OXFORD, England, Sept. 20 (UPI) — A discovery of Stone Age tools suggests humans came “out of Africa” by land earlier than had been believed, British researchers say.
Genetic research has produced estimates that migration from Africa to South-East Asia and Australia took place as recently as 60,000 years ago.
But Michael Petraglia of Oxford University and his colleagues say stone artifacts found in the Arabian Peninsula and India point to an exodus starting about 70,000 to 80,000 years ago, and perhaps even earlier, the BBC reported.
“I believe that multiple populations came out of Africa in the period between 120,000 and 70,000 years ago,” Petraglia said. “Our evidence is stone tools that we can date.”
Most of the tools have been far inland, hundreds of miles from coastlines, meaning it was more likely humans migrated by land than in boats, he said.
Other species of early humans left Africa before our species, Homo sapiens, but Petraglia’s team thinks the tools it has unearthed are the type made by modern humans, and not those of Neanderthals, for instance.
The tools were found in inhospitable locations, but Petraglia says they would have been much more conducive to migration in ancient times.
“During the period we’re talking about, the environments were actually very hospitable,” he told BBC News. “So where there are deserts today, there used to be lakes and rivers, and there was an abundance of plants and animals.”
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