Evidence for the Spread of Modern Humans

Session Date: 
May 10, 2013

The presentation will briefly summarize the archaeological evidence for the dispersals of modern humans into Eurasia avoiding the assumptions that these events, whether short or continuous, were triggered by climatic conditions or followed the dispersals of other mammals. Non-continuous archaeological records from several well-explored regions across Eurasia are used as the basis for the proposal that earlier lineage extinctions resulted from physical, technical, and social failures to adapt to new environments. Gradual development of altruism, social cohesion, population growth, and novel technologies (clothing, hunting and trapping gear, food processing, sea-going vessels, etc.) facilitated the colonization of larger and remote areas, whether empty or already inhabited. In addition to Eurasian habitats and the crossing to Sahul (Australia, New-Guinea, and the islands), the new technical inventions, facilitated the crossing of the ecological “northern boundary,” leading to later migrations into the Americas. The emerging archaeological picture is more complex than was assumed a decade ago, probably reflecting the dispersals of various populations, and the mergence of numerous new languages.

File 2013_05_10_09_BarYosef.mp488.92 MB