Oldest Human Fossils Outside Africa Push Back Our Timeline…Again

By Gemma Tarlach | January 25, 2018 1:00 pm
Caption info here (Credit info here)

The oldest human fossils outside Africa, a partial upper jaw bone and several teeth, were found in Misliya Cave in Israel and may be almost 200,000 years old. (Credit Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University)

Time keeps marching on…backwards, at least when it comes to telling the story of human evolution and migration. The oldest human fossils found outside of Africa suggest our species may have left that continent 200,000 years ago.

You may recall that 2017 was the year that the conventional timeline for human evolution and migration finally toppled thanks to overwhelming archaeological and paleogenetic evidence. Our species is much older, and left its ancestral continent of Africa much earlier, than we previously thought. But a month after leading paleoanthropologists formally called for a rewrite of the timeline for humans leaving Africa, a stunning find in Israel pushes the revised date back even further.

Last year, 300,000-year-old fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, proved that Homo sapiens evolved at least 100,000 years earlier than conventionally thought. The Moroccan fossils, along with somewhat younger finds at the Ethiopian sites Herto and Omo Kibish, crushed the old school notion that our species emerged only in the last 200,000 years.

Most paleoanthropologists now agree on this new start date for our species in Africa (though a small number of researchers argue that humans evolved outside of Africa). But there is still a considerable amount of disagreement in the field about when anatomically modern humans left the continent and spread across Eurasia. For decades, conventional thinking set the date of our first exodus between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago.

Support for that conventional date eroded over time, however: A few 20th century fossil and artifact finds in Israel showed that anatomically modern humans were in the region up to 115,000 years ago. In China, a number of sites hint that modern humans may have reached East Asia 80,000 to 120,000 years ago and, in Australia, thousands of artifacts believed to belong to modern humans suggest an arrival date of 65,000 years ago.

Today, a partial jawbone from Misliya Cave in Israel joins those other early fossils outside Africa — and this new find is a lot older.

Caption info here (credit info here)

The partial jawbone and teeth from Misliya Cave in Israel are about as old as human fossils from Herto and Omo Kibish, both in Ethiopia, but considerably younger than the fossils described in 2017 from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. (Credit Rolf Quam, Binghamton University)

Sink Your Teeth Into This One

Known as Misliya-1, the partial maxilla, with several teeth preserved in situ, is 177,000 to 194,000 years old. That date range was determined by three different dating methods: uranium-thorium, combined uranium series and electron spin resonance. Tools found nearby (more on them below) were found to be approxiately the same age using thermoluminescence.

That date range makes Misliya-1 the oldest human fossils outside Africa as well as a contemporary of the humans found at Herto and Omo Kibish in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian fossils, however, like the even older Jebel Irhoud individuals from Morocco, exhibited some primitive traits. Crucially, all of Misliya-1’s features fall within the range of anatomically modern humans, and none of the traits resemble those of Neanderthals or other archaic humans.

Caption info here (Credit Info here)

Researchers reconstructed a virtual upper jaw for Misliya-1 using the oldest human fossils outside Africa. The reconstruction shows the individual had numerous anatomical traits associated with modern humans. (Credit Gerhard Weber, University of Vienna)

Telltale Tools

Found with Misliya-1 were stone tools that belong to the Levallois technology, one of the most sophisticated styles of toolmaking in the prehistoric record. Levallois technique requires the toolmaker to prepare a stone, called a core, by pre-shaping it. The actual tool is then struck from the core. This method allows for more precise shaping and was used to make a range of items, from scrapers to projectile points.

An intriguing sidenote about the Levallois method is that the artifacts it produced, found in Europe as well as Asia and Africa, tend to be more uniform from one to the next than those of earlier technologies. Some researchers believe this suggests that toolmakers taught each other the technique using both demonstration and spoken language.

Levallois tools have been found in the area around Misliya Cave before. The nearby site of Tabun, for example, is home to Levallois tools dated to between 190,000 and 260,000 years ago, though no modern human fossils have been found associated with the items to date. You know where else Levallois tools have turned up? Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, where they were made approximately 315,000 years ago.

Who Is Human?

Longtime readers of Dead Things who know how obsessed I am with the fossils found at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia may be wondering why the Misliya jawbone, at less than 200,000 years, is considered the oldest human fossil outside Africa. Yes, the Dmanisi hominins belong to the genus Homo and heck yeah, they are older, a lot older (at 1.89 million years, about 10 times as old).

Wellll…

There is disagreement about which Homo species count as human (just as some paleoanthro types disagree whether certain individual hominins in the fossil record represent discrete species or are merely different populations of a single species). In common usage, unless otherwise specified, the term “human” on its own refers to anatomically modern humans. You know, us.

The new Misliya-1 research, as well as a commentary on the study, appears today in Science.

Caption info here (Credit info here)

The entrance to Misliya Cave, one of several caves located on the west side of Mt. Carmel that hold evidence of prehistoric human activity. Misliya had collapsed sometime after the Early Middle Stone Age and occupation by the individual now known to science as Misliya-1, the oldest human remains outside Africa. (Credit Mina Weinstein-Evron, Haifa University)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
ADVERTISEMENT
  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    200,000 years ago” Creation occurred at nightfall, 22 October 4004 BC. That seven-toed foot is Deviltry. God said it, I heard it, that’s it. It is inerrant, it is inarguable, it is necessary, it is declared fact.

    If you still doubt, watch the definitive documentary, The Flintstones.

    • dan becker

      RIGHT! It is absolutely necessary, for how are non science thinkers ever going to get their head around 300,000 years ago, or maybe 1/2 million years ago. Yikes! What a thought. Get me out of here!

      • Robert Martin

        It’s not a 7 toed foot. It’s teeth.

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

          wow
          (7-toed)

      • Matthew Fetke

        So arrogant. Yet so very wrong. The Bible and science are absolutely compatible. Evolution is a fairy tale, just as you would call creation a fairy tale. The difference is, IF what I believe is right then I go to heaven and live in perfect paradise forever. IF I’m right, then you live 80ish years in this imperfect world and then that is it for you.

      • Matthew Fetke

        You should check out Pascal’s wager. He said it best. Personally I’ll choose to belief that I exist because a loving God made me with a purpose then to believe that I’m just an accident. The problem with you evolution believers is that you so thick headed that you think evolution is a fact yet there are thousands of holes in that silly theory. Only 1 hole in creation, you’d have to prove the existence of an all powerful God. Which you also are unable to disprove. I am mature enough to admit that it takes FAITH to believe. Will you show maturity and admit that it takes faith to believe in evolution?

        • Matthew Fetke

          Check out “Is Genesis History” on Netflix. It is well done series explaining how the things that evolution say take millions of years also have another explanation. It is respectful of evolutionists and it shows another perspective on these topics. Several Phd’s are interviewed so it is intellectual.

          • StanChaz

            Yeah, sure, just like “I know words” Trump

          • Michael Cleveland

            Phd’s in what? And in a medium notorious for hiring actors trained to follow the script. I have a beard, and some presence, I think. I could be a Ph.D., but I would want more than scale.

          • Matthew Fetke

            Why don’t you show some courage and check it out for yourself!

          • Michael Cleveland

            Full of misrepresentations

          • NM

            https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/a-geological-response-to-the-movie-is-genesis-history

            Check out this review by Christians who believe in the bible.

        • AlDavisJr

          How do you of Faith explain the tens of thousands of fossils of extinct species that predate your “creation?” It is difficult to understand creationists faith in a book that ignores scientific evidence by the train load, all while claiming there are holes in evolution. Talk about holes…and y’all try to cover the holes in creationism with faith.

          • jeff

            have no idea how they do it?

          • temporary guest

            I remember a time when the most outstanding characteristic of the “missing link” was that it was still missing. Now, missing links are missing by the hundreds, maybe thousands. Every time we turn around there are more links missing and extra links popping up where they’re not supposed to be.

          • Matthew Fetke

            Go to Netflix and watch “Is Genesis History” IF you truly want the answer to that question. You see the evidence is there for everyone to see. Evolutionists interpretation of the fossil record makes no sense.

          • Lorie Franceschi

            Another person could take the same facts and say something entirely different than what is shown in “is genesis history”. Don’t believe everything you see on tv no matter what channel

          • Matthew Fetke

            It does not ignore science. In fact science vindicates the Bible. Our dating methods for 1 SAMPLE range from 500 million to 1 billion years. From an engineers perspective that is a tolerance of 500 million + or – 500 million. Incredibly unreliable but it fits the agenda of an evolutionists so they have BLIND FAITH in these dating methods.

          • okiejoe

            No, that would be 750 million + or – 250 million. There is no chance that it is less than 500 million in your example.

        • StanChaz

          Ah yes, prove the nonexistence of something. Sorry – I have better uses of my time. Of course you can believe anything you want as long as you don’t stuff it down other people’s throats, especially when they’re young and impressinable and defenseless. But it’s not just a mere wager. It’s living your precious short life on a false foundation of religious beliefs and myths. A living death. A wasted life. It’s looking at the world thru the eyes of charatans and following them like sheep to the slaughter. To paraphrase an old slogan: A religious life is a terrible thing to waste.

        • Michael Cleveland

          Same old rhetorical trick: reduce the possibilities to two (of the speaker’s choice, accident or creation) then argue that one is unacceptable. Why is it that creationists are the only people who actually use the word “accident” as “the” alternative to evolution? What about a Universe of (God-created, if you will) natural process? So let me get this straight…God created a Universe of physical laws, but those laws were inadequate to the formation of life without an additional wave of the magic wand. Yes, of course. Makes perfect sense.

        • nik

          If you think that a ‘god’ capable of engineering our universe, wouldn’t include adaptability, [evolution] as part of that design, then your invented god is even more stupid than you are.

          • Donald Pruitt

            After reading several of your comments on the Galaxy and Space dust, I found them quite enlightening. You are obviously a very intelligent man and have lead a very interesting life. I Think from reading your comments that you are probably older than I, but we both seem to have had some interesting and unexpected paths. Anyway’s just wanted to say Hi to a fellow being who thinks outside the box.

          • nik

            Thanks, pleased to make your acquaintance.
            ‘Thinking out of the box’ is all part of being an innovative and inventive engineer. It used to be called ‘lateral thinking,’ or just making connections. :-)

          • Matthew Fetke

            If you actually took time to study these theories you might discover that nothing it claims is even possible! A single cell organism literally just fell together! You must think I’m a complete moron if you expect me to believe that jibberish. Have we any evidence of spontaneous production of life? How many of the billions of missing links have we found? 2, 3?? What about the big bang? that theory is an insult to human intellect! And scientist are abandoning that theory. Oh the Grand Canyon took millions of years to form? How many geologists have abandoned that theory? Evolution is a mess not a fact.

          • nik

            First, I’ve not said ‘evolution is a fact’ its a theory, nothing more.
            As for ‘god’ by definition, god must be omnipotent, or he or it, cannot be a god.
            All the ‘one god religions’ have heresy laws to protect their god.
            If a god needs protection from humans, then he cannot be omnipotent, and therefore cannot be a god, and is in fact, just a figment of deranged imaginations.

            Small children are sometimes known to invent invisible companions, who they talk to and confide in. However, they are expected to grow out of it, and usually do. If they dont, they are considered to require mental treatment as they are considered to be deranged.

            Therefore, if an adult also invents an invisible person and talks to it, they are also deranged, and in need of mental treatment.

            The logic is clear, and inescapable!

            If anything is is an insult to human intellect, people claiming that an invisible entity, is watching every move of every one of the billions of humans on Earth, is the epitome of insult. Also, why just humans, there are billions of other animals that were also ‘created by god,’ why shouldn’t this entity also be watching all of them?

            Theories are just working rules of thumb, useful until a better one turns up.
            ‘gods’ dot fit the bill.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Here we go again. Reduce the argument to two possibilities, spin that the side you argue against to make it appear to be obviously impossible, then throw your arms up in a victory salute. Interesting that only creationists talk of cells just falling together. No scientist has ever said that, nor over-simplified the idea to such an extraordinary degree. So, in spite of your admonition, it is you who have not taken time to study the science. You also seem to have the idea that in areas where our scientific understanding is incomplete, the whole evidentiary science has to be tossed in favor of someone’s unsubstantiated belief system. Bad logic, bad reasoning.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Matthew Fetke: and the rest…The evidence for the big bang is overwhelming, so no, the vast majority of scientists are not abandoning it. Only the fringe elements, and who knows, maybe one of those will come up with a viable alternative to supersede it, but as it is now, the majority accept it based upon the available evidence. And then there is the Grand Canyon, which is known, through the evidence, to have formed over millions of years. How many geologists have abandoned that idea? Not many; only the nut fringe. I said once before that you should try reading some real science, not just the claptrap that’s coming from the way out there fringe in your creationist propaganda. You write these responses on some kind of computing device; I’m sure you probably have a cell phone. You use those every day, yet would deny the science that makes them possible. How smart is that?

          • Matthew Fetke

            God did create organisms with the ability to adapt! That is why we see adaptation all the time. But we never see trans-species adaptation. They claim that it is happening yet we have never seen it happen.

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

          Global Warming is Pascal’s Wager. It currently costs just north of a $trillion/year – a vastly greater criminality than the Vatican and the USSR combined.

        • disqus_IthcVHKc1L

          Darwin!

        • Lorie Franceschi

          Can you prove that God exists with out resorting to resorting to “faith”? Or can 6th prove that evolution is,the correct way? How about this, that God started the big bang when he said let there be light. And he has watched us since then. That takes a giant leap of faith and then a belief that maybe evolution is Gods idea also. Believing in only one shows a closed mind like some scientists just throwing old fossils and tools in a draw and forgetting about them. I think that some people need to open their minds instead of closing their minds to other ideas.

          • OWilson

            Here we go again, true believer against true believer.

            Always fun til somebody loses an eye! :)

            There are many theories to explain creation. Every tribe on earth has their own version.

            The latest is the “Miracle of a Big Bang” theory, where everything that ever existed and will exist was created from nothing!

            All our immutable physical laws, forces and Equations, ans speed limits, the life force that evolves by consuming all around it, from nothing, with no cause and no reason.

            Compared to that stretch of faith, who’s to say that the idea of a grand designer somewhere, is so laughable?

          • Lorie Franceschi

            Where did God come from?

          • Chuck Johnston

            Another god’s belly button.

          • Matthew Fetke

            We don’t know. There are many mysteries concerning God. One thing that is not a mystery is that God has revealed his character to mankind. I don’t have to know where my wife is born to know that I love her!

            If you believe the big bang, then please explain in detail why there was an explosion? If universe was void and empty then where did the explosion come from?

          • Michael Cleveland

            Nobody knows…yet, but there are potential answers in Quantum mechanics. We know a lot, but the fact that we don’t know everything doesn’t negate the value of science.

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

            There was no universe. The Big Bang was an explosion of spacetime, a quantum fluctuation with positive feedback, not in spacetime.

            Conservation laws re Noether’s theorems and symmetries: More matter than antimatter buggers physical theory re Sakharov conditions. Demand global symmetries be recast as emergent gauge symmetries, arXiv:1710.01791, solving the problem by assuming it. giggle

            God sourced himself as Ouroboros. Information transfer re lightspeed constraints is nasty.
            Perhaps God has both negative permittivity and permeability, being a metamaterial with a negative refractive index. Toss your Bible, read the Kaballah (in Sephardic Hebrew – no vowels).

          • okiejoe

            God was created in the image of Man.

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

            Youtube v=3qlI6wBUQdk Monotheism had two Great Breakthroughs: 1) Funneling all donations to a single recipient, and 2) killing the competition for reason of heresy, that being ugly much everybody else in the world

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

            Small stuff is the Jewish God and the Roman Catholic 5000. Source the Hindu 30 crores.

          • Matthew Fetke

            The reason, good sir, is we literally have everything at stake here! You think I am just here to argue? I’m trying to provide information that would save your soul! I’d prefer that everyone, even the ones that throw insults at me, would be able to live in paradise without pain or grief. I love science, which is why I read articles on this website. I’m not naive or uneducated like some would accuse me of. The biggest problem that scientist have is that they think that evolution is science! Evolution is a religion and its god is reason. You want to know what happens to people who follow the god of reason? Read up on the French revolution. They banned the Bible for 3.5 years (predicted in the book of Revelations, by the way) and their society collapse in epic fashion.

          • Michael Cleveland

            You could have worse gods than reason, but evolution is very definitely science–multidisciplinary. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, anatomy, ecology, climatology, etc. How much science do you want? Calling it religion just proves my earlier point that you have never read any real science, so are arguing against things you don’t understand.

          • OWilson

            In your religion, (there are many!) do we have the right to “save” our own souls, in the manner we see fit, or do we have to do it YOUR way?

            I’m not against religion in general, I believe it has allowed disparate groups to co-exist between the inevitable major conflagerations, that woud otherwise have killed off civilization.

            The concept of concience, charity, and social rules, “Thou Salt Not…..kill, steal, covet, and the rest” have been very useful in building a civilized society.

            One nation, under God!

            When you are lost at night in the inner city, the sight of a church, temple, or synagog with lights on is not a terrifying sight! :)

            Without religion, there is no moral compass, right or wrong is what we chose it to be.

            That’s the human dilemma today.

            Kick out religion, and what do you have to replace it with?

            Hate, venom, crime, anarchy, rape, looting, rioting and ransacking you own neighborhood Mom and Pop stores!

          • Matthew Fetke

            Not true. Evolution and the Bible are diametrically opposed to each other. The Bible calls God our loving creator. Would you consider a mother/father loving if they procreated a child and then walked away? God says that He knew us before we were born (in the womb, obviously) and that He is personally invested in our day to day lives. What you are talking about is called syncretism the Romans would famously do this to all religions they encountered. Either the Bible is inspired by God and is all true or throw it out! You can’t pick and chose which parts you want to believe.

          • Michael Cleveland

            There is an interesting interpretation of Genesis that eliminates that supposed opposition. I am not at home, so don’t have author’s name, but look for a book called the “Lost book of Genesis I.” I don’t agree with everything it says, but it offers a well thought out premise based on a corrected translation of some of the verbs in the original Hebrew.

        • Jim Speidel

          Evolution was called a “theory” 150 years ago when Darwin wrote the book. In case you haven’t noticed, it is now known to be FACT.

          • Matthew Fetke

            Except that it is wrong about nearly everything! And the constantly have to change it! A fact that is constantly changing… Now that is an interesting idea. Kind of reminds me of a certain lady talking about “alternative facts” ROFL I dont care if you shout the word at me, you are still wrong.

          • Michael Cleveland

            I think you read only sources that say what you want to hear. Clearly you have never read any of the mainstream scientific literature or looked at the overwhelming evidence for evolution. Don’t argue against things you don’t understand. (Before you throw that back at me, I am a lifelong student of both religion and science.). Creationism fails on one count: it starts with an immutable idea, and all evidence must be modeled or filtered to fit the idea. Science follows the evidence to arrive at the idea. It’s great strength is that it is never immutable, but can be adapted if new evidence or understanding requires that.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Sorry, Jim, but you are not helping the cause. If you understood anything about science, then you would know there is no such thing as scientific fact, only hypothesis and theory. Unfortunately, a great problem of communication arises between the two sides in the argument because one side does not understand that Theory is not conjecture or guess work, but is, in fact, the highest , thoroughly vetted current level of understanding of the discipline it concerns. It’s not cast in concrete; it’s never final, because we may learn something new tomorrow, but it is the best we have at any given time. So better to say that by virtue of overwhelming evidence, mainstream science accepts the concept of evolution. That does not say we have all the answers, but we are as sure as we can be that it has driven the growth of life on Earth.

      • Matthew Fetke

        Bible says that once God cleanses the Earth that there will be no more death. You think I struggle with the thought of millions of years? I don’t even struggle with the thought of infinite years!

        • Michael Cleveland

          “End of death.” Catchy. But difficult. Has it occurred to you that the end of death would also mean the end of procreation? No more children to add to the population and take up shrinking space in the world. Immortality to those of the faith who are beneficiaries to the gift. Stagnation to those of the faith who are beneficiaries of the gift. No new people, no new ideas, no growth. Ah, but in a cleansed world, who needs anything new? You would all live in a state of perfection, right?. Right. I think you can count me out. It’s not something I would want any part of.

          • Matthew Fetke

            I love how you just assume that a perfect world is such a horrible place! You must be a devout pessimist! You see we won’t be bound to this world. Yes, in God’s perfect universe we will visit other worlds and other galaxies even. And this gift is not exclusive to Christians or to any religion. But it is exclusive to those who, when confronted with truth, choose to accept it.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Now you’re just making it up as you go along. Who said we would have free access to the Universe? Not the Bible. So where are you coming up with this?

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

      The definitive answer: Poe’s Law.

      web(.)archive(.)org/web/20170114124412/http://www.christianforums.com/threads/big-contradictions-in-the-evolution-theory.1962980/page-3#post-17606580

  • 9Athena

    It’s time to drop the “Out of Africa” hypothesis. It seems there were many starts-not all successful-and development was not in a straight line. The Neanderthals added their mix and Asia still remains to be dug by a new crop of paleontologists and archaeologists.

    • GemmaTarlach

      Hi 9Athena, the field is right there with you on that thought (as am I). A review published in December in Science officially called for a new model. Check out my post on it if you missed it: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/deadthings/2017/12/07/human-migration-rewrite/ and thanks for reading.

      • Electronic Yogi

        Well, I don’t see any scientist dropping the Out of Africa model anywhere?

        • GemmaTarlach

          Actually, many never signed on to the RAO model, particularly in Asia, and others have been abandoning it. I’ve got an Origin Story column on the different models in our April issue, and would also suggest that you check out the December review in Science that called for the end of RAO model. I did a Dead Things post on it which includes a link to the original paper if you don’t want to search for it on your own.

          • Electronic Yogi

            Thx. I will check up on it.

            But I will have to look for some solid proofs in there. There are many opinions floating about, even among scientists, and they are nothing more than that: opinions. And we all know how emotional opinions get.

  • Juno_Moneta

    “The Moroccan fossils, along with somewhat younger finds at the Ethiopian sites Herto and Omo Kibish, crushed the old school notion that our species emerged only in the last 200,000 years.”

    I hate to point out the obvious but those locations are IN AFRICA.

    • Michael Cleveland

      It is no longer politically correct to use the full term, but they are clearly referring tacitly to “Darkest Africa,” which is farther south.

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

        Sub-Saharan Africa as the “Cradle of Mankind” is wholly political. North African Berbers became Moors who invaded Catholic Spain and ruined it with civilization. Blue-eyed Moors were common. Egyptions were not, are not Negroid

        The singular sub-Sahran conqueror was Shaka kaSenzangakhona. He sent about 23,000 confreres armed with assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields to overrun the British by exhausting their ammunition. The Battle of Isandlwana was splendid.

        Brits adopted that tactic against German barbed wire and machine guns in the Battle of the Somme. They were massively, repeatedly slaughtered to no gain.

        • Michael Cleveland

          I cannot for the life of me see what this has to do with Africa as the “Cradle of Mankind”. The events you refer to all fall within recorded history, so have no explanatory relevance in a discussion of the distant prehistoric origins of modern humans.

          • OWilson

            Uncle Al is that rare individual who relates history, ancient and modern, to the present human condition that so many folks today are complaining incessantly about.

            Connecting dots?

            A sly way to force them to really think about their own situaton.

            Obviously, it is not always a popular approach! :)

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

            Black Africa is a Social Justice Warrior political weapon. Bonobos did not evolve into mankind. They are a branch along the main path. Wherever mankind sprouted, it is not represented by contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.

            If you are an anthropologist, and you want funding, you had better be salably political.

          • Michael Cleveland

            I’m afraid I’m not finding the dots to connect. I know of no one who would suggest that mankind evolved from Bonobos, so I fail to see your point. It should also be self-evident that mankind’s origin is no more represented by contemporary sub-Saharan Africa than it is by contemporary Europe or North America. Evolution occurs in culture as well as biology, so I can’t imagine that anyone who understands evolution (of either) would suggest that modern could be representative of past.

    • GemmaTarlach

      Hi Juno, not sure what you seem to be vexed about, but yes, the Moroccan and Ethiopian fossils are indeed in Africa, and offered proof that our species evolved (or, as researchers would put it, “emerged” from an earlier, ancestral species) in Africa earlier than once thought. What’s exciting about the Misliya find is that it shows our species had already left our ancestral continent of Africa more than 170,000 years ago, which is a huge time difference from the previous estimated migration period. Thanks for reading, and love the Benny Hill avatar, btw (I grew up watching BH reruns with my grandpa).

      • Juno_Moneta

        Ms Tarlach, thanks for your reply, I’m honored. I didn’t feel “vexed”, but I’ve always been mystified by the thought that species were somehow hemmed into Africa. The rock art and satellite images of river beds help prove that the Sahara is a very recent development (see Homer), probably coinciding with the waning of the last ice age. I imagine that small populations of hominids escaped the continent early and often. As in the American continents, humans remains are just really rare to find but dates keep getting pushed back. I believe the hominid’s intelligence and adaptability had them utilizing every niche possible quite early on.

        • GemmaTarlach

          No worries, apparently I mistook your tone. But in any case, I think it’s important to distinguish between what’s possible and what is supported by the fossil record so far. I think a lot of people, including many researchers, get invested with the current fossil record as the end-all when the truth is we’ve got a sliver of a slice of a segment of the story. Personally I suspect there are many, many more sites, particularly in Asia, that are going to completely revise the fossil record once they’re found, but because they haven’t been unearthed yet, researchers can only theorize based on what they do have to work with. The short answer: You and I are in agreement, and I look forward to the next big discovery. It’s coming, no doubt.

      • Michael Cleveland

        Given that the geographical/political boundaries are modern and in some respects very arbitrary, I’m not impressed with Misliya’s location as being all that much outside of Africa. It is outside according to modern distinctions, but in truth, is hardly representative of our having left Africa. I acknowledge that as hair-splitting; we made it that far by 170,000 years ago (and almost certainly earlier) but I can’t get quite as excited about it as an out-of-Africa site as the article implies I should be.

  • jeff

    I’m no doctor,but I could have told the experts this

  • Mayday2

    With new findings from current ongoing research into generations of artifacts found in the glaciers perhaps its time to revisit the “red paint people” who seemed to have traveled around the top of the world during the ice ages leaving hints of their existence on several continents. I have been interested in this unknown culture for years.

  • StanChaz

    In other words we previously could have blamed the mess we homo sapiens have made on not being around all that long. But apparantly we’re much older –and still no wiser…

  • OWilson

    Look around, there is no one race of people, monkeys, butterflies, birds. Some are becoming extinct as we speak.

    There were many groups of hominids who were isolated from the mainstream, intentionally or otherwise, they clashed, interbred, and produced the varied populations that we have today.

    Some left no fossil record, some left a fossil record we have found and some left a fossil record we haven’t found yet.

    You hit the nail on the head wih your question, “Who is human?”

    There was no particular “eureka” moment, like in the Hollywood movies, when one discovers fire, a burnt piece of wild boar is found smoldering, a guy blows a bone and it makes a sound, his imprints suddenly make art. Or a guy picks up a rock to kill a snake.

    No. Nature had innumerable evolutionary experiments over hundreds of thousands of years, before we survived against all odds and got here today.

    Those looking for certainty, or confirmation of their own PC theories, do the field a disservice. In science an open mind is always better that a closed mind. In real science skepticism is a good thing.

    Until folks learn this simple lesson, look forward to more stories of “puzzled scientists” or “scientists scratching their heads” over the latest findings! :)

    Love the articles.

    Thanks!

    • Electronic Yogi

      Hi.

      Human = Homo Sapiens by definition. It’s pretty easy.

      What we call “race” is actually Phenotype, but phenotype does not have anything to do with a biological classification. The concept that you are looking for, is probably Ecotype, rather than phenotype (or “race”).

      Wikipedia has some relatively good entry points on “Ecotype”, “Phenotype” and “Race (human categorization)”. An interesting subject altogether, that more people should know about.

      • OWilson

        Provide samples of ALL the bones from the present human populations, Swedish Hockey players, NBA, Gymnasts, cat burglers, the terminally obese, Amazon basin natives, pygmies, New Guinea natives, Somalis, Hottentots and Bushmen, to “experts”, in a blind study!

        Mix in a lot of immature, amputees and crippled and bent specimens, transexuals, the resulting model of home sapien produced, would look like a Rube Goldberg contraption.

        There is no “one” noble savage at the end of that totally misleading school wall evolution time line poster :)

        It’s straight from Hollywood Casting Central.

        Like trying to model a feline from the bones of a lion, tiger, jaguar, and your own tabby house cat! :)

        • Electronic Yogi

          😀 Yeah. There would be great variety. And then not so much. Discarding the deformed, all samples will have molars, be bipedal, have a stiff lower back, a bigger skull and relatively long legs compared to any other primate.

          If any other primate became as numerous as we have become and would settle such extreme environments as Humans do, for such a long time, I am quite sure a similar diversity of Ecotypes would appear within the species.

          Anyway, I really recommend you read my comment above. I put a bit of time an effort in, and I think you will find it interesting and even settle a few things. For one thing, Species are not determined by Phenotype.

          • OWilson

            I appreciate the effort that went into your response.

            One of the drawbacks to a commenting machine is it doen’t really allow for expanded responses.

            I do believe if you gave alien anthropologists one sample remnant from each of the phenotypes presently inhabiting the earth, it would be fun to see what they came up with.

            I’m reminded of the 3 blind men guessing what an elelephant looks like from a single perspective.

            When fossils were relatively new and rare they famously put heads at the wrong end.

            Even today they are changing the physology and behaviour of the dinosaurs, bearing little resemblence to the steroetypical bahaviour we see in Hollywood Films.

            Thanks!

  • nik

    Archaeologists and palaeontologists, have a wealth of artefacts that have been discovered in mines, some that date back to half a million years, some a lot more, which they threw into a drawer labelled as ‘anomalous’ and forgot, as quickly as possible, less it disturbed their ‘beliefs’ in the current status quo of the history of humanity. With vast glaciers scraping the Earth clean during regular ‘Malenkovitch’ Ice Ages, every 100,000 years, and subsequent flooding burying more vast areas in deep silts, there could be any number of human civilisations that have come and gone without trace. It may be that only those artefacts that have been deposited in caves, during the resultant stone ages, between civilisations that have survived to be found. When the next ice age arrives, this age of humanity will be just as unprepared as its predecessors, and its highly interconnected civilisation will collapse. Peoples will have to survive without the industry that supports their current lifestyle, and as the steel tools rust to dust, they will have to revert to stone for tools, again. [How many, in our current society, have the ability to locate and recognise iron ore, collect it, smelt it, and convert it to tools, and how long would that knowledge survive when the whole of the current society collapses?] So humanity could easily be millions of years old, but their remains just dont exist.

    • OWilson

      It is “extememly rare” (Wiki) for a fossil to be preserved. They need to be buried quickly in the right kind of media. Only in a very few areas are they to be found. Some times it’s only a tooth or a bone fragment. It is possible and probable that large populations inhabited areas where presevation was not possible.

      To build a songbook of human evolution from mammals to a Wall Street Banker, based on a few meagre finds is not good science.

      But we do have our TV Science guys, that have to have all the simple answers for the Kardashian audience. They are never in doubt, even while explaining exactly what took place at one trillionth, of one trillionth, of one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang!

      DNA is the most helpful tool, that crosses all politically correct lines.

      Skeptics like me are continuously rewarded by many other “than previously thought” stories.

  • Ken Albertsen

    I somewhat knew the general outlook already. Primitive hominids ventured out of N.Africa in to what’s now known as ‘the holy lands.’ They did ok for awhile,but then likely died out. Awhile later (40,000 yrs?), more advanced hominids sallied forth from a NE region of Africa and crossed the mouth of the Red Sea – to land near what’s now the city of Aden in Yemen. That 2nd advance was what expanded to regions as far away as Australia, Siberia and Patagonia and Europe.

  • 88G

    Negroes, black africans, predate all other races of mankind, no matter how many fossils you find in asia, so there. The original man is the black man, made in God’s true image.

    • http://www.amren.com Avi Marranazo

      Interesting too, the unfolding evidence that not only are Negroes the only race to not have Neanderthal genes, but that they also uniquely carry the genes of a specific non-human hominid.

    • OWilson

      She certainly knew what she was doing when she made the young Gladys Knight, the young Ronnie Spector, the young Beyonce, the young Whitney Houston.

      (Hope that’s not racist, or sexist, or ageist?)

    • Rebecca McDonald Rinker

      Unfortunately you need to do some research. But the “God’s true image” statement leads me to believe your psyche is pretty dependent on the theory so I don’t expect you to.

    • Michael Cleveland

      Silly point of view or irony? Man in God’s image refers to the spiritual image, not the physical one.

    • radmat

      Wasn’t Africa, along with the other continents once a single land mass? Pangea may have been the birthplace of humans before it split sending mankind in it’s different directions at one time. So, to say that Africa spawned dark skinned humans first may or may not be correct. New evidence of our origins is yet to be found. Keep an open mind.

      • Michael Cleveland

        You may want to look at dates. Pangea split up a couple of hundred million years before hominids existed on the planet.

  • Lorie Franceschi

    Theory: a system of ideas intended to explain something based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
    Belief: an acceptance that a statement is true
    Faith:complete trust or confidence in something or someone.

    So you believe that the theory of evolution is true because of the ideas that explain it
    Or
    You believe that God is real because you have faith that God is real.

    Each person has to decide how to integrate the two in their lives. Religiuos leaders and scientists have to deal with both every day.

    Please don’t push your beliefs on others. We have had millions of military members protect your beliefs, but don’t try to make others believe like you do. Wars are started that way

    • OWilson

      Evolution does not necssarily exclude God.

      The real choice we have, is whether we, the universe, evolution and all, are just an accidental miracle.

      Or whether there is some Grand Designer purpose to it all.

      Equally unfalsifiable! Not worth arguing about, much less going to war over!

      • Michael Cleveland

        Except for that word “accidental” that keeps popping up. Almost always a term used by creationists to narrow the terms of the argument, and invalid as a limiter. Try “Design or natural process,” which may or may not be mutually inclusive. We live in a Universe that is governed by natural laws. If you believe in creation by an all-powerful deity, how is it possible to deny that deity’s own created natural laws were sufficient to the formation of life? Instead, I read the creationist arguments not as “this is the way we believe it was,” but as ” my way or the byway.” That life exists as the result of natural processes seems to be self-evident, because rational observation says it had to be. The only question is whether those processes are a natural outcome of the formation of the Universe, or created by design. Does God exist? That is not worth arguing because it cannot be resolved through any combination of observation, experiment and reason. And because it cannot be resolved, the question itself has no more meaning than “how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin?”

        • OWilson

          “We live in a Universe that is governed by natural laws.”

          There’s your problem, in one sentence.

          There is no known natural law that can produce all we can observe, including life, from an “explosion” of “nothing” in a Big Bang!

          That requires a miracle greater that feeding a crowd with five fishes! :)

          Your wisdom is actually in your last sentence!

          • Michael Cleveland

            No, you assume the absence of complete knowledge equals the need to apply magic to solve the problem. The Universe operates on natural laws (the laws that we understand from the study of Physics, Chemistry, etc.). It is irrational to assume that because we have not arrived

          • OWilson

            Let us know when you “come to your understanding of the underlying processes”

            There’s a Nobel in it for you! :)

          • Michael Cleveland

            Oh, come on, my understanding? There is a world of scientific enquiry into those questions. Knowledge and understanding come gradually with a lot of work, but that effort beats writing it all off to magic.

          • Michael Cleveland

            Let me say it one more time: Wilfull ignorance is like a pig in a mud hole, gleefully squeeling all day long: “This is the way life should be.”

          • OWilson

            Ah, eventually the name calling!

            What took you so long? :)

          • Michael Cleveland

            If you read that again, it’s a simile. There is no name-calling, real or implied.

          • OWilson

            OK, I’ll take your word for it!

          • OWilson

            I never said “magic”. That’s in your head.

            Some folks believe that the entire universe came from a Big Bang.

            Look up the definition of “miracle”! :)

          • Michael Cleveland

            How would you define creation without process, then? There is a preponderance of evidence in favor of the big bang. The only seriously contending hypothesis, the so-called Steady State theory, has been long refuted. Call it anything you want: the Word, creation by edict, creation by thought, miracle, etc. It boils down to the same thing: Magic.

      • Lorie Franceschi

        I agree. That is why religious leaders from your grand pooba. of your religion down to your local leader and the big shot scientists to your local science school teacher wrestle with the question of : evolution or creation, especially when asked the question, which is true.
        A good example of science and religion coming together is the hunt for the “God practical”. I believe, maybe wrong, was finding the boson. Now it may be something even smaller.

        • OWilson

          ,They found the God Particle, the Higgs Bosun, at the LHC at CERN.

          It turns out that it really wasn’t the big deal that they had hped, for their funding drive :)

          It suggested that there were indications of many other significant particles beyond the Higgs, which as Uncle Al always says, requires “further study”. And, of course a More Powerful Collider!

          So we don’t hear much about it any more, but there are still thousands of scientists from around the world gainfully keeping it running.

          It’s quite interesting, the way the organization is set up. They work on a “consensus” basis when they publish their results so they can share whatever prizes they might recieve in the future, but I don’t see another Einstein or Newton coming through all that international politic.

          But the more micro detail we gather, the less we know for certain, of the macro, the Big Picture!

          The Big Questions that faced our ancestors are still with us, What, How and Why?

  • Eugene McCreary

    So, modern humans existed nearly 300,000 years ago. Then about 297,000 years passed and “god” decided, Hey, it’s taken me a long time to realize this, but these humans need something like the 10 commandments. But instead of instructing all of them, I’m going to give them to this little illiterate, tribe with no culture at all. Let’s see how that works.” Only somebody from a tribe like that could make such stuff up.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Dead Things

Digging up the dirt on the latest finds and wierdest revelations, from lost civilizations to dinosaurs.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+