Homo dating

They were able to identify them through bits of skull, teeth and longer bones.

See all of the in these slideshows Finding such ancient evidence of early humans so far from where we thought our species began raises a multitude of questions.

The other paper focuses on the dating of the site, with scientists using new techniques to establish how old the tools and remains were.

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Two studies announcing the findings have been published in the journal .

In one, scientists document the morphological features of the fossils, showing how this early version of a human would have looked remarkably like what we do today.

“It was a big ‘wow,’ said French paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Anthropological Evolution in Germany, principal author of the paper on human fossils, speaking at a press conference.

“The material at Jebel Irhoud was much older than anything else in Africa related to our species.” One surprising aspect of these fossils is the disparity between the parts of the brain, which the French author described as an unusual combination of features that are very advanced (face and teeth) and very archaic (the shape of the braincase).

“By necessity you’ve only ever got little snapshots in the dark,” Morley says.

“What you’re trying to do is join those snapshots up.

As scientific dating techniques improve and as more archeological sites are found, the picture of human evolution that is emerging becomes less and less straightforward.

It was once thought the first Homo sapiens emerged in East Africa and moved outward, eventually ending up in Europe and further afield. A partial cranium from Florisbad, South Africa, had previously been dated to 260,000 years ago.

They were found alongside stone tools, animal bones and charcoal, indicating the controlled use of fire.

This discovery pushes back the oldest fossil evidence of our own species by 100,000 years—the previous oldest Homo sapiens remains came from Omo Kibish, in Ethiopia, and date to 195,000 years ago.

They have a variety of features—while their cranium appears archaic, belonging to an earlier ancestor, their facial features are remarkably close to modern-day humans.

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