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Homo Sapiens Rises: From 200,000BC to 40,000BC

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28,000BC: An amateur cave explorer near the hamlet of Cussac, western France's Dordogne area, has last September 2000 made a major find of a cave inhabited in prehistoric times, presenting vivid engravings and several human graves. The engravings may even pre-date the famous paintings of France's Lascaux caves, which date to about 16,000BC. One commentator is Dany Baraud, chief archaeologist at Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs of Aquitaine. Some hundreds of metres of engravings in the new find depict animals including bison, horses and rhinoceros, plus humans. Evidently in France, the finding of graves in a painted cave is unprecedented. (In 1994, a cave was found in the Ardeche region of south-eastern France with drawings and engravings dating to about 30,000BC.) (Reported in The Australian, 6 July 2001)

30,000BC: In 1994, a cave is found in the Ardeche region of south-eastern France with drawings and engravings dating to about 30,000BC. (Reported in The Australian, 6 July 2001)

33,00BC or as early as 88,000BC: Human origins: The out-of-Africa theory is being discussed again after new genetic research suggests that 12,000 Asian men from Iran to Papua New Guinea are descended from migrants from Africa who departed as long ago as 98,000BC. The migrating Africans did not interbreed with "archaic" hominid forms such as Peking Man or Java Man, say the international team led by Dr. Li Jin of Fudan University in China. Rather, the African homo sapiens completely replaced earlier populations in East Asia. This latest study, a search for three specific mutations, examined the Y chromosome of of men from 163 populations from India, Siberia, East Asia, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and some South Pacific islands. (The Y chromosome is passed unchanged from father to son.) The three mutations in questions in turn derive from an earlier mutation that arose in men in Africa between 33,000BC and 87,000BC. The findings from this research are tending to be disputed by proponents of the regional continuity theory which contradicts the "out-of-Africa" theory and argues that humanity arose co-incidentally in several regions on earth. (Reported 19-20 May 2001 in Sydney Morning Herald. See a recent issue of journal Science.)

40,000-20,000BP: DNA evidence indicated that four distinct population lineages entered the New World across the Bering Sea during this period.

40,000BC: The oldest Asian Homo sapiens are of about this age (in the opinion of some).

40,000BC: The earliest evidence for personal ornaments appeared in anatomically modern humans about this time.

40,000BC-20,000BC: Cultures in Eastern US and Canada, from original migration of Man from Asia during Pleistocene, possibly a big-game hunting tradition, Minnesota to Louisiana. Also active 8000BC and further.

40,000-20,000BC: Man is possibly entering the Americas via the Bering Strait crossing, time of an Ice Age? Better toolkits in use by 6000BC.

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40,000BC to 25,000BC: An explosion in the numbers of new types of tools being used. About 35,000BC, Cro-Magnon Man, painter of the Paleolithic caves of Southern France and Northern Spain. And note that one commentator says one painted bull is seventeen-feet long, with lines and form that give it "immense presence".

40,000-30,000BC: Cro-Magnon Man settled Europe at the height of the Wurm glaciation, water levels 200-300 feet lower than present levels. The landbridge to Alaska from Siberia is as wide as France.

40,000BC: Modern Homo Sapiens or home sapiens sapiens. And the simpler view is that Neandertals evolved into Cro-Magnon, who lived 40,000BC to 20,000BC. Modern Europeans, Caucasoid, are descended from Cro-Magnon, though we have a different, more overlapping bite than their teeth had. Not until about 15,000BC was the barbed harpoon invented, used with a spearthrower, used even as in Australia.

40,000BP: Stone figurines, ostrich-eggshell beads.

From 40,000BC: Blade industries in Near East, Asia west to Europe, to north west Africa, in two waves, and south to Cape of Africa.

For timelines for Antiquity 45,000BC to 3501BC, Check Website:
http://www. mediahistory.com/time/prehist.html/

41,000BC: Scholars surmise that diggers in Africa's Swaziland begin to seek iron about this time.

40,700BC: In 1992 rock engravings in South Australia are carbon dated at 42,700 years.

43,000BC: A flute-like instrument made of bear bone was found by archaeologist Janez Dirjec at the Divje Babe site in the valley of the Idrijca River in Slovenia. It was believed to be about 45,000 years old.

Circa 43,000BC: About this time some seven women led to the descendants of the population of modern Europe. In 2001 geneticist Bryan Sykes authored The Seven Daughters of Eve. (Such issues are well-discussed in Shreeve, Neandertal)

44,000BC approx: About now, Australia's megafauna are becoming extinct, but does this coincide in any way with the time when people first arrived in Australia? Or with a shift in climate? Now, 28 sites across Australia have been examined. A finding is that 46,000 years ago was a mild period climatically, so the disappearance of megafauna was not due to aridity. Or did humans kill off the megafauna - which is said to have included some of the biggest reptilian and mammalian carnivores which ever existed? Australia had a marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) which weighed about 160kg and was possibly as ferocious as the Sabre-toothed Tiger. The T.carnifex especially lived on a large marsupial, the diprotodon, about as big as a rhinoceros. Also part of megafauna was an "enormous wombat", Phascolonus gigas. There was also a large bird, called The Thunderbird, which weighed up to 500kg and was possibly a carnivore or at last "an over-engineered vegetarian". The idea that humans wiped out Australian megafauna in as little as 500 years after their arrival has been retailed by controversial Australian museum director and author, Tim Flannery. However, a museum research fellow in Australia, Dr Richard Fullagar, plumbs for megafauna surviving till about 28,000BC. (Reported 9 June 2001. See a recent issue of journal Science.)

44,000BP: Mediterranean population spurt.

45,000BC, Humans begin to enter south-west Europe, from near east, seem to be the modern Basques and Scandinavians, modern skeletons, tools of bones, fishhooks, needles, harpoons, spear throwers, bows and arrows, nets lines and snares, first cave art, statues, musical instruments.

47,000BC-40,000BC: Skull at Mt Carmel, Palestine, during the Riss-Wurm interglacial. four varieties of Homo Sapiens, (Homo sapiens sapiens, homo sapiens neandertalensis, who buried their dead ceremoniously and were cold-adapted for the Wurm ice age, (named after site on the German river, Neander) Homo sapiens soloensis, and Homo sapiens rhodesiensis; after 30,000 years; no cultural connections are found between Neandertals and Cro-Magnon.

48,000BC: England: "Neandertal butchery site": Newly-discovered at Norfolk, Eastern England, the remains of four mammoths, (two adults, two juvenile) a woolly rhino, a reindeer and a spotted hyena, along with 50,000 year-old flint tools. Leader of the team of archaeologists involved is David Miles, chief archaeologist of English Heritage, who says the find is of international significance. It is uncertain however if the Neandertals scavenged from dead animals, or deliberately killed them for food. (Reported 29 June 2002 in Sydney Morning Herald)

Circa 48,000BC: Charcoal from camp fires in the Pedra Faruda site of Piaui state, Brazil, were carbon dated in 1987 to this time.

48,000-44,000BC: In Australia about 85% of the land-dwelling megafauna weighing over 100 pounds went extinct about this time. It was later suspected that systematic burning of the forests by humans contributed to the extinction. Some 55 species died off including the 230-pound flightless "thunder bird" called Genyornis.
NB: The largest bird ever to walk the Earth: The mihirung, a bird in Australia standing three metres tall, weighing half a tonne. Its descendants still live in the Northern Territory's Kakadu National Park. It has remained an obscure scientific anomaly, and could be termed "a prehistoric giant goose of the wooded heart of Australia". Bones of the bird were first found by explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell in the 1830s in sandstone near Alcoota Station north-east of Alice Springs.
See Peter Murray and Patricia Vickers-Rich, Magnificent Mihirungs: The Colossal Flightless Birds of the Australian Dreamtime. University of Indiana Press, 2003-2004. Art by Peter Trusler.

48,000BC: A find is made in 1972 at the 50,000 year-old site of Hortus in southern France, where evidence suggests that humans might have worn a complete leopard hide as a costume. Here, and at a Yugoslavian site named Krapina, there might even be evidence, scattered bones, of ritualized cannibalism. For this time frame, evidence also arises from Monte Circeo near Rome about a possible Neandertal lifestyle. An isolated Neandertal skull is found in what seems to be a circle of stones. the base of the skull has been smashed, possibly to extract the brains. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

Aboriginal Australians first moved in from New Guinea

DNA provides window into early Aboriginal history – From BBC Headlines on 9-3-2017. Article by Greg Dunlop.

c.50,000 years ago: Scientists have used hair to locate where distinct Aboriginal groups lived in Australia up to 50,000 years ago. Their genetic study could help reconnect indigenous families with ancestral communities, according to the University of Adelaide-led study.

It shows the first Australians spread rapidly before largely spending continuous time in distinct areas. The research is an important step in learning more about ancestry prior to European settlement, the authors said. It again confirmed that Aboriginal Australians descended from a single population that arrived 50,000 years ago from New Guinea, when it was joined to Australia.

The research, published in the journal Nature, analysed 111 hair samples taken by anthropologists from across Australia in the early 20th Century. The DNA allowed researchers to trace maternal ancestry through unique genetic material.

"What we've found is that we can see right the way back to the first colonisation of Australia by Aboriginal people," said lead author Prof Alan Cooper.

Image deleted - caption reads: A map showing the movements of the first Aboriginal Australians

The first population spread rapidly. Within 2,000 years people had circled the east and west coasts before meeting somewhere in South Australia," the study said. "The amazing bit is that they don't seem to move again once they've done that," Prof Cooper said. "There's small movements into the desert interior but that basic pattern has held for 50,000 years."

The findings offered another compelling reason for the strong indigenous connection to the land, he said.

One of the study's co-authors, geneticist Dr. Ray Tobler, said he traced his own family history to a small Queensland settlement. "My great-grandmother worked in the area around Cherbourg", he told the BBC, referring to area 260km (160 miles) north of Brisbane. "My grandad was born not too far from there."

His grandfather never spoke about his heritage because, like more than 100,000 Aboriginal children, he was forcibly removed from his family at a young age.

"This project can help provide lost history to some families," Dr Tobler said. (ends)

50,000BC to 30,000BC is the "Garden of Eden Period" for modern Homo Sapiens. In north west Africa and Near East, as Homo Sapiens swamped and replaced older and more archaic subspecies of Homo and inherited the earth. Shreeve in his book on Neandertals suggests that about 48,000BC, the world population of Homo sapiens plus Neadertals might be about 1.3 million, in "Eurasia". The question arises, did modern humanity and Neandertals interbreed?

50,000-77,000 years ago: Thinking backwards to high talent: When did modern human talents of complex and abstract thinking arise? About 77,000 years ago, twice as early as previously thought, in the opinion of anthropologist Christopher Henshilwood, leader of a research team working in Southern Africa.
A discovery involves intricate geometric carvings which "may overturn much current thinking in anthropology". The suggestion is that modern human behaviour evolved in Africa rather than Europe. The artifacts - about 40,000 years older than European rock art - are pieces of red rock etched with geometric shapes of an evidently symbolic intent - parallel lines in a cross-hatched design. Modern humanity evolved in Africa about 100,000 years ago, not spreading to Europe till 50,00 years ago, when they displaced Neandertals.
Sceptics however suggest that the artifacts are not widespread in Africa, and might even be the work of a lone genius who left no legacy. Supporting the pro-European view on development is palaeoanthropologist at Stanford University, Richard Klein, who suggests that 50,000 years ago, mankind experienced a behavioural revolution which led to improved hunting/gathering abilities, a population boom, worldwide migration and some artistic expression. (Reported 12-2-2002 in Australian newspapers from a current/recent issue of the journal Science online - Incidentally, Howard Bloom in his book, The Global Brain, notes that between 77,000 and 60,000 years ago, early humans in Australia were engraving rows of symbolic circles in local stone.)

50,000 BC, first human settlement in America re evidence in South Carolina, maybe by sea from Africa or Europe, beating other dates by 35,000 years.

50,000BC: The first settlers reach Australia, possibly they came in bamboo rafts from Indonesia and also from southern China.

50,000BC: Homo sapiens sapiens, man the doubly wise, appeared about this time. In 2000, DNA evidence indicated that modern man evolved out of Africa as recently as this time.

50,000BC: The Stone Age culture of Papua New Guinea goes back this time.

50,000-40,000BC: Homo sapiens (Neandertal). Skull of adult male found by D. Peyrony and L. Capitan at La Ferrassie, France in 1909. Neandertal is the German site of discovery in 1856.

50,000-40,000BC: A Homo neandertalensis skull was found at the Amud cave in Israel in 1961.

50,000-20,000BC: Archaeologists have identified evidence of stone age technology in Aq Kupruk, and Hazar Sum. Plant remains at the foothill of the Hindu Kush mountains indicate, that North Afghanistan was one of the earliest places to domestic plants and animals.

50,000BC: Archaeology finds little technology as far back as 40,000 BC, other than the crudest stone tools; and any language not much more than calls with modifiers, eg modifiers about distances of a danger, etc, being used; each new stage of words literally created new perceptions and attentions, giving rise to cultural changes to be later be noted in the archaeological record.

Approx 50,000 years to 1971: discovery on the Philippines Island of Mindanao of "the gentle Tasady", in ancestral caves, users of pebble tools, food gatherers, not meat eaters, been told by their ancestors they must always go back to the cave at night, in sense that ancestors established everything and were not questioned. A heritage of 50,000 years. (The Tasady story later found to be a hoax?)

50,00BC-60,000BC: Explosive growth in human numbers? In 1993, Harry Harpending and others at Pennsylvania State University devise a new method of analysing mitochondrial DNA data and find explosive growth in numbers for this period - a demographic prehistory for Homo sapiens. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

Circa 53,000BC: The first humans migrated to Australia from the islands of Indonesia.

53,000-45,000BC: Australia's early human population wiped out the continent's megafauna over this period.

53,000-27,000BC: Pre-human fossils from a site on the Solo River near the Javanese town of Ngandong were dated in 1996 to this period, and identified as belonging to the species of Homo erectus. Brain size was equivalent to modern humans. (Estimated number of cells in the human brain - 10,000 million.)

58,0000BC: Approx: The Mungo Man controversy on the genetics of human origins breaks out: Australia was enlivened on 9 January 2001 to read reports of far-reaching new research by Australian scientists on the origins and dispersal of humanity, globally, which counters the orthodox "Out of Africa" theory of human origins.
The scientific argument is extremely complicated and multi-disciplinary, but it does seem as though arguments will never be the same again. Crucial to the arguments are views on the origins of Australia's Aboriginal people.
Evidence used is basically some flakes from the skull of Mungo Man, remains found in 1974 in New South Wales by Australian Jim Bowler. Later, Mungo Man (scientifically called LM3) was radiocarbon-dated at about 28,000-32,000 years old, a view which supported opinions that Aboriginals had been in Australia for up to 40,000 years. By the mid-1980s, better radiocarbon-dating techniques pushed LM3's dates to about 36,000BC. In 1999, LM3 again caused excitement, since his dates were more like 58,000BC, or, 56,000-68,000 BP (Before present). This trebled the "human settlement time" of the Australian continent. But other evidence arising by the late 1990s tended to support the "Out of Africa" theory of human origins, which suggests that fully-modern Homo sapiens arose in Africa, and then dispersed elsewhere, 150,000-100,000 years ago. As they dispersed they displaced (possibly killed?) earlier or more archaic people, Neandertals or the earlier-arising Homo erectus. However, Mungo Man is anatomically modern, but his DNA does not match ours. His genes are now extinct.
So, by 2001, Australian researchers are proposing a Regional Continuity argument of human origins, which suggests that from about 1.5 million years ago, waves of people began migrating from Africa, becoming "a single evolving species". These forms of humanity continually interbred, and became ourselves. Mungo Man was "a modern man" but his genetic lineage is now extinct, which may in turn suggest that some other human (non-Neandertal) genetic lines became extinct before modern man appeared between 100,000BC-150,000BC?
Significantly, research on Mungo Man involves analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down only the maternal line. However, the argument will continue for a long time. It now seems, Mungo Man's lineage should stand as firmly in the history of humanity as the stockily-built Neandertal, and Java Man. (Those interested should find a copy of The Australian newspaper, 9 January 2001)

Note: Mungo Man was buried ceremonially, carefully placed in a grave, with hands crossed over the pelvis, his body sprinkled with red ochre, before being covered with earth.
Australian researchers commenting on or involved in the Mungo Man controversy include:
Jim Bowler, geomorphologist, Melbourne University, who in 1974 discovered "Mungo Man" in the Willandra Lakes region of south-western NSW.
Dr. Alan Thorne, anthropologist, Australian National University, Canberra, co-founder of new theory of Regional Continuity
Alan Mann, anthropologist, University of Pennsylvania
Gregory Adcock, doctoral student, Australian National University, using facilities of CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia, now at Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris.
Jim Peacock, molecular biologist/plant geneticist, CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia
Colin Groves, physical anthropologist, Australian National University
John Mitchell, human geneticist, La Trobe University, Melbourne,
Simon Easteal, evolutionary geneticist, Australian National University, John Curtin School of Medical Research
A formal paper will soon be published in US journal, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.
(Reported cross-media with great excitement in Australia on 9 January 2001)

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58,000 years ago? To 9000BC approx: Saga of Hobbits continues: Hobbits may be earliest Australians? As this website often mention, the origins of Australia's Aboriginal people remains a mystery. And in 2004, from the Indonesian island of Flores just near the North-West coast of Western Australia, came news from a team largely of Australian archaeologists that a new species of humanity, homo floriensis (little people, Hobbits) has been discovered. They became extinct about 11,000 years ago. The saga of, or, about, the Hobbits now continues as archaeologist Mike Morwood from University of New England now suggests that one-metre tall Hobbits, who were wiped out by difficulties with volcanoes, may have lived also in Australia. Speaking at a public lecture in Perth, Morwood has suggested that Hobbits arrived in Australia more than 60,000 years ago, pre-dating arrival of a first wave of Aboriginals. And when they larger Aboriginals arrived, they pushed out or competed-out the Hobbits? Scepticism has arrived on this from no less than members of Morwood's own work-team. Given the climate, how would artefacts be found of Hobbit-life in northern Australia? How would they have survived? (The Australian, 8 December 2005):

60,000BC, Diaspora of humans reaches China, via south east Asia,

60,000BP: Human diaspora reaches China via South East Asia; dog and wolf are now distinct.

60,000BC: At Shanidar, a large cave in the Zagros mountains of northeastern Iraq soil samples from a grave of a [Neandertal] man of this time indicated pollen grains from 8 different types of flowers, some of them used for medicinal purposes. When excavated by Ralph Solecki of Columbia University, the remains are found of nine Neandertals, with some evidence of "spirituality". One man has received wounds to head and body meaning he had a withered arm and was blind in one eye. In 1971, Solecki published his book, Shanidar: The First Flower People. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

60,000BC: A Neandertal from Kebara cave (Israel) shows an age of 60,000 years. An Israeli-French team working in Israel uses the technique of thermoluminescence to study the relationship between early humans and Neandertals. Shreeve in his book on Neandertals notes that about 58,000BC in the Levant area at least was one of the coldest periods of the Ice Age, for the Qafzeh-Skhul people. At this time, did Homo sapiens co-exist in the same area with Neandertals?

60,000-10,000BC: The Acheulian Age or early Stone Age culture lasted over this period. (Encyclopedia of Africa, 1976, p.165)

60,000BC: Custom of head deformation, also seen amongst Ancient Mesoamericans, seen as early as 60,000BC in the Near East, as found with Neandertal skulls in the Shanidar cave of Northern Iraq. (James/Thorpe).

60,000BC-58,000BC: One of the earliest ceremonial burials found is a "suttee and flowers" burial at (cave?) Shanidar in northern Iraq.

68,000BC: Beginning of the last glacial cycle before the Present Era. A long cold snap is the result.

68,000BC approx: Two Neandertal skulls from France of this time are found. They had a hypoglossal canal the size of modern humans, which was thought to be indicative of speech. By now, Neandertals have spread over much of Europe and Western Asia. (See Shreeve, Neandertal)

One website says that about 70,000BC is a catastrophic volcanic eruption, a “volcanic winter” which seems tied to a rapid genetic divergence in humans, and maybe many [different?] sorts of hominids are killed? Between 60,000BC to 40,000BC is the great leap forward, the anthropological big bang, use of first standardized stone tools, first jewellery, first painting, cause of the innovation remains unknown, could have been brain size, also have better developed vocal equipment. Perhaps, in general, humanity suddenly can use symbols and symbolic communication far more effectively?

70,000BC: Early Wurm Glaciation of Europe. For information on a Toba Explosive Volcanic Eruption which throws 800 cubic kilometres of ash into the ear - a stress event which may have genetically bottlenecked the evolving human population to low numbers, see a website from Tony Smith at: http://www.innerx.net/personal/tsmith/Hist.html -

70,000BC-8,000BC: The period 70,000BC down to the 8000BC is the dawn of language; period called Late Pleistocene; weather changes cause human and animal migration; hominid population exploded from the African heartland to the Eurasian subarctic, then the Americas and Australia; man here called Late Neandertal. About 60,000BC, latest radiocarbon dates for handaxes in Africa.

70,000BC: Bering Strait land bridge in use, till about 30,000BC. What are reasons why/how Mongoloid stock populated Americas?

71,000 BP: Volcanic winter may accelerate human evolution?

73,000BC, Demise of the great Wurm Ice Sheet, and coincides with the demise of the Acheulian crafts. To be replaced by culture known as the Mousterian as used by Neandertal. Almost 40 per cent of Neandertals died before puberty. Neandertal practices include murder and cannibalism. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 148.)

Circa 74,000BC: The major Toba volcanic eruption occurred in Sumatra.

Why is there only one human species?

By Michael Mosley BBC

74,000 years ago - BBC headlines story - 23 June 2011 Last updated at 08:07 GMT

The first human species to walk fully upright was Homo erectus.

Not so very long ago, we shared this planet with several other species of human, all of them clever, resourceful and excellent hunters, so why did only Homo sapiens survive?

Huge debates rage about human origins, but the broad consensus among scientists is that all the different species of human that have ever existed were descended from ape-like creatures that walked upright in Africa more than six million years ago. These creatures had many descendants, most of which became extinct, but the first creature we would recognise as human first appeared in Africa two million years ago.

Known as Homo ergaster, they made tools and were proficient hunters. Their bones suggest they would have been powerful runners, capable of speeds that would rival a modern Olympic athlete. Homo ergaster seems to have evolved during a long period of terrible drought which dried out tropical rainforests and created vast deserts. This human species was equipped to cope with heat. They would have been smooth and largely hairless, allowing them to sweat more efficiently. Homo ergaster could also travel and hunt in the middle of the day, when most animals rest. And we know that they travelled long distances because they did not stay in Africa. A hungry meat eater, ergaster became the first human to leave Africa and colonise Asia.

Here, in a new and lush environment, they evolved and got a new name, Homo erectus. Archaeological records show they spread over an area ranging from Turkey to China, but the population may not have been that large.

"These were small groups of hunters and gatherers," says Professor Chris Stringer, an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum. "These are people that are being very mobile, in open country, to get to their food ahead of the competition. So in that sense, they're very like us in terms of their overall body shape and body build."


Recent findings suggest that Homo sapiens (ourselves, we) also left Africa, around 120,000 years ago. We travelled in small numbers, possibly no more than 100 in the first wave. Then we spread out, with some eventually reaching Europe, then occupied by the Neanderthals, while others moved east until they reached India. There is archaeological evidence that they arrived just in time for a truly cataclysmic event.

About 74,000 years ago Mount Toba, a volcano in South East Asia erupted in spectacular fashion, the biggest explosion in the last two million years. Because of its magnitude it is classed as a supervolcanic eruption. The volcano spewed enough sulphur into the atmosphere to lower world temperatures by several degrees and enough molten rock to cover an area the size of Britain to a depth of 10 metres. It also produced vast amounts of ash. Driven by the winds, clouds of white Toba ash covered huge swathes of Asia, including much of the Indian subcontinent. It can still be found today.

Whether it was the effects of Toba, or the arrival of modern humans, the eruption marks the high tide of erectus' occupation of Asia. Over the next 40,000 years they were slowly driven out, probably by a combination of climate change and the effects of being out-competed for scarce food by the spread of modern humans.

Stiff competition

Yet Homo erectus was slightly bigger and more powerful than Homo sapiens, so why did we thrive when they did not? The most obvious answer is that we had bigger brains - but it turns out that what matters is not overall brain size but the areas where the brain is larger.

"The Homo erectus brain did not devote a lot of space to the part of the brain that controls language and speech," said John Shea, professor of palaeoanthropology at Stony Brook University in New York. "One of the crucial elements of Homo sapiens' adaptations is that it combines complex planning, developed in the front of the brain, with language and the ability to spread new ideas from one individual to another.. "

Planning, communication and even trade led, among other things, to the development of better tools and weapons which spread rapidly across the population.

The fossil records suggest that Homo erectus went on making the same basic hand axe for more than a million years. Our ancestors, by contrast, created smaller, more sophisticated weapons, like a spear, which can be thrown, with obvious advantages when it comes to hunting and to fighting.

The same advantages helped Homo sapiens outcompete another rival human, the Neanderthals, who died out about 30,000 years ago as the Ice Age limited available food supplies. "Even 100,000 years ago, we've still got several human species on Earth and that's strange for us. We're the only survivors of all of those great evolutionary experiments in how to be human," says Stringer.

Homo erectus hung on in Asia until 30,000 years ago. Although they went extinct, they appear to have left descendants on the island of Flores in Indonesia. These humans, Homo floresiensis, also known as "Hobbits", survived until around 12,000 years ago. And then they went, leaving us as the last human species on the planet.

"There's such a huge gulf between ourselves and our nearest primate relatives, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos," said Dr Shea. "If that gap were populated by other hominids, we'd see that gap as not so much a gulf but rather a continuum with steps on the way. We'd still think of ourselves as special, but maybe not so special - a little dose of humility wouldn't hurt.

50,000-77,000 years ago: Thinking backwards to high talent: When did modern human talents of complex and abstract thinking arise? About 77,000 years ago, twice as early as previously thought, in the opinion of anthropologist Christopher Henshilwood, leader of a research team working in Southern Africa.
A discovery involves intricate geometric carvings which "may overturn much current thinking in anthropology". The suggestion is that modern human behaviour evolved in Africa rather than Europe. The artifacts - about 40,000 years older than European rock art - are pieces of red rock etched with geometric shapes of an evidently symbolic intent - parallel lines in a cross-hatched design. Modern humanity evolved in Africa about 100,000 years ago, not spreading to Europe till 50,00 years ago, when they displaced Neandertals.
Sceptics however suggest that the artifacts are not widespread in Africa, and might even be the work of a lone genius who left no legacy. Supporting the pro-European view on development is palaeoanthropologist at Stanford University, Richard Klein, who suggests that 50,000 years ago, mankind experienced a behavioural revolution which led to improved hunting/gathering abilities, a population boom, worldwide migration and some artistic expression. (Reported 12-2-2002 in Australian newspapers from a current/recent issue of the journal Science online - Incidentally, Howard Bloom in his book, The Global Brain, notes that between 77,000 and 60,000 years ago, early humans in Australia were engraving rows of symbolic circles in local stone.)

78,000BC: Russia: First inhabitants are Neandertals, who are succeeded by modern man circa 35,000BC.

78,000BC: About 1962, French archaeologists at Regourdou find the remains of what might have been a "bear cult" conducted by Neandertals. The bones of a brown bear have been carefully arranged. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

78,000BC: Stone-age hunters and herders live in the Middle Danube Plain (where Hungary broadly is).

80,0000-70,000BC: The human population declined suddenly according to evidence from the mutation rate of mitochondria evaluated in 2000. The survivors provided the gene pool for all humans thereafter.

80,000BP: Human use of intentional burial begins about now?

80,000BC: True European Neandertal man of Europe lived 80,000BC to 40,000BC, with a large brain, large front teeth, protruding face and nose; debate as to if he is man's ancestor, and one argument is that some Neandertals in West Asia evolved into Modern Man and replaced European Neandertals by spreading across Europe.

88,000BC, approx: A drop in temperature, and as shown by drilling of ice cores in Greenland Ice Cap, within a century, all of Canada affected, much of American Mississippi Valley, all Soviet Union area, much of China, and the areas of Australia and Argentina which now grow cereals. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 173)

88,000BC: World's oldest string found at French Neanderthal site
13 November 2013 by Colin Barras
Editorial: "Why string is one of the greatest inventions"
CALL it prehistoric string theory. The earliest evidence of string has been found – apparently created by our Neanderthal cousins. Perishable materials usually rot away, so the oldest string on record only dates back 30,000 years. But perforations in small stone and tooth artefacts from Neanderthal sites in France suggest the pieces were threaded on string and worn as pendants. "The wear patterns provide circumstantial evidence of early use of string, but the evidence is not definitive," says Bruce Hardy at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Similar circumstantial evidence has been found in perforated shells. Now, Hardy and his colleagues have found slender, 0.7-millimetre-long plant fibres that are twisted together near some stone artefacts at a site in south-east France that was occupied by Neanderthals 90,000 years ago. Such fibres are not twisted together in nature, says the team, suggesting that the Neanderthals were responsible (Quaternary Science Reviews, doi.org/pzx). "If they are indeed remnants of string or cordage, then they would be the earliest direct evidence of string," says Hardy. "Albeit very fragmentary evidence." At 90,000 years old, the material purported to be string predates the arrival of Homo sapiens in Europe. That means the Neanderthals occupying the French site learned to make it themselves, rather than imitating modern humans, says Hardy. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests our extinct cousins developed a number of sophisticated behaviours – and perhaps even taught some skills to our species when the two met. Last year, stone tools created by Neanderthals were found on Mediterranean islands, hinting that the species may have made and used boats to cross the sea – although no direct evidence of boats has been found. Hardy points out that sturdy ropes would have been necessary to build and use rafts and boats. "The ability of Neanderthals to manufacture string and cordage certainly does make the idea of Neanderthal seafaring more plausible," he says.
This article appeared in print under the headline "Neanderthals add another string to their bow"

90,000BC: Humans migrated into the Levant if not Europe proper by this time.

90,000BC: Potassium-argon dating and thermoluminescence can be used to date pieces of pottery back to about this time.

98,000BC: Stone tools survive from the Kirkuk area, Iraq, now held in a museum in Iraq.

100,000BC: About this time another major earthquake in Hawaii caused a large tsunami that crossed the Pacific in 4 hours and up the shoreline of Japan for 300 yards. [see 200,000BP]

100,000BC-50,000BC: The 200-pound Genyornis newtoni, an ostrich-like bird, and the 25-foot Megalonia lizard were among the megafauna that flourished in Australia during this period.

100,000BC: Neandertal people begin to bury their dead "respectfully".

100,000BC: Spear-like tools are found in eastern Zaire near Lake Rutanzige. Three sites along the Semlike River in the Katanda region of Africa's Great Rift Valley show tools made from the rib bones of large mammals. The tools have rows of barbs cut along one edge of the bone. New testing techniques for age determination were used; i.e. thermoluminescence, electron spin resonance, and uranium series dating. The three ranges were: 180,000-75,000; 160,000-89,000; and 173,000-139,000.

100,000BC: Small stone tools found in Gaojia near Fengdu on the banks of the Yangtze indicate a tool workshop. More than a 1,000 tools have been found and were probably used to collect roots.

From 100,000BC, Early Man appears in Americas.

100,000BC-98,000BC: Archaeologists working in a mountainous eastern Eifel area west of Coblenze, Rhineland Palatinate, had discovered a skull cap (calvaria), of a Neandertal, in an extinct volcano crater. One researcher is Coblenze archaeologist Axel von Berg. The edge of the skull is scarred with cuts up to one centimetre long. Three tools made of flint and quartz are also found nearby. The skull belonged to an older Neandertal, and may have been stripped of skin and flesh for ritual reasons. Germany has so far only produced about six skeletal remains of Neandertal, which lived in Europe/Asia between 120,000 and 30,000 years ago. The remains of about 30 have been found so far. Reported 3 September, 1997.
Meanwhile... at Gibraltar, Neandertal man lived on roast nuts, olives, rabbit grilled on a pine fire. The last Neandertals lived on Gibraltar till about 40,000 years ago, and also ate red deer and wild goat. A researcher on Gibraltar is Prof. Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum in London. He suspects that numbers of Homo sapiens and Neandertal overlapped for up to 15,000 years. (On food, reported 15 March 1997)

Classifications from skeletons: Early Pleistocene is 1 million to 500,000 years ago, Australopithecine, Middle Pleistocene period is 500,000 to 100,000 years ago, Pithecanthropi, and Late Pleistocene, from 100,000 years ago. Being Homo. (W. H. McNeil, p. 19.)

100,000BC: Hunters live in limestone caves of Eastern Spain.

100,000BC: Possible occupation of Japan, period not yet accurately fixed. (Pottery use there from 12,000BC, preceding farming.)

100,000BC: Wooden tools used at Kalambo Falls, borders of Tanzania and Zambia.

100,000BC to 40,000 years ago: Neandertal Man in West Germany. Dispute as to whether they evolved into Modern Man.

100,000BC to 60,000BC: Beginning of last glacial period, handaxes of Acheulian type still being made in Eastern Mediterranean caves. Fossil skull here. Some Mousterian tools of the kind found in Europe are found in Israel and Iraq, associated with Neandertal-type men. those at Mount Carmel, closer to modern man than Neandertal. Latest culture of last Ice Age in East Mediterranean is called Natufian; reaping and grinding of corn, use of domestic sheep; and wheat found in Northern Iraq.

From 100,000BC: Early Man appears in Americas.

100,000BC: Use of hearths for fire-using by "hominids is still sporadic, rather than common in human-habitated areas. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 56). " (Hominid is a man-tending, not an ape-tending being - Ardrey)

100,000BC: (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 145), Neandertal appears in "cold but unglaciated" areas around now. The first Neandertals are around Steinheim in Germany, Charente in France, Saccopastore in Italy. Neandertal confronts the Wurm Ice Sheet. This ice sheet had effect for nearly 70,000 years.

114,000BC: Controversial data from the Jinmium rock-shelter in northern Australia suggests humans may have reached the continent at this time.

110,000BC: A Homo sapiens skull of this time was later found near the Kebara site in Israel. It had a hypoglossal canal the size of modern humans, which was thought to be indicative of possibilities of speech.

110,000BC: An alteration in the Earth's magnetic field has occurred.

115,000BC: Early Wisconsin Glaciation of North America.

118,000BC: Appearance of the Neandertal species of humankind. (See Shreeve, Neandertal)

120,000BC: End of the Middle Pleistocene. Middle Pleistocene began 700,000 years ago.

120,000BC: A Chinese fossil skullcap, named Maba, is stored in Beijing at the Institute. of Vertebrate Paleontology.

120,000BP: The Ice Age that began around 186,000BC recedes at about this time.

120,000-80,000BC: Bone fragments from this period of Neandertals from the Moula-Guercy cave site in France were reported in 1999 to show evidence of cannibalism.

120,000-60,000BC: The Klasies River Mouth fossils, found in caves in a bluff overlooking the Indian Ocean on the southern tip of (Africa) the continent. Although fragmented, the fossils indicated presence of early modern man.

120,000-10,000BC: In Thailand the site at Chiang Saen indicates long term occupation that dates back to the late Pleistocene.

120,000BC: An alteration in the Earth's magnetic field has occurred.

124,000BC: The hippopotamus still grazes in Britain. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 172).

125,000BC: Neandertal Homo sapiens indicates that brain size and organization were basically modern. The Neandertals were the first people known to bury their dead. The Neandertals spread all across Europe, the Middle East, and western and central Asia.

125,000 BP: Scientists in 2000 identified human stone tools of this time from a fossil reef along the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. They identified the area as the "world's first oyster bar."

128,000BC: Middle Pleistocene Period: (730,000 to 128,000 years ago). Period when Archaic Homo sapiens appeared, plus Neandertal Man. Archaeological digs in southern Siberia and the northern Pacific coast show evidence that these form of early humans lived there as early as 200,000BC.

130,000BP: Humans first acquire chins!??

133,000BC: According to global oxygen isotope records, the second last glacial cycle, which is called Stage 6, reaches its coldest extremes between 135,000 and 130,00 years ago. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

130,000BC: The "first true Homo sapiens" appears about this time from Ethiopia. It is described in 1996 by Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar in: "From Lucy to Language: The Record of Human Evolution." Shreeve in his book on Neandertals suggests that between 130,000 and 10,000 years ago, conditions in Africa, but what, favoured the evolution of a more modern-looking people. Some went north and east into the Levant, where they evidently stopped and went no further; some went to areas known as Border Cave and Klasies River Mouth.

130,000-30,000BC: The Middle Stone Age.

Seaside living, Eritrea: It now seems that humans have been living by the sea and using boats for at least 125,000 years. The earliest known seaside settlement has been identified via the use of stone tools on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. Further work may help establish how humans fanned out from Africa to settle in other parts of the world? The finding was made by Dr. Robert Walker of the Centre of Scientific Investigation in Ensenada, Mexico. Humans were also living at the same time in Israel, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Sudan. The new finding supports the "out of Africa" theory of single human evolution. Humans reached Australia at least 60,000 years ago, and modern humans are thought to have reached Europe about 45,000 years ago, to live beside Neandertals. (Reported in world press 6 May 2000)

130,000BC-117,000BC (Earth is a warm period now. Scientists have known for some time that the previous warm period started 130,000 years ago and ended 117,000 years ago, with the return of cold temperatures that led to an ice age. (Greenhouse Timeline)
William H. Calvin, The Great Climate Flip-Flop, The Atlantic Monthly, January 1998, Volume 281, No. 1, pp. 47-64.

140,000BP: Diaspora from Africa; dogs domesticated?

Circa 150,000BC: In 1980 evidence of Aboriginal habitation in Australia were discovered in charcoal remains deep in the bed of the Great Barrier Reef and dated to this time.

150,000BC-100,000BC: Beginning of the period in Africa when early forms of humanity (leading to Homo sapiens) begin to move to other areas, leading to the dispersal of people on all continents.

Circa 135,000-150,000BC: Humans moved out beyond Africa. In 1987 the Mitochondrial Eve, the single female ancestor of all humans (Homo sapiens), was dated to this time - or even earlier, to 200,000BC. By which time, Homo erectus had long left Africa for elsewhere. (See Shreeve, Neandertal, p. 67, where "the Eve group" of people departing Africa for its north and east could be dated at 48,000BC? But, might Eve have been a member of Homo erectus?)

160,000-130,000BC: Glaciation of Earth which begins what some term the African/Oceanic Ice Age Civilization. Modern humans displace Neandertals in Africa and Oceanic Areas.
For more, see a website from Tony Smith at:

The work of Neanderthals: Ancient ring-like structures from 176,000 years ago

Archaeologists say the circular structures discovered deep in a cave in southwestern France were constructed by Neanderthals 176,000 years ago.

(Etienne Fabre / SSAC) Article by Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 6-7-2016.

Deep in a dark cave in southwestern France lie half a dozen mysterious structures that scientists believe were built by Neanderthals 176,000 years ago -- about 140,000 years before the first modern humans arrived in Europe.

The structures, described Wednesday in the journal Nature, are located in what is known as the Bruniquel Cave. They are made of roughly 400 pieces of stalagmites, all roughly, almost eerily, the same size.

Archaeologists say these mineral formations were probably broken off the cave floor by ancient hands and then deliberately arranged into two large rings and a series of four round piles up to 15 inches high.

If all the pieces were gathered up and placed on a scale, they would weigh 2.4 tons.

Red and black soot smudges and other evidence of fires can be found inside the structures, but not outside them. That suggests they may have been used to contain fire, perhaps to light the cave.

Experts say the assemblages are unlike anything else in the historical record. It is still unclear exactly what purpose they served -- whether some type of domestic use or a ritual or symbolic behaviour.

Regardless, they represent some of the earliest known constructions made by hominids, as well as the earliest known evidence of cave use by early humans. They also suggest that early Neanderthals may have had better control over fire than was previously thought.

And perhaps most intriguingly, the study authors say that the group responsible for the mysterious construction must have had a fairly sophisticated social structure.

"Building these structures was a project. It required an objective which has been discussed among several people and enough social organization to assign tasks," said Jacques Jaubert of the University of Bordeaux in France and the first author on the study. "Certainly, it was a collective work."

William Rendu, an archaeologist with the French National Center for Scientific Research, who was not involved in the research, said the peculiar arrangement of broken stalagmites, as well as their association with fire, makes it clear that the structures could only have been made by early humans, and not by bears or other animals that probably also used the cave.

In addition, he said, they must have been made by Neanderthals because they were built during a time when only Neanderthals were present in Europe. Modern humans would not arrive in these parts for another 140,000 years.

Finally, because the structures are located in a dark and difficult-to-access cavern 300 yards from the entrance of the cave, this early Neanderthal group must have already mastered the underground world. This was a big surprise to archaeologists because until now, there has been no evidence of Neanderthals making their way so deep into a cave. Indeed, before this study, the earliest known evidence of hominids occupying deep caverns came from the Chauvet Cave paintings that date back a mere 36,000 years.

"It is, in all aspects, a truly extraordinary discovery," said Emmanuel Discamps, an archaeologist at the University of Bergen in Norway who was not involved in the work. "Comparable behaviour is known for Upper Paleolithic modern humans -- younger than 40,000 years old -- so it bridges the gap between 'them' and us."

Archaeologists know that Neanderthals lived in Eurasia from around 400,000 to 40,000 years ago, but evidence of how they lived has been difficult to find. In a commentary accompanying the study, Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, explained that part of what makes the finding so thrilling is how the chemistry of the cave ensured that the assemblages were preserved over so many millennia.

"These structures are among the best-preserved constructions known for the whole of the Pleistocene epoch, probably because they were sealed by calcite very soon after they were erected," she wrote. "When the best evidence is found in the best-preserved context, it serves as a reminder for archaeologists of how much we depend on preservation."

The site is not new. It was discovered in 1990 by local cavers who had dug through its entrance, which scientists say collapsed sometime in the Pleistocene, a geological epoch that stretched from about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago. Before those '90s cavers made their way into the darkness, no person had set foot in it for many thousands of years. The first academic study on the cave was published in 1996 and included a detailed plan of the structures, as well as a single carbon date taken from a burned piece of bone found in the larger of the two ring structures. That particular dating technology suggested it was at least 47,600 years old, but was not capable of looking deeper into the past.

Nearly two decades later, in 2013, a new team of archaeologists including Jaubert, Sophie Verheyden from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and Dominique Genty of France's National Centre for Scientific Research went back to the cave for a closer look.

This time around, they dated seven stalagmites from the two ring structures using a method called uranium series dating. By sampling the calcite that had grown both before and after the stalagmite fragments were broken, the researchers could constrain the date when the structures were built to roughly 176,000 years ago, give or take 2,000 years.

Now that the authors can say with more certainty that these structures were indeed built by Neanderthals, and that they were constructed in the Middle Paleolithic era, they say their next step is to determine how the structures might have been used.

Other experts say the newly published findings bolster the idea that Neanderthals may not have been that different from modern humans. This notion, once considered unthinkable, has been steadily gaining acceptance in archaeological circles.

"For me, this, as well as other evidence, seems to support the idea that Neanderthals developed symbolic behaviour way before they encountered us," Discamps said. "We have to acknowledge the fact that these long-lost 'cousins' did not simply 'copy' us, as some argue. In many aspects, they had a mind shaped just like ours."

World news release of 14 June 2003: The oldest-known fossils of modern human beings have been found in Ethiopia, reports science journal, Nature. Three skulls estimated to be 160,000 years old show a mix of primitive and modern features suggesting they are of our immediate ancestors. Also adding weight to the "out of Africa" theory of human origins.

186,000BP: Human footprints that dated back to this time were discovered along Langebaan Lagoon some 60 miles north of Cape Town, South Africa, in Sep, 1995. The 117,000-year-old prints were cut out and moved to the South African Museum in 1998.

200,000BP: Appearance of genetic "Eve"?
200,000BC: A recent theory suggests that we're all descended from one African "Eve" who lived some 200,000 years ago. The theory is based on DNA studies from the placentas of 147 women of different racial backgrounds. The "Eve hypothesis". (See Shreeve, Neandertal)

200,000BC: Human speech began no earlier than about this time.

200,000BC: In 1911 a broken wooden spear shaped earlier than this age was found at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK.

200,000BC: Within the past 200,000 years our own species, Homo sapiens, dispersed out of Africa.

200,000BC: It is speculated that the Neandertals and Homo sapiens split from a common ancestor about this time.

200,000BC-30,000BC: The Neandertals lived in Europe and southwest Asia. In 1996 it was discovered that skulls of Neandertals showed oblong, vertical swellings in the bone along the sides of the nasal hole. Researchers also claimed that their noses were unusually large.

200,000 BC: We find remains of a transitional being hard to classify, as either erectus or Neandertal. (The Steinheim Skull) (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 150) For the view that 200,000BC is a date for the appearance of Homo sapiens, see http://mirrorh.com/timeline.htm/

Toothpicks, use of: Estimated use as far back as two million years ago, indulged in by Homo erectus, according to Peter Ungar, anthropologist at University of Arkansas and Mark Teaford of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. (Reported 24 June 2000)

240,000BC: First traces of human occupation of Denmark, but settlement is ended by Ice Ages, till about 15,000BC when hunter-gatherers return.

Circa: 250,000BC: In Siberia stone tools along a river near Irkutsk were dated by radioisotope to about this time.

Circa 250,000BC: About this time the human brain size stopped its slow trend toward enlargement. This may correspond with the human attainment of the rudiments of language?

270,000-230,000BC: Other glaciation of Earth.

Circa 280,000BC circa: A mastodon tooth and camel jaw of about this time were found in 1997 in tunnels under Los Angeles in 1997.

300,000BC: Homo erectus seems to give way to his successor, Homo sapiens. By about now, erectus has moved from warm temperate areas to the northern, colder and more arid steppe lands, moving as far west as Britain as well. They seem to have been in company with many other species, lions, leopards, hyenas and wolves. Was all such movement merely a response to environmental conditions? It is even thought that erectus may have left Africa as early as two million years ago. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

300,000BC to 250,000BC: Russian Archaeologist Yuri Mochanov of the Yakutish Academy of Sciences announces in 1981 a discovery of human habitation in northern Siberia that dates back to at least 30,000 years. More precise techniques later measured the stone artefacts at the site to 250,000-300,000 years ago.

300,000BC-200,000BC: Swanscombe Skull: Fragments of sapiens skull representing Britain's oldest-known human remains.

300,000BC-200,000BC: In the Sierra de Atapuerca, fossil remains of 32 people from this time were found at Sima de los Huesos (Pit of Bones) in northern Spain. They represented an early stage in the development of Neandertals. Grooves were observed in the roots immediately under the crowns of rear teeth, probably from the use of toothpicks.

300,000BC to 30,000BC: The Neandertal man of the type first found in 1856 lived over this period.

300,000BC to 12,000BC: During the periodic Ice Ages the Loess Hills formed along the eastern side of the Missouri River. Westerly winds blow the silty sediments of the melted glaciers along the low walls of the river valley.

300,000BC-400,000-BC: Man begins to appreciate-learn to use fire. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 56)

340,000-330,000BC: Glaciation of Earth. Neandertals displace Homo erectus in some areas.

400,000BP: Humans hunt horses with spears in Germany?

400,000BC In 1998 researchers at Duke University, studying hypoglossal canals in fossil skulls, suggested that Neandertals could well have developed speech at this time. (Such research was disputed in 1999.)

400,000BC: Researchers in 2000 found evidence from a Homo erectus skull, that during this period, individuals communicated with each other.

420,000-290,000BC The youngest Homo erectus (from China) dated in this period.

450,000BC to 380,000BC: Evidence of a wooden hut with a hearth at Terra Amata, near Nice, France, time of Mindel Glaciation. Also near Nice, France, an Acheulean hut dated 500,000-400,000BC a home evidently for Neandertals, with use of a fireplace, and furs, grasses, seaweeds used as bedding.

500,000-250,000BC: Homo sapiens (archaic). Skull of adult male is found by Greek villagers at Petralona, Greece in 1960.

500,000BC: In Boxgrove England, a fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound was found recently and dated to this time. Reported by 1997.

Circa 500,000BC: A human jawbone of about this age, Homo Heidelbergensis, was found in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1907.

500,000BC: Finding a better home for Homo erectus in China?: About 500,000BC, Homo erectus ("Peking Man") walked in a series of caves near today's Beijing. In the 1920s, fossils of this example of pre-Homo sapiens were found near the village of Zhoukoudian - "a museum of the birthplace of humanity"? Now the site (listed as a World Heritage site) is decaying, and in 80 years, one cave has been damaged by rain and weeds, and another is overgrown. A local museum has closed for lack of funds. Money cannot be found for renovations to the site, lately curated by Zhang Shuangquan. UNESCO threatens to "shame" the Chinese Government into taking better care of matters; is this just another example of standard Chinese neglect of history by officials? Many relics of old civilisation by the Yangtze and Yellow rivers are neglected and tourists can't enjoy or inspect them. Director of Chinese Academy of Science, Zhu Ming, puts the costs of repairs for the Peking Man site at Aust$1.1 million. (Reported in world press, 14 August 2001)

By 500,000BC: Ardrey feels that the African ancestors bring to perfection the Acheulian hand-axe. With its "unnecessary symmetry and grace", ie, beauty. About now, Homo sapiens begins to wander in Europe.

500,000BC: Heidelberg Man is seen, in Cold Eurasia, possibly an early appearance of an African-evolved home erectus. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 147) Diet exclusively of uncooked meat (the fats of which allow may brain growth?)

600,000-250,000BC: Homo Heidelbergensis is described in 1996 by Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar in From Lucy to Language: The Record of Human Evolution.

600,000BC: A skull of this age from Bodo, Ethiopia, exhibits the largest nasal width of any Homo fossil.

600,000-500,000BC: The last common ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals lived about this time, probably in Africa.

600,000BC: Earth apparently enters a series of Ice Ages. When the glaciers are most widespread, seas have dropped up to 300 feet.

650,000BC: Ardrey still does not find the deliberate use of fire to be common. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 132)

Between one million and 700,000 years ago, Homo erectus (as with the Out of Africa theory) spreads across the warm temperate zones of Mediterranean Europe and Asia as far as Indonesia. (Or, Sundaland, which spread possibly as far north as Japan depending on sea levels?). (Shreeve, Neandertal)

700,000BC: Mary Leakey finds that a famous Acheulian hand-axe was being made by Homo erectus, while about this time, the magnetic poles of the earth reverse. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, pp. 130-133) The South Pole develops a negative polarity. About now the Arctic seems to freeze over for the first time. Ardrey feels the evidence on use of fire comes from colder areas of Europe and Asia. Soon comes the first wave of the glaciation of Europe. Perhaps soon, Heidelberg Man appears in Germany?

730,0000BC: Lower Pleistocene Period (1.6 million years to 730,000 years ago). The period when Homo erectus populated temperate areas of Africa, Europe and Asia. Their remains have been found in northern China, but not in the northern parts of Eurasia.

788,000 years ago: A reversal of Earth's magnetic field.

800,000BC: The Haleakala shield volcano on Maui, Hawaii, appears about this time.

800,000BC: Soleilhac, in the Massif Central of France, is the oldest "unquestionable" site of hominid occupation in Europe, with remains of fauna remains and tools, but no hominid bones.

800,000BC: A team of fossil hunters has reported 800,000 year-old hominids from the Gran Dolino site in the Atapuerca Mountains in northern Spain. The date was older by 300,000 years than dates for other human remains in Europe. They called this "new species" Homo antecessor. Among modern characteristics were a prominent brow line and multiple roots for premolar teeth.

800,000BC: Some Indonesian and Dutch archaeologist refer to evidence that early hominids in Asia have made it to the island of Flores in the Javan archipelago.

800,000BC: Dating for human remains discovered recently by archaeologists. A site reveals about 80 human bones and bone fragments from two adult females and four children, maybe eaten by other humans, as some bones had marks from sharp stone tools. Around the remains were bones from horses, deer, bison, rhino and possibly elephants. This is possibly the earliest known example of human cannibalism, found in Northern Spain in a cave at Atapuerca. It is possible the specimens were Homo antecessor, (Ancestor Man, who developed into Neandertal). It is thought that possibly Ancestor Man came from Africa one million years ago, to Europe, and that their fellows who stayed in Africa developed into Homo sapiens? See a recent issue of journal, Science. Meantime, tools made 900,000 years ago were found at an even deeper level of the Atapuerca cave site. Reported in Sydney, 31 May, 1997.

'Hobbit' island's deeper history 880,000BC

Story accessed on 2-9-2011 from BBC Headlines -- 'Hobbit' island's deeper history

By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News

Long before a 'hobbit' species of human lived on Indonesia's Flores island, other human-like creatures colonised the area. That much was clear. But scientists have now been able to date their presence to at least one million years ago - some 120,000 years earlier than previously recognised.

The team reports the discovery of these humans' tools in the journal Nature. The group says the finds bring a new dimension to our understanding of the history of Flores. Lead author Adam Brumm told BBC News that the location and circumstances of the tools' preservation meant human occupation of the island could extend deep into the past.

"What's really exciting about this is that we effectively have no idea how long hominids have been on Flores," the University of Wollongong, Australia, said. The remains of the hobbit, known to science as Homo floresiensis, were discovered five years ago at Liang Bua cave.

The diminutive creature's unearthing was a sensation because it indicated a separate human species was living alongside us just 18,000 years ago. Flores has witnessed intensive paleontological investigation ever since.

The famous H. floresiensis cave is located in the west of the island. The new discoveries come from the Soa Basin, an area in central-west Flores. A dig site there, known as Mata Menge, had already revealed tools dated to 880,000 years ago. Now, just 500m away but much deeper in the sediments, an international team has identified even older artefacts.

The site, referred to as Wolo Sege, has yielded more than 40 stone flakes. These were hand tools, probably used to butcher meat among other tasks. Many show evidence of being swept along in a stream before being laid down. Critically, however, their burial is capped by a layer of volcanic ash that has been accurately dated to just over one million years ago.

The scientists can say nothing about who used these tools. There is an insufficient number at this stage to assess which culture produced them. But their mere discovery raises some interesting issues. For example, the Mata Menge discoveries are associated with the disappearance in the deposition record of a number of animal species, such as a pygmy elephant and a giant tortoise. The conclusion that had been drawn from their extinction was that human hunters arriving on the island had hunted them out of existence.

But the Wolo Sege findings put a new perspective on this story because they show humans must have been living side by side with the animals for at least 120,000 years. Brumm and colleagues tell Nature that it may be difficult to find artefacts in the Soa Basin that are older than the Wolo Sege flakes. The reason is that the tools were lying just on top of what is the rock base in the area (the flank of a volcano).

"Anything inside that bedrock, or within any layers we identify in the bedrock, if they contain stone tools they must be at least 1.86 million years old," said Dr Brumm. "So, a priority for further research this year is to do a more intensive survey throughout the basin and follow up these bedrock outcrops."

The notion that Flores may have a very deep history of occupation will feed into the debate over the origins of H. floresiensis. Many scientists believe the creature evolved from a much larger-bodied species, Homo erectus, that became isolated and shrunk over time. Others point to features in the hobbit's body - such as the length its feet to the shape of its shoulder girdle - that are very primitive and not what one would expect in dwarfed H. erectus. These researchers have put forward the idea that H. floresiensis may have evolved from more archaic creatures that left Africa to colonise Asia even before erectus.

"Our discovery at Wolo Sege will certainly open the door to this contentious theory," said Dr Brumm .


From 1 million years ago: Ice sheets oscillate across northern Europe and America.

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1 million years ago: Australopithecines: have lived on earth for four million years, now extinct.

1 million years ago, 1-1.5 million years ago, the "Acheulian industry". The finding is that inventions of this period had nothing to do with the modern human brain - and this culture possibly originates in East Africa (Kenya?) (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 131).

1-2 million years ago: East Africa's Olduvai Gorge leaves about 40 hominid remains discovered by the Leakeys. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 97).

1.6 million years ago: As found in 1975 by a Richard Leakey team, "an advanced, large-brained skull of Homo erectus. At the time is current a hominid with a relatively smaller brain, Australopithecus boisei, a fact which seems to blow away any theory re humanity as a single species.

1.8 million years ago: Blood from a human/hominid specimen, found on a stone tool in South Africa, with its DNA tested by Australian researcher Dr. Tom Loy. Dr. Loy's DNA testing techniques helped inspire the film Jurassic Park and he also analysed blood residue from the tools of the recently-found, now-famed, Alpine Iceman mummy. (Otzi, see notes elsewhere here) (Reported 2 February 2002)

Two million years ago, a massive volcano called Ngorongoro dominates Olduvai Gorge, where early ancestors of man develop their lifestyle. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 48)

Two million years ago: Hominid remains at the base of the Olduvai Gorge, Kenya, found by the Leakeys, of "small-brained" proto-men. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 20)

Two million years BC, The human foot completes its evolution as we know it. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 63.) Ape ancestors of humanity by now have moved out of the trees. But (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 140), "the ancestral human hand" has not yet developed sufficiently to permit workmanship.

Two million years ago: Time of Homo habilis, one found specimen of which was killed by a blow to the top of the head. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis)

Two million years ago: Yellowstone volcanic caldera eruption. Could this have been another environmental stress event affecting human evolution?
For more, see a website from Tony Smith at: http://www.innerx.net/personal/tsmith/Hist.html -

Two million years BC: The human foot completes its evolution as we know it. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 63, p. 140.) Ape ancestors of humanity by now have moved out of the trees. But "the ancestral human hand" has not yet developed sufficiently to permit workmanship.

Two million years ago: Or as long ago as 2.5 million years ago? Time of Homo habilis, (noted as a tool-maker) one found specimen of which was killed by a blow to the top of the head. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis) The first habilis specimens - both skull and body parts - were found in 1986 at Olduvai Gorge, by a team led by Donald Johanson. Habilis was about three and a half feet tall. Evolutionist Binford has tried to spell the end of the habilis reputation as a skilled hunter by regarding them as "marginal scavengers".

2 million years ago: Hominid remains at the base of the Olduvai Gorge, Kenya, found by the Leakeys, of "small-brained" proto-men. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 20)

2 million years ago: A massive volcano called Ngorongoro dominates Olduvai Gorge, where early ancestors of man develop their lifestyle. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 48)

About 2.5 million years ago, appears "1470 Man", (named for a museum archive pigeonhole at Kenya National Museum) overlapping with appearance of Australopithecus (meaning "Southern Ape") in East Africa. This specimen made the first true tools, eg., flint blades. 1470 Man is a hunter, his brain is half the size of modern man's. 1470 Man also overlaps with Homo habilis. 1470 Man is superseded by homo erectus, who are near Nice in Southern France, at Terra Amata. These people near Nice live in oval huts about 50 feet long, by 19 feet wide, edged by rings of boulders, on a site visited irregularly, for short stays only, and rebuilt each visit.

3 million years ago, or more: Discovery of "nine individuals", proto-men, small but straight-limbed, of a hominid type. As discovered by a French group including Yves Coppens and an American, Carl Johanson, about 1974. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 20)

Three million years ago: See views in Steve Stanley, Children of the Ice Age. Harmony Books, 1996. Tony Smith's website from this outlines information on ways that Australopithecus may have died out.
For more, see a website from Tony Smith at: http://www.innerx.net/personal/tsmith/Hist.html -

Three million years ago: 1975: In 1975 Mary Leakey discovers the remains of eleven individual hominids, eight adults and three children, judged from their teeth to have been meat-eaters. Between 3.35 million and 3.75 million years old. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 2)

Three million years ago, or more: Discovery of "nine individuals", proto-men, small but straight-limbed, of a hominid type. As discovered by a French group including Yves Coppens and an American, Carl Johanson, about 1974. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 20)

Three million years ago: 1975: In 1975 Mary Leakey discovers the remains of eleven individual hominids, eight adults and three children, judged from their teeth to have been meat-eaters. Between 3.35 million and 3.75 million years old. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 2)

3.5 million years ago? Millennium Ancestor: Apeman find alters history": (Headline in The Weekend Australian). Palaeontologists have found the remains of an "apeman" about six million years old in Kenya's Rift Valley (Tugen Hills, Baringo District, at the foot of a low basalt cliff by a lake). The remains include teeth, a finger bone, a femur, jaw, arm fragments, and are from up-right walking hominids the size of chimpanzees - the earliest known two-legged hominid? Researchers working on the remains are from the College de France in Paris, France's National Museum of Natural History (Brigette Senut), National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Community Museums of Kenya. This discovery if it is confirmed may mean that "Lucy", the famous skeleton of Kenya believed to be that of an ancestor of Homo Sapiens, was part of a "dead branch" of the human family tree. Millennium Ancestor is three million years older than "Lucy" (australopithecines). An article is forthcoming in the French journal, Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences. The Millennium Ancestor find was also announced after some feuding with French researchers and rivals, The Baringo Paleontology Project, a collaboration between Yale University and National Museum of Kenya. Reported 10 February 2001.

3.5 million years ago? New find on human origins: 3.5 million year-old skull found in Northern Kenya, a "flat-faced human skull", with small teeth, possibly ate fruit and insects, two year recovery effort, much info on human origins now needs restudy, the oldest "reasonably complete" human skull ever found. (TV report on 22 March 2001)

Circa 1978 - Late 1970s: Mary Leakey and her team at Laetoli find footprints as preserved in volcanic ash that indicate the movement of a human-like being capable of bi-pedalism - four million-years-old. (Shreeve, Neandertal)

5 million years ago: The species Elephant and Mammoth diverge in evolutionary terms, Mammoths by the way were seen in the present-day area of Mexico City.

29 November-1 December, 1999, Conference held at University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia, from Assoc/Prof Ian Metcalfe, UNE Asia Centre International Conference (UNEAC):
Where Worlds Collide: Faunal and floral migrations and evolution in SE Asia-Australasia.
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Prof. Robert Hall, Royal Holloway, London University will present a keynote paper on "Cenozoic plate tectonics and distribution of land and sea in SE Asia".
Ms Penny van Oosterzee, author of the Eureka prize-winning book Where Worlds Collide: The Wallace Line, will present an evening public lecture entitled "Where Worlds Collide: Wallace in Wonderland".
ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: Convenor and Chairman: A/Prof. Ian Metcalfe, Asia Centre, UNE Other Members: Prof. Kevin Hewison, Director, Asia Centre, UNE Prof. Iain Davidson, Head, School of Human and Environmental Studies, UNE Dr. Mike Morwood, Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, UNE A/Prof. N. Prakash, Botany, UNE

SE Asia is in many respects a unique natural laboratory for studying the effects of geological and tectonic processes, and in particular continental terrane movements, orogenesis and continental collisions, on migration and evolution of a wide variety of animal, plant and insect groups. Waxing and waning physical (geological) and biological (biogeographical) interactions between SE Asia and Australasia go back more than 500 million years and one of the main aims of this conference is to improve our understanding of these relationships both temporally and spatially. Some tantalising questions remaining to be answered include:

This conference is designed to provide a forum for answering such questions and to discuss the interaction between physical (geological and tectonic) processes, sea level fluctuations, climate changes, and patterns of migration and evolution in the SE Asian-Australasian region.

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The conference will be structured into themes. Final thematic sessions will depend on confirmed papers but likely themes are:

Selected refereed and accepted papers will be published as a thematic book by A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. All other papers, following peer review and acceptance, will be published in electronic form as a collection of UNE Asia Centre UNEAC Papers on the Internet via the UNEAC Web Page and on a CD-ROM.

For further information regarding registration, accommodation, travel details and conference payments, please contact:
Associate Professor Ian Metcalfe Convenor WHERE WORLDS COLLIDE CONFERENCE Asia Centre University of New England Armidale NSW 2351 AUSTRALIA Tel/Fax: 61 2 67733934 Email: imetcalf@metz.une.edu.au

RELATED SYMPOSIUM - Bio-geography of Southeast Asia 2000
A major international symposium on the Bio-geography of Southeast Asia will be held from 4 to 9 June 2000, in the vicinity of Leiden, The Netherlands. Emphasis in the program will be placed on invited review papers dealing with various aspects of the biological and geological evolution of the region from the break-up of Pangea to the present. Special sessions will deal with biogeographical and geological methods, biodiversity assessments, dissemination of knowledge and conservation issues. The symposium is a joint enterprise of the National Museum of Natural History/Naturalis, the Rijksherbarium/Hortus Botanicus, both in Leiden, and the Research School of Sedimentary Geology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.
For further information please contact:
Dr Rienk de Jong, National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 9517, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands Tel: +31 (0) 71 56 87 652 Fax: +31 (0) 71 56 87 666 E-mail: jong@naturalis.nnm.nl Web: http://rulrhb.leidenuniv.nl/ LIST OF INTENDING DELEGATES AND PAPERS

HALL, Robert (U.K.) - Cenozoic evolution of SE Asia and the distribution of land and sea
VAN OOSTERZEE, Penny (Australia) - Where Worlds Collide: Wallace in Wonderland (Public Lecture)
BICKEL, Daniel J. (Australia) - Indo-Australian Diptera: why Wallace's Line is not important
BRANDON-JONES, Douglas (U.K.) - Borneo as a bio-geographic barrier to Asian-Australasian migration
BRUHL, Jeremy J. (Australia) BUFFETAUT, Eric (France) - The dinosaurs of South East Asia in biogeographical perspective
CLODE, Danielle (Australia) - What made Wallace draw the line? The beginnings of bio-geography.
DAVIDSON, Iain (Australia) - The requirements for human colonisation of Australia.
KEAST, Allen (Canada) - Asia - Australia; Sea Levels, Climate and Vertebrate Evolution
KITCHING, Roger & HURLEY, Karen (Australia) - Butterflies and Wallace's Line
MACKNESS, Brian (Australia) - 1. Goannas in the mist: ecological adaptation and specialization where worlds collide. 2. Homonid colonisation of Australia and its effect on megafauna: blitzkreig or brouhaha?
O'SULLIVAN, Paul (Australia) - Advancement of huminids through Indonesia

QUILTY, Patrick G. (Australia - Role of Antarctica as a source of the Australian flora and fauna.

REID, Chris (Australia) - That dashed line again: Wallace & the holey cow of SE Asian bio-geography
SIM, Robin (Australia) - The role of mid-Holocene climatic change in the demise of an human population.
SMITH, Jeremy M.B. (Australia) - Did primates including early hominids cross sea gaps in the Wallacean region on natural rafts?
VAN HUET, Sanja (Australia) - King Island, Bass Strait - What's been going on these past 100,000 years??
WANG Xiaofeng (China) - The Hainan terrane: its relationship to SE Asia and Australia in geological evolution and biological migration
WANG Xiang-dong (Japan) - Carboniferous and Permian coral faunas in West Yunnan, southwest China. Implications for the Gondwana/Tethys divide (?)

5.5 Million years ago, The Atlantic Ocean breaks the Straits of Gibraltar and forms the Mediterranean Sea. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 48).

15 million years ago, remains of Louis Leakey's Miocene ramapithecines. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 100)

15 million years ago: Maybe a new ancestor for humanity? Researchers in Kenya have reported finding a 15-million-year-old skeleton of a creature like a modern male baboon, which could be one of our ancient relatives. This find predates other possible common ancestors by several million years. The creature weighed about 25kg, stood 1.2-1.5 metres tall, and had a long, flexible spine, and strong hands. A co-discoverer is US academic, Steve Ward, from an unnamed institution. If this find represents a new genus, it may be called Equatorius. (Reported 28 August 1999)

37 million years ago: Antarctica begins to freeze. Prior to this, the area had rainforests on coastal plains, rather like today's Central Tasmanian Highlands. An earlier date might be 34 million years ago. A researcher is University of Tasmania research professor, Pat Quilty. Project, an Ocean Drilling Program. Reported 3 June 2000.

66 million years ago: Dinosaur with Heart?: Could a dinosaur fossil possibly contain the remains of a heart? Meaning, were dinosaurs warm-blooded? Some American researchers think yes. US researchers have been working on an artefact from a Thescelosaurus (a pony-sized plant-eater roaming the US 66 million years ago that is not from the lineage of dinosaurs that produced birds) - a grapefruit-sized reddish-brown heart, as denoted by 3D computerised images The heart may have had a four-chamber structure and a single aorta. One researcher is Dr. Dale Russell, North Carolina State Museum of Natural Science. (Reported 22 April, 2000. See a recent issue of the journal, Science) Check Website: http://www.dinoheart.org

Chicago: Field Museum: The world's most complete dinosaur? Susan Hendrickson is a happy dinosaur-finder. She discovered the world's most complete remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1990 in a South Dakota cliff. The remains were about 90 per cent complete, and form the basis of a new display at Field Museum. Included in the remains is an eardrum bone (stapes). The animal weighed about seven tonnes, but its sex is not yet determined. It is presumed the 12.7m-long animal had a top speed of about 24kmh, walked at about 10kmh, and could not run. The remains are valued at US$8.36 million (Aust $14 million). Reported 19 May 2000. Check Website: http://www.fieldmuseum.org

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5.5 Million years ago: The Atlantic Ocean breaks the Straits of Gibraltar and forms the Mediterranean Sea. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 48).

15 million years ago: Remains of Louis Leakey's Miocene ramapithecines. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 100)

25 million years ago: Palaeontology at Riversleigh, a major site in Queensland, Australia, for fossils as ancestors of modern birds and marsupials, also dinosaurs from an earlier period, are found.

30 million years ago: Huge volcanic eruptions in area of Ethiopia, Africa. Plus earthquakes and much rifting off the topography changes the local climate, which develops savannah and leads to extinction of some species. It seems however that hominids/later humans get a "kick start" about now.

[Top of Page]

Now return to the Lost Worlds Index
For more, see a timeline website at: http://mirrorh.com/timeline.html/

Stop Press: For late entries

A great page on hominid news is at: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/recent.html/

Many notes above are from: Robert Ardrey, The Hunting Hypothesis: A Personal Conclusion Concerning the Evolutionary Nature of Man. Fontana/Collins, 1976.

Compiler's note: Few of the titles cited here can begin to explain the settlement of Australia's Aboriginal people, which began 40,000-60,000 years ago, if not earlier. Here, Australian history in the present context remains a conundrum for world science. Various views compete for attention. One view is that once they arrived in a 40,000-60,000-years-ago timeframe, the Aboriginal people killed off, or helped to kill off, Australia's rather spectacular megafauna. (A similar view has been held that this happened in North America, and in fact, this view is said to have been imported to Australia from the US.) This argument says little about the origins of such humans. A small group of Australian academics plumb for a view that Australian Aboriginals are descended from a hybrid of modern humans and the million-year-old, more primitive Java Man.
Consider: "Nowhere else is the record for modern human origins so deeply, utterly entangled as it is in Australasia. At the heart of the knot is a weird duality in the fossil record itself. While some of the early modern humans from Australia look much like people today, others bear all the markings of a more robust kind of human, with thick skull bones, swollen browridges, and huge teeth, even bigger than those of Homo erectus in some specimens." ... Australia poses special problems for the Out-of-Africa scenario..."
See James Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mysteries of Modern Human Origins. New York, William Morrow and Co., 1996 softback edn., p. 100.

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