Scientists identify oldest modern human remains outside Africa

Modern Humans Failed in Early Attempt to Migrate Out of Africa Old Skull Shows

Of their knowledge after he is 170.000 years old.

In time, researchers determined that Apidima 2, the more complete of the two skulls, belonged to a Neanderthal.

'By contrast, Apidima 1 dates to more than 210,000 years ago and presents a mixture of modern human and primitive features. And when the team dated the fossils by analyzing the radioactive decay of trace uranium in the specimens, they got another shock.

Two fossilised but badly damaged skulls unearthed in a Greek cave in the 1970s were identified as Neanderthal at the time. However, there were no other identifiable animal remains or stone tools that Harvati's team could use to double-check those dating estimates.

To determine the species of the skulls, the researchers took CT scans and used the images to generate a 3-D virtual reconstruction of each one.

Astonishingly, the fossil beats the previous Homo sapiens record by more than 150,000 years - a jawbone found in a cave in Romania.

Apidima 1 lacked classic features associated with Neanderthal skulls, including the distinctive bulge at the back of the head, shaped like hair tied in a bun.

"It's a wonder of nature that you find the two together", he said.

In the new findings, published in the journal Nature, an worldwide team of researchers used state-of-the art computer modelling and uranium dating to re-examine the skull - one of two found fossilised and badly damaged in the Greek cave.

Havarti thinks this part of Eurasia might have served as a refuge for animals and human populations during that period, since the mild coastal climate was a preferable alternative to other parts of Europe. But until now the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens on the continent dated back only around 50,000 years.

A full study was published this week in the journal Nature.

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What we are today- Homo sapiens, originated in Africa almost 3 lakh years back. Melanie Lee Chang, an evolutionary biologist at Portland State University, tells Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post that Apidima 1 is an "outlier", and that she is "not willing to sign on to all of [the researchers'] conclusions here".

The remains were dug up alongside that of a second skull estimated to be 170,000 years-old - considerably later than the human.

'The earliest people did not leave a genetic contribution to Europeans living today.

Ancient hominins - a term for any ancestors in the human lineage that are more closely related to each other than to chimpanzees - are thought to have left Africa in three waves.

A human skull dating from 210,000 years ago has been shown to be human.

Until now, human evolution is thought of as a linear story of new species developing and replacing older, simpler ones with the origins of modern humans originally believed to have been in the southern cape of Africa 80,000 years ago.

The discovery reinforces the view that modern humans spread from Africa to Europe and Asia earlier than was previously believed. At the time when modern humans and Neanderthals lived there separately, sea levels were lower.

But there is uncertainty over the dates for the earliest out-of-Africa dispersals. But those early migrants don't appear to have been successful.

But this narrative has grown ever more hard to sustain because of a range of new fossil discoveries, improvements in their dating and genetic evidence.

Those answers might help anthropologists answer perhaps the biggest mystery of all, according to Harvati: What happened to these early migrants, and why did they die out?

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