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Oldest Fossil Bones Of Homo Sapiens Uncovered In Morocco

First Posted: Jun 08, 2017 04:41 AM EDT

Researchers have found fossil bones of Homo sapiens dated 300,000 years ago at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco. The fossils could be the oldest fossil bones of human species and could alter mankind's origins, according to the researchers.

The findings of the discovery were published in the journal Nature. The study was led by Jean-Jacques Hublin from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer of the National Institute of Archaeology and Heritage in Morocco. The team also discovered stone tools and animal bones beside the fossil bones of the Homo sapiens, according to Phys.org.

The oldest known fossils of human species are dated back 195,000 years ago in Ethiopia. This means that the newly found fossil bones are older by more than 100 years. The early Homo sapiens also had faces much like the humans. On the other hand, their brains varied in basic ways, as noted by New York Times.

The scientists theorized that all humans living today originated in East Africa around 200,000 years ago. On the other hand, Hublin said that their new data reveal that Homo sapiens spread across the entire African continent around 300,000 years. He further said that long before the out-of-Africa dispersal of Homo sapiens, there was dispersal within Africa.

The Jebel Irhoud in Morocco is famous for its human fossils and Middle Stone Age artifacts since the 1960s. The researchers including Dr. Hublin and his colleagues have discovered fossils such as skull bones from five people who all died around the same time. They also found flint blades in some layers of rocks as the skulls have been found. The researchers theorized that the people of Jebel Irhoud could have made these flint blades into spears.

Most of the flint blades have signs of being burned. This indicates that the people of Jebel Irhoud might have lit fires to cook food and heated discarded blades and then placed them underneath the ground. The researchers also used the thermoluminescence to determine their precise chronology. They found that the flints yielded an age of about 300,000 years ago.

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