Menu

Scientists Uncover Oldest Homo sapiens Fossils to Date

The new fossils push the origin of the human species back by 100,000 years.

Jun 6, 2017
Diana Kwon

Two views of a composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel IrhoudPHILIPP GUNZ, MPI EVA LEIPZIGAt an archeological site in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, a group of archeologists discovered the oldest Homo sapiens fossils to date. The remains, which are around 300,000 years old, push the origin of the human species back 100,000 years, according to a pair of papers the group published today (June 7) in Nature.

“This stuff is a time and a half older than anything else put forward as H. sapiens,”

John Fleagle, a paleoanthropologist at the State University of New York in Stony Brook who was not involved in the studies, tells Science.

Jean-Jacques Hublin, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and his team uncovered the fossilized remains of at least five humans, including a partial skull and jaw, in Jebel Irhoud during an excavation project that began in 2004. Their subsequent analyses, published today, revealed the morphology of these ancient bones resembled both primitive and more recent human bones. “The face is that of somebody you could come across in the Metro,” Hublin tells the New York Times.

In the second study, the team aged both the human fossils and nearby stone tools at around 300,000 years old.  

Prior to these findings, the earliest reliably dated human fossils were from Ethiopia, and were found to be around 195,000 years old. “This gives us a completely different picture of the evolution of our species. It goes much further back in time, but also the very process of evolution is different to what we thought,” Hublin tells the Guardian. “It looks like our species was already present probably all over Africa by 300,000 years ago.”

“They shift Morocco from a supposed backwater in the evolution of our species to a prominent position,” Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London who was not involved in the study, tells Nature.

January 2019

Cannabis on Board

Research suggests ill effects of cannabinoids in the womb

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Horizon Discovery extends CRISPR Screening Service to primary human T cells
Horizon Discovery extends CRISPR Screening Service to primary human T cells
Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) (“Horizon” or “the Company”), a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today announced the extension of its CRISPR Screening Service to includeex vivoT lymphocytes. The service extension meets the requirements of immunology-based research in drug discovery,enabling new gene targets to be identified in biologically and potentially therapeutically relevant settings.
pIC50: The Advantages of Thinking Logarithmically
pIC50: The Advantages of Thinking Logarithmically
Watch this webinar from Collaborative Drug Discovery to learn about how using pIC50 helps you get a better sense of the relative potencies, calculate the correct mean of multiple values, and select better sampling doses.
WIN a VIAFLO 96/384 to supercharge your microplate pipetting!
WIN a VIAFLO 96/384 to supercharge your microplate pipetting!
INTEGRA Biosciences is offering labs the chance to win a VIAFLO 96/384 pipette. Designed to simplify plate replication, plate reformatting or reservoir-to-plate transfers, the VIAFLO 96/384 allows labs without the space or budget for an expensive pipetting robot to increase the speed and throughput of routine tasks.
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX has announced that their digital PCR assets, including the CONSTELLATION® series of instruments, is being acquired by QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN, Frankfurt Stock Exchange: QIA) for up to $260 million ($125 million upfront payment and $135 million of milestones).  QIAGEN has announced plans for a global launch in 2020 of a new series of digital PCR platforms that utilize the advanced dPCR technology developed by FORMULATRIX combined with QIAGEN’s expertise in assay development and automation.