Early dispersals of Homo from Africa

Susan C. Antón, Carl C. Swisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations

Abstract

The worldwide distribution of our species, Homo sapiens, has its roots in the early Pleistocene epoch. However, evidence has been sufficient only in the past decade to overcome the conventional wisdom that hominins had been restricted to Africa until about 800,000 years ago. Indeed, the idea that hominin dispersal was technologically mediated, and thus must correlate with changes in stone tool technology seen at the Olduwan/Acheulean transition, has proven to be a persuasive hypothesis despite persistent claims for an early Pleistocene hominin presence outside Africa. We review multiple recent lines of evidence that suggest hominin dispersals from Africa in the earliest Pleistocene, if not the latest Pliocene, correlated with the appearance of hominins typically referred to as Homo erectus (sensu lato) who carried with them an Oldowan tool technology. Changes in body plan and foraging strategy are likely to ultimately underlie these dispersals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-296
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
Volume33
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Keywords

  • Argon-Argon chronology
  • Georgia
  • H. erectus
  • Indonesia

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