In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans, also called the "Out of Africa" theory (OOA), recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), replacement hypothesis, or recent African origin model (RAO), is the dominant model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens). It follows the early expansions of hominins out of Africa, accomplished by Homo erectus and then Homo neanderthalensis.
The model proposes a "single origin" of Homo sapiens in the taxonomic sense, precluding parallel evolution of traits considered anatomically modern in other regions, but not precluding limited admixture between Homo Sapiens and archaic humans in Europe and Asia.
Homo sapiens most likely developed in the Horn of Africa between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago.
The "recent African origin" model proposes that all modern non-African populations are substantially descended from populations of Homo Sapiens that left Africa after that time.
There were at least several "out-of-Africa" dispersals of modern humans, possibly beginning as early as 270,000 years ago, and certainly during 130,000 to 115,000 ago via northern Africa.
These early waves appear to have mostly died out or retreated by 80,000 years ago.
The most significant "recent" wave took place about 70,000 years ago, via the so-called "Southern Route", spreading rapidly along the coast of Asia and reaching Australia by around 65,000-50,000 years ago, while Europe was populated by an early offshoot which settled the Near East and Europe less than 55,000 years ago.
In the 2010s, studies in population genetics have uncovered evidence of interbreeding of Homo Sapiens with archaic humans both in Africa and in Eurasia, which means that all modern population groups, both African and non-African, while mostly derived from early Homo Sapiens, to a lesser extent are also descended from regional variants of archaic humans.
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