The research concludes that Homo sapiens had appeared at least 260,000 or 350,000 years ago. Previously it was believed that the oldest fossils that were known were slightly less than 200,000 years old.
A recent DNA study of African fossils provides new evidence that the human species is much older. The research concludes that Homo sapiens had appeared at least 260,000 or 350,000 years ago.
The scientists, led by Mattias Jakobsson of Upsala University in Sweden, studied the DNA extracted from human remains found in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
According to the research, the fossils came from three Stone Age hunter-gatherers who lived approximately 2,000 years ago and four Iron Age farmers who lived 300 and 500 years ago.
Scientists compared their genetic material to the DNA of other ancestral peoples, as well as a variety of modern humans.
“The objective was to use the differences to determine when the different populations separated from each other.” As these separations had occurred between humans, our species must have emerged by the time they occurred, “Jakobsson said.
Jakobsson and his team confirmed that the earliest separation they could detect occurred between 260,000 and 350,000 years ago. It is then that the ancestors of modern Khoisan peoples in South Africa diverged from the ancestors of other peoples, a study published Thursday by the journal Science.
Last June other scientists discovered a fossil finding in Morocco, which confirmed that humans had emerged about 300,000 years ago.
Previously, the oldest known fossils were slightly less than 200,000 years old, in Ethiopia, a theory still supported by anthropologists.