Not in sub-Saharan Africa?
Remains from Morocco dated to 315,000 years ago push back our species’ origins by 100,000 years — and suggest we didn’t evolve only in East Africa.
“Until now, the common wisdom was that our species emerged probably rather quickly somewhere in a ‘Garden of Eden’ that was located most likely in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Jean-Jacques Hublin, an author of the study and a director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Now, “I would say the Garden of Eden in Africa is probably Africa — and it’s a big, big garden.” Hublin was one of the leaders of the decade-long excavation at the Moroccan site, called Jebel Irhoud. Ewen Callaway, Nature More.
From Erin Brodwin at The Independent:
Precisely when and where did our species emerge? Anthropologists have struggled with that question for decades, and scattered clues had suggested the answer lay somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa about 200,000 years ago.
But new evidence outlined in two papers published in the journal Nature challenges that hypothesis. Instead, the authors describe recently discovered remains that suggest the first Homo sapiens showed up more than 100,000 years earlier than we thought in a place many experts didn’t suspect. More.
A principal investigator is Jean-Jacques Hublin.
It all remains to be confirmed. But in the present sea of new findings, as one commenter put it, there is no “settled science” in our human history. Not at present. Just how that’ll affect the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby is not clear. What to teach now cannot be easily resolved by another End of Science rent-a-riot.
See also: From The Conversation: Questioning human origins in Africa is a good thing. So what about the claims for Europe?
What we do and don’t know about Human evolution