Well, this is sort of a big deal – our own species, Homo Sapiens, is 50% older than we thought!
An ancient skull found in the Jebel Irhoud cave in Morocco has actually been around for awhile, but was recently re-dated. This new data shows that modern humans emerged 300,000 years ago – 100,000 years earlier than previously known.
This fossil shows that modern humans evolved “face-first” – our faces flattened before the backs of our skulls finished developing into their contemporary shape.
Searches for the origins of humans have historically centered around Africa’s Great Rift Valley, so finding this specimen in Morocco was somewhat unexpected. Morocco would have been at the edges of the ranges of Homo at the time, based on what we currently know.
Image credit: iStock.com / ozandogan