The beginning of mankind is a topic that has fascinated us for a long time. Scientists have been trying for a long time to determine the exact date of origin, but with little success. Every now and then they find fossils that advance the date by a few centuries. But the effort goes on. Scientists have focused on finding fossils in East Africa as they represent our species, Homo sapiens. They recently dated the earliest human remains found after a massive volcanic eruption in Ethiopia to more than 230,000 years, pushing the age of the oldest fossils back much further than previously thought.
The remains – known as Omo I – were found in Ethiopia in the late 1960s. Scientists have been trying to date them ever since. They relied on the chemical fingerprints of layers of volcanic ash found in the sediments where the fossils were found. Previous attempts estimated the age of the fossils at less than 200,000 years.
Now, in a study led by Britain’s Cambridge University, scientists have found that the Omo I fossils found in Ethiopia must predate the volcanic eruptions of 230,000 years ago.
They published their research results in the journal Nature.
The remains of Omo I were found in the Omo-Kibish Formation in the East African Rift Valley in southwestern Ethiopia, a rich source of early human remains and artifacts such as stone tools. dr Celine Vidal, the lead author of the publication, and her colleagues performed a new geochemical analysis of the volcanic ash and concluded that the samples were more than 230,000 years old.
Vidal said in a statement on Cambridge University’s website that she was thrilled when she received the data and discovered the oldest Homo sapiens from the region was older than previously thought.
While their study reveals a new minimum age for Homo sapiens, the researchers say it’s possible the species is getting even older. They hope new findings could shed more light on the age of humanity and show that we could be older.
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