A new piece of the puzzle is reported this week on Nature’s website: a partial skull found in Manot Cave in northern Israel that has been dated to around 55,000 years ago (I. Hershkovitz et al. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14134; 2015) and page 541). The skull, which has a distinctive ‘bun’-shaped occipital bone (the lower-back region), resembles those of modern humans found in Europe, dating to the Upper Palaeolithic starting around 50,000 years ago.
Where does the find fit in? Beware simple answers, and, indeed, simple questions. There is a temptation when discussing human evolution to reconstruct it as a narrative, in which successive species evolved to be more like us, and the more like us they became, the more likely they were to migrate to other parts of the world and replace pre-existing forms.
So the evolutionary psychologists will be serving us coffee next?
Actually there are probably truths, just not simple answers.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)