Thanks for the tip! Fascinating stuff. The blogs both point to the same Nature paper, and this caught my eye at the end: received 23 July 2015; accepted 2 February 2018. Those poor authors waited 2-1/2 years from submission to acceptance! I hope that’s not normal.
I try to stick with consensus science in my work, but when that’s not always clear, report the dissenting view too. The conclusion of the Nature paper said:
Our results raise the question of whether the modern human population on the south coast of South Africa was the sole surviving population through a decade or more of volcanic winter, or whether populations elsewhere in Africa thrived through the YTT event and the ensuing MIS4 glacial phase. This question can now be tackled by applying the same suite of field and laboratory procedures used here to other archaeological sites in Africa.
I’ll have to keep an eye on this one and see what develops. I did run across another Nature paper while I was poking around that has some bearing on the question: A dispersal of Homo sapiens from southern to eastern Africa immediately preceded the out-of-Africa migration. Here’s the abstract:
Africa was the birth-place of Homo sapiens and has the earliest evidence for symbolic behaviour and complex technologies. The best-attested early flowering of these distinctive features was in a glacial refuge zone on the southern coast 100–70 ka, with fewer indications in eastern Africa until after 70 ka. Yet it was eastern Africa, not the south, that witnessed the first major demographic expansion, ~70–60 ka, which led to the peopling of the rest of the world. One possible explanation is that important cultural traits were transmitted from south to east at this time. Here we identify a mitochondrial signal of such a dispersal soon after ~70 ka – the only time in the last 200,000 years that humid climate conditions encompassed southern and tropical Africa. This dispersal immediately preceded the out-of-Africa expansions, potentially providing the trigger for these expansions by transmitting significant cultural elements from the southern African refuge.
You guys are making my brain hurt. haha