Homo sapiens developed a new ecological niche that separated it from other hominins

A review of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental datasets relating to Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals within and beyond Africa demonstrates unique environmental settings and adaptations for Homo sapiens relative to other hominins. Our species’ ability to occupy diverse and ‘extreme’ settings around the world stands in stark contrast to the ecological adaptations of other hominin taxa, and may explain how our species became the last surviving hominin on the planet.

Investigations into what it means to be human should shift from attempts to uncover the earliest material traces of ‘art’, ‘language’, or technological ‘complexity’ towards understanding what makes our species ecologically unique. In contrast to our ancestors and contemporary relatives, our species not only colonized a diversity of challenging environments, including deserts, tropical rainforests, high altitude settings, and the palaeoarctic, but also specialized in its adaptation to some of these extremes.

So our species was unique, thrived and advanced because we were NOT confined to a garden.


Great job putting more detail into the main post @Patrick. I want to look into this one deeper.

I wish I can get the actual paper but it is behind a paywall for me at least, may not for you with university library credentials. This seems insightful. Species with ecological niche. Fits with a more advanced language, tools and culture than Homo Erectus. We survived BECAUSE we developed a more advanced language, tools, and culture. More adaptable in handling anything that nature could throw at us.

I can probably get this one. Also, the Max Planck Insitute for Human History is my dream employer. Check out their site.

Much appreciate if you can get it. Yes, I would love to be a young scientist working on ancient DNA at Max Planck.