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Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization of s

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  • Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization of s

    This article is from 2013. It focuses on the question of whether the out-of-Africa migrants might have reached India before the Toba eruption 74 kya, and comes down with a solid "no" to the question.

    Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization of southern Asia
    Paul Mellarsa,b,1, Kevin C. Goric,d, Martin Carre,f, Pedro A. Soaresg, and Martin B. Richardse,f,1
    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/26/10699.long
    June 25, 2013
    free

    Abstract
    It has been argued recently that the initial dispersal of anatomically modern humans from Africa to southern Asia occurred before the volcanic “supereruption” of the Mount Toba volcano (Sumatra) at ∼74,000 y before present (B.P.)—possibly as early as 120,000 y B.P. We show here that this “pre-Toba” dispersal model is in serious conflict with both the most recent genetic evidence from both Africa and Asia and the archaeological evidence from South Asian sites. We present an alternative model based on a combination of genetic analyses and recent archaeological evidence from South Asia and Africa. These data support a coastally oriented dispersal of modern humans from eastern Africa to southern Asia ∼60–50 thousand years ago (ka). This was associated with distinctively African microlithic and “backed-segment” technologies analogous to the African “Howiesons Poort” and related technologies, together with a range of distinctively “modern” cultural and symbolic features (highly shaped bone tools, personal ornaments, abstract artistic motifs, microblade technology, etc.), similar to those that accompanied the replacement of “archaic” Neanderthal by anatomically modern human populations in other regions of western Eurasia at a broadly similar date.
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