Archaeology / Biology / Science

The origin of our species

It’s exam time in the world of NEAT science, which is why I’m fairly quiet. But I had to poke my head in today to mention the latest addition to the long debate about the origin of humanity. Two papers were published in Nature today analysing two aspects of a site in Morocco: the bones found there, and the tools associated with them. This pushes the date of origin for Homo sapiens — the estimated time when we departed from the last common ancestor of all hominids — by 100,000 years.

Not to mention, Morocco isn’t exactly the place anyone expected to find such ancient human remains, suggesting that the Out of Africa theory of origin might need to be revised a bit to place less emphasis on the interior of Africa.

Get a load of this skull reconstruction:

Reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils from Morocco based on CT scans of original fossils. (Credit: Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig)

We can never say for sure we’ve found the first human or the oldest human, but at least for now, these fossils are the earliest Homo sapiens around.

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2 thoughts on “The origin of our species

  1. I saw this on the BBC website; fascinating. The whole primate –> human evolution landscape has got so complicated I can’t keep up. Seems like there’s been a major discovery published most years this century.

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