Scientists Claim that Recovered Chunk of Skull is the Oldest Human Fossil Found Outside Africa

A recent study found that recovered chunk of skull is the oldest human fossil found outside Africa. The scientists with the help of modern technology analysed a pair of human skulls found from Greece and identified one of the skulls belonging to Homo-sapiens.

The scientists with the help of modern technologies have concluded that the cranial fragment, labelled Apidima 1 which shows clear characteristics such as a rounded back to the skull belonging to Homo sapien. They also identified that the distorted skull known as Apidima 2 is a 170,000-year-old Neanderthal. The results of the analysis are reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

A pair of human-like skulls were found in Apidima cave at the southern end of Greece in 1978. By analyzing the pair of skulls with modern technologies, the researchers have shown that they are very different, in both age and identity. “It was always assumed that they were the same and came from the same time period,” says Katerina Harvati, researcher from Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen who has led the research.

The research team led by Harvati analysed the pair of skulls with the modern technologies such as computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating. They estimated the age by analyzing the minute amounts of uranium within them. And then they scanned both skulls and reconstructed them in their original form. They compared their three-dimensional shapes with those of other fossil skulls from all over Europe and Africa from the same time period. The results found that Apidima 2 clearly clustered with Neanderthals while Apidima 1 identified with the skulls of modern humans.

Apidima 1 is estimated as 210,000 year old, modern human and is believed to be the oldest human fossil found outside Africa. Earlier the 180,000 years old fossil found from Misliya Cave in Israel was assumed as the oldest human fossil found outside Africa.