Early modern humans left Africa earlier than previously assumed, reaching Europe nearly 150,000 years earlier than previously known, indicates research led by the Universities of Tübingen and Athens.
After comprehensive analyses, scientists identified a skull from the Apidima site, southern Greece, as early Homo sapiens and dated it to about 210,000 years ago.
This makes it the earliest modern human known outside Africa, says the international team led by Professor Katerina Harvati from the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen.
The fossil find, Apidima 1, originates from the site of Apidima, southern Greece and was found together with another human fossil, Apidima 2, during research by the Museum of Anthropology of the University of Athens in the late 1970s.
The research team applied novel, cutting edge approaches, including virtual reconstructions of the damaged parts of the skulls. It conducted numerous comparisons with different human fossils, and used a highly accurate radiometric dating method to determine their age.
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