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published: 08 Jul 2008 last updated: 26 May 2015
Most current genetic and archaeological evidence supports a recent single origin of modern humans in East Africa.
Early human settlements were dependent on proximity to water and, depending on the lifestyle, other natural resources used for subsistence, such as populations of animal prey for hunting and arable land for growing crops and grazing livestock. But humans have a great capacity for altering their habitats by means of technology, through irrigation, urban planning, construction, transport, manufacturing goods, deforestation and desertification.
Individuals are widespread in every continent except Antarctica.