View Full Version : Colonisation of Europe Might Have Started From Morocco and Not From Ethiopia

Monday, February 7th, 2011, 11:10 PM
The link to the Article can be found below. The interesting things are:

- New datation of the "aterian" culture shows that Morocco and the Atlas Mountains might have been the real craddle of non African homosapiens between 145000 and 60000 years ago. Since this area had a temperate climate, this might suggest that first Eurasiatic settlers were more light than dark skinned.

- the reconstruction of the 80000 years old "aterian" ancestor (Dar es Soltan 2) is very cromagnoid and definitely not negroid nor even mediteranoid (look reconstruction page 21). This roots back the brunn-booreby types of the so called Mechta Afalou Culture (30000-20000 years) and might explain the contemporaneous emergence of the cro-magnoid types during the gravetian and Magdalenian periods in Europe.

- even the Out of Africa theologist Chris Stringer admits that this discovery might reshape his theory.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:FfgeOQd9zuwJ:www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/North%2BAfrica%2B(%2BAterian)%2Bpossible %2Bsource%2Bof%2BEurasian%2Bmodern%2Bhum ans--Balter%2BScience%2Bnews.pdf?SGWID%3D0-0-45-1058837-p173624756+aterian+skull+dar+es+soltan&hl=fr&gl=fr&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgaCYORGHOd3hdn1jcpvdlmOb56fr Sa0TgXTfbC9xPEwF_SOIHKlLoeBJYORSJv5DgVBl 8QAIJj5uLimbzIH3WRgQg-1oePFDMX5l-3qRuALaHU1QP0ggj2TEDYZkCBvnFpWRbd&sig=AHIEtbQi-zo9uwpQJAz0SWqmAEQY41GxOw&pli=1 (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.goo gle.com%2Fviewer%3Fa%3Dv%26q%3Dcache%3AF fgeOQd9zuwJ%3Awww.springer.com%2Fcda%2Fc ontent%2Fdocument%2Fcda_downloaddocument %2FNorth%252BAfrica%252B%28%252BAterian% 29%252Bpossible%252Bsource%252Bof%252BEu rasian%252Bmodern%252Bhumans--Balter%252BScience%252Bnews.pdf%3FSGWID% 253D0-0-45-1058837-p173624756%2Baterian%2Bskull%2Bdar%2Bes% 2Bsoltan%26hl%3Dfr%26gl%3Dfr%26pid%3Dbl% 26srcid%3DADGEESgaCYORGHOd3hdn1jcpvdlmOb 56frSa0TgXTfbC9xPEwF_SOIHKlLoeBJYORSJv5D gVBl8QAIJj5uLimbzIH3WRgQg-1oePFDMX5l-3qRuALaHU1QP0ggj2TEDYZkCBvnFpWRbd%26sig% 3DAHIEtbQi-zo9uwpQJAz0SWqmAEQY41GxOw%26pli%3D1)

20 7 JANUARY 2011 VOL 331 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.org (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scie ncemag.org)
LAST YEAR, ARCHAEOLOGISTS EXCAVATING at the Grotte des Contrebandiers (Smuggler’s Cave) on Morocco’s Atlantic coast
unearthed a rare prize: the skull and partial skeleton of a 7- or 8-year-old child. The fossils, dated to 108,000 years ago, appear to belong to an early member of our species, although study of them has just begun.

But one feature stands out already: “It has huge teeth,” says Harold Dibble of the University of Pennsylvania, co-leader of the dig team. That’s a feature the child shares not only with other hominin fossils found across North Africa but also with some of the fi rst modern humans to leave Africa. And so the new fossil may contain clues to an enduring mystery in human origins research: Just where in Africa did the modern humans who first colonized the rest of the world come from? “It’s a very exciting specimen,” says anthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

For Hublin, who was born in Algeria, the Contrebandiers child adds to growing evidence that North Africa was likely a major source of the modern humans who first left humanity’s homeland and spread into Europe and Asia as early as 130,000 years ago. “If you look at a map and think how modern humans would have moved out, you would logically look at North Africa,” he says.

Nevertheless, until very recently, most researchers studying the origins of Homo sapiens looked elsewhere, focusing instead on the fossils of East Africa and the sophisticated tools and ornaments of famed South African sites such as Blombos Cave (Science, 16 April 2004, p. 369). Few scientists thought that much of evolutionary signifi cance had gone on in North Africa, or that the region’s big-toothed, somewhat archaic-looking hominins might be closely related to the ancestors of many living people.

“We’ve left North Africa off the map for so long, and now it deserves to be there,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. Indeed, a fl urry of research has now put the region fi rmly on the map of human evolution. Thanks to new excavations and more accurate dating, North Africa now boasts unequivocal signs of modern human behavior as early as anywhere else in the world, including South Africa. Climate reconstructions and fossil studies now suggest that the region was more hospitable during key periods than once thought. The data suggest that the Sahara Desert was a land of lakes and rivers about 130,000 years ago, when moderns fi rst left Africa for sites in what is today Israel. And new studies of hominin fossils suggest some strong resemblances — and possible evolutionary connections—

Old youngster. This fossil child had big teeth.

A growing number of researchers suspect that long-neglected North Africa was the original home of the modern humans who fi rst trekked out of the continent (...)

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011, 11:44 PM
Thank you so much for this article. It's one of the most fascinating (and rational) pieces I've read in some time concerning possible population expansions into Europe.

Friday, February 11th, 2011, 03:41 PM

Sunday, February 27th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Yes, that's my own opinion. European colonization might have a dual origin, an idea which is not new, but seems confirmed by the new findings in Morocco. However, the interesting thing of the reproduced Article above, is that, instead of tracing this dual origin to the last glacial optimum and the Magdalenian epoch (15,000 years ago), the Morocco discoveries brings the fundamental distinction back to at least 40,000 years ago:

By that time, Europe was being invaded from the South-East by the so-called "Aurignatians" who brought there their new bones and ivory artifacts, as well as a new way to slice flint stones. These Aurignatians were roughly of a leptomorphic physionomy, as shown by the oldest burials from Mladec (Slovakia) and Oase (Romania), which might recall either atlantic types, or less differentiated ethiopoid types. This allowed some reconstructions proposing negroid soft body parts, following the recent "out of Africa" fashion. One may also note that these "aurignatians" might also have mixed with Neanderthalians, as Gottingen genetic tests recently suggested.

But at the same moment, another branch of the Humanity, called "Aterians" (from a site known as Bir-el-Ater in Algeria), occupied most of Northwest Africa since at least 150,000 years (if we trace back to the proto sapiens skull discovered at Djebel Irhoud) or even back to 400,000 (if we trace back to the local erectus men). Many thought that these Aterians vanished without descent around 30,000 years ago, before being replaced by Cromagnoids 20,000 years ago who founded a so-called “iberomaurusian” culture. A hiatus of 10,000 years of plain desert (the Sahara sands covered Maghreb and reached the Mediterranean shores) separated the disappearing of Aterians and the emergence of Iberomaurusians. Despite their clearly distinct features , these iberomaurusian cromagnoids were said to be migrants from the Near East who would have been from the same Ethiopian stock than the one who invaded Eurasia 100.000 years ago (Qafzeh). But recent researches now suggest that these cro-magnoids descend from the Aterians: Reconstruction of the two sole Aterian specimens match closely the cro-magnoid skuls of the iberomorusian culture. In particular square orbites, large and angular Jaws and large brain cases. The only difference is that these Aterians are much more rugged with heavy browridges and thick bones. Kind of “super-comagnoids”.

Then, what happened in North Africa between 30.000 and 20.000 BC, when most of it was covered by desert? An explanation proposed by many French anthropologists in the 70s (Denise Ferembach, Gabriel Camps) suggested that the Aterians might have moved accross Gibraltar to Europe 30.000 years ago, where they founded or at least contributed to the “Gravettian” (and perhaps the solutrean) culture which succeeded the “Aurignatian” culture. Indeed the Gravettian skulls from Europe, like the later iberomorusian skulls from North Africa, are quite different from the Aurignacian. They all show these remarkable cro-magnoids features (square orbites and square jaws), which were never present in the descent of the oriental out of africa’s eve (See Omo, Herto, Qafzeh, and the allegedly related Aurignacians). The gravettian cro-magnoids will quickly invade Europe from south west (The eponym skull of the cave of Cro-magnon has been redated to 28,000 BC) to north East: their clearly recognizable features appear in Sunghir, near Moscou around 26.000 years ago. Throughout their walks they will mix with remaining Aurignacians and form different intermediary types, though mostly cro-magnoids (Dolni-Vestonice, Brunn), that will prevail during the Magdalenian frost (starting around 20,000 years ago), where they will resettle southwards in two main refuges, in southwest France and in the Balkans. It is possible that the Iberomorusian cro-magnoid type that emerged in North Africa about 20,000 years ago was the result of a “back to Africa migration”, that might have occurred, either via Gibraltar or via Sicily: Former ancient MT-DNA studies on iberomorusian cro-magnoids led in 2005 have already demonstrated that the U6 haplogroup that prevailed equally with H among these Iberomaurusians was posterior to the spread of U1 and U5 in Europe (note that this MT-U6 "back to africa" migration should be distinguished from another "back to africa" migration that was caused 15000 years ago by bearers of Y-haplotype R1b).

Yet, what have we learned from the recent discoveries ?
The Neanderthal is only marginally an ancestor of the Europeans: 6% at most - which is not neglectable if you consider the impact of having a great great grand father that looked more or less to an ape.
However the "out of eastern Africa" Aurignacian contribution does not explain the 94 remaining percent. It is likely that half of it is from another origin: the “Aterians”, themselves descending from Djebel Irhoud populations who lived in North West Africa isolated from the East African populations during as much as 400.000 years.
This would explain the singularity of the European types, in comparison with the pure Mediterranean types stemming from the Near East.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, 12:08 AM
Gibraltar and Algeria are touching during the glacial maximum at 15-18,000BP, again at 24-28,000BP and again at 60-65,000BP, right? (Or do I have my maximums wrong?) I'm guessing that periodically from 28-12,000BP a land passage might have been open from Algeria to Iberia - but certainly there would have been an earlier time when the passage was open, as well (several of them).

No one has been dealing well (at least in general texts on the subject) with Homo antecessor in the Pyrenees being pushed back to 1.4MYA, either - and with a fairly large brain (thought to be ancestral certainly to Neanderthal), but also to H. heidelburgensis, the "non-species" that appears in Europe (mostly the interior of Europe, the shores of North Africa and the NE Coast of Africa as well).