150,000-year palaeoclimate record from northern Ethiopia supports early, multiple dispersals of modern humans from Africa

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number1077
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2018
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Abstract

Climatic change is widely acknowledged to have played a role in the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa, but the timing is contentious. Dispersal is often linked to climatic change at ~60,000 years ago, despite increasing evidence for earlier presence of modern humans in Asia. Here we report a deep seismic and near-continuous core record of the last 150,000 years from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands, close to the earliest modern human fossil sites and to postulated dispersal routes. The record shows varied climate at the end of the penultimate glacial, followed by an abrupt change to relatively stable moist climate during the last interglacial. These conditions would have favored population growth and range expansion, supporting models of early, multiple dispersals of modern humans from Africa