New analysis based on ash from volcanic cataclysm dates an early human found at Omo, Ethiopia, to 233,000 years, supporting the ‘early evolution’ theory for Homo sapiens
When did modern humans begin to evolve? And from who? Once upon a time it was thought that, OK, we began from a monkey but then there was a linear progression to the wonder that is we, starting about 200,000 years ago. It is now abundantly clear that we are mongrels, admixing merrily with other human species until they all died out, and now an early modern human previously found in Ethiopia has been redated with the help of a volcano to 233,000 years ago.
That is 36,000 years earlier than the date originally ascribed to the early Homo sapiens specimen found at the site Kibish Omo I, according to a new paper in Nature by volcanologist Prof. Céline Vidal of the University of Cambridge, Prof. Aurélien Mounier, a paleoanthropologist with the Museum of Mankind in Paris, and colleagues.
Originally found in the 1960s, the specimens in Omo had been dated to 197,000 years and another set of early modern humans found at another Ethiopian site, Herto, were dated to 160,000-155,000 years.