Jawbone Fossil Suggests Humans Left Africa Earlier than Previously Believed

Aviv University spokesperson Jawbone from 177 to 194 thousand years ago discovered in Misliya cave in Israel
Aviv University spokesperson Jawbone from 177 to 194 thousand years ago discovered in Misliya cave in Israel

28 January, 2018

The human story keeps changing.

The discovery of the fossil of a fragment of jaw in a cave in Israel pushes by at least 50,000 years the exit of Africa of modern man, bringing also a new light on the crossings with other species like Neanderthals.

You may recall that 2017 was the year that the conventional timeline for human evolution and migration finally toppled thanks to overwhelming archaeological and paleogenetic evidence.

"It provides the clearest evidence yet that our ancestors first migrated out of Africa much earlier than we previously believed", Quam, who is based at Binghamton University, said.

"All our earlier evidence suggested that Homo sapiens got out of Africa about 120,000 years ago", says Michael Petraglia, at the Max Planck Institute for The Science of Human History.

In last two years, researchers from across the globe have found enough remains of Homo sapiens and they did not know whether they fitted.

This is still unknown, although the researchers suggest the possibility that there were multiple groups of hominins, or human ancestors, overlapping and having complex relationships.

Some of the features were visually characteristic of modern humans, as well: they included a flat labial surface and a lingual groove, and no lingual tubercle, among other features, they report.

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Recent developments in philosophy & material advancements in technology have provided a consensus that places Homo Sapiens first known whereabouts in Northwestern Africa nearly 300,000 years ago. The fact that such modern features evolved earlier than previously thought "suggests that our biological history needs to be pushed back to a much earlier period - not 200,000, but probably 500,000 years,"Hershkovitz told Live Science".

Then, last June, research on fossils from a site called Jebel Irhoud in Morocco turned conventional wisdom on its head: Those modern-looking humans are up to 350,000 years old, scientists discovered, pushing back the early origins of our species. This new finding can force scientists to revise the theories regarding humans evolution. But several question the dates on the fossil itself, partly because the authors write that the jawbone was scanned using computerized tomography three times, and the x-rays could have influenced the amount of radiation trapped in the tooth enamel, skewing the luminescence dates.

The fossil dubbed Misliya-1, exhibits teeth that are in the upper size range of what's seen in modern humans, but that otherwise shows clear patterns and features of our species.

Three dating methods were employed at three different laboratories, they explain. In Australia, France, and Israel, they used dating techniques to determine the jawbone's age.

This jaw unearthed in an Israeli cave may have belonged to one of the earliest modern humans to leave Africa.

Researchers reconstructed a virtual upper jaw for Misliya-1 using the oldest human fossils outside Africa.

It is only now that an worldwide research team has conclusively shown that the archaeologists' initial gut feelings were spot on. Archaeologists have long considered the advent of the Levallois method of making stone tools-a strategy for obtaining broad, thin, sharp flakes from a chunk of stone called a core-to be a significant development in human prehistory. The Levallois stone toolmaking processes are shown in the artifacts.

The vault of the Misliya Cave collapsed about 160,000 years ago, protecting until today this fossil and other materials and objects buried in sediments.

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