View Full Version : Scientists discover the oldest human fossil outside Africa in a cave in Israel

01-25-2018, 10:04 PM
An ancient jawbone uncovered from a collapsed cave on the coast of Israel is at least 175,000 years old, and it belonged to a member of our own species. Sophisticated stone tools were discovered nearby. The find, reported Thursday in the journal Science, is by far the oldest human fossil ever uncovered outside Africa, where our Homo sapiens originated. It pushes back the timeline of when modern humans began venturing to other continents by about 60,000 years and suggests people made several short-lived excursions into Eurasia millennia before we finally conquered the globe.


Video discussion at the link below is excellent:


01-25-2018, 11:30 PM

01-25-2018, 11:35 PM

To date, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa are dated to around 90,000 to 120,000 years ago at the Levantine sites of Skhul and Qafzeh. A maxilla and associated dentition recently discovered at Misliya Cave, Israel, was dated to 177,000 to 194,000 years ago, suggesting that members of the Homo sapiens clade left Africa earlier than previously thought. This finding changes our view on modern human dispersal and is consistent with recent genetic studies, which have posited the possibility of an earlier dispersal of Homo sapiens around 220,000 years ago. The Misliya maxilla is associated with full-fledged Levallois technology in the Levant, suggesting that the emergence of this technology is linked to the appearance of Homo sapiens in the region, as has been documented in Africa.

01-26-2018, 12:29 AM
What does it change?

01-26-2018, 02:45 AM
What does it change?

According to BBC quotes from researchers, Homo Sapiens left Africa 100,000 earlier than previously and may have interacted / interbred with other hominids who existed earlier like Neanderthals.

"We have to rewrite the whole story of human evolution, not just for our own species but all the other species that lived outside of Africa at the time," the researcher, from Tel Aviv University, explained.

Prof Chris Stringer of London's Natural History Museum, who was not involved in the study, said: "The find breaks the long-established 130,000-year-old limit on modern humans outside of Africa.

"The new dating hints that there could be even older Homo sapiens finds to come from the region of western Asia."

The new scientific dating evidence raises the possibility that modern humans interacted with other, now extinct, species of humans for tens of thousands of years. It also fits in with recent discoveries of remains and genetic studies that also indicate an earlier departure from Africa.


01-26-2018, 04:10 AM
It is unknown at this time if the population also expanded out of the Middle East into Eurasia, but it seems plausible - going as far back as homo erectus there seems to be a pattern of archaic and then modern humans exiting Africa, perhaps at each point in time when climatic conditions favoured migration. Makes me think of Bruce Chatwin's book Songlines.

The challenge will be to sort out which of these migrations successfully expanded into Eurasia, and how much they contributed culturally and in DNA to archaic humans living in Eurasia. I'll be interested to see what John Hawks has to say. It might be a very, very weak form of multi-regionalism, mostly one way from Africa to Eurasia, and with most of the archaic Eurasian population replaced and absorbed by the much larger expansion of modern humans out of Africa around 60,000 years ago.

01-26-2018, 12:40 PM
RE: "genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected." Such comments are based upon Johannes Krause's article published in Nature Communications in early July 2017. He is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human History in Germany.

"The expert consensus now is that Homo sapiens evolved at least 300,000 years ago in Africa. Only much later — roughly 70,000 years ago — did a small group of Africans establish themselves on other continents, giving rise to other populations of people today. To Krause....that gap seems peculiar. “Why did people not leave Africa before?” he asked in an interview. After all, he observed, the continent is physically linked to the Near East. “You could have just walked out.”

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, Dr. Krause and his colleagues report that African {humans} did indeed walk out — over 270,000 years ago. Based on newly discovered DNA in fossils, the researchers conclude that a wave of early Homo sapiens, or close relatives of our species, made their way from Africa to Europe. There, they interbred with Neanderthals. Then the ancient African migrants disappeared. But some of their DNA endured in later generations of Neanderthals. “This is now a comprehensive picture,” Dr. Krause said. “It brings everything together.”

Full details here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/04/science/neanderthals-dna-homo-sapiens-human-evolution.html