Thursday, February 17, 2005

They Found Strom Thurmond's Parents!

Oldest Remains of Human Beings Are Identified

Published: February 16, 2005

Scientists have determined that human fossils found in Ethiopia in 1967 are 65,000 years older than first thought, from about 195,000 years ago. The revised date, they said, makes the skulls and bones the earliest known remains of modern Homo sapiens.

The research reinforces the theories of an African origin for modern humans, and the earlier date gives the species more time to have evolved the cultural attributes that probably supported its spread to Asia and Europe from Africa. The new date appears to be near the early boundary for modern human emergence, as suggested in recent genetic studies.

The findings were announced today by a research team led by Dr. Ian McDougall of the Australian National University in Canberra and are being described in detail in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Dr. McDougall, a geologist, and his colleagues reported that a re-examination of the sediments in which the fossils were found and the use of more reliable dating methods showed that the two individuals lived 195,000 years ago, give or take 5,000 years, "making them the earliest well-dated anatomically modern humans yet described."

An expedition led by Richard E. Leakey, the Kenyan paleontologist, excavated the two fossil specimens 38 years ago along the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, near the town of Kibish. The fossil-bearing sediments were dated at 130,000 years, though many researchers, even the discoverers, were never sure this was a valid age for the specimens. Scientists at the time thought it unlikely that modern humans could be more that 100,000 years old. LINK

Just kidding, Strom Lovers!

It's still a nifty story, isn't it?


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