New Discovery Could Force Us To Rewrite The Timeline Of Humanity

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    New Discovery Could Force Us To Rewrite The Timeline Of Humanity
    Aliyah Covner- July 11, 2018
    New Discovery Could Force Us To Rewrite The Timeline Of Humanity

    A new discovery in the ongoing quest to determine when our human ancestors migrated out of Africa has shifted the timeline back – once again.

    Writing in Nature, a team of geologists, archaeologists, and paleoanthropologists describe a rich cache of stone tools unearthed from a steep hillside in the Loess Plateau of north-central China. The 96 shaped flakes and unmodified hammerstones were found in 17 distinct sediment layers that date from 2.12 to 1.26 million years ago (Ma), providing evidence that a species of hominin – the lineage of bipedal humans that includes our genus, Homo, and its extinct ancient relatives – had settled in the region about 400,000 years earlier than previously collected fossils and tools indicate.

    “Until now, the oldest known hominin site outside Africa was in Dmanisi, Georgia. Excavations at that site uncovered spectacular finds of the roughly 1.85 million- to 1.78-million-year-old remains of multiple hominins and stone tools,” wrote John Kappelman, a biological anthropologist and geologist at the University of Texas, in an accompanying article. A variety of other sites across western Europe to eastern Asia have confirmed that diverse populations of humans were established shortly after the Dmanisi settlement.

    In an email to IFLScience, Professor Kappelman explained the significance of the findings made by lead author Zhaoyu Zhu and his colleagues: “[T]here was previous evidence for early hominins outside of Africa and across Asia at less than 2 million years ago. This new work moves the date back in time but more importantly shows that the dispersal was widespread across Asia.”


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    Early Humans Did Not Evolve From A Single Population Or Time Period, Study Suggests
    By Madison Dapcevich - 11 JUL 2018
    This New Study Challenges One Of The Most Fundamental Theories On The Origins Of Humanity

    Homo sapiens did not evolve from a single human ancestor or time period, according to research published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Rather, early human evolution was “multi-ethnic and multi-cultural” and spanned across the continent over millennia.

    This new theory challenges a long-held and widely accepted belief that H. sapiens originated as a single population out of Africa 300,000 years ago.

    An interdisciplinary group of researchers pulled experts from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and population genomics to reconstruct Africa’s past climate and the populations that lived there. Their work showed that early H. sapiens were scattered across Africa and kept apart by environmental barriers changing over time. Just as the Sahara Desert was once a lush, green landscape teeming with lakes, rivers, and wildlife, climates across the continent shifted and changed over tens of thousands of years. This drove cycles of isolation between various groups of early hominids, followed by periods of contact allowing for shared cultural and perhaps genetic mixings.

    It explains why human fossils have such variability over the last 300,000 years.

    "In the fossil record, we see a mosaic-like, continental-wide trend toward the modern human form, and the fact that these features appear at different places at different times tells us that these populations were not well connected," Dr Eleanor Scerri said in a statement.

    DNA extracted from the fossils found in Africa from the last 10,000 years have been difficult for scientists to reconcile as one single population.
    [......]​


     

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