The closest ancestors of modern-day humans (Homo sapiens) and other subspecies of the genus Homo are thought to have originated in Eastern Africa around 2.85 million years ago. Archaeologists interested in the link between the earliest members of the genus Homo and modern humans often study the migration patterns of Homo sapiens and their closest relatives to refine our evolutionary tree. The earliest record of modern-day humans dates to around 250,000 years ago, but, until recently, the earliest Homo sapiens fossil found outside of Africa was only about 120,000 years old. A recent discovery of a partially intact Homo sapiens jaw bone in Israel, however, has been dated between 177,000 and 194,000 years old.

Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University led the expedition responsible for unearthing the well-preserved jaw fragment. The fossil suggests that modern-day humans were exploring regions outside of Africa more than 55,000 years earlier than previously thought. This finding adds further complications to the accepted understanding of Homo sapiens dispersal, which primarily consists of two waves of out-of- Africa migration at 100,000 and 70,000 years ago. Genetic testing indicates that modern-day humans are likely direct descendants of the second wave of Homo sapiens out-of- Africa migration.

While there may be no genetic link between today’s humans and the newly discovered fossil at the moment, this finding is critical to scientific understanding of the behavior of the earliest Homo sapiens. Scientists hope to resolve the motivation behind the earliest and seemingly sporadic episodes of out-of-Africa exploration, which are inconsistent with the two primary waves of Homo sapiens migration.

Managing Correspondent: Zachary Eriksen

Image Credit: NPR

Original Article: Science

Related SiTN Article: When did the Americas encounter the first humans?

110 thoughts on “Oldest human fossil found outside of Africa throws popular theory into doubt

  1. Science is always changing also science studies and researchers are usually back by a lot of money which is backed by all kinds of narratives and theories and small group dynamics. Nobody knows we’re the first person came from. And it’s true just like we thought Pluto was a planet tomato is a vegetable Etc things are always changing. Not to mention we have perfectly created artificial blood. Humans want to think we can explain everything and if you have enough money and power back behind it we can even call it’s science LMAO

  2. I don’t think the article is really trying to make the case that the oldest humans are not from Africa, but researchers are trying to work out whether there are other old human tribes/gatherings/colonies, and how and when migrations may have occurred. I think the earliest fossil of a Homo sapiens (that’s us) is still Omo I of Ethiopia, right? Omo was at one point, at the time of this article, thought to be about 197,000 years old, which still made her (scientists think she was female) the oldest human fossil, but now (going back to early 2022) is thought to be at least 233, 000 years old due to volcanic evidence showing that she was found under a layer of ash from a volcano that erupted that long ago. She may be even older, but most scientists are in agreement that she is at least that old. The first line in the article says that the oldest and genetically closest pre-human species are also thought to have lived in the same general area of Africa, and nothing later on in the article contradicts that.

    1. It’s all false your comment. First Homo sapiens came to Western Europe. He’ s Homo antecessor in Atapuerca, Spain…
      You must study more in Paleanthropology, dear Watson and stop with metaphysical theory Out of Africa, hagaha

      1. Those fossils are not of homo sapiens. Please take you emotions out of scientific discussion. There’s been a lot written about these fossils in recent years and how they fit into the timeline of the evolution of homo neaderthalis

  3. No one knows because no one was there, and like all knowledge pertaining to the physical word it will change and change again as more is discovered. One thing is and remains problematic, the persistent and un-evolved vagrancy of some groups who seek in the most pettiest ways to strive for a perceptible version of dominance, yet still to offer any real and solid tangibles to back it up. Much of which their collection of knowledge is linear, quite grandiose and showman like for a purpose yet unknown. In conclusion, it is okay to not know everything and also accept that facts or what is perpetrated as fact and reality could very well be an absolute absurdity as we all experience the world and universe more and more. The notion of those who dismiss ideology such as the only known supreme being (God), and likewise is true for the opposites given the vast majority of Western knowledge is still very much linear, anthropomorphic to the outright outlandish. At least to an evolved being. It’s like watching toddlers and kids reimagine what is already there and just let them play in the sand. LOL

  4. Environmental conditions where different at various locations in African continent. Human life was created with different inherent characteristics due to these conditions and elements used in creative process. Various created groups dispersed from group and intermingled. Some groups due to changes in the neighborhood moved to different locations North looking for better conditions for food and less crime. Nothing within the inherent human dynamics have really changed. Tolerance, acceptance, and distance between the group’s allowed the different groups to grow and flourish into the group’s that still exist today. Maybe diversity worked for hundreds of thousands of years, it has just been an issue in the last thousand years or so. Maybe the looking at the past is not always a bad thing…..

  5. This is a great example of racism and white supremacist mentality is scholastic areas.

    The Wording of the title of this article of very telling on its racist intent.

    Why would the first Homo Sapien bone found outside of Africa, which modern day Isreal was ancient Africa, so there’s that trick right there…

    Black African Homo Sapiens are the root of all other peoples, so it’s only obvious that as the original people spread out their bones start to be found outside of the starting point of Africa…

    This is how “Scholars” preticipate in erasure and hiding of the truth of indigenous peoples.


    1. It’s comedy. I love it! Anything and everything and the millions of white papers to accompany to avoid. It must suck to spend nearly every waken moment in seconds place knowing there’s nothing you can do about it. Haha

    2. You may or may not be the first of the homosapiens. Just like we thought and was taught Pluto was a planet. A tomato was a vegetable and scientifically a fact then was disproven to be false . But let’s say you were the first homosapiens apparently you weren’t the last that evolved and you definitely weren’t the roots that created the human species itself… I guess one could claim that your root was created from neanderthals and desoinvans which are Europeans and Asian ancestry which were roaming the earth long before homosapiens evolved…

    3. You, you are ideological and racist man. First Human Modern originated in Europe, 1,5 million years agora (Atapuerca, Spain) and move to Africa later. Turkana Boy was the ancestor of neanderthals erectus.
      Study more and respect all the race

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