History may have been re-written, with the discovery in Morocco of what are believed to be the oldest-known Homo sapiens fossils.
Scientists and archaeologists uncovered fossil bones and stone tools in a cave and they believe it pushes back the appearance of our kind by hundreds of thousands of years.
Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin, Director of the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology explained:
“There is one issue which is the timing and the place. So the timing is much older than we thought. It’s not 200,000 (years). It’s probably more than 300,000 (years). Then there is the notion that our species, by this time, was already represented all over Africa and not just in a little Garden of Eden somewhere.”
Specifically, researchers have now redated a long-overlooked skull found in the cave. The discovery suggests that our species came into the world face-first. The back of the skill remained elongated, meaning it looked similar to those of archaic humans.
“To me it’s quite striking is that the reason why we connect these people to us is their face, the way they look. It’s people we would recognise like us if we would cross them in the street,” Hublin added.
Miners first stumbled upon the skull in 1961. The fossils uncovered suggest that faces evolved modern features before the skull and brain adopted the globular shape seen in living people.