The spreading out of modern human populations in Africa 80,000 to 60,000 years ago and their initial exodus out of Africa have been uncertainly linked to two phases of technological and behavioral innovation within the Middle Stone Age of southern Africa.
The genus Homo evolved in Africa a little less than 2.5 million years ago, characterized by increasingly large brains that equipped them better for survival—their predecessors, the australopithecines, became extinct soon thereafter. Mary and Louis Leakey became famous for their discovery of the Homo habilis site in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge—a small ape—like biped that was skilled with stone tools (hence the name).
These include surface and buried soils, windborne dispersal, human motion, excavation techniques and toolkits, and field attire has on archaeological sample quality. The announcement of Homo habilis was a defining moment in palaeoanthropology. It shifted the pursuit for the first humans from Asia to Africa and began a debate that persists to this day. Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.
Later hominids were larger, stronger and more anthropomorphic. The fossil record shows that hominids spread from Africa to Europe and Asia in multiple waves beginning about 2 million years ago (exactly how many species were involved, and how recently some survived, remains uncertain). They appear to have developed vocalization, hunter-gatherer social groups and the use of fire over the next million years.
The current scientific consensus, supported by DNA studies, is that modern humans arose in Africa 200,000 years ago, before spreading out, replacing and interbreeding with other hominids.