PerspectivePaleoanthropology

The complex landscape of recent human evolution

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Science  25 Jun 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6549, pp. 1395-1396
DOI: 10.1126/science.abj3077

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Summary

New genomic studies (1), new fossils (2, 3), and new dates of existing ones (4) suggest that our African origin has a deeper history—one that took place in the context of high population and lineage diversity and which was intermeshed by periods of contact with Eurasian hominins using the Middle East as a geographical bridge. On pages 1424 and 1429 of this issue, Herskovitz et al. (5) and Zaidner et al. (6), respectively, report new archaic Homo fossils and stone tools in Nesher Ramla, Israel, that date to about 126 thousand years (ka) ago. This discovery, at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, adds substantial complexity to our reconstruction of those potential interactions, raising questions about the co-existence of different hominin populations in this region and complex population dynamics in the Late Pleistocene.

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