If two human populations have remained without contacts up to recently, but still use the same kind of languages, that kind of languages should have existed before they separated. This approach provides evidence for a much earlier date. A recent analysis of fossil DNA (Schlebusch et al. 2017) indicates that the San population in southern Africa has been isolated from all other humans for around 300,000 years. This seems to mean that humans have existed that long and that they have used languages like ours all that time.

In addition to a presentation of the situation, the seminar will include a discussion of how or if the known facts about Khoisan languages are compatible with such a dating.

Schlebusch, C. et al. (2017). Southern African ancient genomes estimate modern human divergence to 350,000 to 260,000 years ago. Science 358: 652–655.