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80,000 Year-old Teeth Found in Chinese Cave Push Back Date of Earliest Migration

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posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:04 PM
Excavations at Fuyan Cave in Daoxian have uncovered 47 teeth from anatomically modern humans which have been dated to 80,000 years before present; a date that is 20,000 years older than expected under previous timelines of the successful migration of modern humans out of Africa.

BBC - Fossil teeth place humans in Asia '20,000 years early'

Several lines of evidence - including genetics and archaeology - support a dispersal of our species from Africa 60,000 years ago.
Early modern humans living in the horn of Africa are thought to have crossed the Red Sea via the Bab el Mandeb straits, taking advantage of low water levels.

All non-African people alive today are thought to derive from this diaspora.
Now, excavations at Fuyan Cave in Daoxian have unearthed a trove of 47 human teeth.


"It was very clear to us that these teeth belonged to modern humans [from their morphology]. What was a surprise was the date," Dr María Martinón-Torres, from University College London (UCL), told BBC News.

Some fossils of modern humans that predate the Out of Africa migration are already known, from the Skhul and Qafzeh caves in Israel. But these have been regarded as part of a failed early dispersal of modern humans who probably went extinct.

However, the discovery of unequivocally modern fossils in China clouds the picture.

"Some researchers have proposed earlier dispersals in the past," said Dr Martinón-Torres.

"We really have to understand the fate of this migration. We need to find out whether it failed and they went extinct or they really did contribute to later people.

"Maybe we really are descendents of the dispersal 60,000 years ago - but we need to re-think our models. Maybe there was more than one Out of Africa migration."

The teeth were discovered in a stratum below the calcitic floor of the cave. Uranium-thorium dating puts the age of the stalagmites on the cave ceiling above at 80,000 years. Further supporting this dating are fossils (mostly teeth) of 38 animals species typical of this area of China in the Late Pleistocene which were found within the same layer. No stone tools have been uncovered at the cave.

A paper detailing the research appears in the journal Nature (link to PDF).

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:16 PM
Very exciting news! The fact that they were found locked beneath a calcite layer prevents an "inaccurate dating" argument. Notice the upper age limit at 125k!

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:26 PM
a reply to: theantediluvian

quercusrex right? could be another 45K older than that even, 125,000 years ago, that would be more than twice as far back as the original 60K date. Can you imagine? Awesome find OP!!!!! S & F

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:28 PM
Awesome! thanks for sharing!

It's always nice to get a more accurate portrayal of human history with discoveries like this

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:34 PM
a reply to: peter vlar

We had a discussion about this, a while ago. Does this seem bullet proof?

It pre-dates most of what we know about HS, right?

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:39 PM
a reply to: quercusrex

That's an excellent point that I should have included in my post. These teeth could well be older than the remains from Skhul and Qafzeh.

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 04:23 PM
a reply to: theantediluvian

Saw this earlier on a Native FB page....
Absolutely lots of stuff is going to now have to be revised. YAY!!! Some of the articles you could link to from this article were fantastic too....Can't wait to see where this research is going to end up? Hopefully not buried in academic papers?
Too much ends up in PDF's only available to subscribers, us lay people could use a break.

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 05:15 PM
Did they do DNA tests on these teeth? So far, it looks like they are going by the physical characteristics but not genetics. (can't check the full study)

posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 05:18 PM
a reply to: Caver78

If you go the BBC article and follow the link from there, you can actually view the full text without a subscription as part of some content sharing initiative. Looks like it requires that BBC is the referrer so I can't link to it from here.

posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 06:16 AM
Covered already on this thread:

posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 10:12 AM

originally posted by: SuperFrog
Covered already on this thread:

Thread closed.

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