Dr Eleanor Scerri (Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford)
The roots of our species, Homo sapiens, do not trace back to a single population in sub-Saharan Africa, but to morphologically diverse populations living across the continent. Supported by archaeological, fossil and genetic data, this ‘African Multiregionalism’ also included hybridization between H. sapiens and mysterious, African archaic humans.
However, the diversity, differential success and ecological context of these populations remain obscure, preventing assessment of the exact character of our origins. In particular, we know very little about Africa’s western and tropical regions, now brought to the fore by an improved understanding of our African Multiregional origins.
This talk therefore presents a West African perspective of human origins, in particular focusing on recent research from the Senegal Prehistory Project.