Home / Science / A skull bone discovered in Greece could alter the history of human prehistory

A skull bone discovered in Greece could alter the history of human prehistory

A fragment of skull discovered on the roof of a cave in southern Greece is the oldest fossil Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe, scientists said Wednesday.

Until now, the first modern human remains discovered on the continent were less than 45,000 years old. The skull bone is more than four times older, dating back over 210,000 years, researchers reported in the journal Nature.

This discovery is likely to reshape the history of the spread of human beings in Europe and to revise theories about the history of our species.

Homo sapiens evolved in Africa around 300,000 years ago. The new fossil reinforces the nascent vision that our species migrated from Africa in several waves, beginning early in our history.

But the first waves of migrants have disappeared. All humans who have ancestors out of Africa today are the descendants of a subsequent migration, about 70,000 years ago.

Katerina Harvati, the main author of the new study, said it was impossible to say how long the first Europeans spent on the continent, or why they disappeared.

"It's a very good question and I have no idea," said Dr. Harvati, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany. "I mean, it's the first time we find them."

The skull was first discovered in 1978 when anthropologists from the Athens University School of Medicine explored a cave called Apidima in the Peloponnese. They found fragments of a pair of skulls housed in the roof of the cave.

The researchers released a rock the size of a backpack containing the fossils, then fought for years to extract the bones.

Source link