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85000-year-old finger found in desert points to early human migrations

85000-year-old finger found in desert points to early human migrations

This bone is said to be the oldest "directly dated" Homo sapiens fossil discovered outside of Africa, according to the team that argues that others who can compete with it are only through the sediments surrounding them.

Scientists believe early people left Africa a few times after evolving there at least 300,000 years ago.

"All of these studies agreed that the fossil belonged to Homo sapiens", Groucutt said at the news conference.

"It now seems likely that early modern humans were in southern China about 100,000 years ago, and they had reached Australia by about 65,000 years ago", says Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

"And that makes sense when you think these guys are making [and using] stone tools so they're really using their hands to do a lot of hard, manual labour".

But why were these African animals in Arabia at this time?

It was a very different landscape then, with grasslands and lakes hosting animals and humans. The researchers say the discovery suggests humans were moving in more sporadic patterns whenever they could.

That all changed with the discovery of the Al Wusta finger bone.

Finger bone points to new insight on human migration
Finger bone points to early humans in Arabian Peninsula

The research team has only explored a couple of hundred lakes out of 10,000 in the region.

Scientists just gave the middle finger to the idea that early humans migrated out of Africa in a single surge. In January, another group of researchers announced the discovery of a 194,000-year-old modern human jawbone in Israel's Misliya Cave, Live Science previously reported.

"We know that shortly after they lived, the rains failed and the area dried up", said Oxford archaeologist Huw Groucutt.

The team recognised the bone as human on sight, and later confirmed this by comparing it to finger bones of other humans, extinct hominins like Neanderthals, and other primates such as gorillas. If ancient humans could leave one environment for the other, they must have been quite adaptable, the researchers said.

Prior to this discovery, it was thought that early migration into Eurasia remained restricted to the Mediterranean forests of the Levant, on the doorstep of Africa.

In work published April 9 in Nature Evolution and Ecology, a massive group of global researchers including scientists from the University of Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute, the Australian National University, and the Saudi Geological Survey reported finding an 88,000-year-old middle-finger bone in the Nefud desert in what is now Saudi Arabia.

Although some say it's hard to identify our species, Homo sapiens, by a single bone, the findings appear unimpeachable, says John Shea, an anthropologist at the State University of NY in Stony Brook who studies human origins, but wasn't involved in the study. "The ability of these early people to widely colonize this region casts doubt on long held views that early dispersals out of Africa were localized and unsuccessful".

Fiji wins 4th straight Hong Kong rugby 7s tournament
Famed for a party atmosphere nearly unrivaled in the world of sport, Fiji enjoys the annual trip to Hong Kong more than most. Native media reported 4 individuals had been killed, whereas hundreds of properties have been flooded.


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