Human Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 3–4, pp 231–240 | Cite as

Isolation and the origin of the khoisan: Late pleistocene and early holocene human evolution at the southern end of Africa

  • Morris A. G. 


The debate between the proponents of the Recent African Origin and the Multiregional Evolution models for the origin of anatomically modern humans has not been of great importance to the interpretation of late Pleistocene human fossils in South Africa. The main reason is that both models propose that evidence of anatomically moderns should happen in South Africa at an early date. A more important issue to the African context is whether or not those early transitions to modernity were accompanied by the development of the distinctive local populations known today as the Khoisan. Serogenetic evidence suggests a relative antiquity for the origins of living Khoisan peoples, but this may simply reflect the longer time that anatomically modern peoples have lived in the sub-continent. A search for features of distinctive Khoisan morphology in the early remains may be of more value as it might indicate the presence of a local adaptive pattern to the special environment conditions of the region.

Key words

Khoisan Southern Africa Late Pleistocene 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morris A. G. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human BiologyUniversity of Cape Town Medical School ObservatorySouth Africa

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