By Paul Rincon
Fossil finds from China have shaken up the traditional narrative of humankind’s dispersal from Africa.
Scientists working in Daoxian, south China, have discovered teeth belonging to modern humans that date to at least 80,000 years ago.
This is 20,000 years earlier than the widely accepted “Out of Africa” migration that led to the successful peopling of the globe by our species.
Details of the work are outlined in the journal Nature.
Several lines of evidence – including genetics and archaeology – support a dispersal of our species from Africa 60,000 years ago.
Early modern humans living in the horn of Africa are thought to have crossed the Red Sea via the Bab el Mandeb straits, taking advantage of low water levels.
All non-African people alive today are thought to derive from this diaspora.
Now, excavations at Fuyan Cave in Daoxian have unearthed a trove of 47 human teeth.
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