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Thread: Homo sapiens were chillin' up in Greece 210 kya...but these were (probably) a dead-end lineage11 days old

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    Default Homo sapiens were chillin' up in Greece 210 kya...but these were (probably) a dead-end lineage

    Modern Humans Failed in Early Attempt to Migrate Out of Africa, Old Skull Shows

    A prehistoric, broken skull is revealing the secrets of ancient humans, divulging that early modern humans left Africa much earlier than previously thought, a new study finds.

    The skull, found in Eurasia and dating back 210,000 years, is the oldest modern human bone that anthropologists have discovered outside Africa, the researchers said.

    This skull, however, had an unusual neighbor: a 170,000-year-old, possibly Neanderthal skull that was found resting next to it, in a cave in southern Greece. Given that the Neanderthal skull is a solid 40,000 years younger than the modern human skull, it appears that this particular human's early dispersal out of Africa failed. There are no living descendants of this enigmatic human alive today, and this person's group was replaced by Neanderthals, who later lived in that very same cave, the researchers said.

    "We know from the genetic evidence that all humans that are alive today outside of Africa can trace their ancestry to the major dispersal out of Africa that happened between 70,000 and 50,000 years before present," study lead researcher Katerina Harvati, a professor of paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, told reporters at a news conference.

    Other earlier modern-human dispersals out of Africa have been documented at sites in Israel, including one based on the discovery of a 194,000- to 177,000-year-old modern human jaw from Misliya Cave and others tied to early human fossils dated to about 130,000 to 90,000 years ago at the Skhul and Qafzeh caves. But "we think that these early migrants did not actually contribute to modern humans living outside of Africa today, but rather died out and were probably locally replaced by Neanderthals," Harvati said. "We hypothesize this is a similar situation with the Apidima 1 [the newly dated modern human skull] population."
    TL;DR There were early Homo sapiens who had colonized Greece from Africa by 210 kya (this would have been during the Aveley Interglacial, which spanned from 243 to 191 kya, so it probably wasn't too cold by Pleistocene standards at that time). They seem to have been a dead-end lineage though. I wonder how widespread they would have gotten in Europe and other regions outside of Africa by this time, though?
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    Need genome sequencing to be certain. Maybe the closest descended modern people of him would be khoisan?

    Weird stuff is coming out...So there were modern humans in Greece 200k years ago, but archaics whom were totally seperate from humans, Neanderthals, and Denesovans in SSA 40,000 years ago. Weird stuff.

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    Two partial crania, named Apidima 1 and Apidima 2, were excavated in the Apidima Cave complex. Apidima 2 had been identified as a Neanderthal (around 170,000 years old), while Apidima 1 is dated to be at least 210,000 years old, which is the oldest H. sapiens fossils found outside Africa. At the Apidima Cave complex, it is plausible that H. sapiens and Neanderthals coexisted for at least 10,000 years. Some earlier studies showed that human DNA introgressed into Neanderthals from an unidentified group of H. sapiens which left Africa earlier than commonly thought.

    Figure 1 | Some key early fossils of Homo sapiens and related species in Africa and Eurasia. Harvati et al.5 present their analyses of two fossil skulls from Apidima Cave in Greece. They report that the fossil Apidima 1 is an H. sapiens specimen that is at least 210,000 years old, from a time when Neanderthals occupied many European sites. It is the earliest known example of H. sapiens in Europe, and is at least 160,000 years older than the next oldest H. sapiens fossils found in Europe6 (not shown). Harvati and colleagues confirm that, as previously reported7, Apidima 2 is a Neanderthal specimen, and they estimate that it is at least 170,000 years old. The authors’ findings, along with other discoveries of which a selection is shown here, shed light on the timing and locations of early successful and failed dispersals out of Africa of hominins (modern humans and other human relatives, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans). kyr, thousand years old.

    Two fossilized human crania (Apidima 1 and Apidima 2) from Apidima Cave, southern Greece, were discovered in the late 1970s but have remained enigmatic owing to their incomplete nature, taphonomic distortion and lack of archaeological context and chronology. Here we virtually reconstruct both crania, provide detailed comparative descriptions and analyses, and date them using U-series radiometric methods. Apidima 2 dates to more than 170 thousand years ago and has a Neanderthal-like morphological pattern. By contrast, Apidima 1 dates to more than 210 thousand years ago and presents a mixture of modern human and primitive features. These results suggest that two late Middle Pleistocene human groups were present at this site—an early Homo sapiens population, followed by a Neanderthal population. Our findings support multiple dispersals of early modern humans out of Africa, and highlight the complex demographic processes that characterized Pleistocene human evolution and modern human presence in southeast Europe.
    Last edited by ThirdTerm; 2019-07-11 at 23:12.

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    Another article on this subject:

    'Oldest remains' outside Africa reset human migration clock

    A 210,000-year-old skull has been identified as the earliest modern human remains found outside Africa, putting the clock back on mankind's arrival in Europe by more than 150,000 years, researchers said Wednesday.

    In a startling discovery that changes our understanding of how modern man populated Eurasia, the findings support the idea that Homo sapiens made several, sometimes unsuccessful migrations from Africa over tens of thousands of years.

    Southeast Europe has long been considered a major transport corridor for modern humans from Africa. But until now the earliest evidence of Homo sapiens on the continent dated back only around 50,000 years.

    There has however been a number of discoveries indicating the ancient presence of Neanderthals—an early human cousin—across the continent.

    Two fossilised but badly damaged skulls unearthed in a Greek cave in the 1970s were identified as Neanderthal at the time.

    In findings presented in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers used state-of-the art computer modelling and uranium dating to re-examine the two skulls.

    One of them, named Apidima 2 after the cave in which the pair were found, proved to be 170,000 years old and did indeed belong to a Neanderthal.

    But, to the shock of scientists, the skull named Apidima 1 pre-dated Apidima 2 by as much as 40,000 years, and was determined to be that of a Homo sapiens.

    That makes the skull by far the oldest modern human remains ever discovered on the continent, and older than any known Homo sapiens specimen outside of Africa.

    "It shows that the early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa not only occurred earlier, before 200,000 years ago, but also reached further geographically, all the way to Europe," Katerina Harvati, a palaeoanthropologist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany, told AFP.

    "This is something that we did not suspect before, and which has implications for the population movements of these ancient groups."

    Apidima 1 lacked classic features associated with Neanderthal skulls, including the distinctive bulge at the back of the head, shaped like hair tied in a bun.

    Multiple migrations?

    Hominins—a subset of great apes that includes Homo sapiens and Neanderthals—are believed to have emerged in Africa more than six million years ago. They left the continent in several migration waves starting about two million years ago.

    The oldest known African fossil attributed to a member of the Homo family is a 2.8 million-year-old jawbone from Ethiopia.

    Homo sapiens replaced Neanderthals across Europe for good around 45,000-35,000 years ago, in what was long considered a gradual takeover of the continent involving millenia of co-existence and even interbreeding.

    But the skull discovery in Greece suggests that Homo sapiens undertook the migration from Africa to southern Europe on "more than one occasion", according to Eric Delson, a professor of anthropology at City University of New York.

    "Rather than a single exit of hominins from Africa to populate Eurasia, there must have been several dispersals, some of which did not result in permanent occupations," said Delson, who was not involved in the Nature study.

    Harvati said advances in dating and genetics technology could continue to shape our understanding of how our pre-historic ancestors spread throughout the world.

    "I think recent advances in palaeoanthropology have shown that the field is still full of surprises," she said.

    More information: Katerina Harvati et al. Apidima Cave fossils provide earliest evidence of Homo sapiens in Eurasia, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1376-z

    Journal information: Nature

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