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Topic: Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago (Read 99 times) previous topic - next topic

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Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago
In Nature (link to PDF)

Understanding the timing and character of the expansion of Homo sapiens out of Africa is critical for inferring the colonization and admixture processes that underpin global population history. It has been argued that dispersal out of Africa had an early phase, particularly ~130-90 thousand years ago (ka), that reached only the East Mediterranean Levant, and a later phase, ~60-50 ka, that extended across the diverse environments of Eurasia to Sahul. However, recent findings from East Asia and Sahul challenge this model. Here we show that H. sapiens was in the Arabian Peninsula before 85 ka. We describe the Al Wusta-1 (AW-1) intermediate phalanx from the site of Al Wusta in the Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia. AW-1 is the oldest directly dated fos-sil of our species outside Africa and the Levant. The palaeoenvironmental context of Al Wusta demonstrates that H. sapiens
using Middle Palaeolithic stone tools dispersed into Arabia during a phase of increased precipitation driven by orbital forcing, in association with a primarily African fauna. A Bayesian model incorporating independent chronometric age estimates indicates a chronology for Al Wusta of ~95-86 ka, which we correlate with a humid episode in the later part of Marine Isotope Stage 5 known from various regional records. Al Wusta shows that early dispersals were more spatially and temporally extensive than previously thought. Early H. sapiens dispersals out of Africa were not limited to winter rainfall-fed Levantine Mediterranean woodlands immediately adjacent to Africa, but extended deep into the semi-arid grasslands of Arabia, facilitated by periods of enhanced monsoonal rainfall.

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Re: Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago
Reply #1
iirc, there's been a theory floating around for a while that the earlier crossing may even have happened at the horn of Africa rather than the sinai

Re: Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago
Reply #2
Ha, the paper is being hotly debated over at "socrates'" thread. I posted the link before I realised that the crowd over there was way ahead of me.