In DepthPaleoanthropology

Oldest members of our species discovered in Morocco

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  09 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6342, pp. 993-994
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6342.993

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

Researchers have redated a long-overlooked skull from a cave called Jebel Irhoud in Morocco to a startling 300,000 years ago, and unearthed new fossils and stone tools. The result is the oldest well-dated evidence of Homo sapiens, pushing back the appearance of our kind by 100,000 years. The new discoveries, reported in Nature, suggest that our species came into the world face-first, evolving modern facial traits while the back of the skull remained elongated and similar at least in this respect to those of Neandertals and other archaic humans. The findings also suggest that the earliest chapters of our species's story may have played out across the African continent.