Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageAncient skull found in Israel documents migration from Africa

By Karen Graham     Jan 28, 2015 in Science
Tel Aviv - Modern humans came out of Africa 60,000 to 40,000 years ago, beginning a migration that eventually was to lay the foundation for our modern world. Now scientists in Israel have found a fossil that documents that journey.
The finding of a partial skull or calvaria, in Manot Cave in Western Galilee, Israel has created a great deal of excitement. The calvaria was dated to 54.7 thousand years ago, using uranium-thorium dating. The skull fits into the time period when scientists believe modern humans of African origin spread out across Eurasia, eventually replacing all other forms of hominids.
Excavation in Manot Cave.
Excavation in Manot Cave.
Manot Cave Expedition
Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University and his associates presented their findings in a paper released Wednesday in the journal Nature. In an email, Hershkovitz explained the migrants are called modern humans because of their anatomy. The earliest remains of modern humans in Europe date to about 45,000 years ago.
Many experts with no connection to the work are impressed. "This is the first evidence we have of the humans who made this journey," apart from some ancient tools, said Eric Delson of Lehman College and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Delson said finding a fossil that fits in with what is believed to be the route of the ancient migration is exciting. "we didn't have it before," he said, according to the New York Times.
Crust sampling for dating. The outer (a) and inner (b) parts of the skull showing the locations of s...
Crust sampling for dating. The outer (a) and inner (b) parts of the skull showing the locations of sampling for U–Th dating and the dating results. Ages are in thousands of years, errors are at 2s.
Hershkovitz et. al.
Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingen in Germany said the skull also gives us clues to the anatomy of the migrants. She also points out that since Neanderthals were known to already exist in the area, the skull proves that modern humans and Neanderthals did co-exist there, as has long been suspected.
Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London in an email said this discovery also supports the idea that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred there, saying it is well dated to the estimated time, some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago when interbreeding took place.
More about Mamot 1, Human skull, Israeli cave, Journal Nature, Neanderthals
More news from
Latest News
Top News