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New research supports multiple modern human dispersals from Africa

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Anatomically and mentally modern humans populated Asia, Malaysia, India, and Europe in a series of waves that began 130,000 years ago and ended 50,000 years ago with the last wave of immigration. Anthropologists have argued for many theories about how man populated the Earth from Africa. This new research led by Katerina Harvati from the University of Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany may settle the arguments that have raged since the first evidence of man was discovered in Africa. The study was reported in the April 21, 2014, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The peoples that came out of Africa and populated Asia, Australia, and Europe were just like people today. The tools, weapons, and artifacts found in Africa and across Asia and Europe testify to the mental abilities of these people. The entirety of the population of modern man in Africa did not live in the same location. The need for new food sources, war, weather, and the human desire to find out what is over the next hill are some of the conditions that drove people out of Africa.

Thinking like modern man, the earliest groups of people that ventured out of Africa most probably sent out small scouting parties first. The scouting parties followed rivers as the easiest routes to travel and because rivers provided a food source. The scouts returned to their original homes with tales of great new lands and the larger populations left Africa for the rest of the world.

The researchers examined the cranial structure of Africans, Europeans, Indians, Malaysia, and peoples in Australia. The scientists correlated a genetic analysis of the same people with the dating of artifacts that are known to have been left by peoples that came out of Africa to populate Asia and Europe. The conclusion is that at least four waves of migration occurred over a period of 80,000 years.

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