Remains found in Morocco may open the light to a new world of evolutionary history, showing that our origins may be at least 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. An archaeological site found near the coast of the Atlantic ocean has found skull, face, and jaw bones that seem to be from an early ancestor of the Homo Sapiens.

Homo Sapiens were thought to have arose from East Africa some 250,000 years ago. However, this anomaly in Morocco suggests a much earlier timeline, of at least 350,000. It also suggests that we may have evolved in ore than just the East African Region.

“Until now, the common wisdom was that our species emerged probably rather quickly somewhere in a ‘Garden of Eden’ that was located most likely in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Jean-Jacques Hublin, an author of the study that was published in the journal Nature in June.“I would say the Garden of Eden in Africa is probably Africa — and it’s a big, big garden.”  suggesting that humans may have evolved all over the continent of Africa.

The excavation of the site, known as Jebel Irhoud, was not worked on until 2004 due to money constraints. This finding took over ten years to find, and it is a doozey that may open up the foundation of archaeology.

Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London claimed “They shift Morocco from a supposed backwater in the evolution of our species to a prominent position,” showing that the bones found at Morocco are highly connected to the lineage of Homo Sapiens.

(Picture credit: Shannon McPherron, MPI EVA Leipzig, License: CC-BY-SA 2.0)

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