Friday, 19 July, 2019

Modern man came earlier to Europe than assumed

Neanderthal skull and its reconstruction The Apidima 2 skull has the prominent brow ridge characteristic of Neanderthals
Elijah Vega | 13 July, 2019, 22:40

The study says that a skull found in Apidima Cave from 1978, a Cliffside cave on Greece's southern coast, represents the oldest Homo Sapiens outside Africa. But new techniques have allowed for further analysis of the skull, and scientists found to their astonishment that it is in fact a 210,000-year-old skull belonging to a Homo sapiens.

Based on the skull shapes alone, it is clear there are significant differences: Apidima 2 is more complete and shows similarities to Neanderthals, while Apidima 1 is reminiscent of modern human fossils. Its owner lived some 40,000 years before its Neanderthal neighbor, making it the oldest human skull found outside of Africa.

"These results suggest that two late Middle Pleistocene human groups were present at this site - an early Homo sapiens population followed by a Neanderthal population".

Katerina Harvati, the director of paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said the skull revealed that at least some modern humans had left Africa far earlier than previously thought and reached further geographically to settle as far away as Europe. Mystery Behind 4000-year-old Mummy Found at Deir El Bersha, an Ancient Egyptian Necropolis Solved by Federal Bureau of Investigation. Then the scientists discovered the fossilized jaw of age from 177 to 194 thousand years.

"Until our reconstruction, Apidima 1 was regarded as a Neanderthal as well", Professor Grun said.

But the skull discovery in Greece suggests that Homo sapiens undertook the migration from Africa to southern Europe on "more than one occasion", according to Eric Delson, a professor of anthropology at City University of NY.

It also showed archetypal neanderthal-like features such as a thick, rounded brow ridge. The rounded back is just like a modern human's; Neanderthals have a bulge at the back of the skull that nearly resembles a hair bun.

Apidima 2 was identified as a Neanderthal, but Apidima 1 wasn't assigned a species. This confirmed it was an early Neanderthal dating from around 150,000 years ago.

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A 210,000-year-old partial skull found in southern Greece about four decades ago has been identified as the earliest example of anatomically modern Homo sapiens discovered outside the African continent.

Apidima 1 and other recent discoveries, however, have led researchers to think that some modern Homo sapiens left Africa long before that larger exodus.

However, our modern human ancestors did eventually migrate successfully out of Africa and replaced Neanderthals across Europe between 45,000 to 35,000 years ago.

"[The Apidima 1 population] would have been part of this early dispersal that didn't leave a genetic contribution to later Eurasians living today", she said.

And he said it's not impossible that we might find Homo sapiens fossils of similar age to the Moroccan remains in Europe or Asia at around the same time.

Within the outdated couple of years, palaeontologists bear came all over contemporary human fossils from Daoxian and Zhirendong in China relationship to between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago.

Other fossils of early humans found outside of Africa suggest brief ventures before the mass departure of Homo sapiens about 70,000 years ago when the species spread out from the continent to colonise vast swaths of territory around the world. Warren Sharp at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California said the team's tests on the supposedly modern human skull had produced wildly different dates, a sign that uranium may have been lost from the bones over time.

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