I’m aware that the possible oldest homo sapiens fossil was found in Morocco. The vast majority of our fossils however is found in Eastern Africa. In recent years,a controversial study on mitochondrial DNA seems to suggest an origin from Southern Africa. Where is the majority scientific opinion on this issue at the moment?

You can read this article for my source on the study of mitochondrial DNA


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Possibly the currently favoured view is that anatomically modern humans didn't evolve in one location, but evolved in a structure population that spanned Africa (and perhaps the Middle East):

We challenge the view that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved within a single population and/or region of Africa. The chronology and physical diversity of Pleistocene human fossils suggest that morphologically varied populations pertaining to the H. sapiens clade lived throughout Africa. Similarly, the African archaeological record demonstrates the polycentric origin and persistence of regionally distinct Pleistocene material culture in a variety of paleoecological settings. Genetic studies also indicate that present-day population structure within Africa extends to deep times, paralleling a paleoenvironmental record of shifting and fractured habitable zones. We argue that these fields support an emerging view of a highly structured African prehistory that should be considered in human evolutionary inferences, prompting new interpretations, questions, and interdisciplinary research directions.

Scerri, Eleanor ML, et al. "Did our species evolve in subdivided populations across Africa, and why does it matter?." Trends in ecology & evolution 33.8 (2018): 582-594.

For a criticism of the mtDNA Southern Africa origins paper, see this paper.

  • $\begingroup$ This is rather interesting. I have 2 questions. Firstly, does this represent the majority of scientific opinion? Secondly, does this “African Multiregional” approach imply a sort of convergent evolution of multiple groups of archaic humans into modern Homo sapiens? $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2021 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ This view is scientifically so weakly supported that I wouldn't give it much credence at this point. The number of human fossils recovered is tiny, they are poorly dated and by no means a random sample. Similarly, the "material culture" (basically stones that are often hard to identify as intentional human artifacts versus naturally-occurring pieces) is notoriously difficult to link with any fossil or even date to an accuracy finer than a few hundred thousand years. The identification of many more fossils and genomic sequencing will sort it out in the future. $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Aug 9, 2021 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Armand So what do you think is the majority opinion then? $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2021 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidOkogbenin The correct opinion is "insufficient data, likely for at least a number of decades". Majority/minority doesn't matter in science -- data matters. $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Aug 9, 2021 at 11:55

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