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Humanity’s migration journey – interactive map

18 June 20240 comments

Scientists and tech experts at the California Academy of Sciences have developed a fascinating interactive map which traces the migration of the human species across the globe.

Using archaeological, genetic, and climate data, scientists have pieced together an outline of the human odyssey – the journey that took our species from Africa to all corners of the globe.

The map shows how 200,000 years of migration unfolded after humanity’s crucible moment in Africa.

Humans first emerged in Africa 200,000 years ago, the map reveals. It shows that between 195,000 and 160,000 years ago human migration was blocked by oceans and deserts.

Between 160,000 and 135,000 years ago climate fluctuations and an ice age tested humanity’s ability to adapt and survive.

Between 135,000 and 120,000 years ago as global temperatures warmed and glaciers retreated the planet became more hospitable.

Humans migrated to the Middle East between 115,000 and 90,000 years ago but populations in Africa almost became extinct because of severe drought 90,000 to 70,000 years ago.

Between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago there was a second migration out of Africa and in the following ten thousand years, humans adapted to warmer climates and migration routes turned south.

Next, between 50,000 and 45,000 years ago, human groups migrated through Southeast Asia and crossed land bridges to Australia. Other groups headed north to China.

Between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago, retreating glaciers allowed humans to settle in Europe. Meanwhile a ‘fertile crescent emerged in the Middle East, allowing an increase in populations.

Finally, between 15,000 and 8,000 years ago, humans settled along the west coast of the Americas.

The academy’s Department of Anthropology focuses on the study of human evolution and cultural diversity. 

Access the map here Human Odyssey Map: California Academy of Sciences (