An international team of scientists took a closer look at the fossilized remains belonging to five individuals. Dated as being 315,000 years old, these are now considered as being the oldest Homo sapiens bones ever discovered until now. At the same time, researchers are also stirring debates based on their features.
The fossilized early human remains were first discovered back in the 1960s in the Jebel Irhoud archeological site in Morocco. At the time, they were dated as being some 40,000 years old. But a team of scientists decided to take a closer look and reexamine the remains. After reopening the site, they discovered many more human bones as well as well as animal ones and stone tools.
All of these remains were discovered in the same layer, which helped confirm their new dating. Being preserved in the same or close stratum ensured the remains’ coming from the same or following periods.
The scientists unearthed bones, skull fragments, and teeth from five individuals. They also detected somewhat sophisticated stone tools, charcoal, and animal bones which might have been cooked.
The 315,000 Years Old Individuals are a New Old Discovery
A thermoluminescence dating of the bones and also tools reveals that they are some 315,000 years old. This pushes back the earliest living Homo sapiens bones discovered until now by more than 100,000. Previously, the oldest recognized such remains were dated as being some 200,000 years old and were detected in East Africa.
Science has yet to explain the evolution process that led to modern humans, how they appeared or spread. Still, it is an agreed upon fact that the earliest species of Homo emerged over 1 million years ago.
“This material represents the very root of our species, the oldest Homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere,” states Jean- Jacques Hublin.
He is the leader of one of two new studies on the matter and the director of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Department of Human Evolution.
Hublin and his team also suggest that the discovered individuals may be part of a still undiscovered human ancestor. They state that these remains present a mix of both modern and ancient features.
This is one of the claims that has been giving rise to debates. As some researchers state, it is quite reasonable to note such differences on the evolutionary scale as you go back in time. It also does not necessarily indicate them as a new species. Rather, some claim they are just an earlier version of a modern human.
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