New Delhi, Jul. 11: Human Migration and spread to the all-over world is one of the most interesting links of anthropological studies. This migration is much more responsible for the creation of culture in Human society as well as a reason behind the biggest phenomena ‘Race’. But a new study makes another stroke and started a new array of questions.
A skull fossil found in a Greek cave in the 1970s has been identified as the oldest human remains found outside Africa, according to new research. Until now, the earliest evidence of homo sapiens in Southeast Europe dated back 50,000 years — scientists have dated this skull at 210,000 years old.
As per the researchers’ statement, A 210,000-year-old skull has been identified as the earliest modern human remains found outside Africa, putting the clock back on mankind's arrival in Europe by more than 150,000 years.
This magnificent discovery changes every paradigm of our understanding about how homo sapien populated Eurasia. As per this finding, modern man made several, sometimes unsuccessful migrations from Africa over tens of thousands of years.
Southeast Europe has long been considered a major transport corridor for modern humans from Africa. But until now the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens on the continent dated back only around 50,000 years. There has however been a number of discoveries indicating the ancient presence of Neanderthals—an early human cousin—across the continent.
Two fossilized but badly damaged skulls unearthed in a Greek cave in the 1970s were identified as Neanderthal at the time. In findings presented in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers used state-of-the-art computer modeling and uranium dating to re-examine the two skulls. One of them, named Apidima 2 after the cave in which the pair were found, proved to be 170,000 years old and did indeed belong to a Neanderthal.
But shockingly, the skull named Apidima 1 pre-dated Apidima 2 by as much as 40,000 years and was determined to be that of a Homo sapiens. That makes the skull by far the oldest modern human remains ever discovered on the continent, and older than any known Homo sapiens specimen outside of Africa.
On this astonishing discovery, Katerina Harvati, a palaeoanthropologist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany said, “It shows that the early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa not only occurred earlier, before 200,000 years ago but also reached further geographically, all the way to Europe”.
Did Homo Sapiens did multiple migrations?
Hominins—a subset of great apes that includes Homo sapiens and Neanderthals—are believed to have emerged in Africa more than six million years ago. They left the continent in several migration waves starting about two million years ago.
But the skull discovery in Greece suggests that Homo sapiens undertook the migration from Africa to southern Europe on "more than one occasion", according to Eric Delson, a professor of anthropology at the City University of New York.
"Rather than a single exit of hominins from Africa to populate Eurasia, there must have been several dispersals, some of which did not result in permanent occupations," said Delson, who was not involved in the Nature study.
Advances in dating and genetics technology could continue to shape our understanding of how our prehistoric ancestors spread throughout the world.