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People expanded out of Africa 40000 years sooner than we thought

People expanded out of Africa 40000 years sooner than we thought

Using several different methods, the team estimates the jaw and teeth to be 177,000-194,000 years old.

Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, who led the work at Tel Aviv University, thinks that humans came in and out of Africa frequently over the last couple hundred thousand years. But there is still a considerable amount of disagreement in the field about when anatomically modern humans left the continent and spread across Eurasia.

"It is well-known from numerous studies that these were used mostly for the hunting of animals and processing their meat and skin (leather), as well as cutting plants", says Daniella Bar-Yosef, a researcher at Tel Aviv University and an associate at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology who is one of the co-authors of the paper.

"Now we finally have fossil evidence of this migration, in addition to inferences drawn from ancient DNA studies and archaeological sites", Quam said. When the newly discovered fossil human, dubbed Misliya-1, and its companions arrived in the area, they would have found themselves living alongside Neanderthals.

Besides the skull fragment, the Misliya Cave site in Israel also contained a series of tools associated with the Levallois technique-a stone toolmaking common to early humans.

According to press release from the university Professor Hershkovitz led a team of Israeli and worldwide anthropologists who conducted a study based on the finding, which will be published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

What path did early humans take?

In addition, genetic studies have turned up signs of early interbreeding between African humans and our evolutionary relatives the Neanderthals. This means there were even earlier opportunities for cultural and/or biological interactions with other local non-modern human species, Quam said.

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Evidence from Misliya is consistent with recent suggestions based on ancient DNA for an earlier migration, prior to 220,000 years ago, of modern humans out of Africa. In the last decade alone major discoveries have been made in Jebel Irhoud Morroco & Daoxian China that contest the oldest know Homo Sapien and the furthest known migration of our earliest ancestors to the Far East.

Because they didn't previously have fossil evidence of Homo sapiens from 300,000 years ago, this helps to fill a small part of that gap in the fossil record.

For quite some time, there has been a high amount of uncertainty regarding when exactly Homo sapiens left Africa and move out into the rest of the world to become the most dominant species.

"Now with the new discovery, all the pieces fall into place - an exodus possibly as early as 250,000 years ago, which is the date of the tools found in the Misliya Cave".

It remains to be seen whether the presence of H. sapiens at Misliya represents a first tentative step out of Africa that fizzled, or part of a larger wave of migration that carried our ancestors out into parts unknown.

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. And in 2016, a team found signs that pioneer groups from Africa interbred with Neanderthals in the Altai region of Siberia about 100,000 years ago.

"We have started excavating at two sites that were excavated in the past, the Skhul and Tabun caves, with the hope to find some hominins that will allow us to answer further questions relating to the late phase of human evolution", Hershkovitz said.

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