The origin story for modern humans goes that Homo Sapiens evolved in Africa and then migrated out of the continent to the Asian continent in one heaving mass 60,000 years ago. From there, the world. But a new study has put a spanner in the works of the well-worn theory.
Published in the US science journal Science, researchers argue that modern humans are the result of multiple migrations out of Africa - some 120,000 years ago.
A review of all the literature as well as new fossils discovered in Asia over the past decade appears to support this theory.
Instead, Homo Sapiens reached parts of the Far East much earlier than first theorised, and have been found in a number of sites in southern and central China dating back to between 70,000 and 120,000 years ago.
Speaking to Phys.org Michael Petraglia, of the Maz Planck Institute for the Science of Human History says:
The initial dispersals out of Africa prior to 60,000 years ago were likely by small groups of foragers, and at least some of these early dispersals left low-level genetic traces in modern human populations.
A later, major 'Out of Africa' event most likely occurred around 60,000 years ago or thereafter.
In addition, there’s increasing evidence to suggest that modern humans interbred with other ancient hominins, including Neanderthals and our newly discovered relatives, the Denisovans.
A skull recently discovered in China also supports this theory, and adds that early humans intermingled in Asia and Africa, and that modern humans are made up of the DNA of ancestors from both areas.