What is the origin the Homo sapiens being? A recent study places this date 150,000 years earlier than expected. But can we be sure to know the answer? This is not a simple question.
The fossilized remains of different individuals found in 1997 near the Ethiopian town of Herto testify that, some 160,000 years ago, human beings very much like us already existed in Africa.
Homo Sapiens is the scientific name given to the human race.
Oldest Homo sapiens’ found
Fossils of five early humans have been found in North Africa that show Homo sapiens emerged at least 100,000 years earlier than previously recognised.
The origin Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens Origin, is the genus of hominid primates belonging to the tribe of homininis. The only species of Homo that still subsists is Homo sapiens (the present human being), since all the others have become extinct.
Homo sapiens can be translated as “wise man”. Scientists call Homo sapiens archaic to several species of Homo that arose about 600,000 years ago and share various characteristics with Homo sapiens, although they do not have the same anatomy.
Modern Homo sapiens, for their part, have a similar appearance to the human being today. These individuals would have lived in a period between 260,000 and 100,000 years before the present.
As for Homo sapiens sapiens (the present man), it is believed to have an antiquity of about 195,000 years.
The cradle of humanity moves to Morocco. A team of scientists has discovered at the site of Jebel Irhoud 300,000 years of human remains attributed to the origins of our species.
So far, the first Homo sapiens suddenly appeared in history, as they were thrown into a parachute 195,000 years ago in some parts of Ethiopia.
According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, primitive humans, but already part of our species, Homo sapiens, could be between 100,000 and 150,000 years older than previously thought. To date, H. sapiensafricano dates back about 195,000 years ago.
With the remains discovered in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, the presence of our species could jump back in time about 100,000 to 150,000 years, according to its researchers.
This has several implications. For example, it would indicate that the presence of our species is not limited to sub-Saharan Africa, which raises new hypotheses about human evolution.
The remains discovered at the Jebel Irhoud site were analyzed by Jean-Jacques Hublin, Abdelouahed Ben-Ncer, Daniel Richter and Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
The Moroccan deposit is known since 1960, when some miners came across cavities inhabited in the Paleolithic. Then several human fossils, associated with sharp flint tools, were unearthed.
The remains were dated in 40,000 years and then in 160,000 years. Now, a team led by French paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin.
The new finding, announced in the journal Nature, suggests that the emergence of Homo sapiens came after an evolutionary process that involved the entire African continent.
Another fossil skull, discovered in 1932 in Florisbad, South Africa, has been provisionally dated 260,000 years. With the fossils on the table today, the scientific community maintains that Homo sapiens arose in Africa from Homo heidelbergensis, a more archaic species.
Characteristics of Homo Sapiens
With a greater cranial volume – between 1,500 and 1,600 cm3 – a higher forehead -with no supraorbital arch-, short jaw, small teeth and pronounced chin, the appearance of the new hominid was completely different from that of its ancestors and relatives.
He already possessed a great capacity for the association of ideas and for speech, derived from his cranial architecture, and this undoubtedly gave him an advantage over the archaic subspecies of Homo sapiens with which he came to live and over which, genetically, he ended up imposing himself.
Thanks to its ability to adapt, its cultural superiority and its evolved social organization, the population of Homo sapiens soon began to grow and expand successfully to other regions of Africa and Eurasia.
African Eve, Theories of the Origin of Man
Of all the existing theories on the origins of modern man, the one that seems to have the most credit is the one that advocates the so-called substitution model, that is, the appearance of Homo sapiens in the African continent and its subsequent expansion throughout the rest of the planet.
Its defenders, among which Cavalli Sforza stands out, have demonstrated with genetic studies that, unlike what the multiregional model proposes, racial diversity, already defined at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic, obeyed environmental climatic adaptations, and not significant biological differences. All human beings would thus be descendants of an African mitochondrial Eve.
Feeding and survival of Homo Sapiens
During the Upper Palaeolithic, hunting continued to occupy a prominent place among the activities developed by human societies.
The continuous climatic changes and the existing disparity of environments, however, caused that, little by little, the groups of Homo sapiens had to specialize in the capture of a certain type of prey and that they began to develop new economic practices.
Thus, in Western Europe, many communities based their survival on reindeer hunting, while in the cold steppes of Russia, mammoth hunting continued for a long time.
Chronology of Homo Sapiens
Modern Homo sapiens could have its origin in a progressive increase of the population and its dependence on hunting. The need to follow the herds of mammoths, for example, was probably what brought it to America.
- The Middle East. The modern man left Africa through the eastern Levant. In the caves of Skul and Qafeeh remains dating back some 100,000 years have been found.
- Europe. Unlike the rest of the world, the European Upper Palaeolithic, which begins in 40,000 BC, is profusely documented. Caves of Chauvet (France).
- Italy. In RiparoTagliente, in Veneto, the neanderthals were replaced by Homo sapiens around 35,000 BC. The place was populated until about 12,000 BC.
- North Africa. In Libya, the first evidence of human population dates back to 38000 B.C. There, rock art would not appear until 10,000 B.C.
- North America. Although it is believed that Homo sapiens had to reach America in the glacial period, the remains of the first northern cultures, such as Clovis, date from 10,000 BC.
- South America. Curiously, the oldest sites in America are found in Chile and Brazil. The remains of Pedra Furada in Brazil date back to 15,000 BC.
- Australia. Although it is believed that the arrival of modern Homo sapiens was earlier: the Australian ancestor Man of Mungo dates from 32,000 BC.
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A new study places the origin of Homo sapiens 350,000 years ago
Genetic data obtained from seven humans who lived in the last 2,500 years in South Africa suggest that Homo sapiens emerged 350,000 years ago, much earlier than previously believed, according to a study published today in Science.
Swedish and South African scientists were able to identify the genetic sequence of the remains of three hunter-gatherers who lived between 2,300 and 1,800 years ago, and four peasants who lived between 500 and 300 years ago.
All of them lived in the current province of KwaZulu-Natal, on the Indian coast of South Africa.
The scientists concluded that the transition from archaic humans to Homo Sapiens occurred between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago, well before the 180,000 years previously believed to be due to remains found in East Africa.
The authors of the study, from the University of Uppsala (Sweden), the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), thus supported the theory of the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens, with simultaneous evolutions throughout the continent.
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