You have probably read in books or seen on TV about mankind evolving from apes. And you will have seen experts telling you that our remote ancestors all came from Africa, spreading to other parts of the world like Asia later on.

The “Out of Africa” theory that has ruled evolutionary theory for 50 years is now being overturned by shock new discoveries in Asia.

Conventional paleontological theory is that no “ape” existed outside Africa until the last 10 million years, and that no hominid or man-like creature existed outside Africa until 1.6 million years ago. In other words, all apes and all humans came originally from Africa.

But new evidence has now emerged that suggest mankind came from Asia – and not Africa. At two separate times crucial for our own evolution, our family now appears to have been in Asia and not Africa!

35 million years ago in Myanmar

Over 35 million years ago, the primate family (that includes all apes as well as ourselves) was a small group of much more primitive creatures, small tree-living monkeys. These animals were our distant ancestors, but also the ancestors of modern apes like the chimpanzee and gorilla too.

Until recently, the oldest ancestor was a fossil find in Libya, North Africa. This creature was regarded as the proof that all primates/apes came from Africa.

But now that theory has been overturned after 37-million-year-old fossil teeth were found in Myanmar. The teeth belong to a new species, Afrasia djijidae, which is older than the African fossil. This new discovery is the oldest primate found, and many experts take it as proof that our family in fact developed in Asia, then spread into Africa later. In fact, apes and men came from Asia, although the Asian branch was wiped out a few million years later in a major ice age, leaving apes only in Africa.

Modern humans originated in China, 1.7 million years ago

Our species is Homo sapiens, and it evolved in the past few hundred thousand years. Experts have believed for decades that Home sapiens evolved in Africa from an older ancestor called Homo erectus, and that no human family member lived anywhere but Africa until 1.6 million years ago.

That same theory says that Homo erectus evolved into an intermediate species called Homo heidelbergensis. This developed into both the Neanderthal and our own species Homo sapiens. This was all supposed to have happened in Africa, so that mankind must have come from Africa. In Asia, mankind only appeared later, as they moved here from Africa.

However, new discoveries in China has destroyed that consensus, as experts have found several new and previously unknown species of mankind.

And most crucially, they have found direct links in species that evolved from Homo erectus. These new species are all related to that improved version of Homo erectus, and scientists are certain one of them is our own direct ancestor. The belief is that our own ancestors developed in Asia, and only later moving west into Africa and Europe.

Once again, Asia is proving to be the home of our own family, and not Africa.