinctive form of human, the "Neanerthals," who were different from us in important anatomical ways, lived in Europe, western Asia, and perhaps North Africa between about 100,000 and 40,000 years ago; and (3) by 30,000 years ago all the Neanderthals and other distinctive physical forms of humans, except ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens, hade disappeared.

Phylogenetic dating of the appearance of "Adam and Eve" places Adam before Eve in sequence. That is compatible with the scenario from the millennia-old clay tablets. DNA studies suggest the appearance of Caucasoids (assumed by scientists to have migrated from Africa to the Middle East) dates from around 100,000 BC. The Sumerian accounts suggest that around this time the Anunnaki began to intermarry with Homo sapiens, resulting in a new, rapidly multiplying hybrid. This sexual mixing of Anunnaki-human genes may account for the sudden appearance of Caucasoids in the Middle East. (113)

The oldest modern human fossil samples discovered outside of Africa to date have been in Israel, dated between 90,000 and 100,000 years ago. Fossilized remains available to us so far show Homo sapiens appeared without direct antecedents much less than half a million years ago. (113)

Combining the fossil record and clay-tablet story surprisingly accounts for paleoanthropological thinking about three stages in the origins and diaspora of human development. Early humans were scattered over the globe more than a million years ago. Perhaps a quarter million years ago, transition humans arose in Africa (Abzu in Sumerian lore) and migrated to other continents. They included variations (Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon) with a limited migratory range. Then modern humans appear in the Middle East about 100,000 years ago and further divided into modern groupings. (113)

...regression studies (using mtDNA) show all modern humans appear to be genetically related possibly as far back as 230,000 years. Africans (the oldest) are considered to have been clearly well established between 130,000 and 80,000 BC. The next oldest seems to be Caucasoid, Middle-Eastern types, dating from about 100,000 years ago. (113)

One hypothetical history from the medical field provides a time- line for our four major blood types. The dominant and oldest, Type O is associated with meat eaters. Type A is assumed to have appeared 115,000 to 25,000 years ago somewhere in Asia or the Middle East. Associated with cultivated grains and other agricultural crops, its highest percentages are among Western Europeans and their descendants. (113)

...the hill lands of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, are replete with caves where the evidence of prehistoric but modern Man has been preserved. One of these caves, Shanidar, is located in the north-eastern part of the semiarc of civilization. As layer upon layer of debris was removed, it became apparent that the cave preserved a clear record of Man's habitation in the area from about 100,000 to some 13,000 years ago. (146)

Some of the earliest known remains of modern man were found in a cave at Qafzeh, just a stone's throw from the town centre of Nazareth. This cave contains the remains of both Neanderthals and modern man, but it is the sequence of layers of earth and the order of the fossilized skeletons that is so fascinating. Our direct ancestors were found at the deepest levels whilst the Neanderthals were found much higher up, proving beyond doubt that 'modern man' was there tens of thousands of years ahead of our fellow hominids. ... the skeletons were no less than 100,000, and more probably 115,000 , years old. These fossilized skeletons found in that cave on the outskirts of Nazareth are anatomically identical to ourselves today. (160)

Egypt

 Although a few early and middle Paleolithic sites (dated between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago) have been discovered, none dates to the final stages of the ice age. According to archaeologists, the earliest occupation in the Darb El Arba'in Desert, in southwest Egypt, occurred more than 70,000 years ago during the middle Paleolithic, before the ice age began. (70)

Indus Valley

 

China

 One hypothetical history from the medical field provides a time- line for our four major blood types. The dominant and oldest, Type O is associated with meat eaters. Type A is assumed to have appeared 115,000 to 25,000 years ago somewhere in Asia or the Middle East. Associated with cultivated grains and other agricultural crops, its highest percentages are among Western Europeans and their descendants. (113)

Europe

 About all scholars agree on is that: (1) there were humans living in Europe and western Asia by 500,000 years ago but they were not Homo sapiens spaiens; (2) a distinctive form of human, the "Neanerthals," who were different from us in important anatomical ways, lived in Europe, western Asia, and perhaps North Africa between about 100,000 and 40,000 years ago; and (3) by 30,000 years ago all the Neanderthals and other distinctive physical forms of humans, except ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens, had disappeared.

During the early part of the ice age, between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens first appeared as Neanderthal in Europe. (70)

South America

 

Mesoamerica

 

North America

 On December 1, 1899, Ernest Yolk, a collector working for the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, disovered a human femur in a fresh railroad cut south of Hancock Avenue within the city limits of Trenton, New Jersey. The femur was found lying on a small ledge, 91 inches beneath the surface. Volk stated: "About four inches over or above the bone...was a place about the length of the bone where it evidently had fallen out of." The human femur was photographed by Yolk, who declared that the overlying strata immediately above and for some distance on either side of the find were undisturbed. Yolk said that the femur was thoroughly fossilized. Two human skull fragments were taken from the same layer that yielded the femur. In a letter dated July 30, 1987, Ron Witte of the New Jersey Geological Survey told us that the stratum containing the Trenton femur and skull fragments from the Sangamon interglacial and is about 107,000 years old. (138)

Other

 Stone tools that have been attributed to modern humans have been found below the layer of ash associated with the supervolcano Toba. This means that modern humans had reached Malaysia before this eruption around 71 kya. (145)