How did Homo sapiens expand out of Africa into Eurasia?

Current fossil, genetic, and archaeological data indicate that Homo sapiens originated in Africa in the late Middle Pleistocene. By the end of the Late Pleistocene, our species was distributed across every continent except Antarctica, setting the foundations for the subsequent demographic and cultural changes of the Holocene. The intervening processes remain intensely debated and a key theme in hominin evolutionary studies.

EA Paper Figure 3 copy - crop

The distribution of Middle Paleolithic sites across East Africa, the Saharo-Arabian belt, and India, plotted on a modeled precipitation map for the last interglacial (MIS 5) with positions of major paleolakes (dark blue areas) and paleorivers, which form extensive riparian corridors (blue lines)

In this paper we review archaeological, fossil, environmental, and genetic data to evaluate the current state of knowledge on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. The emerging picture of the dispersal process suggests dynamic behavioral variability, complex interactions between populations, and an intricate genetic and cultural legacy. This evolutionary and historical complexity challenges simple narratives and suggests that hybrid models and the testing of explicit hypotheses are required to understand the expansion of Homo sapiens into Eurasia.

Read  more in Rethinking the Dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa in Evolutionary Anthropology.