A new paper on Arabian archaeological sites is making that claim. So far (Petraglia 2010) we had a limitation with dates only reaching in Arabia Peninsula as early as 90 Ka, while in South Asia and maybe other places these were probably quite older. Not anymore.
S. J. Armitage et al. The Southern Route “Out of Africa”: Evidence for an Early Expansion of Modern Humans into Arabia. Science 2011. Pay per view.
The timing of the dispersal of anatomically modern humans (AMH) out of Africa is a fundamental question in human evolutionary studies. Existing data suggest a rapid coastal exodus via the Indian Ocean rim around 60,000 years ago. We present evidence from Jebel Faya, United Arab Emirates, demonstrating human presence in eastern Arabia during the last interglacial. The tool kit found at Jebel Faya has affinities to the late Middle Stone Age in northeast Africa, indicating that technological innovation was not necessary to facilitate migration into Arabia. Instead, we propose that low eustatic sea level and increased rainfall during the transition between marine isotope stages 6 and 5 allowed humans to populate Arabia. This evidence implies that AMH may have been present in South Asia before the Toba eruption (1).
The actual dates collected from the site are of as early as 123-127 Ka (supp. material is freely available).
|Location of Jebel Faya and other key sites (dotted line: Pleistocene coast)|
Other sources: Eureka Alert, Science Daily.
Related in this blog: Some key archaeological papers on the 'coastal route'.