Homo sapiens

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Modern humans. Although it is generally believed that this species emerged about 40 000 years ago, claims of exceptionally early finds dating back to between 130 000 and 70 000 years ago have been made for fossils found in Africa and the Levant. The toolmaking traditions of the Upper Palaeolithic outside Africa are associated with modern humans, and these date back to about 40 000 years ago too. The main controversy surrounding the origin of Homo sapiens is whether they are all descendants of early examples in Africa or whether there was local multi‐regional development from Homo erectus. In the multiregional hypothesis, advocated by Milford Wolpoff, Alan Thorne, and others, it is believed that major population groups established in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Indonesia all developed in parallel, with some gene flows between regions, and with no one region developing modern humans any earlier than any of the others. The out of Africa model, also known as the African replacement hypothesis, is championed by Chris Stringer, Rebecca Cann, Alan Wilson, and others and suggests that regional groups of Homo erectus developed independent evolutionary trajectories, leading, for example, to the appearance of Homo neanderthalensis, but that these were overtaken and eventually replaced by modern humans, who had evolved from Homo erectus in Africa and spread rapidly to other areas.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities.

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