The oldest fossils of modern humans in East Africa are at least 30,000 years older than previously thought

“We can only determine the history of mankind based on the fossils we have, so it is impossible to say that this is the exact age of our species,” Vidal said. “The study of human evolution is constantly evolving: boundaries and timelines change as our knowledge improves. But these fossils show just how resilient humans are: we have survived, thrived and migrated in an area often subject to natural disasters.”

“It is perhaps no coincidence that our early ancestors lived in such a geologically active rift valley—the valley collected rain in lakes, provided water that attracted animals, and served as a natural migration corridor stretching for thousands of miles,” Oppenheimer said. . “Volcanoes provided wonderful materials for making stone tools and from time to time we had to develop our cognitive skills when big eruptions changed the landscape.”

“Our forensic approach sets a new minimum age sane man in East Africa, but the challenge remains to provide an upper bound, an upper age limit, for their emergence, which is widely believed to have occurred in this region,” said co-author Professor Christine Lane, head of the Cambridge Tephra Laboratory, where much of the work has been done in The study, “It is possible that new discoveries and new studies may delay the lifespan of our species backwards over time.”

To find such an upper bound, the ash layer below the fossil layer must be accurately dated. It is being worked on.

“There are many other ash layers that we’re trying to link to eruptions in the Ethiopian Rift and to ash deposits from other sedimentary formations,” Vidal said. “We hope to be able to better age the fossils in the area over time.”

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The international team’s study was published in temper nature. This article is based on a Cambridge University press release and telex from Reuters and Belga news agencies.

Winton Frazier

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