Modern humans left Africa much earlier

Researchers have identified the remains of the earliest known modern humans to have left Africa. New dating of fossils from Israel indicates that our species (Homo sapiens) lived outside Africa around 185,000 years ago, some 80,000 years earlier than the previous evidence. Details appear in the journal Science.

The co-lead researcher, Prof Israel Hershkovitz, told BBC News that the discovery would fundamentally alter ideas of recent human evolution.

“We have to rewrite the whole story of human evolution, not just for our own species but all the other species that lived outside of Africa at the time,” the researcher, from Tel Aviv University, explained.

Prof Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum, who was not involved in the study, said: “The find breaks the long-established 130,000-year-old limit on modern humans outside of Africa.

“The new dating hints that there could be even older Homo sapiens finds to come from the region of western Asia.”

The new scientific dating evidence raises the possibility that modern humans interacted with other, now extinct, species of humans for tens of thousands of years. It also fits in with recent discoveries of remains and genetic studies that also indicate an earlier departure from Africa. Source: BBC

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One Response to Modern humans left Africa much earlier

  1. alfy says:

    Well, there’s a surprise! Only two years ago Chris Stringer was telling the world that Homo sapiens did not leave Africa until about 50 Kya and he has been back-tracking ever since. Given that the Neanderthalers had got to Europe around 500 Kya, I asked sarcastically if the sapiens people were waiting patiently for a decent bus service to begin.
    Now it appears that sapiens had definitely got to the Levant by 185 Kya. Remember that the hard evidence rarely represents the earliest possibilities, so sapiens could have got to Europe as early as 200 or even 300 Kya, possibly during the warm interstadials of the Ice Ages.
    My main irritation with CS is that his supposed scientific pronouncements are always accompanied by the sound of politico-social axes being ground. This evidence rather cuts the ground from under him, but I have no doubt that he can eventually re-interpret it with the correct politico-social stance.

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