Fragments of the Oldest Human Discovered in Europe​

​Skull pieces discovered in Greece, estimated to be more than 200,000 years old, depict how humans traveled from Europe to Africa much earlier than initially thought. The discoveries may pitch hypotheses regarding migration from the beginnings of humankind.

Researchers at the University of Tübingen and the University of Athens announced on Wednesday that they found the earliest modern human skeleton outside Africa.

Apidima 1, a Homo sapiens skull pieces discovered in a Greek cave in the 1970s, was determined to be around 210,000 years old. The scientists working on the findings used state-of-the-art computer modeling and uranium dating to calculate the skull fragments’ age.

Skulls pieces from a Neanderthal, a distant cousin of Homo sapiens, were also unearthed in the cave. These fragments were named Apidima 2. However, the Neanderthal skeleton pieces were detected to be 40,000 years younger than the Homo sapiens fragment.

Several exits out of Africa

Katerina Harvati, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Tübingen said that this shows that the early migration of Homo sapiens from Africa not only happened earlier than previously believed, before 200,000 years ago, but it also expanded further, in terms of geography – all the way to Europe.

She added that this is something that scientists have never suspected before, and which affects the population movement of these ancient groups.

Even though some scientists have shown skepticism regarding the data, for instance, Warren Sharp at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California​, others have stated that proof of earlier migratory trajectories out of Africa makes a lot of sense.

Eric Delson, an anthropologist at the City University of New York, said that instead of a single migration time of hominins from Africa to travel to and popular Eurasia, there must have been numerous dispersals. Some of these exits did not result in permanent occupations.

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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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