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Revising the origin of Homo sapiens


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7 June 2017: Homo sapiens may be at least 100,000 years older than thought. A groundbreaking fossil discovery in Morocco obliterates two decades of scientific consensus that our forefathers emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago, according to two studies published in the science journal Nature.

 

 

"This material represents the very root of our species, the oldest homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere," said palaeoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

 

Previously, the oldest dated Homo sapiens remains, at 195,000 years, were from Ethiopia. This led to the contention that East Africa was the evolutionary "Garden of Eden" where our species arose before spreading through Africa and beyond. The new results suggest the so-called cradle of humankind was continent-wide, the teams said. The same types of "Middle Stone Age" tools found with the Moroccan group, and dated to roughly the same period, have been found in several spots around Africa, but were previously thought to have been made by a different Homo predecessor. Now it seems likely that they were produced by our own species, living in separate groups spread throughout the continent.

"Long before the out-of-Africa dispersal of Homo sapiens, there was dispersal within Africa,"

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First I would like to nominate this post as a shining example of the right way to introduce some scientific news or announcement for discussion.

 

It contains not only the announcement but a short synopsis or summary of the material of sufficient quality to gauge the nature of the news.

This is then followed by a link to a much longer original source material for those who want it.

 

+1

 

As to the news itself.

It is still early stages of an investigation, too early to believe or disbelieve the conclusions offered.

 

I see there is, as yet, no independent verification of the alleged sapiens bone fragments, either in dating or being from Homo sapiens.

I therefore look forward to reports from this next stage investigative stage.

 

Too large a conclusion is drawn from previous knowledge that cartain types of stone tools are found widely distributed in Africa, coupled with this find.

 

Until the other sites with these tools are shown to have been inhabited by sapiens, this is evidence from a single instance so cannot be counted as evidence of widespread location of sapiens 'throughout the continent'.

 

No does it rule this proposal out. It is simply not enough either way.

 

An alternative springs immediately to mind.

North Africa was much more hospitable in those days, much of this has been washed away in the sands of Osimandias.

So it is conceivable that somewhere in North Africa the sapiens started and spread, perhaps both ways.

What we are finding are the remnants of this with the middle parts destroyed by the ravages of time.

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Hi studiot,

 

Thank you for the kind compliment. This article published by nature.com gives a more detailed overview of the findings, how it fits other evidence and the implications thereof: Oldest Homo sapiens fossil claim rewrites our species' history. Note that these were not new findings per se, but rather a more detailed gathering and processing of existing and additional evidence including more accurate dating of some of the remains.

 

I do agree with you that the claim about a continental wide early dispersion of Homo sapiens based on similar types of stone tools found elsewhere, seems a bit premature. That being said, I know that scientists have struggled to merge findings in South Africa with a later migration pattern. The above article hints at one such piece of evidence.

 

Unfortunately they were unable to extract DNA, which implies that they cannot for certain ascertain if- and how these remains tie in with modern humans.

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