Environment

New Study Sheds Light On Origins Of Modern Humans

Modern humans (Homo sapiens) emerged roughly 300,000 years ago. But there is great deal of controversy surrounding whether the earliest such people had mental capacities 'just like us.'

Latest mitochondrial DNA study carried out by the Huddersfield-Minho team of geneticists has revealed that a handful of population from South Africa which migrated towards the east around 65,000 years ago passed down the aspect of sophisticated modern human culture to people in East Africa.

We can all agree on the fact that modern humans (Homo sapiens) first appeared in Africa more than 300,000 years ago. But the question of whether they had the same mental capacities just like us – has been hotly disputed amongst scholars.

That said, archaeologist still believe that people that lived in small communities in an Ice Age refuge on the South African coast between around 100,000 and 70,000 years ago left evidence for symbolism- such as drawings and engravings, and use of stone tools called microliths, a small flint that might have been part of spears and arrows – and other plentiful of actions to support the notion that they were thinking and behaving like modern humans.

African archaeological sites with evidence of symbolism and use of microlithic tools. [Image: 
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image ]
African archaeological sites with evidence of symbolism and use of microlithic tools. [Image:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image ]

This so called “modern human behavior” by some archaeologists goes as far back as more than 150000 years. Even if actions, like exhibiting symbolism and use of tools, somehow made these people our immediate lineal ancestors, the genomes of their modern “Khoi-San” descendants in southern Africa doesn’t seem to justify. And this simply implies that this diaspora of modern Homo sapiens in all corners of the globe are derived from a small group of people living in East Africa 60,000-70,000 years ago.

These people were biologically different from the South Africans, and their brains were far more sophisticated and cognitively prepped to reap the benefits of the new ideas and upgrade.

Story of Human Origins [National Geographic]

Source: University Of Huddersfield

Reference: A dispersal of Homo sapiens from southern to eastern Africa immediately preceded the out-of-Africa migration. (Scientific Reports)

What Do You Think?