315,000-Year-Old Human Remains Just Discovered

315,000-Year-Old Human Remains Just Discovered

Humans, as a species, have a fairly ancient legacy on planet Earth. Anthropologists usually refer to any species in the Homo genus as human. It might actually be surprising to people that the Homo genus goes back for a very long time in the past, considering the fact that the oldest H. sapiens fossil encountered out there is 315,000 years old. The oldest reliably classified fossils that belong to the genus Homo are a little over 2 million years ago. These belong to H. habilis, which is an ancient type of hominin that scientists believe is the very first of our genus. H. habilis is thought to have evolved into H. erectus, which is one of our known direct ancestors.

The oldest classified fossils which have been confirmed to belong to H. sapiens, we should turn our sights to Morocco, where a site known as Jebel Irhoud was found to contain some forms of H. Sapiens, which have been dated to about 315,000 years ago. This increases the timeline of our species by a very long time, as the previous oldest H. sapiens fossils are about 200,000 years old. That is pretty much new, right?

Obviously, these are just the fossils that we have found so far. There could be much older fossils hiding somewhere under the ground, waiting for us to discover them and proudly announce that our species is older than initially thought. The dates that research give to the found fossils are mere estimates, after all. There is always some uncertainty in the carbon dating method, especially as the fossils start to get older. The estimate for the 315,000 year old fossil could, after all, be off by a few thousand years. There is also the possibility of there being other species within the Homo genus that we are yet to discover, pushing our ancestry much father back in time.

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