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An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa


The past decade has seen the Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominin record enriched by the addition of at least ten new taxa, including the Early Pleistocene, small-brained hominins from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the diminutive Late Pleistocene Homo floresiensis from Flores, Indonesia. At the same time, Asia's earliest hominin presence has been extended up to 1.8 Myr ago, hundreds of thousands of years earlier than previously envisaged. Nevertheless, the preferred explanation for the first appearance of hominins outside Africa has remained virtually unchanged. We show here that it is time to develop alternatives to one of palaeoanthropology's most basic paradigms: ‘Out of Africa 1’.

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Figure 1: Dispersals, cores and peripheries.
Figure 2: The hominin world about 1.7 Myr ago.


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We thank various colleagues for comments on earlier drafts of this paper. R.D. thanks the British Academy for a three-year research professorship for his research into Asian prehistory. This work was supported by an internationalization grant of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

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Correspondence to Wil Roebroeks.

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Dennell, R., Roebroeks, W. An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa. Nature 438, 1099–1104 (2005).

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