Until this week, the earliest known fossils of Homo sapiens were about 200,000 years old.
But two recent papers in Nature have obliterated that date with a report of 300,000 year-old skull fragments from five individuals found in Morocco.
The researchers who discovered the fossils call them “early Homo sapiens.” But other scientists say this misrepresents the complex story of human evolution.
The Moroccan remains tell a complicated tale. While their faces are shaped almost exactly like those of modern humans, their skulls are sloped and elongated like much earlier species. While the media exploded with reports about how we’ve discovered the “earliest” Homo sapiens, the real story isn’t that simple.
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