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Did early human cultures fan out from Arabia, not Africa?

From “The Nubian Complex in southern Arabia, 106 thousand years ago”(Dieneke’s Anthropology blog, December 1, 2011), we learn:

The pre-100ka Near East was seemingly teeming with modern humans; it may have been possible to dismiss these as the Out-of-Africa that failed when the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids were the only players in the game, but populations stretching from the Levant to southern Arabia did not simply vanish and were replaced after 70ka.

This leads to a conundrum:

Either geneticists are in error when they date the L3/modern human expansion to 70 thousand years ago, or

They are in error when they place its origin to Africa.

Quoting from Science NOW,

If modern humans were living in southern Arabia 106,000 years ago, the important question for human history is what happened next. Did they die out in Oman—another “failed expansion,” as archaeologists describe it—or migrate north, going on to populate the globe? If the latter, it would challenge current genetic data placing global human migration out of Africa perhaps 80,000 years ago. Instead of “out of Africa,” says Rose, “we could be looking at ‘out of Arabia.’ “

Hmmm. Here’s the abstract:

PLoS ONE 6(11): e28239. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028239

The Nubian Complex of Dhofar, Oman: An African Middle Stone Age Industry in Southern Arabia

Jeffrey I. Rose et al.

Despite the numerous studies proposing early human population expansions from Africa into Arabia during the Late Pleistocene, no archaeological sites have yet been discovered in Arabia that resemble a specific African industry, which would indicate demographic exchange across the Red Sea. Here we report the discovery of a buried site and more than 100 new surface scatters in the Dhofar region of Oman belonging to a regionally-specific African lithic industry – the late Nubian Complex – known previously only from the northeast and Horn of Africa during Marine Isotope Stage 5, ~128,000 to 74,000 years ago. Two optically stimulated luminescence age estimates from the open-air site of Aybut Al Auwal in Oman place the Arabian Nubian Complex at ~106,000 years ago, providing archaeological evidence for the presence of a distinct northeast African Middle Stone Age technocomplex in southern Arabia sometime in the first half of Marine Isotope Stage 5.

Considering the huge pop culture investment in Out of Africa, we’ll definitely watch this file.

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9 Responses to Did early human cultures fan out from Arabia, not Africa?

  1. Ararat or Zagros mountains. How could over 300 independent recollections of the story be wrong?

  2. Amen.
    There was so many types of peoples/languages in the middle east because Babel was the focal point.
    In fact when they do these things about the origins for animals they always go to the place of greatest diversity and assume the origin of the first was there.
    Why not with people?
    Why try make obscure Africa the origin? Was everyone black first?
    Did we have black features in our bodies and lose them?
    Naw. Its silly.

    The origin is exactly where the greatest crossover happens between different languages and peoples.
    I suggest babel just like God said in Genesis.

  3. The Bible’s account of man’s early history is reflected in the key elements found in many legends. The record reveals that as the human race began to disperse from Mesopotamia, they carried with them their memories, experiences, and ideas everywhere they went.

    In time these were elaborated and changed and became the warp and woof of religion in every part of the world. In other words, going back to the analogy used earlier, the account in Genesis constitutes the original, crystal-clear pool from which stemmed the basic ideas about the beginning of man and worship found in the various religions of the world. To these they added their particular doctrines and practices, but the link is unmistakable.

  4. Though I don’t have the facts to back it up, I suspect racism may have had something to do with the modern claim of an African origin. Maybe the assumption was that, since Africans are supposedly lower on the evolutionary scale, that humans must have first emerged in Africa (although I suppose you could just as easily argue that black Africans migrated there from Europe).

  5. In fact when they do these things about the origins for animals they always go to the place of greatest diversity and assume the origin of the first was there.
    Why not with people?

    They do. That’s why geneticists place the centre of origin is place in Africa: most of human genetic variation is in Africa.

  6. yes indeedy.

    I love the ancient Chinese character studies. They are very revealing in subjects like the flood.

  7. Though I don’t have the facts to back it up, I suspect racism may have something to do with the claim that paleontologists are racist.

    APM, if you want to accuse people of being racist, or of being any thing else, then you should have some facts to back it up.

  8. First things first.
    Diversity in language, big language groups, and very segregated peoples also by religion and in all directions comes from a focal point in Mesopotamia.
    Or the tower of Babel area.
    Genetics is a new and slippery concept.
    In fact since Black africans changed so much in many details it would follow that the genetics is most changed.
    In fact since i would say this was a instant change then the diverse genetics is a clue to how this happened.
    If the original model was not black and the black body is radical in its adaptation to africa it would follow the different people groups who immigrated to Africa and became black would have diverse genetics.
    Yet this diversity is not the evidence for the origin of mankind.
    The actual evidence is language and how important that is to diversity of people origins.
    Nope.
    Africa was not where man came from.
    Man did not lose Black features upon leaving there.
    The bible has it right.

  9. Well, I guess you answered your “Why not with people?” question. Because it doesn’t give you the answer you want.

    If Africa had repeatedly been invaded from elsewhere, we would see this in the genetics, with multiple long lineages, connected to non-African lineages. Instead, we only see a single mitechondrial DNA haplogroup in non-African populations, which suggests only a single lineage left Africa.

    BTW, what linguistic evidence are you using? It’s not an area I know so well, but my impression was that it supported the genetic data.

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