Africa: Birthplace of Humans
Nature has further evidence to support this theory:
Two Ethiopian fossils have been crowned as the oldest known members of our species. An estimated 195,000 years old, the pair were witness to the earliest days of Homo sapiens.
The discovery adds yet more weight to the argument that Africa, and Ethiopia in particular, was the birthplace of humans. The dating sits well with genetic analyses of modern populations, which suggest that H. sapiens first appeared in Africa around 200,000 years ago.
The fossils, called Omo I and Omo II, were found in 1967 at Kibish, near Ethiopia’s Omo River, by the famed fossil-hunter Richard Leakey. Although Leakey realized that Omo I, at least, was a H. sapiens, the dating of mollusc shells found with the bones suggested that the specimens were only 130,000 years old.
“In 1967, dating techniques weren’t what they are now,” says John Fleagle of Stony Brook University, New York, who took part in the latest analysis, published in Nature.[…]
But while the “Out of Africa” theory seems strong, many questions still surround the Ethiopia designation:
But it is still unclear whether Ethiopia can claim to be the sole crucible of humankind, or whether modern humans arose more widely and gradually across the continent. “Archaeological finds from southern Africa suggest that that region may have played an important part in the development of modern human behaviour, which is also part of what defines us as a species,” Stringer says.
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