Earliest Human Remains Outside Africa Were Just Discovered in Israel [smithsonianmag.com]
For decades, scientists have speculated about when exactly the bipedal apes known as Homo sapiens left Africa and moved out to conquer the world. That moment, after all, was a crucial step on the way to today’s human-dominated world. For many years, the consensus view among archaeologists placed the exodus at 60,000 years ago—some 150,000 years after the hominins first appeared.
But now, researchers in Israel have found a remarkably preserved jawbone they believe belongs to a Homo sapiens that was much, much older. The find, which they’ve dated to somewhere between 177,000 and 194,000 years, provides the most convincing proof yet that the old view of human migration needs some serious re-examination.
The new research, published today in Science [sciencemag.org] [DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8369] [DX [doi.org]], builds on earlier evidence from other caves in the region that housed the bones of humans from 90,000 to 120,000 years ago. But this new discovery goes one step further: if verified, it would require reevaluating the whole history of human evolution—and possibly pushing it back by several hundred thousand years.