All rights reserved. These fragmented fossils, which were found mere inches apart, could be the skulls from two hominin species separated by tens of thousands of years—a ,year-old Neanderthal left and a ,year-old early modern human. Along the rugged coastline of southern Greece, our ancient human relatives may have sojourned in what was once a balmy refuge from the encroaching glaciers of the mid-Pleistocene. While most vanished without a trace, skulls from two individuals were somehow swept into a deep crack in the ground, where the bones became cemented in a jumble of earth. Hundreds of thousands of years later, analyses of these remains hint at an unexpected identity: One skull fragment may have belonged to an early modern human that lived at least , years ago, making it the oldest human fossil yet found outside of Africa.
A skull fragment found in the roof of a cave in southern Greece is the oldest fossil of Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe, scientists reported on Wednesday. Until now, the earliest remains of modern humans found on the Continent were less than 45, years old. The skull bone is more than four times as old , dating back over , years, researchers reported in the journal Nature. The finding is likely to reshape the story of how humans spread into Europe, and may revise theories about the history of our species. Homo sapiens evolved in Africa around , years ago. The new fossil bolsters an emerging view that our species migrated from Africa in several waves, beginning early in our history.
All rights reserved. Part of an upper jaw with teeth found in Israel shows that modern humans ventured out of Africa much earlier than previously thought. The find adds to evidence that our species was overlapping with human relatives such as Neanderthals in the crossroads of the Levant for longer than previously realized. Until recently, the fossil record suggested that our species, Homo sapiens, first appeared in East Africa around , years ago. Explore a map of human migration.
A ,year-old skull has been identified as the earliest modern human remains found outside Africa, putting the clock back on mankind's arrival in Europe by more than , years, researchers said Wednesday. In a startling discovery that changes our understanding of how modern man populated Eurasia, the findings support the idea that Homo sapiens made several, sometimes unsuccessful migrations from Africa over tens of thousands of years. Southeast Europe has long been considered a major transport corridor for modern humans from Africa. But until now the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens on the continent dated back only around 50, years.