First Modern Humans Migrate to Europe

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20120206-Cro-Magnon-female Skull.png
Cro Magnon female skull
Our species, Homo sapiens, arose in Africa more than 300,000 years ago, and anatomically modern humans emerged at least 195,000 years ago. Evidence for the first waves of modern humans outside Africa dates back at least 194,000 years to Israel, and possibly 210,000 years to Greece. [Source: Charles Q. Choi, Live Science, May 4, 2023]

It was long thought that modern humans reached Europe around 45,000 years ago but newly analyzed tools from the Stone Age have challenge this idea. Now, evidence suggests that modern humans ventured into Europe in three waves between 54,000 and 42,000 years ago, according to a 2023 study. See Below.

It was originally believed that the first modern humans in Europe arrived via the Middle East or North Africa, possibly crossing a land bridge between Tunisia, Sicily and Italy or the Strait of Gibraltar but genetic evidence indicates that more likely they came from Asia. The DNA of western Eurasians is more like people from India than those from Africa. The conclusion that one draws is that Europe was populated by people who migrated across western Asia and the Balkans into Europe between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago.

It is widely assumed that cold, inhospitable weather prevented modern humans from entering Europe earlier than they did. By 35,000 years they were well established and quickly dominated and replaced Neanderthals that began declining about the same time modern humans arrived. The population shrank a great deal during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago then rebounded. The Ice Age nearly wiped out humans.

Websites and Resources on Hominins and Human Origins: Smithsonian Human Origins Program ; Institute of Human Origins ; Becoming Human University of Arizona site ; Hall of Human Origins American Museum of Natural History ; The Bradshaw Foundation ; Britannica Human Evolution ; Human Evolution ; University of California Museum of Anthropology; John Hawks' Anthropology Weblog ; New Scientist: Human Evolution

Websites and Resources on Neanderthals: Wikipedia: Neanderthals Wikipedia ; Neanderthals Study Guide ; Neandertals on Trial, from PBS; The Neanderthal Museum ; The Neanderthal Flute, by Bob Fink

Modern Humans Migrate into Europe in Three Waves: 54,000, 45,000 and 42,000 Years Ago?

limit of ice and land bridges in the last Ice Age

A study published in the journal PLOS One in May 2023 suggests modern humans migrated into Europe in three waves: 54,000, 45,000 and 42,000 years ago. Charles Q. Choi wrote in Live Science: For years, the oldest confirmed signs of modern humans in Europe were teeth about 42,000 years old that archaeologists had unearthed in Italy and Bulgaria. These ancient groups were likely Protoaurignacians — the earliest members of the Aurignacians, the first known hunter-gatherer culture in Europe. However, a 2022 study revealed that a tooth found in the site of Grotte Mandrin in southern France's Rhône Valley suggested that modern humans lived there about 54,000 years ago, a 2022 study found. This suggested Europe was home to modern humans about 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. In the 2022 study, scientists linked this fossil tooth with stone artifacts that scientists previously dubbed Neronian, after the nearby Grotte de Néron site. Neronian tools include tiny flint arrowheads or spearpoints and are unlike anything else found in Europe from that time. [Source: Charles Q. Choi, Live Science, May 4, 2023]

Now, in a new study, an archaeologist argues that another wave of modern humans may have entered Europe between the 42,000-year-old Protoaurignacians and the 54,000-year-old Neronians. "It's an in-depth rewriting of the historical structure of [the] arrival of sapiens in the continent," study lead researcher Ludovic Slimak, an archaeologist at the University of Toulouse in France, told Live Science. Slimak focused on a group or "industry" of stone artifacts previously unearthed in the Levant, the eastern Mediterranean region that today includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Scientists have long thought that the Levant was a key gateway for modern humans migrating out of Africa.

When Slimak compared Neronian tools from Grotte Mandrin with the industry from about the same time from a site known as Ksar Akil in Lebanon, he found notable similarities. This suggested both groups were one and the same, with the Levantine group expanding into Europe over time. The much younger Protoaurignacian artifacts also have very similar counterparts in the Levant from a culture known as the Ahmarian, Slimak noted. "I buil[t] a bridge between Europe and the East Mediterranean populations during the early migrations of sapiens in the continent," Slimak said.

In addition, Slimak found thousands of modern human flint artifacts from the Levant that existed in the period known as the Early Upper Paleolithic, between the Ksar Akil and the Ahmarian ones. This led him to look for possible modern human counterparts of these artifacts in Europe. Stone artifacts from a European industry known as the Châtelperronian highly resemble modern human artifacts seen in the Early Upper Paleolithic of the Levant. In addition, Châtelperronian items date to about 45,000 years ago, or between those of the Neronians and the Protoaurignacians. However, scientists had often thought Châtelperronians were Neanderthals. Slimak now argues the Châtelperronians were actually a second wave of modern humans into Europe. "We have here, and for the first time, a serious candidate for a non-Neanderthalian origin of these industries," Slimak said.

Europe Prehistory

Migration of Early Modern Humans Out of Africa

DNA studies of people living today indicate that modern humans migrated from Eastern Africa to the Middle East, then Southern and Southeast Asia, then New Guinea and Australia, followed by Europe and Central Asia. Perhaps they didn't enter Europe because that region was dominated by Neanderthals. According to research by geneticist at the University of Cambridge in the mid 2000s all modern humans descend from a small number of Africans that left Africa between 55,000 and 60,000 years ago. Another less reliable DNA study determined that an intrepid group of 500 hominids marched out of Africa about 140,000 years ago and they are the ancestors to all modern people today. [Source: Guy Gugliotta, Smithsonian magazine, July 2008]

These studies are based on genetic variations found in different population groups. People in sub-Saharan Africa have more genetic variation than non-Africans. The number of people and the date for the 140,000 year figure was arrived by studying genetic variations in 34 populations around the world, coming up with a rate of genetic change and extrapolated back in time. The fact that people in sub-Saharan Africa have more genetic variation than non-Africa indicated humans that have lived in Africa have lived there longer than other people have lived in their homelands.

The earliest known mutation to spread outside Africa is M168, which developed about 50,000 years ago. It is found in all non-Africans. M9 is a marker common in Eurasians. It appeared in the Middle East or Central Asia about 40,000 years ago. M3 is a marker that developed among Asian people around 10,000 years ago and reached the Americas.

Based on genetic evidence gathered by National Geographic magazine and scientists from around the globe it has been determined that modern human originated in southern Africa around 200,000 years ago and made to West Africa about 70,000 years ago and the Middle East about 50,000 years ago, advancing rapidly through southern and southeast Asia and reaching Australia also around 50,000 years ago but not reach East Asia and Siberia until 30,000 years ago and southern Europe until 20,000 years. From Siberia modern humans reached North America about 15,000 years ago and migrated southward reaching South America between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago. The group living today with the closest links to our 200,000-year-old ancestors in southern Africa are the Khoisan hunter-gatherers of southern Africa. [Source: National Geographic, November, 2009]

Some scientists feel the migration out of Africa was also accompanied by revolutions in behavior and technology such as more developed social networks and advanced tools and sophisticated language that gave them ability to prosper in new lands and in some cases drive out hominids that already lived there.

Cro-Magnon migration

migration of modern man into Europe

Northern Route Out of Africa

The Levant, which includes Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, is likely to have served as a landbridge to Eurasia for hominins coming out of Africa. The Dmanisi remains in Georgia, dated to 1.8 million years ago suggest that hominins passed through the Levant some time before this (unless they crossed the Bab el-Mandeb strait into Arabia). The oldest known hominin specimen from the Levant, and from all the Middle East, is the Zuttiyeh skull, found near the Sea of Galilee in 1927. It has not been dated, but lithic industries suggest it dates from 350,000 to 250,000 years ago. Though it has some modern characteristics, it has been classified as a Homo heidelbergensis.

Saioa López, Lucy van Dorp and Garrett Hellenthal of University College London wrote: “Some of the earliest remains of Anatomically modern humans anywhere outside of Africa, the Skhul and Qafzeh hominins, were found in the Levant (present-day Israel) and dated to 120 and 100,000–90,000 years ago, respectively. It has been suggested that these fossils represent an early exit of modern humans approximately 120,000 years ago, traveling across the Sinai Peninsula to the Levant. The next human remains found in the region include the Manot1 cranium, which was dated to around 55,000 years ago, demonstrating a considerable gap in the fossil record of Anatomically modern human occupation in the Levant. This, in conjunction with climatic records, indicating a global glacial period 90,000 years ago, has led some authors to suggest that if the first humans did exit early via the Levant they did not survive, and that the Skhul and Qafzeh hominins are the remnants of this failed exodus. Other authors emphasize the possibility that this group could have already left the Levant before the glacial period 90,000 years ago. That said, the recent presentation of archeological material, primarily stone tools and assemblages dated to 100,000–80,000 years ago, from an empty corner of the Arabian Peninsula suggests early settlements may have been widely distributed and that even if Skhul and Qafzeh do represent a failed exodus, it was broader and more complex than previously thought. [Source: Saioa López, Lucy van Dorp and Garrett Hellenthal of University College London, “Human Dispersal Out of Africa: A Lasting Debate,” Evolutionary Bioinformatics, April 21, 2016 ~]

“In addition to the evidence from the archeological and climatic record, genetic studies have also suggested some support for a Northern route. A study of Y chromosome haplogroup distributions together with 10 microsatellite loci and 45 binary markers in different African and Near Eastern populations found that the Levant was the most supported route for the primary migratory movements between Africa and Eurasia. In a more recent paper, Pagani et al sequenced the genomes of 100 Egyptians and 125 individuals from five Ethiopian ethnic groups (Amhara, Oromo, Ethiopian Somali, Wolayta, and Gumuz).64 After attempting to mask West Eurasian genetic components inherited via recent non-African admixture within the last 4,000 years ago, they showed that modern non-African haplotypes were more similar to Egyptian haplotypes than to Ethiopian haplotypes, thus suggesting that Egypt was the more likely route in the exodus out of Africa migration, assuming the efficacy of their masking procedure. However, as noted earlier, one limitation of such studies that analyze modern DNA is that extant populations may not be good representatives of past populations due to factors such as population replacement, migrations, admixture, and drift.” ~

In 2014, Archaeology magazine reported: New dating of shell beads casts doubt on the traditional theory that humans first made their way out of Africa and into Europe by going through the Near East. The beads come from a site in Lebanon where human remains were excavated decades ago and then were subsequently lost. They date to around 42,000 years ago, roughly the same time that modern humans appear in Europe. The fact that there appears to be no lag between humans arriving in different places suggests there might have been more than one route out of Africa. [Source: Samir S. Patel, Archaeology magazine, January-February 2014]

Oldest Known Human Fossil Outside Africa Discovered in Israel

180,000-year-old human fossil from Misliya Cave in Israel

Hannah Devlin wrote in The Guardian: “A human upper jawbone fossil with several teeth and stone tools, dated to between 177,000 and 194,000 years old, were found in a cave in Israel, meaning that modern humans left Africa far earlier than previously thought, prompting scientists to rethink theories about earllu human migration. The fossil is almost twice as old as any previous Homo sapiens remains discovered outside Africa. [Source: Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, January 25, 2018 |=|]

“The fossil, a well-preserved upper jawbone with eight teeth, was discovered at the Misliya cave, which appears to have been occupied for lengthy periods. The teeth are larger than average for a modern human, but their shape and the fossil’s facial anatomy are distinctly Homo sapiens, an analysis of the fossil in the journal Science concludes. |=|

“Sophisticated stone tools and blades discovered nearby suggest the cave’s inhabitants were capable hunters, who used sling projectiles and elegantly carved blades used to kill and butcher gazelles, oryx, wild boars, hares, turtles and ostrich. The team also discovered evidence of matting made from plants that may have been used to sleep on. Radioactive dating places the fossil and tools at between 177,000 and 194,000 years old. “Hershkovitz said the record now indicates that humans probably ventured beyond the African continent whenever the climate allowed it. “I don’t believe there was one big exodus out of Africa,” he said. “I think that throughout hundreds of thousands of years [humans] were coming in and out of Africa all the time.” |=|

“Reconstructions of the ancient climate records, based on deep sea cores, show that the Middle East switched between being humid and extremely arid, and that the region would have been lush and readily habitable for several periods matching the age of the Misliya fossil.

Neanderthal DNA Hints Modern Humans Left Africa 200,000 Years Ago

Modern humans may have left Africa as long 200,000 years ago, a study published in Cell in January 2020 suggests. Carl Zimmer wrote in the New York Times: “Using a new method to analyze DNA, however, a team of scientists has found evidence that significantly reshapes that narrative. Their study concludes that a wave of modern humans departed Africa far earlier than had been known: some 200,000 years ago. These people interbred with Neanderthals, the new study suggests. As a result, Neanderthals were already carrying genes from modern humans when the next big migration from Africa occurred, about 140,000 years later. [Source: Carl Zimmer, New York Times, January 31, 2020]

“The scientists also found evidence that people living somewhere in western Eurasia moved back to Africa and interbred with people whose ancestors never left. The new study suggests that all Africans have a substantially greater amount of Neanderthal DNA than earlier estimates. “The legacy of gene flow with Neanderthals likely exists in all modern humans, highlighting our shared history,” the authors concluded. “Overall, I find this a fantastic study,” said Omer Gokcumen, a geneticist at the University at Buffalo, who was not involved in the research. The research offers a view of human history “almost as a spider web of interactions, rather than a tree with distinct branches.”

“But while evidence has been building that modern humans left Africa in waves, and that those migrations began much earlier than once thought, some scientists disputed the evidence that people of African descent may be carrying Neanderthal genes. David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, praised much of the study but said he had doubts about how extensive the flow of DNA back to Africa could have been. “It looks like this is a really weak signal,” he said of the data.

“Other experts said the new study offered compelling support for earlier hints for this ancient expansion. In 2019, for example, a team of scientists reported finding a modern human skull in Greece dating back over 210,000 years. Other researchers discovered small fragments of DNA in Neanderthal fossils that showed a striking similarity to modern human genes.

“Despite his hesitation over the analysis of African DNA, Dr. Reich said the new findings do make a strong case that modern humans departed Africa much earlier than thought. “I was on the fence about that, but this paper makes me think it’s right,” he said. In recent years, Dr. Reich and other researchers have found evidence that ancient people from the Near East moved back into Africa in the past few thousand years and spread their DNA to many African populations.

How It Was Determined that Neanderthal DNA Hinted Modern Humans Left Africa 200,000 Years Ago

Modern human shell ornament

Joshua Akey, a geneticist at Princeton University who was involved in some of the early studies that linked Neanderthal DNA with modern humans, grew dissatisfied with the methods used to look for Neanderthal DNA in living people. The standard method was built on the assumption that most Africans had no Neanderthal DNA at all. Dr. Akey and his colleagues figured out a new method, which they call IBDMix, that takes advantage of the fact that relatives share stretches of matching DNA.

“Siblings, for example, share many long, identical stretches of DNA. But their children will have fewer identical segments, which will also be shorter. Distantly related cousins will have tinier matching segments that require sophisticated methods to uncover.Dr. Akey and his colleagues figured out how to search the DNA of living humans and remains of Neanderthals for these minuscule matching segments. Then they pinpointed the segments that came from a relatively recent ancestor — and therefore were a sign of interbreeding. The scientists searched 2,504 genomes of living humans for segments that matched those in a Neanderthal genome. When the scientists tallied up the results, the results took Dr. Akey by surprise.

“The human genome is detailed in units called base pairs, about 3 billion such pairs in total. The scientists found that Europeans on average had 51 million base pairs that matched Neanderthal DNA, and East Asians had 55 million. Dr. Akey’s previous research had indicated that East Asians carried far more Neanderthal ancestry than did Europeans. Africans on average had 17 million base pairs that matched Neanderthal DNA — far higher than predicted by the original models describing how humans and Neanderthals interbred. “That was just so completely opposite to my expectations,” said Dr. Akey. “It took a while to convince ourselves that what we are finding with this new approach was actually true.”

“Looking at the size of these shared segments and how common they were around the world, Dr. Akey and his colleagues realized that some were the result of interbreeding very early in human history. They concluded that a group of modern humans expanded out of Africa perhaps 200,000 years ago and interbred with Neanderthals. Those modern humans then disappeared. But Neanderthals who lived after that disappearance inherited some modern human DNA.. It’s possible that humans and Neanderthals interbred at other times, and not just 200,000 years ago and again 60,000 years ago. But Dr. Akey said that these two migrations accounted for the vast majority of mixed DNA in the genomes of living humans and Neanderthal fossils.

Modern Europeans Originated from a Group 35,000-Year-Old Colonizers?

The ancestry of modern Europeans has been traced back to a single founding group of early humans living in the northwestern Europe about 35,000 years ago. Hannah Osborne wrote in the International Business Times: “Researchers analyzed the DNA from 51 prehistoric Europeans to find migration patterns and population changes over thousands of years. Fossil evidence shows early humans first entered Europe roughly 45,000 years ago. However, little is known about their genetic ancestry before the onset of agriculture, some 8,000 years ago. Between their arrival and agriculture, Europe saw the end of the last Ice Age. Ice sheets that had covered northern Europe and Scandinavia between 25,000 and 19,000 years ago began to retreat.[Source: Hannah Osborne, International Business Times, May 2, 2016]

“A team of scientists, led by Harvard's David Reich, has now carried out the most comprehensive analysis of early European DNA to date. Previously, genetic data on just four prehistoric Europeans was available. "Trying to represent this vast period of European history with just four samples is like trying to summarize a movie with four still images," Reich said.

“Using 51 samples, the team was able to build up a far more extensive view of the changes over time. Findings, published in Nature, showed there were two major population changes in Europe between 45,000 and 7,000 years ago. The upheavals reveal how the Ice Age impacted the migration of populations and modern Europeans came from one founding population that lived in north west Europe roughly 35,000 years ago. This founding group was displaced, however. It was found to have been living in south west Europe 19,000 years ago. As the ice started retreating, this same group spread northwards and repopulated Europe.

“Another massive upheaval took place 14,000 years ago, when populations from the south east, including Turkey and Greece, spread into Europe. Their arrival introduced a new genetic component into modern Europeans. "These results document how population turnover and migration have been recurring themes of European pre-history," the study said. Reich added: "What we see is a population history that is no less complicated than that in the last 7,000 years, with multiple episodes of population replacement and immigration on a vast and dramatic scale, at a time when the climate was changing dramatically."

Early Humans Reached China 80,000 Years Ago, Long Before They Reached Europe

single versus multiple migration (s) out of Africa

In 2015, Chinese scientists announced they discovered 47 teeth from modern humans in Fuyan Cave in southern China's Hunan province that date back at least 80,000 years. Charles Q. Choi wrote in Live Science, “Teeth from a cave in China suggest that modern humans lived in Asia much earlier than previously thought, and tens of thousands of years before they reached Europe, researchers say...Modern humans first originated about 200,000 years ago in Africa. When and how the modern human lineage dispersed from Africa has long been controversial. Previous research suggested the exodus from Africa began between 70,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, recent research hinted that modern humans might have begun their march across the globe as early as 130,000 years ago. [Source: Charles Q. Choi, Live Science, October 14, 2015]

“One place that could shed light on the spread of humanity is southern China, which is dotted with fossil-rich caves. Scientists analyzed modern human teeth that they unearthed in Fuyan Cave in southern China's Hunan province, which is part of a system of caves more than 32,300 square feet (3,000 square meters) in size. Excavations from 2011 to 2013 yielded a trove of 47 human teeth, as well as bones from many other extinct and living animals, such as pandas, hyenas and pigs. The scientists detailed their findings in the Oct. 15 issue of the journal Nature.

“The researchers found these teeth are more than 80,000 years old, and may date back as far as 120,000 years. Until now, fossils from southern China confirmed as older than 45,000 years in age that can be confidently identified as modern human in origin have been lacking. "Our discovery, together with other research findings, suggests southern China should be the key, central area for the emergence and evolution of modern humans in East Asia," the study's co-lead author, Wu Liu, of China's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, told Live Science.

“These newfound teeth are smaller than counterparts of similar ages from Africa and elsewhere in China. Instead, they more closely resemble teeth from contemporary modern humans. This suggests different kinds of humans were living in China at the same time — archaic kinds in northern China, and ones more like modern humans in southern China.

Early Humans Reached Europe Much Later Than Asia Because of Neanderthals?

Charles Q. Choi wrote in Live Science, “The researchers said these findings could shed light on why modern humans made a relatively late entry into Europe. There is currently no evidence that modern humans entered Europe before 45,000 years ago, even though they made it as far as southern China at least as early as 80,000 years ago. The investigators suggested that Neanderthals might have prevented modern humans from crossing into Europe until after Neanderthals began dying off." The main thing holding scientists back from making further conclusions is that archaeological evidence is lacking from Fuyan Cave and other sites from that period in China. [Source: Charles Q. Choi, Live Science, October 14, 2015]

“"It may be that that Europe was too small for two intelligent and behaviorally complex species that were seeking the same type of resources," study co-lead author María Martinón-Torres at University College London told Live Science. Perhaps Neanderthals faded away after dealing with thousands of years of isolation and harsh winters, and "maybe it was only at that time that Homo sapiens could finally make it into Europe," Martinón-Torres added.

“Still, Neanderthals might not be the main reason for the relatively late entry of modern humans into Europe, said archaeologist Robin Dennell at the University of Exeter in England, who did not take part in this research. Instead, modern humans may have colonized the southern zones of Europe and Asia before the northern zones because the former were warmer than the latter, Dennell wrote in a commentary article in the Oct. 15 issue of Nature.

“The jury is still out on exactly what triggered the dispersal of modern humans. "What is especially needed now is archaeological evidence (sadly lacking in Fuyan Cave) to indicate whether the initial dispersal of our species was caused or facilitated by cognitive developments (such as symbolism or complex exchange systems), or was simply an example of opportunistic range extension," Dennell writes in his commentary, adding that southern China could hold the answer.”

Three waves of early migration of modern humans as reflected by tools: Phase 1), around the 54,000 years ago, represented by the Neronian/Initial Upper Paleolithic; Phase 2) by the Châtelperronian, 45,000 years ago; and Phase 3) by the Protoaurignacian, Southern Early Ahmarian, around 42,000 years ago

Eve's Daughters and First Modern Humans in Europe, Around 45,000 Years Ago

Earliest evidence of modern humans in Europe and Greece — 45,000 years before present — Mount Parnassus — Geneticist Bryan Sykes identifies 'Ursula' as the first of The Seven Daughters of Eve, and the carrier of the mitochondrial haplogroup U. This hypothetical woman moved between the mountain caves and the coast of Greece, and based on genetic research represent the first human settlement of Europe. [Source: Wikipedia]

In his book “The Seven Daughters Of Eve,” Bryan Sykes, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, makes a case for his theory that 95 percent of present-day Europeans can trace their ancestry back to just seven individual women, of whom the earliest is “Ursula,” from 45,000 years ago, in present-day Greece. James Meek wrote in The Guardian: “Sykes studies a tiny percentage of human DNA known as mitochondrial DNA, or mDNA, which unlike most of our genes does not get jumbled up between mother and father from generation to generation. MDNA is passed on unchanged from mother to child, time after time, over thousands - in fact, millions - of years. This extraordinary property means that we do, indeed, carry within us a piece of information passed on directly from a maternal ancestor who lived in the world while the Ice Age was at its height. [Source: James Meek, The Guardian, June 11, 2001]

“By comparing mutations in mDNA, which occur spontaneously every 10 millennia or so, it is possible to draw conclusions about the movements of large groups of people over time. It is also possible to identify "clusters" of present-day people with similar sets of mutations, which can be traced back to putative single maternal ancestors in the distant past. That is how Sykes has come up with his seven daughters. He has given them imaginary names and worked out where and when they were likely to have lived.

“There is Ursula, from 45,000 years ago, in present-day Greece; Xenia (25,000, the Caucasus); Helena (20,000, the north-east Pyrenean foothills); Tara (17,000, Tuscany); Velda (17,000, the Basque region); Katrine (15,000, northern Italy) and Jasmine (10,000, the Euphrates valley).”

Gerry Rising wrote: “Based on the genetic differences, Sykes is able to construct European human systematics over the past 45,000 years. And that is where the sisters come in. Originally more formally identified by letters, these older designations are simply assigned by Sykes to female names — U becoming Ursula, X Xenia, and so on. He then further fleshes out these "daughters of eve' to their approximate time and place and builds quite reasonable stories around them based on anthropoligical evidence about the people of t heir times. For example, he begins his first narrative, "Ursula was born into a world very different from our own. Forty-five thousand years ago it was a lot colder than it is today, and would get colder still in the millennia to come leading up to the Great Ice Age. Ursula was born in a shallow cave cut into the cliffs at the foot of what is now Mount Parnassus, close to what was to become the ancient Greek classical site of Delphi."

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons, except last map and tools by Ludovic Slimak

Text Sources: National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Nature, Scientific American. Live Science, Discover magazine, Discovery News, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, Time, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, AP, AFP and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2024

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