Homo sapiens bones in East Africa are at least 36,000 years older than once thought

Fossils from the oldest known Homo sapiens individual in East Africa are more ancient than previously thought.

A partial H. sapiens skull and associated skeletal parts found in 1967 in the Kibish rock formation along Ethiopia’s Omo River date to at least around 233,000 years ago, pushing back the age of the fossils by 36,000 years or more. An age well exceeding 200,000 years for the Ethiopian fossils, known as Omo 1, fits with recent fossil discoveries suggesting that H. sapiens evolved across Africa starting roughly 300,000 years ago (SN: 6/7/17).

A volcanic eruption about 233,000 years ago left a layer of ash atop the sediment that yielded the

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