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We're Older Than We Think: New Fossils Change Ideas Of Human Evolution

First Posted: Jun 11, 2017 10:11 AM EDT
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The discovery is shaking up the idea of human evolution.

Photo : Getty Images

A recent discovery of fossils at Jebel Irhoud, an excavation site in Morocco, are throwing scientists for a loop about the original birthplace and dispersal of our ancestors.

Until now, scientists believed that the first Homo sapiens, the name for the species from which modern-day humans descend, came from a specific area in Ethiopia about 200 thousand years ago. The fossils in Morocco now make the African "Garden of Eden" as it were, a much bigger place than previously thought.

“We used to think that there was a cradle of mankind 200, 000 years ago in east Africa, but our new data reveal that Homo sapiens spread across the entire African continent around 300,000 years ago,” said Palaeo-anthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in a statement released Wednesday.

In other words, before our caveman ancestors left Africa to spread around the rest of the world, even older cavemen made it across the African continent.

The fossils at Jebel Irhoud, a site discovered in the 1960s, were surrounded by gazelle bones and other animal remains, and the scientists believe that these Homo sapiens hunted these animals for food. Their tools were made of flint, which were consistent with other Stone Age artifacts previously found at other sites in Africa.

As a result of these revelations, scientists around the world are going to have have to go back to the drawing board when it comes to thinking of the story of human evolution, including where and how it happened, as it seems the tale we knew until now has been incomplete.

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