There is still a tremendous amount of research to do in Asian palaeoanthropology. The increasing number of contributions coming out of Asia is forcing scholars to rethink how they view various modern human origin models. Indeed, just this January, a study in Science indicated that the earliest modern humans in Asia date to between 177,000 and 194,000 years ago from the Misliya cave in Israel. It seems as if, every few weeks now, a new hominin fossil, genetic study, archaeological site, or re-dating of old sites is reported from the vast Asian continent, a continent that still has large swathes of areas yet to be intensively explored. If nothing else, the picture as it appears thus far is much more complicated than the old Out-of-Africa models: there were multiple earlier dispersals from Africa, and much more interbreeding between species than we once thought. The story of ourselves, it turns out, becomes richer the more we know about it.
I find it sobering that quite a few subspecies of the genus homo ceased to leave progenie. We know that the Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with our own subspecies. And we know that the genotype of Otzi, the 12,000 year-old hunter who was found in the Alps over 10 years ago is genetically most similar to the natives of Sardinia. Everyone else in Europe, including the enigmatic Basques, presumably descends from subsequent European “immigrants/invaders.”