One of the oldest human fossils just got older: study

In 1967, the fossil was unearthed in Ethiopia.

A study on Wednesday said that one of the oldest known Homo sapiens fossils may be more than 35,000 years old.

Experts were divided over the age of the skull and bone fragments found in the first Kibish Omo I.

In 2005, a layer of rock just underneath the find was analysed and determined to be at least 195,000 years old.

That made the Homo sapiens fossil the oldest ever found.

The main author of the study told Agence France-Presse that there was still a lot of uncertainty.

A volcano expert at the University of Cambridge said that getting a more precise date meant analyzing the thick layer of ash deposited above the fossils.

She said that it was nearly impossible since the ash was so fine.

Thanks to more refined methods, the team was able to link the layer of ash to the eruption of the volcano Shala.

The study states that the layer where Omo I was found to be 233,000 years old was revealed by the ash.

"This is a big jump in time," said study co-author Aurelien Mounier.

The new minimum age for Omo I is in line with the most recent theories of human evolution.

It brings it closer to the age given to the oldest remains, which were discovered in the year of 300,000 years ago.

The theory that we emerged from an East African "cradle of humankind" was torpedoed by the skulls and teeth found in Jebel Irhoud.

The physical characteristics of the fossils are not as convincing as those of the ancestors of today's humans.

The Jebel Irhoud fossils are described as having a modern face but a brain case that is more archaic.

"Omo I is the only fossil that has all the characteristics of modern man," said Mounier.

The oldest known Homo sapiens from eastern Africa is named Céline Vidal.

Nature journal information.


One of the oldest human fossils was retrieved from the internet on January 15, 2022.

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