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The famous fossils of an early relative of modern humans commonly called Peking Man may be 200,000 years older than previously thought, a new study finds.
The revised date could change the timeline and number of migrations of the Homo erectus species out of Africa and into Asia. It also suggests that Peking Man endured glacial climates.
Previous studies estimated that H. erectus fossils found nearly a century ago in China were from about 500,000 years ago. The authors of the new study sought to re-date the fossils using a relatively new method that looks at the radioactive decay of aluminum and beryllium in quartz exposed to cosmic radiation. With this method, they pinned the date closer to 780,000 years ago.