Research

Earliest human fossil outside of Africa unearthed in Israel

Earliest human fossil outside of Africa unearthed in Israel

Human ancestors left Africa for earlier than previously thought and the prehistoric jawbone discovered in a misliya cave site in northern Israel has forced scientist to rethink several theories.

The common consensus of anthropologists has been that modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 160,000-200,000 years ago, based on fossils found in Ethiopia, and that modern humans evolved in Africa and started migrating out of Africa around 100,000 years ago.

In other words, the Misliya jawbone proves that humans may have emerged from Africa between 57,000 and 104,000 years before they were believed to.

The jaw was found in 2002 in the collapsed Misliya (miss-LEE-uh) cave on the western slope of Mount Carmel.

What's more, archaeological evidence from collected sediments reveal that the inhabitants of the cave knew how to produce fire, were very capable hunters, and can be associated with stone tool kits not unlike those used by the early modern humans in Africa.

Last year, a group of researchers published evidence from Neanderthal remains in Germany of crosses that occurred between 219,000 and 460,000 years ago. They say the jaw belonged to a young adult of unknown gender.

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But in recent years there have been finds of fossils of modern humans in Daoxian and Zhirendong, in China, with an estimated age between 80,000 and 120,000 years, suggesting that there were early migratory waves that entered Eurasia earlier than they were. That's in part because the cave also contained about 60,000 flint tools, mostly blades and sharp points, some of which are 250,000 years old, said study co-author Mina Weinstein-Evron. He said - "we are like a train station that everyone is passing through". "People were moving all the time".

A almost 200,000-year-old piece of fossilized human remains has been discovered in Israel, upending theories of when humans first emerged from Africa, as the sample is tens or even hundreds of thousands of years older than any previously discovered human remains outside of Africa.

Essentially, evidence from the Misliya fossil suggests that the modern humans' exodus from Africa possibly happened earlier than previously believed. "He must have had some friends".

An worldwide research team has discovered the earliest modern human fossil outside of Africa, possibly rewriting the believed timeline of human migration.

Hershkovitz said he believes Homo sapiens may have originated some 500,000 years ago. The oldest known fossils of our species are about 300,000 years old. "You could say that it's not just the oldest Homo sapiens outside of Africa, it's the oldest Homo sapiens there is, period", Hershkovitz adds.

But Delson and two other experts unconnected to the study disagreed, saying the tools may have been made by Neanderthals or another of our evolutionary cousins.


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