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Science

Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco, Altering History of Our Species (nytimes.com) 156

Carl Zimmer, writing for The New York Times: Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported on Wednesday. Dating back roughly 300,000 years, the bones indicate that mankind evolved earlier than had been known, experts say, and open a new window on our origins. The fossils also show that early Homo sapiens had faces much like our own, although their brains differed in fundamental ways (alternative source). Until now, the oldest fossils of our species, found in Ethiopia, dated back just 195,000 years. The new fossils suggest our species evolved across Africa. "We did not evolve from a single cradle of mankind somewhere in East Africa," said Phillipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Liepzig, Germany. Today, the closest living relatives to Homo sapiens are chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share a common ancestor that lived over six million years ago. After the lineages split, our ancient relatives evolved into many different species, known as hominins. For millions of years, hominins remained very ape-like. They were short, had small brains, and could fashion only crude stone tools. Original research paper here.
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Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco, Altering History of Our Species

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    posting on a fossil of a site about fossils found at a sight

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @01:46PM (#54570227)
    300,000-year-old homo sapiens in Morocco is pretty interesting. But near precursors weren't only in Africa. The familiar narrative is being disturbed by other politically incorrect discoveries, such as 7.2 million year old ancestors in Bulgaria:

    http://archaeologyinbulgaria.c... [archaeolog...lgaria.com]
    • I think it is more likely that the method used for dating these discoveries is horribly inaccurate. For decades we were using inaccurate methods, and we might still be.
      • We are
        when the great flood happened in 4004BC many of the order "scientists" use to date things got all messed up
      • Peer review is rendered rather pointless and ineffective if every peer considers the inaccurate methodology to be authoritative and fails to question it.

        • A peer review can comment on known deficiencies in methodology, but not on unknown ones. Peer review is not the last line of defense against inaccuracy. Everybody in science knows that peer-reviewed papers can be wrong, but that a consensus among peer-reviewed papers for some time is very likely to be reasonably correct.

    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @02:03PM (#54570409) Homepage Journal

      Pak breeders. They are the missing link.

      300,000 years ago is the correct time frame for their arrival, new science from Morocco has proven it

      • Did the find Tree of Life seeds, too?
        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          G-d visits Eve in the Garden of Eden:

          G-d: Eve, darling, where's my apple? Did you eat it?

          Trump: (standing nearby) Hey, how do you know I didn't eat, I love to eat apples.

          G-d: It was from the Tree of Knowledge, Einstein!

          • Trump: (standing nearby) Hey, how do you know I didn't eat, I love to eat apples.

            G-d: Who is this asshat? Cue the flood.

    • I would mod you but unfortunately there isn't a '-1 interesting but you ruined it'

    • They found a jaw bone. Jaw bones aren't very complete evidence [johnhawks.net], especially given the number of fossils found actually within Africa.
    • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @04:08PM (#54571561)

      So, the Bulgarians think humans were evolved before hominins split from apes. And we are to believe this why? This sounds like something the Greek guy with the electric hair would push, telling us they were really ancient astronauts.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      Oh sure, political incorrectness has to get involved here. You can't just mention alternate theory, you have to play the race card?

      Meanwhile it seems awfully convenient that your one source not only defies consensus on the subject but also is from a source that actively labels itself along a regional agenda.

    • politically incorrect discoveries

      Twat

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      The familiar narrative is being disturbed by other politically incorrect discoveries, such as 7.2 million year old ancestors in Bulgaria:

      7.2 million years ago hominins had not yet split off from the rest of the apes.

      Please describe this 'familiar narrative'. Like most people who whinge about 'politically correct' I suspect you're a dickhead with an axe to grind?

  • Homo sapien? (Score:2, Interesting)

    So we count this as the same species even though the skulls (and presumably brain) are dramatically different?
  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @01:57PM (#54570345)
    A group of time travelers missed the return trip, and had to live out their lives lost in the past in Morocco.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      A group of time travelers missed the return trip, and had to live out their lives lost in the past in Morocco.

      Yes but not from our timeline. When they arrived, the universe branched and they were lost because their future was no longer reachable with the technology they were using.

      Or about as likely, life here began 'out there' and it's only a matter of time before we dig up a Colonial Raptor and have a true WTF moment as a species. Sometimes I still miss BSG.

      • By your command...
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @02:01PM (#54570389)

    How does a single species evolve in multiple places?

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @02:18PM (#54570551)
      The more likely explanation is that it evolved somewhere else at an earlier time, spread to multiple places, and there aren't enough remaining traces of it to get the full picture. The other alternative is that two distinct species (with obvious common ancestor) became similar because evolutionary pressures strongly favored a particular outcome. The first seems more likely to me at this time, but as we learn more about genetics and their role in various lifeforms the second might become more plausible.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Timeshare Condos. They have been the bane of humanity forever.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      A population is either spread across a wide area or there are semi-isolated pockets of it. The species evolves, and there's enough contact among the geographically distant bits of the population that the useful traits get passed around. The species doesn't evolve in multiple places at once completely independently, but it also doesn't evolve in a single place.

      Morocco and Ethiopia are close enough to each other that it's conceivable populations in both places were in semi-frequent contact, so that kind of t

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Very long legs. And fast, they were very fast back then.

    • This is pre-agriculture, so the simplest explanation is nomadic tribes occasionally running into each other and interbreeding (plenty of ways that could happen, from war prisoners to exchanges to form alliances, which isn't unheard of with chimpanzees, royalty and other lower primates). It wouldn't take many generations for dominant genetic traits to traverse the continent, given a suitable lack of geographic barriers and a few droughts temporarily reducing the range of viably habitable territories.

      Think of

  • Morocco is a pretty happening place.
  • These guys lived in Africa 300,000 years ago, 294,000 years before before god made the earth!

    Impressive.

  • Everyone knows humans were created 5777 years ago ( 3761 BC). What's this world coming to?

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2017 @02:22PM (#54570571)

    For millions of years, hominins remained very ape-like. They were short, had small brains, and could fashion only crude stone tools.

    They're still here. We just call them politicians now.

  • Unless they discovered some time-travelling relic, our history remains unaltered...

    Perhaps what was meant was "oldest fossil of homo sapiens found in morocco suggests an update to our current understanding of the history of our species"...

    Science is of course never settled...

  • "We did not evolve from a single cradle of mankind somewhere in East Africa," said Phillipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Liepzig, Germany.

    So one individual decides to make a long, solo trek to toss an alien, divisive artefact off the edge of the world, and now our entire "cradle" theory is shot, all because some magnetically addled frigatebird dropped a clam shell of rancor right down the maw of some inland rift valley.

    • That movie is called "The Gods Must be Crazy".

      And it wasn't a "clam shell of rancor", it was just a Coke bottle that fell from an airplane.

      Impossible to watch as an adult, loved it when I was a kid.

The young lady had an unusual list, Linked in part to a structural weakness. She set no preconditions.

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