First hominin settlements out of Africa. Tempo and dispersal mode: Review and perspectives

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Abstract

Current discussions generally focus on “when” the first ‘Out of Africa’ hominin settlements occurred. We propose a short review of some of the assumptions underlying the ‘Out of Africa’ dispersal scenarios and their reappraisal in the light of the palaeoanthropological and archaeological records. Globally, these scenarios are still hypotheses; however, some of them can be outlined in more concrete terms, based on the discoveries in the Levant, the Caucasus and Eastern Asia. Dispersals from Africa were multidirectional, with many successive discontinuous occupations and episodes of turning back. Hominins displayed strong adaptive capacities to new environmental conditions, linked to the notion of versatility, which is already present in Early Pleistocene hominins. Factors often proposed to explain the first ‘Out of Africa’ settlements, such as climatic change, new cultural behavior, and increase in body size and brain size do not seem to be relevant according to the fossil and archaeological records.

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Prat, S. (2018). First hominin settlements out of Africa. Tempo and dispersal mode: Review and perspectives. Comptes Rendus - Palevol, 17(1–2), 6–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2016.04.009

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