Fossils challenge dna in the dating game
(Jean-Jacques Hublin / Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)Two views of a composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapien fossils from Jebel Irhoud in Morocco.
The reconstruction is based on micro-CT scans of multiple original fossils.
That made this large, usually inhospitable landscape a welcoming region of large lakes and grasslands, Hublin said.
According to this new version of the origin of our species, early humans evolved in relative isolation in different parts of Africa, with occasional periods of connection between different populations that were made possible by environmental conditions much different than those we see today.
For example, between 330,000 and 300,000 years ago, summer monsoon rains fell farther north than usual, causing the Sahara to turn green.
At the time the site was occupied by early hominins, it would have been a cave, but the covering rock and much of the sediment were removed in the 1960s.
(Shannon Mc Pherron / Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology) emerged.
Unfortunately, those data points will probably be hard to come by.