Despite what most people think, experts still know surprisingly little about human evolution.
The true origin of our species is uncertain and debated, with anthropologists having differing theories about where we really do come from.
Most experts reckon humanity as we know it started in Africa a few hundred thousand years ago, but that’s far from undisputed.
Especially now some more evidence has surfaced which challenges the whole idea. Two papers which have been published in the journal Nature throws the whole thing into considerable doubt.
That’s because the remains of a 300,000-year-old skeleton has been discovered which predates the earliest known Homo sapien by around 100,000 years, in a place we didn’t expect.
The fossils could well be the earliest Homo sapiens ever found, and if further evidence validates the suggestions made in the original two papers, they may well suggest our species has a different origin.
It all began a few decades ago when a bunch of miners in Marrakesh stumbled upon a human skull. This resulted in further excavation of the area and discovery of fossils which they theorised at the time were around 40,000 years old.
They had them pegged as Neanderthals or other distant relatives of the Homo sapien, but further research actually found a much more monumental discovery.
Jean-Jacques Hublin and his team from the Pax Planck Institute found even more skeletons in the area, which were theorised to belong to as many as five people. Along with those skeletons were a selection of flint blades, which after radiation testing were dated at around 300,000 to 350,000 years ago.
That alone is a major discovery, but it was when Hublin looked at the skulls in more depth that the true extent of his revelations actually became apparent. He expected strong brow bones, and larger skulls with flat faces. What he got was a skull which resembled ours more closely than anything ever previously discovered from that time.
The face of these people is really a face that falls right in the middle of the modern variation.
They had a skull that is more elongated than most of us, but I’m not sure these people would stand out from a crowd today…
This has led Hublin to the conviction that the Moroccan discovery is the ‘very root of our species’.
This is a massive contradiction to the major theory about the Sub-Saharan Africa being the ‘Garden of Eden’ for the origin of the species. Instead, Hublin argues that the ancestral home of our species could be the entire terrain of Africa.
There is no Garden of Eden in Africa, or if there is, it is all of Africa.
Other experts have commented on the monumental discovery, and have said the world has been set alight with possibilities thanks to the revelation.
These are exciting times we live in.