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Cassidy Myers

Our Great Great Great Great (x Lots) Grandma Was Found in Morocco!

Did you know that, before last week, the oldest human fossils to have ever been discovered (in East Africa) were estimated to have been about 200,000 years old? That all changed last week when a team of European and Moroccan archaeologists uncovered the remains of five individuals who they believe to be the most ancient modern humans ever found.

 

The most fascinating part is that the remains are estimated to be 315,000 years old - dating modern humans back another 115,000 years. The skull, bones, and teeth of the five individuals were discovered in a remote area of Morocco, called Jebel Irhoud, in what was once a cave. 

 

While archaic forms of humans - our earlier, less developed species of Homo Sapiens - emerged more than a million years ago, the timing of exactly when our ancient ancestors developed into the modern humans of today, is still unknown. The fact that charcoal and relatively sophisticated stone tools were discovered near the bones has led the researchers to confidently conclude that these ancient remains are indeed the ancestors of modern humans. 

 

With other ancient remains having been previously discovered in South Africa and the Great Rift Valley spanning a few countries in East Africa, along with these newly-discovered bones in North Africa, scientists can now put together an even better idea of exactly what the origins of humanity looked like: "What is clear, now more than ever, is that humanity's ancestors, and eventually early forms of 'us,' were popping up all over Africa. They evolved in eastern Africa, southern Africa and now, apparently, northern Africa. And it's increasingly evident that these ancestors moved all over the continent, swapping tool technology as well as genes."

 

If you're as fascinated by this as I am and you're interested in reading more, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/science/human-fossils-morocco.html

 

(The excavation site at Jebel Irhoud, where the new earliest remnants of modern humans were discovered last week.)

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