“OUT OF AFRICA”
THE EARLIEST EURASIANS
1.8 million years ago
|Reconstruction of the skull of the earliest known Eurasian hominin, from the site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia, dated to between 1.8 and 1.7 million years ago.
Credit: Photo by Kathy Schick, courtesy of the Stone Age Institute. All rights reserved.
A little over a decade ago, many anthropologists thought that hominin populations did not move out of Africa and into Eurasia until about one million years ago. This view changed radically with the discovery of the prehistoric site Dmanisi in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union). Here, in geological deposits dating to approximately 1.7 million years ago were found simple Oldowan-like stone tools and five fairly complete skulls of hominins with brain sizes of 600-700 cc.
Some researchers have compared these fossils to an early form of Homo erectus, while others prefer to assign these fossils to a new species, Homo georgicus. These fossils were found with a suite of other animal forms, including horse, rhino, deer, giraffe, bison, wild sheep, antelope, mammoth, wolf, bear, hyaena, lynx, sabretooth cats, and lion. In any case, it is clear that hominins with a very simple technology were able to disperse from Africa and move through the Near East into the Caucasus at an early date.
HOW DO WE KNOW?
|This is a map showing the location of Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia, where the early Homo erectus-like skull was found.
Credit: Illustration by the U.S. government, courtesy of Wikipedia.
The site of Dmanisi has yielded important evidence for an early migration of hominins out of Africa. Dmanisi has shown that a Homo erectus-like form with a very simple stone technology was able to migrate out of Africa and adapt to conditions in the foothills of the Caucasus Moutains.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Dmanisi shows evidence of a very early migration out of Africa. A second “Out of Africa” event would also occur with the spread of modern humans out of Africa around 100,000 years ago.
This is the wiki article for Eurasia including the earliest population of the region.
This is a webpage for the New Scientist article, “Did ancient river channels guide humans out of Africa?”
This is a webpage for the National Geographic article, “Innovation linked to human migration out of Africa.”