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Re-dating: Homo sapiens in East Africa is far older than previously thought

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Re-dating: Homo sapiens in East Africa is far older than previously thought

Updated on 01/14/2022 at 8:14 p.m

  • So far, the oldest find of Homo sapiens came from Morocco.
  • Surprising, because East Africa is actually considered the cradle of mankind.
  • However, a study now shows that a fossil discovered in Ethiopia lived much earlier than previously thought.
  • You can find more knowledge topics here Modern humans lived in East Africa much earlier than previously proven. The Homo sapiens Omo 1 discovered in southern Ethiopia did not live less than 200,000 years ago, as was long assumed, but at least 233,000 years ago – possibly even much earlier. This is reported by an international research team led by Céline Vidal from Cambridge University a re-dating of the earth layer in question in the journal “Nature”.

    Skull fragments found in Ethiopia play a key role

    Africa is the cradle of mankind. But only eight finds of Homo sapiens in Africa are older than 130,000 years, writes Vidal’s team. The skull fragments of Omo Kibish 1 (Omo 1), found in southwestern Ethiopia in the late 1960s, play a key role. According to the team, they clearly show signs of modern Homo sapiens, but according to previous dating they were around 197,1000 years by far not the oldest remains of our kind.Also read: Humans already had social networks more than 40,000 years ago. In 2017, a team led by the Leipzig Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology reported on the earliest Homo sapiens find to date. The fossil from Djebel Irhoud in Morocco is therefore around 300,000 years old. The location was the main surprise at the time – far beyond the classic find regions in East and South Africa.

    Omo 1 must have lived more than 233,000 years ago

    The current study now shows that modern people in East Africa lived earlier than previously documented. The dating of Omo 1 was already controversial: “The fossils were found in a layer under a thick deposit of volcanic ash that could never be dated radiometrically because it was too fine,” Vidal is quoted as saying in a statement from her university geochemical investigations have now attributed this ash to an eruption of the Shala volcano, 400 kilometers away. Argon dating of pumice crystals from this eruption found elsewhere showed that the volcano erupted around 233,000 years ago. Since Omo 1 lay beneath the ash layer from this eruption, it must have lived more than 233,000 years ago – possibly much earlier.” Estimate splitting off from archaic humans at between 350,000 and 200,000 years ago,” the team writes. “Determining a robust maximum age for Omo 1 remains a challenge.” (ff/dpa)


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