How Man Began

New evidence shows that early humans left Africa much sooner than once thought. Did Homo sapiens evolve in many places at once?

No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals -- but that hasn't stopped the phrasemakers from trying to find one. They have described humans as the animals who make tools, or reason, or use fire, or laugh, or any one of a dozen other appealing oversimplifications. Here's one more description for the list, as good as any other: Humans are the animals who wonder, intensely and endlessly, about their origin. Starting with a Neanderthal skeleton unearthed in Germany in 1856, archaeologists and anthropologists have sweated mightily over excavations in Africa, Europe and Asia, trying to find fossil evidence that...

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