One incredible ocean crossing may have made human evolution possible

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Humans evolved in Africa, along with chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys. But primates themselves appear to have evolved elsewhere – likely in Asia – before colonising Africa. At the time, around 50 million years ago, Africa was an island isolated from the rest of the world by ocean – so how did primates get there? A land bridge is the obvious explanation, but the geological evidence currently argues against it. Instead, we’re left with a far more unlikely scenario: early primates may have rafted to Africa, floating hundreds of miles across oceans on vegetation and debris.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


  • biogeography
  • primates
  • macroevolution
  • oceanic dispersal
  • dispersal
  • africa
  • paleontology
  • University of Bath
  • Homo sapiens
  • evolution


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