From Hannah Devlin at The Guardian
Researchers say it is time to drop the idea that modern humans originated from a single population in a single location
Readers, please wear eye protection due to splinters flying from Human Evolution lecterns:
The origins of our species have long been traced to east Africa, where the world’s oldest undisputed Homo sapiens fossils were discovered. About 300,000 years ago, the story went, a group of primitive humans there underwent a series of genetic and cultural shifts that set them on a unique evolutionary path that resulted in everyone alive today.
However, a team of prominent scientists is now calling for a rewriting of this traditional narrative, based on a comprehensive survey of fossil, archaeological and genetic evidence. Instead, the international team argue, the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.More.
One question this version of the tale raises is, why were they all headed in the same direction developmentally? And no apes were? The old, single-origin story did have the virtue of simplicity: One group just happened to develop a mind in the same way that zebras developed stripes. That made the search for the Missing Link simple, even if fruitless.
Now, it would seem, we all have our own missing links. Let’s see how this version plays out.
See also: Miller: The evidence shows that Lucy is an ape species, not a human ancestor