The early history of our species needs to be rewritten – again. A human jawbone from a cave in Israel has proven to be at least 177,000 years old, indicating that Homo sapiens left its African birthplace at least 50,000 years earlier than thought. The find solves several mysteries of human evolution, but also creates new ones.
Most scientists agree that our species evolved in Africa within the last few hundred thousand years. It was not until around 70,000 years ago that we trekked into Asia, and from there to every continent.
However, there were earlier forays out of Africa. Until now, the oldest widely accepted evidence was from sites at Skhul and Qafzeh in Israel, dating to around 120,000 years ago. These outposts are generally thought to have been “dead ends”, meaning that the people who