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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Human evolution: Oldest human remains found in Israel?

Daniel Estrin reports for MSNBC ( 12/27/2010 ),
JERUSALEM — Israeli archaeologists said Monday that they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern humans, and if the find is confirmed, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern humans, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

"It's very exciting to come to this conclusion," said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found.

He stressed that further research is needed to solidify the claim. If it does, he said, "this changes the whole picture of evolution."

The accepted scientific theory is that Homo sapiens originated in Africa and migrated out of the continent starting sometime around 80,000 years ago. Gopher said if the remains are definitively linked to Homo sapiens, it could mean that modern humans in fact originated in what is now Israel.
Well, then, we all have the right of return, I guess.

On the other hand, most of these types of claims, the early press notices are the last you ever hear of them.

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