When did Homo sapiens first reach Southeast Asia and Sahul?

James O'Connell, Jim Allen, Martin A Williams, Alan N Williams, Chris Turney, Nigel Spooner, Johan Kamminga, Graham R. Brown, Alan Cooper

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens, AMH) began spreading across Eurasia from Africa and adjacent Southwest Asia about 50,000-55,000 years ago (ca. 50-55 ka). Some have argued that human genetic, fossil, and archaeological data indicate one or more prior dispersals, possibly as early as 120 ka. A recently reported age estimate of 65 ka for Madjedbebe, an archaeological site in northern Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea), if correct, offers what might be the strongest support yet presented for a pre-55-ka African AMH exodus. We review evidence for AMH arrival on an arc spanning South China through Sahul and then evaluate data from Madjedbebe. We find that an age estimate of >50 ka for this site is unlikely to be valid. While AMH may have moved far beyond Africa well before 50-55 ka, data from the region of interest offered in support of this idea are not compelling.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8482-8490pp
    JournalPNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Volume115
    Issue number34
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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