Wednesday, February 16, 2005

103: Earliest human fossils

The New York Times > Science > Oldest Remains of Human Beings Are Identified:

Scientists have determined that human fossils found in Ethiopia in 1967 are 65,000 years older than first thought, from about 195,000 years ago. The revised date, they said, makes the skulls and bones the earliest known remains of modern Homo sapiens.

The research reinforces the theories of an African origin for modern humans, and the earlier date gives the species more time to have evolved the cultural attributes that probably supported its spread to Asia and Europe from Africa. The new date appears to be near the early boundary for modern human emergence, as suggested in recent genetic studies.
Dig it. We've got the earliest distinctly human fossil, and it gives us more information on how the humans evolved. Evolutionary science produced two hypotheses about the early evolution and migrations of humans. New data allow us to distinguish between these hypotheses. Beautiful.