The project

During the last two million years, the geographic range of the human species expanded in several waves from its original African homeland to encompass Eurasia – – and possibly back into Africa. Of these hominin species, only anatomically and behaviorally modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, have been able to overcome the impediments imposed by the physical geography of this planet. Within a few tens of thousands of years, modern humans successfully inhabited the globe, settling in Australia, the Americas and even the polar regions.


Potential expansion routes between 2 million and 20.000 years before present.
Effects influencing the potential for expansion of human groups.

The project is funded by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and is projected to run for 20 years. The new research center’s aim is to reconstruct the spatial and temporal patterns of the expansions of hominins between three million and 20,000 years ago in Africa and Eurasia.

The main goal of the project is to explain the reasons for different hominin expansions. Implicit in the current working hypothesis is the assumption that the influence of changing environmental conditions decreased as the importance of cultural and technological innovations grew.

News and Announcements


International ROCEEH Conference on Human Expansions

13th - 17th July 2015 at the Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt.


Laureate of the Humboldt Prize 2015: Prof. Dr. David Lordkipanidze

Fellows of Humboldt: Dr. Hanneke Meije, Prof. Dr. Martin Porr


Duilio Garofoli

Neanderthal cognitive equivalence: Epistemological problems and a critical analysis from radical embodiment.


Kandel, A.W., Bolus, M., Bretzke, K., Bruch, A.A., Haidle, M.N., Hertler, C., Märker, M. (2015): Increasing Behavioral Flexibility? An Integrative Macro-Scale Approach to Understanding the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa.


Haidle, M.N, Bolus, M, Collard, M., Conard, N.J., Garofoli, D., Lombard, M., Nowell, A., Tennie, C., Whiten, A. (2015): The Nature of Culture: an eight-grade model for the evolution and expansion of cultural capacities in hominins and other animals.


Bolus, M. (2015): The transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic in the Swabian Jura, southwestern Germany.