Friday, 26 January 2018

Out of Africa


I am often reminded of actually how little real fossil evidence is available for Homo sapiens (humans don't fossilise very easily!). An intriguing finding is a piece of jawbone with teeth found in Misliya cave in Northern Israel (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/25/oldest-known-human-fossil-outside-africa-discovered-in-israel). The bone has now been dated as being nearly 200,000 years old in spite of the fact, that prior to this find, it was generally accepted that humans only migrated out of Africa (where it is accepted that they originated) some 60, 000 years ago (essentially eliminating other hominid species in the areas they moved into). It now appears that a) migration out of Africa occurred much earlier and b) Homo sapiens  may have co-existed and interacted with other hominid species for extended periods. It seems likely, however, that the humans living in the Misliya cave eventually died out, perhaps without contributing much to the spread of our species. 

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