Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Discovered in Morocco

Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Discovered in Morocco

Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Discovered in Morocco

George Washington University paleoanthropologist Alison Brooks told USA Today that stone tools and remnants of an ancient fire also suggest that activities typical of modern humans also emerged by 300,000 years ago.

Coupled with other evidence, the Moroccan fossils suggest that Homo sapiens may have reached its modern-day form in more than one place within Africa, said Hublin, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the College of France in Paris.

Found in a cave known as the Jebel Irhoud archaeological site about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Marrakesh, the fossils change how archaeologists understand how Homo sapiens evolved. The humans who lived at Jebel Irhoud could start fires and craft spears.

Critical to the discovery is the use of sophisticated techniques used to date the stone tools and reanalyse another jaw bone that was originally discovered in 1960.

This process had Initially dated a mandible discovered in the 1960s to 160,000 years old, but a more accurate analysis of the radioactivity in the surrounding sediment came up with a reading that once again pointed at about 300,000 years. The human remains found are skulls, teeth and long bones belonging to at least five individuals. "This allowed us to apply thermoluminescence dating methods on the flint artefacts and establish a consistent chronology for the new hominin fossils and the layers above them".

Researchers also applied electron spin resonance dating, which is a similar technique but in this case the measurements are made on teeth. What is more, only then do we spread throughout Africa and eventually to rest of planet. Our 300-thousand-year old ancestor might have looked the same but he likely wasn't as sharp-witted as most of us Homo sapiens sapiens.

There has been increasing evidence that the modern human lineage diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans 500,000 years ago, making us close relatives rather than direct descendants.

"The inner shape of the braincase reflects the shape of the brain", said study author Philipp Gunz from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

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He said: "When modern humans come to Europe they didn't bury the dead". One that in between the Homo heidelbergensis and contemporary humans.

The discovery of modern human fossils in Morocco has pushed the date for the origin of our species back 100,000 years before anyone thought we existed. "It pushes (the fossils) into a fairly unknown time range, but one that is clearly very important for the evolution of our species". John Shea, an anthropologist at Stony Brook University in NY, said it is easier to look at the different local populations as all being part of one big group - He uses a subway system in a big city as a way to explain his idea.

The age of the site, and the fact that it's across the African continent from Ethiopia, indicate that H. sapiens were more widely dispersed throughout Africa than previously understood, according to the new research. The new findings may help researchers sort out how these selected fossils from the past 600,000 years are related to modern humans and to one another.

Some of the Middle Age stone tools from Jebel Irhoud. Those artifacts, along with numerous 306 more excavated by Hublin's team, showed signs of having been heated in the past.

Facial characteristics of the Jebel Irhoud skull and teeth closely match those of people today, despite being larger, the scientists say. But this discovery widens the "cradle of life" from East Africa to the whole continent, Hublin said, and suggests that these evolutionary changes were happening across the continent at the same time.

Perhaps different groups of early Homo sapiens encountered each other while hunting game, and exchanged technological innovations - as well as DNA.

These tools were not only of great interest to archaeologists for learning more about the society and technology of early Homo Sapiens, but they also provided valuable dating information.

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