I’m not sure that’s the most accurate title for a post like this.
A few months ago I launched a thread on SF-Fandom discussing all the relevant evidence I know about concerning the emergence of modern humans from Africa — at least, modern humans who are apparently descended from the so-called “Adam” who lived about 60,000 years ago.
In Africa 60,000 years ago: The Age of Adam I have attempted to collect as much relevant information as I can to paint a broad picture of how modern humanity may have moved out of Africa. But I’ve also included references to evidence that makes one question the validity of that picture. For example, recent discoveries of modern human tools on Crete dating to about 130,000 years ago have forced archaeologists to rethink how far back human travel by water may go.
My thesis (which is not the first to argue this point of view) suggests that some sort of polygamy may have occurred after the Toba event. A recent DNA study suggests that modern humans are more monogamous than polygamous but an even more curious announcement comes out of a 7-year-long dig in northern India that suggests modern humans living outside Africa probably survived the Toba event.
The site does not suggest that a separate lineage from the African Adam’s need have survived to this time. The descendants of those survivors could have lived up until a few hundred years ago and been wiped out by war, famine, disease, or some other disaster.
Still, one might easily form the impression that after the Toba super-volcano erupted about 70,000 years ago that the world became a desolate place for a time. The archaeologists examining the northern India site say this is too extreme an interpretation of the data. Toba does not seem to have disrupted the ecosystem nearly that much.
There is still a great deal more for us to learn about our past. I think the hypothesizing is healthy and fun. We may not be seeing our past as our ancestors saw their present but we have gradually come to realize that they were doing far more than just wandering the landscape eating wild nuts and fruits.