The first hominin fleet

New research suggests that groups of ~130 modern humans at minimum undertook planned expeditions to colonise Sahul via a northern route. However, the necessity of more evidence to test this model reflects a need for change in the way we investigate the population history of this region.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The emergent picture of regional Pleistocene complexity from genomes, fossils and material culture.


  1. 1.

    Davidson, I. In Faunal and Floral Migration and Evolution in SE Asia-Australasia (eds Metcalfe, I., Smith, J. M. B., Morwood, M. & Davidson, I.) 399–408 (Swets & Zeitlinger, 2001).

  2. 2.

    Bird, M. et al. Sci. Rep. (2019).

  3. 3.

    Bradshaw, C. et al. Nat. Ecol. Evol. (2019).

  4. 4.

    Attenbrow, V. & Hiscock, P. Archaeol. Ocean. 50, 30–36 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Price, G. J., Louys, J., Faith, J. T., Lorenzen, E. & Westaway, M. C. Nature 558, 23–25 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Brown, P. et al. Nature 431, 1055–1061 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Detroit, F. et al. Nature 568, 181–186 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Jungers, W. & Baab, K. Significance 6, 159–164 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Jinam, T. A. et al. Genome Biol. Evol. 9, 2013–2022 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Jacobs, G. S. et al. Cell 177, 797–1080 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Malaspinas, A. S. et al. Nature 538, 207–214 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Heupink, T. H. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 113, 6892–6897 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Huxley, T. H. On the classification and distribution of the Alectoromorphae and Heteromorphae. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1868, 294–319 (1868).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Hudjashov, G. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 8726–8730 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Détroit, F. et al. Nature 568, 181–186 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael C. Westaway.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Westaway, M.C. The first hominin fleet. Nat Ecol Evol 3, 999–1000 (2019).

Download citation

Further reading


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing