Science Articles

Genes from South African fossils suggest humans emerged close to 300,000 years ago

KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa is where some human remains were found and a detailed analysis of the genes made some startling revelations.

African fossils

KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa is where some human remains were found and a detailed analysis of the genes made some startling revelations. Earlier scientists believed that the modern humans or the homo sapiens emerged 180000 years ago in Africa. It was based on fossil records from Ethiopia. And that was the earliest record we had. The new fossils and their genetic analysis shows that homo sapiens possibly existed 350000 years ago. This is because the new fossils had characteristics of modern human features and they can be clearly timed to an age that early.

How did scientists reach this conclusion. They checked back on the ancestors of the Khoe-San clan. The traced their timelines. They looked at the DNA of around 7 individuals living in South Africa around 2300 to 300 years prior. They could highlight the exact time when this clan changed, in comparison to other tribes living during that era. Modern humans emerged much earlier than this time period and that can be 350000 years ago.

So what did the fossil look like? It had teeth very similar to existing human teeth and its face also quite matched the recent ones. Only difference was possibly in the skull which was pretty round. Given these differences, the modern human must not have evolved immediately to the current state. There would have been gradual changes. The skull probably changed the last. Homo Sapiens did not appear like a new launch, all of a sudden. The incremental changes can be concluded from the many fossils found in different parts of Africa.

CONCLUSION

Archeologists believe that the date may get pushed further back. Scientists believe that our lack of knowledge is because of lack of evidence. Once more sites are digged up, it will be possible to put an exact date to human evolution. Different sites give evidences like stone tools, iron tools or other such accessories and that suggest the stage of human evolution. Even the rocks have to be studied to understand the exact era when they were formed. Africa will remain to be an important archeological site for understanding of human evolution. The current finding which pushes the modern human or the homo sapien timeline to 350000 years back is breakthrough and it will pave way to more research.