Skull fragment from Greek cave suggests modern humans were in Europe more than 200,000 years ago

A skull fragment found in the roof of a cave in southern Greece is the oldest fossil of Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe, scientists reported on Wednesday. Until now, the earliest remains of modern humans found on the Continent were less than 45, years old. The skull bone is more than four times as old , dating back over , years, researchers reported in the journal Nature. The finding is likely to reshape the story of how humans spread into Europe, and may revise theories about the history of our species. Homo sapiens evolved in Africa around , years ago. The new fossil bolsters an emerging view that our species migrated from Africa in several waves, beginning early in our history. But the first waves of migrants vanished.

Fossil skull casts doubt over modern human ancestry

CNN A “remarkably complete” skull belonging to an early human ancestor that lived 3. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.

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By Bruce Bower. April 1, at am. A mysterious but well-preserved hominid skull found nearly a century ago comes from a population that lived in Africa around , years ago , as the earliest Homo sapiens were evolving, a new study finds. This discovery indicates that a separate Homo population, perhaps a species some researchers call H. African H. Researchers have puzzled over the age of the Broken Hill skull since its discovery in south-central Africa.

Previous age estimates for the fossils, based on clues such rodent fossils and stone tools found at the site, have ranged widely from around , to , years old. Double-edged stone implements typically found at ancient H. In that scenario, mating occurred among dispersed human populations with various skeletal traits, as did occasional interbreeding with other Homo species. But H.

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We’re open! Book your free ticket in advance. The Broken Hill 1 Kabwe skull became the first historically significant human fossil found in Africa when it was discovered in Zambia in Almost one hundred years later and the remains of this ancient human are continuing to shed light on how humans evolved, after a new analysis of the fossil has shown it to be much younger than previously thought. When the Broken Hill skull was first discovered in what is now Kabwe, Zambia, it was quickly realised to have belonged not to a modern human, but an ancient one.

While initially it was named Homo rhodesiensis , it has since been classified as one of the best preserved fossils of another ancient human species called Homo heidelbergensis.

The Taung Skull Fossil Site, part of the extension to the site inscribed in , caves traces of human occupation and evolution dating back some million.

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Dating the skull from Broken Hill, Zambia, and its position in human evolution

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To date, thousands of skulls bearing signs of trepanation have been unearthed at archaeological sites across the world. But despite its.

The Hofmeyr Skull is a specimen of a 36, year old human skull that was found in near Hofmeyr , South Africa. It is one of a very few anatomically modern human skulls that have been discovered on the continent which have been dated to over 20, years old. The skull was found in the s on the surface of an erosion gully , [1] a dry channel bed of the Vlekpoort River, near Hofmeyr , [2] [3] a small town in Eastern Cape , South Africa. No other bones or archaeological artifacts were found in the vicinity at the time of the skull’s discovery.

Others are much more recent, dated to around 20, years ago. He later showed it to Frederick E. Grine then led a detailed study of the skull.

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Date[edit]. The destruction of the paleoanthropological site has made stratigraphic dating impossible. Prior to the s, the skull was believed to be only

In , in a cave called Apidima at the southern end of Greece, a group of anthropologists found a pair of human-like skulls. One had a face, but was badly distorted; the other was just the left half of a braincase. Researchers guessed that they might be Neanderthals, or perhaps another ancient hominin. By thoroughly analyzing both skulls using modern techniques, Harvati and her colleagues have shown that they are very different, in both age and identity.

The one with the face, known as Apidima 2, is a ,year-old Neanderthal—no surprises there. But the other, Apidima 1, was one of us—a ,year-old modern human. Until now, most researchers have focused on the more complete but less interesting of the two skulls. But its antiquity matters for three reasons. First, it pushes back the known presence of modern humans outside Africa by some 30, years. Collectively, these traits mess up the standard story of Neanderthal and modern-human evolution.

According to that narrative , Neanderthals slowly evolved in Europe, largely isolated from other kinds of hominins.

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A partial human skull unearthed in in northern Israel may hold some clues as to when and where humans and Neanderthals might have interbred. The key to addressing this, as well as other important issues, is precisely determining the age of the skull. A combination of dating methods, one of them performed by Dr. The combined dating provides evidence that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis could have lived side by side in the area. The Manot Cave, a natural limestone formation, had been sealed for some 15, years.

It was discovered by a bulldozer clearing the land for development, and the first to find the partial skull, which was sitting on a ledge, were spelunkers exploring the newly-opened cave.

However, the original site has since been completely quarried away, and—​although the cranium is often estimated to be around thousand years old5–7​—its.

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Dating the skull from Broken Hill, Zambia, and its position in human evolution.

To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today. Investigators scanned a fragment from the back of an ancient hominin’s skull right and digitally reconstructed it left and center , revealing the rounded skull of Homo sapiens , rather than an elongated Neanderthal skull. In the late s, anthropologists exploring a cave on the rugged coast of southern Greece found two mysterious hominin skull fossils.

Time had left them fragmented and distorted, and the jumbled stratigraphy of the cave made them hard to date. For decades, the fossils sat on a shelf, their identity unknown. Now, a state-of-the-art analysis of their shape together with new dates suggest one skull might represent our own species, living in Greece more than , years ago.

Pinning an exact date on the Broken Hill fossil has been difficult, because the site from which it was found has since been destroyed. But it was.

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The cranium from Broken Hill Kabwe was recovered from cave deposits in , during metal ore mining in what is now Zambia 1. It is one of the best-preserved skulls of a fossil hominin, and was initially designated as the type specimen of Homo rhodesiensis , but recently it has often been included in the taxon Homo heidelbergensis 2 , 3 , 4. The result suggests that later Middle Pleistocene Africa contained multiple contemporaneous hominin lineages that is, Homo sapiens 8 , 9 , H.

The age estimate also raises further questions about the mode of evolution of H. Additional data are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request. Woodward, A. A new cave man from Rhodesia, South Africa.

Hofmeyr Skull

Early Modern Homo sapiens. A ll people today are classified as Homo sapiens. Our species of humans first began to evolve nearly , years ago in association with technologies not unlike those of the early Neandertals. It is now clear that early Homo sapiens , or modern humans , did not come after the Neandertals but were their contemporaries. However, it is likely that both modern humans and Neandertals descended from Homo heidelbergensis. Compared to the Neandertals and other late archaic humans , modern humans generally have more delicate skeletons.

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