Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Rethinking our ancient roots

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY.

Modern humans aren't so modern after all, report scientists who have dated two skulls to about 195,000 years ago.

Found near Ethiopia's Omo River in 1967 but not accurately dated until now, the 'Omo I' and 'Omo II' skulls are the oldest anatomically modern human fossils yet found.

They push back the date thought to mark the origins of the modern Homo sapiens species by at least 35,000 years, according the report in today's Nature journal.

'Modern humans now go way, way back,' says John Fleagle of Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, a study co-author.

Most paleontologists believe people first evolved in Africa and moved from there into other continents within the past 90,000 years, the 'Out of Africa' model of human development.

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