HUMANPAST.NET

Evolution                  50,000 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)

When modern humans first started to leave Africa, about 50,000 years ago by present reckoning, they probably consisted of small groups of hunter-gatherers a few hundred strong. Although their lineage trees are based on genetic differences, most of these differences lie in the regions of DNA that do not code for genes and have no effect on the body "We are all Africans at the Y chromosome level and we are really all brothers," Dr. Underhill said. Whether or not genetic prehistory is suitable material for a modern origin myth, it is about to be made available to a wider public. (109)

Last month a company called Oxford Ancestors set up business with the offer to tell customers which of the seven daughters of Eve they are descended from. (Almost all Europeans belong to only seven of the nine mitochondrial lineages found in Europe). The test (see www.oxfordancestors.com) requires sending in a sample of cells brushed from the inside of the cheek. For a mere $180, anyone of European ancestry can establish the start of a genealogy far senior to Charlemagne's. He is now working on tests to identify other lineages around the world, including 14 in Africa, and 16 in Eurasia and the Americas. "I don't think this stuff should be confined to academics," he said. (109)

Klein suggests that what amounts to a rewiring of the human brain occurred sometime between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago, allowing for a great leap to modern intelligence. (170)

Africa

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.

When modern humans first started to leave Africa, about 50,000 years ago by present reckoning, they probably consisted of small groups of hunter-gatherers a few hundred strong. 

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, had disappeared.

…geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. This ancestral human population lived somewhere in Africa, geneticists believe, and started to split up some time after 144,000 years ago, give or take 10,000 years, the inferred time at which both the mitochondrial and Y chromosome trees make their first branches. The tree is rooted in a single Y chromosomal Adam, and has 10 principal branches, Dr. Cavalli-Sforza reports. Of these sons of Adam, the first three (designated I, II and III) are found almost exclusively in Africa. Son III's lineage migrated to Asia and begat sons IV-X, who spread through the rest of the world--to the Sea of Japan (son IV), northern India (son V) and the South Caspian (sons VI and IX). (109)

Shanidar Cave in the Kurdish mountains of what is now northern Iraq: occupied by Neanderthal man c.50,000 years ago to 46,000 years ago; occupied by anatomically modern Upper Palaeolithic humans around 34,000 years ago; occupied by Mesolithic peoples around 11,000 years ago. (124)

...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)

Egypt

 

Indus Valley

 …geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. This ancestral human population lived somewhere in Africa, geneticists believe, and started to split up some time after 144,000 years ago, give or take 10,000 years, the inferred time at which both the mitochondrial and Y chromosome trees make their first branches. The tree is rooted in a single Y chromosomal Adam, and has 10 principal branches, Dr. Cavalli-Sforza reports. Of these sons of Adam, the first three (designated I, II and III) are found almost exclusively in Africa. Son III's lineage migrated to Asia and begat sons IV-X, who spread through the rest of the world--to the Sea of Japan (son IV), northern India (son V) and the South Caspian (sons VI and IX). (109)

China

 …geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. This ancestral human population lived somewhere in Africa, geneticists believe, and started to split up some time after 144,000 years ago, give or take 10,000 years, the inferred time at which both the mitochondrial and Y chromosome trees make their first branches. The tree is rooted in a single Y chromosomal Adam, and has 10 principal branches, Dr. Cavalli-Sforza reports. Of these sons of Adam, the first three (designated I, II and III) are found almost exclusively in Africa. Son III's lineage migrated to Asia and begat sons IV-X, who spread through the rest of the world--to the Sea of Japan (son IV), northern India (son V) and the South Caspian (sons VI and IX). (109)

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.

…geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. The split between the two main branches in the European tree suggests that modern humans reached Europe 39,000 to 51,000 years ago, Dr. Wallace calculates, a time that corresponds with the archaeological date of at least 35,000 years ago. (109)

...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. The next oldest are believed to have been Central Asians dating between 73,000 and 56,000 BC. Next, such estimates suggest, came the Europeans between 50,000 and 40,000 BC. (113)

South America

 …geneticists,

Mesoamerica

 …geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. Of the A through D lineages found in American Indians, A, C and D also occur in Siberian peoples, suggesting that their ancestors were the principal source of the Amerind-speakers' migration. But the B lineage, though it is found elsewhere in Asia, has not turned up in Siberia, a hint that the B people may have taken a sea route to the Americas and then merged there with their A- , C- and D-carrying cousins. (109)

North America

…geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns found in people throughout the world, have now identified lineages descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. Of the A through D lineages found in American Indians, A, C and D also occur in Siberian peoples, suggesting that their ancestors were the principal source of the Amerind-speakers' migration. But the B lineage, though it is found elsewhere in Asia, has not turned up in Siberia, a hint that the B people may have taken a sea route to the Americas and then merged there with their A- , C- and D-carrying cousins. (109)

Other

 Between 60,000 and 30,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines somehow managed to cross at least a few kilometers of open ocean to reach Australia. And while it is possible that an occasional boat of fisherfolk was shipwrecked on the New Guinea-Australia coast, computer simulations that take into account normal fertility rates and the genetic diversity of modern populations suggest that more than just a boatload or two of colonists founded that area's present aboriginal population. Two distinct groups of ancient people have been found there, which scholars believe indicate colonization by two different groups, one more robust type, 50,000 years ago, the other a more gracile people, before 20,000 years ago.(24)