In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans, also called the « Out of Africa » theory (OOA), the « recent single-origin hypothesis » (RSOH), « replacement hypothesis, » or « recent African origin model » (RAO), is the most widely accepted model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans.The theory argues for the African origins of modern humans, who left Africa in a single wave of migration which populated the world, replacing older human species.
A first dispersal took place between 130,000–115,000 years ago via northern Africa, but died out or retreated, though Chinese researchers question this extinction and claim the presence of modern humans in China at least 80,000 years ago. A second dispersal took place via the so-called Southern Route, which followed the southern coastline of Asia, and colonized Australia by around 50,000 years ago. Europe was populated by an early offshoot which settled the Near East and Europe (post-Toba hypothesis).
The major competing hypothesis of this single origin (monogenesis) theory is the multiregional origin of modern humans, which envisions a wave of Homo sapiens migrating earlier from Africa and interbreeding with local Homo erectus populations in multiple regions of the globe.