Oldest Homo sapiens outside Africa found in Greece

10 2019 by Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen shows a reconstruction and computer model of part of a skull named Apidima 2 discovered in a Greek cave which was determined in a study to have the characteristics

"Now we have fossil evidence that we might have had African-style modern humans in Europe much earlier than thought previously", said Roksandic, who was not involved in the study.

"Apidima 2 dates to more than 170,000 years ago and has a Neanderthal-like morphological pattern". Therefore, this finding was the earliest evidence of the emergence of modern humans in Eurasia.

Evidence for such failed excursions outside of Africa by bands of humans have been discovered before, most notably in modern-day Israel.

The skulls were discovered in 1978 when the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was conducting research, according to CNN. Of their knowledge after he is 170.000 years old.

Apidima 2, was unmistakably Neanderthal in origin. At the time, researchers focused on the latter.

Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how their analysis confirmed the second skull, which has a thick, rounded brow ridge, as Neanderthal.

Harvati and her colleagues took CT scans of the fossils and created virtual 3D reconstructions.

"The part that is preserved, the back of the skull, is very diagnostic in differentiating Neanderthals and modern humans from each other and from earlier archaic humans", Harvati said. The new work is the latest sign of earlier, dead-end exits from the continent where Homo sapiens evolved.

"By contrast, Apidima 1 dates to more than 210,000 years ago and presents a mixture of modern human and primitive features".

Other fossils of early humans found outside of Africa suggest brief ventures before the mass departure of Homo sapiens about 70,000 years ago when the species spread out from the continent to colonise vast swaths of territory around the world.

While only the back portion of the skull of Apidima 1 remained, it was enough for the researchers to make a positive identification.

A broken skull chiselled from a lump of rock in a cave in Greece is the oldest modern human fossil ever found outside Africa, researchers claim. The report has been met with skepticism by some experts, but if its conclusions are correct, Apidima 1 represents the oldest Homo sapiens fossil in Europe by some 160,000 years. Previously, it had been assumed they would both be the same age, given that they were found in the same breccia and only the breccia was initially dated. Mystery Behind 4000-year-old Mummy Found at Deir El Bersha, an Ancient Egyptian Necropolis Solved by Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The cave is reachable only by water now.

The Out Of Africa theory suggests that humans gradually replaced Neanderthals. The cave overlooked a coastal plain that was probably ideal for hunting, while the cave itself provided shelter. Located in southern Greece, it probably offered provided a more stable and warmer climate than most other places, with plenty of water and feeding opportunities around it. Climactic events or competition from Neanderthals caused them to die off, leaving no genetic trace behind in the population.

Then, Neanderthals lived in the area. Modern humans did not replace Neanderthals across Europe until about 45,000 years ago.

"It shows that the early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa not only occurred earlier - before 200,000 years ago - but also reached further geographically, all the way to Europe", said Katerina Harvati, a palaeoanthropologist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, in Germany.

Many questions remain for the researchers. "A$3 ncient proteins survive longer than DNA, making them a suitable molecular alternative for evolutionary analyses in cases where ancient DNA does not survive".

The team were also able to accurately date the bones using laser ablation U-series dating.

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