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Researchers have identified the remains of the earliest known modern humans to have left Africa.
New dating of fossils from Israel indicates that our species (Homo sapiens) lived outside Africa around 185,000 years ago, some 80,000 years earlier than the previous evidence.
Details - Journal - Science
Details appear in the journal Science.
The co-lead researcher, Prof Israel Hershkovitz, told BBC News that the discovery would fundamentally alter ideas of recent human evolution.
Story - Evolution - Species - Species - Africa
"We have to rewrite the whole story of human evolution, not just for our own species but all the other species that lived outside of Africa at the time," the researcher, from Tel Aviv University, explained.
Prof Chris Stringer of London's Natural History Museum, who was not involved in the study, said: "The find breaks the long-established 130,000-year-old limit on modern humans outside of Africa.
Dating - Hints - Homo - Region - Asia
"The new dating hints that there could be even older Homo sapiens finds to come from the region of western Asia."
The new scientific dating evidence raises the possibility that modern humans interacted with other, now extinct, species of humans for tens of thousands of years. It also fits in with recent discoveries of remains and genetic studies that also indicate an earlier departure from Africa.
Researchers - Fragment - Jawbone - Teeth - Misliya
The researchers analysed a fragment of a jawbone with eight teeth, found in Misliya cave in 2002. The jawbone looked as if it was from a modern human rather than from one of the other species of human that existed at the time.
It is only now that an international research team has conclusively shown that the archaeologists' initial gut feelings were spot on.
Researchers - Jawbone - Human - Tomography - CT
The researchers confirmed that the jawbone belonged to a modern human by carrying out computed tomography (CT) scans of it, building up a 3D virtual model and comparing it with archaic human fossils from Africa, Europe and Asia - as well as modern human remains. Separate scans...
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