Migration back to Africa took place during the Palaeolithic

Posted: 26 May 2016 07:53 AM PDT

A research group has managed to retrieve the mitochondrial genome of a fossil 35,000 years old found in the Pestera Muierii cave in Romania. That woman was part of the first population of our species that inhabited Europe following the Eurasian expansion of Homo sapiens from Africa, and the lineage she belongs to reinforces the hypothesis of a back-migration to Africa during the Upper Palaeolithic, say investigators.

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I always thought that there must have been some returns to Africa and back again it seems obvious but extremely hard to prove.

Why not?

People on the ground could hardly have realized they were crossing between continents, it's just a matter of "oh, there's food and water over there."  And they end up crossing Beringia or the isthmus of Panama or from what is now Djibouti to what is now Yemen (many believe that's the route that present-day Homo sapiens used to get out of Africa--only to find other subspecies had preceded him.  Apparently back then the sea levels were lower and there were springs to be found on what is now the utterly dry Yemen coast.)

Going back wouldn't have felt like "oh, we're abandoning that new continent our ancestors came to."  They probably didn't have any recollection that their ancestors had come this way, and the concept of continents was foreign to them, I'm sure.

Absolutely.  Even the concept of countries was foreign.  (Pun intended)

So populations ebbed and flowed across the landmasses present at the time, crossed land bridges when there, and so forth.

I looked for "the best", most recent migration maps, but there are too many, even when limiting google to years 2015+. Can anyone suggest a source they might consider "most authoritative"? What I'd really like to see is a 4D map (e.g. with a slider or two you can move to filter for millenial time intervals, on a globe).

Now that you mention globes, an unrelated thought occurred to me.  I'd love to see continental drift shown on a globe.  Too often the continents have been clustered near the south pole and the standard projections lead to a very confusing appearance; I always want to rotate the center of the projection to get a better look at what's going on.  Yet they never produce a polar projection.

I suspect (imo only) that migration back to Africa was partly influenced by the onset of the last ice-age.


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