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Thread: The geographical range of early Homo Sapiens has been extended to Greece

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    The geographical range of early Homo Sapiens has been extended to Greece

    Two fossilized human crania (Apidima 1 and Apidima 2) from Apidima Cave, southern Greece, were discovered in the late 1970s but have remained enigmatic owing to their incomplete nature, taphonomic distortion and lack of archaeological context and chronology. Here we virtually reconstruct both crania, provide detailed comparative descriptions and analyses, and date them using U-series radiometric methods. Apidima 2 dates to more than 170 thousand years ago and has a Neanderthal-like morphological pattern. By contrast, Apidima 1 dates to more than 210 thousand years ago and presents a mixture of modern human and primitive features. These results suggest that two late Middle Pleistocene human groups were present at this site—an early Homo sapiens population, followed by a Neanderthal population. Our findings support multiple dispersals of early modern humans out of Africa, and highlight the complex demographic processes that characterized Pleistocene human evolution and modern human presence in southeast Europe.

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    It's not surprising that there were multiple dispersals of early modern humans out of Africa. Hominins had demonstrated a tendency to explore, roam and disperse out of Africa for over two million years, ever since Homo erectus dispersed throughout Eurasia. What is perhaps surprising is that early modern humans were relatively unsuccessful with at least two early attempts to disperse from Africa to Eurasia. It seems that in Greece between 200,000 and 170,000 years ago, and later in the Levant between 100,000 and 70,000 years ago, resurgent Neanderthals re-occupied territory previously held by modern humans. Only on their third attempt did Homo sapiens successfully disperse throughout Eurasia about 60,000 years ago, eventually displacing all other populations of hominins. So, what was different about them that made them so successful that time? I believe there is some genetic evidence of a population bottleneck of modern humans in Africa around 70,000 years ago. They may have emerged from that bottleneck with increased complexity of culture, language and technology, finally giving them the competitive edge over other hominins that they needed to be a successful species.

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    ^ Neanderthals are not generally believed to have been "displaced" in Europe until 35,000-40,000ybp, and not in East Asia until possibly 20,000-15,000ybp. It appears Denisovans and other archaics may have been present in Southeast Asia and Oceania as recently as >10,000ybp. In what alternate reality is that successful? That sounds more like gradual infusion of archaic DNA in to the now-admixed modern human population, which was evidently mediated by archaic males, a.k.a human sex trafficking.

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