Modern Humans: Origin and Evolution


Modern humans originated recently in geological time from a diverse African gene pool. Very little if any interbreeding probably occurred with existing archaic human populations outside of Africa such as the Neanderthals of Europe.

Keywords: multiregional model; single recent replacement model; coalescence; Neanderthal; mitochondrial DNA

Figure 1.

(a) Multiregional model and (b) recent replacement model. See figure key for explanations.

Figure 2.

Worldwide median‐joining network of mitochondrial haplogroups. Sizes of haplogroup clusters are proportional to their frequencies. Reproduced from Kivisild et al. by permission of Elsevier.

Figure 3.

Single recent replacement model with two primary migrations out of Africa.



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Further Reading

Cann RL (2001) Genetic clues to dispersal in human populations: retracing the past from the present. Science 291: 1742–1748.

Krings M, Stone A, Schmitz RW et al. (1997) Neanderthal DNA sequences and the origin of modern humans. Cell 90: 19–30.

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How to Cite close
Disotell, Todd R(Mar 2008) Modern Humans: Origin and Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005300.pub2]