A recent article published in The Guardian on fossil evidence has pushed back the date of appearance of modern humans like that of our species to 3,00,000 years from now. It is well over one lakh years earlier to the established date of the earlier finds. Till now the well established date of appearance of modern humans has been put at 2,00,000 years from now. The material which has been recovered and tested for dating includes bones of at least five people and stone tools from Jebel Irhoud about 100km west of Marrakesh in Morocco, Africa. More excavations from these sites have unearthed many new bones and teeth of children and adults. The new information from dating these fossil materials has questioned the earlier claim of the human evolutionary theory and its origin from East African caves. Initial excitement from sporadic finds like the present one has to be tested from numerous other sources and newer finds. Human evolutionary story keeps on changing from time to time as the new evidence pours in. Ironically in the absence of exact dating methods of these materials, the earlier opinion about these fossils was that they looked like the modern humans or neanderthals. But the latest information from dating the new finds holds that they haven’t evolved from neantherdals but in fact have lived much earlier to them and later lived on side by side as separate groups. Let us see how the time tests this truth and whether this initial euphoria continues or not.
Professor S. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Human Biology Review
Former Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Punjabi University, Patiala, India