Figure The Route From Africa To The Former Continent Of Sahul

Humans left Africa at a time when ice sheets covered northern latitudes of Europe and Asia, and sea levels were some 200 feet lower than now. They probably crossed the Red Sea at its southern entrance and reached India. Generation by generation, people expanded along the coastlines of southern Asia until by 40,000 years ago they had reached the foundered continent of Sahul (now Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). This eastward route taken by the first modern humans to leave Africa may reflect a preference for staying within the tropical climates to which they were adapted, or the occupation of the mainland by Homo erectus, or both. The first, based on genetic analysis, is that there seems to have been just a single emigration of modern humans from Africa. A second genetic inference is that the number of those who left was probably quite small. Indeed it could have been as few as some 150 people, raising the puzzle of why, if one group of people managed to escape from Africa, many more did not do so. After some differences of opinion, geneticists now seem to agree that the trees drawn on the basis of the Y chromosome and of mitochondrial DNA both point to a single exodus from Africa. "Analysis of mtDNA and Y chromosome diversity support a single East African source of migration out

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