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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1992 Aug 29;337(1280):185-91.

Recent human evolution in northwestern Africa.

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Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The first modern humans in the Maghreb are said to be associated with the Aterian industries which appeared at least 40 ka BP in the northwest. Their predecessors are mainly represented by the Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) specimens. Palaeontological evidence, as well as electron spin resonance (ESR) dating, suggests that this series is older than previously published, and should belong to oxygen isotope stage 5 or even 6. There is no evidence of any Neanderthal apomorphy in this group which can no longer be considered as 'African Nanderthals'. Clear synapomorphies with modern man combined with some plesiomorphic retentions indicate a slightly more primitive (and older?) grade than the Qafzeh-Skhul sample in southwestern Asia. The Northwestern evidence demonstrates that the mediterranean sea was a major biological barrier during the upper Middle and lower Upper Pleistocene and that the rise of anatomically modern features cannot be restricted to a sub-Saharan of eastern African area.

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