I mentioned not long ago that, among other books, I was attempting to read Stephen Oppenheimer's, The Real Eve. I did say "attemptiung," and at that time I deduced that I wouldn't read all of it. It turns out that I was correct as the first few chapters supplied the broad picture of which I am more interested. Here, I attempt to very briefly summarize a small bit from those early chapters.
As most of you know, the DNA trail, as well as the archaeological one as far as I understand it, both reveal that humans had their origin in Africa. That seems to apply to both modern humans and earlier branches that became extinct. We modern humans are thought to have come into being about 160 000 years BP.
Then, about 80 000 years ago, it appears that their was a one-time exodus out of Africa of possibly a group of 1 000 people, and it would also seem that they crossed into the Arabian Peninsula at the southern tip of the Red Sea. At that time, glacial ice sheets held much water in frozen form, and the resulting low sea levels would have made the crossing relatively easy. From that crossing point our ancestors likely followed the Arabian coast to what is now the Persian Gulf: except that the gulf was likely dry land at that point. The crossing and that route is shown by the green line on the map, which you might wish to embiggen (just click) for a clearer view.
Since I am unaware of any Africans or people of African descent reading this blog, every single one of the ancestors of those reading these words made that crossing and subsequent migration about 80 000 years ago. Isn't that a remarkable thought? Beyond that, we are all, Africans and non-Africans alike, descended from a single ancestor about 160 000 years BP. Amazing.
The blue line shows that from the Gulf, travellers continued to follow the coastline into south Asia and beyond, the native Australians (Aborigines) settling in that continent perhaps 70 000 years ago. Well the map doesn't go very far in that direction, but the blue line gives you the idea of the direction.
Later in time, others migrated (see red line) back toward the Levant (more or less modern Israel and Lebanon as I understand it), and eventually moved in to Europe. That migration into Europe probably occurred about 50 000 years ago or perhaps even a bit later.
I find this stuff fascinating, and if it's new to you, I hope you like this Cole's/Cliff's notes version (depending on where you're from). There is another book that I'd like to get ahold of, The Seven Daughters of Eve. When I do, perhaps I will find more material to post. Meanwhile, I offer my apologies to Mr Oppenheimer and any other expert for offering such a bare bones precis of such a vast and detailed subject.