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Archaeology News - Age of Homo sapiens pushed back to 315,000 BP

29 June 2017

Jebel Irhoud Archaeological Dig 537x136

There is a lot of excitement in the world of physical anthropology at the moment with the publication of an study of the remains of at least five Homo sapiens in a site in Morocco called Jebel Irhoud. These remains are unusual because the fossils are older than 300,000, making these the oldest human remains yet found in the world. Making them especially interesting is the fact that they are not where anyone expected them to be (lets say, East Africa). The presence of Homo sapiens in north west Africa this early suggests that the species may have been distributed more widely more quickly than has usually been assumed. A review article can be found at Nature here although the full journal article  is behind a paywall. There is a good review article at The Guardian website here also.

Photograph: Credit: Jean-Jacques Hublin, MPI-EVA, Leipzig