Tags: jawbone | fossil | human migration | research | science

Researchers: Human Jawbone Found in Israel Pushes Migration Back 170,000 Years

Image: Researchers: Human Jawbone Found in Israel Pushes Migration Back 170,000 Years
A small piece of jawbone unearthed in a cave in Spain in 2007 (Israel L. Murillo/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 25 January 2018 04:28 PM

A human jawbone found in a cave in Israel in 2000 dates back to at least 170,000 years before the first migrations from Africa and has "changed the whole concept of modern human evolution," researchers said Thursday.

The fossil, the earliest known record of Homo sapiens outside of Africa, was discovered during an excavation of the prehistoric Misliya cave in the Mount Carmel region of northern Israel, The Times of Israel reported.

However, intensive research by a global team of scientists over as many as 15 years has dated the finding — an adult upper jawbone with several teeth — to between 170,000 and 200,000 years ago.

"This has changed the whole concept of modern human evolution," Israel Hershkovitz, a professor at Tel Aviv University, told the Times.

The research was published Thursday in Science magazine.

"The entire narrative of the evolution of Homo sapiens must be pushed back by at least 100,000-200,000 years," he said.

For at least a half-century, fossils found in Ethiopia have led scientists to believe modern humans appeared in Africa as early as 160,000 to 200,000 years ago, the Times reports.

The earliest record of migration outside of Africa — the "cradle of humanity" — was at least 90,000 to 120,000 years ago, based on fossils discovered in the Skhul and Qafzeh caves in Israel near the Mediterranean Sea nearly 90 years ago.

But the Misliya fossil also has researchers theorizing that modern humanity evolved alongside — intermingling with — other hominin groups, such as Neanderthals, Hershkovitz told the Times.

The dating of a modern human fossil to as long as 200,000 years ago "implies that the biological history of our species must be pushed back to half a million years ago," he said.

"It implies that our species didn’t evolve in isolation. The species was involved with a very long interaction with other groups.

"Our species," Hershkovitz added, "is a genetic mishmash of several hominins."

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Researchers said Thursday a human jawbone found in a cave in Israel in 2000 dates back to at least 170,000 years before the first migrations from Africa and has "changed the whole concept of modern human evolution."
jawbone, fossil, human migration, research, science
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2018-28-25
Thursday, 25 January 2018 04:28 PM
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