Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Fossil found in Israel means modern humans left Africa 50,000 years earlier than previously believed

Jawbone fragment unearthed by team led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University challenges current estimates of migration out of Africa

 

    A fossilised fragment of a human jawbone some 180,000 years old has overturned existing theories about the history of mankind.

    The fossil was unearthed by a large international research team, led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University in Misliya Cave on Mount Carmel, a coastal mountain range in northern Israel.

    This find, which is the earliest fossil of a modern human found outside Africa, suggests that modern humans left the African continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously believed.

    The location of the find
    The location of the find (Binghampton University press office)

    The jawbone has been dated to between 175,000-200,000 years old, dramatically altering estimates of the first humans arrival in what is now Israel.

    Given the apparent age of the find, it is also suggestive of mixing with other early human groups, such as Neanderthals.

    Rolf Quam, Binghamton University anthropology professor and a co-author of the study, said: "Misliya is an exciting discovery. It provides the clearest evidence yet that our ancestors first migrated out of Africa much earlier than we previously believed.

    “It also means that modern humans were potentially meeting and interacting during a longer period of time with other archaic human groups, providing more opportunity for cultural and biological exchanges."

    "While all of the anatomical details in the Misliya fossil are fully consistent with modern humans, some features are also found in Neanderthals and other human groups.

    "One of the challenges in this study was identifying features in Misliya that are found only in modern humans. These are the features that provide the clearest signal of what species the Misliya fossil represents."

    The archaeological evidence uncovered by the team reveals that the inhabitants of Misliya Cave were skilled hunters who understood how to use fire and used tools consistent with Early Middle Paleolithic cultures such as the very earliest modern humans in Africa.

US News

Holocaust-inspired 'gun owner' patch

Michael Moran

Yesterday, 12:14

Holocaust-inspired 'gun owner' patch
The Diary

Spielberg announces new West Side Story film

Michael Moran

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Spielberg announces new West Side Story film
UK News

Queen's bra-makers lose Royal Warrant over indiscretions

Michael Moran

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Queen's bra-makers lose Royal Warrant over indiscretions
The Diary

Coren quits BBC's Front Row

Michael Moran

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Coren quits BBC's Front Row
UK News

Social media storm over Corbyn's 'Jew-free' HMD statement

Michael Moran

Friday, January 26, 2018

Social media storm over Corbyn's 'Jew-free' HMD statement
The Diary

Streisand slams awards sexism

Michael Moran

Monday, January 8, 2018

Streisand slams awards sexism
World

Hamas founder dies after shooting accident

Michael Moran

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hamas founder dies after shooting accident
World

Brouhaha over Gal's Lebanese dress

Michael Moran

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Brouhaha over Gal's Lebanese dress
The Diary

2018 SAG Awards nominations revealed

Michael Moran

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2018 SAG Awards nominations revealed