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Ancient human migrations



2 million – Emergence of genus Homo in Africa
2 m -50,000Homo erectus widespread across Eurasia
c. 300,000 – Fossils of Homo sapiens found in Morocco suggesting Africawide distribution at this time
200-150,000Homo sapiens found in fossils of East Africa
80-90,000 – Anatomically modern humans leave Africa to populate the world
70,000 – earliest evidence of modern humans in SE Asia
65,000 ± 5000 – earliest evidence of humans in Australia
50,000-10,000 – Ice Ages, peaking c.18,000 BP, with sea levels 100-150 m lower than today
50,000H. sapiens populates Australia, preceded only by bat & rodent placental mammals
52,000-40,000 – World’s first figurative rock art found in Borneo and Sulawesi
43,000H. sapiens populates northern Europe
43,000-22,000 – Lake Mungo a fertile lake system –site of oldest Aboriginal remains
35,000H. sapiens populates Tasmania
30,000-25,000 – General occupation of Sahul complete(except arid centre)
30,000-5,000 – Volcanic activity Mt Napier, Mt Gambier, Mt Eccles
25,000H. sapiens populates Britain
18,000H. sapiens populates North America
14,000 – King Island separates from Cape Otway
13,000 – Flinders Island separates from Wilson’s Promontory
12,000H. sapiens populates South America
. . . Gwion Gwion Kimberley rock art dated to about this time
10,000H. sapiens the only remaining species of Homo
8,000-6,000 – Formation of Great Barrier Reef; separation of New Guinea & Australia by Torres Strait
6,000 – Sea adjusts to present-day levels
5,000-2,500 – Peopling of the Pacific
4,500 – Chinese farmers migrate into SE Asia
3,000 – Settlement of Torres Strait Islands
1,500 – Trade route connecting Mediterranean, W Asia, Africa and China with minor trade into Indonesia
1,000 – Settlement of Polynesia


300 – Settlement of Easter Island
400 – Settlement of Hawaii
1280 – Settlement of New Zealand
1980s – Genetic anthropology begins mapping the path of human migration
1987 – mtDNA traces human family tree back about 10,000 generations to first female ancestor ‘Eve’
2011 – First completed Aboriginal genome

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