Evolution 90,000 BC
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)
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.
Some of the strongest fossil-bone evidence of anatomically modern Homo sapiens has been collected at the mouth of the Klasies River. A cave there was occupied by early human hunters between 60,000 and 120,000 years ago. (75)
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)
...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)
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)