Modern humans were living in northern Africa far earlier than previously thought, according to scientists. A new analysis of a 160,000-year-old fossilised jawbone from Morocco shows that the homo sapiens in the area had started having long childhoods, one of the hallmarks of humans living today.
It is known that the species homo sapiens emerged in Africa 200,000 years ago, but the oldest fossils that resemble modern humans come from sites in Europe dated to around 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
The latest find shows that the key time in the development of a complex human society came much earlier than previously thought. The longer people had to learn and develop their brains as children, the more sophisticated their society could become. The new study pushes the date that modern humans emerged back by more than 100,000 years.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
160,000-year-old jawbone redefines origins of the species