teknolojiarsivi.com May 22, 2018

Oldest Homo sapiens fossil claim rewrites our species' history

08 June 2017, 02:12 | Floyd Cook

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Instead, the earliest people had a mix of advanced and primitive characteristics, and over time and across the continent, Homo sapiens evolved into the humans of today, Hublin said. The group's skulls were elongated and angular, more reminiscent of the ancestral species Homo heidelbergensis, from which both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) began evolving approximately 500,000 years ago. New fossils are pushing the evidence back by about 100,000 years. Unless they are preserved somewhere dry - like the deserts of north and east Africa - not much is left of anything after tens of thousands of years.

"There is no Garden of Eden in Africa", said Jean-Jacques Hublin, co-author of two new studies describing the fossils and a paleontologist at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "So if there was a Garden of Eden, it was all of Africa".

The mandible Irhoud 11 is the first, nearly complete adult mandible discovered at the site of Jebel Irhoud.

It is believed that our lineage diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans more than half-a-million years ago, but evidence for what happened since is hard to come by. Max Planck Institute paleoanthropologist Philipp Gunz said the findings indicate the shape of the face was established early in the history of Homo sapiens, but brain shape, and perhaps brain function, evolved later.

Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported Wednesday. He didn't have the time or money to excavate it until 2004, after he had joined the Max Planck Society.

Hublin and Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer of the National Institute for Archaeology and Heritage in Rabat, Morocco, found human and animal bones, stone flints and evidence of fire in a preserved layer of the site. New discoveries at a rich site in Morocco show modern humans were hunting and probably cooking game animals 300,000 years ago - 100,000 earlier than scientists have believed until now.

Jebel Irhoud has been well known since the 1960s for its human fossils and for its Middle Stone Age artefacts. "It's the face of people you could cross in the street today". "They have faces which are really like bigger version of our faces".

And their brains would have been organized differently than ours, Hublin adds.

There is broad agreement among scientists that Homo sapiens originated in Africa.

So where did the fully modern human body develop? He suspects it's a snapshot from a period just before modern humans evolved.

The site, near Morocco's coast and the city of Marrakech, has always yielded interesting human remains, but they'd been dated to around 40,000 years ago. Around this time, the Sahara was green and filled with lakes and rivers.

After the lineages split, our ancient relatives evolved into many different species, known as hominins.

Hublin says his team tried and failed to obtain DNA from the Jebel Irhoud bones.

It's not so easy finding ancient human remains.

Palaeontologist Jeffrey Schwartz, at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says the new finds are important - but he is not convinced that they should be considered H. sapiens. The work also included an analysis of the tooth size and morphology of the new and previously discovered fossils-an effort conducted by Shara Bailey, anthropology professor at New York University.

The Jebel Irhoud people had large braincases that lacked the globular shape of those today.

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