Enlarge / Not a lot to go on, but clearly human. (credit: Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University)
There’s not much left of this person who lived and died in a cave on the slopes of Israel’s Mt.

Carmel between 177,000 and 194,000 years ago.

All that remains is the left half of an upper jaw, with some fragments of palate, cheekbone, and the floor of the nasal cavity still attached, along with a complete set of upper left teeth.

But those fragments of bone mean that modern humans probably found their way to southwest Asia about 40,000 to 50,000 years earlier than fossil evidence previously suggested.
For early humans, the Levant was the gateway to everything beyond Africa. When the newly discovered fossil human, dubbed Misliya-1, and its companions arrived in the area, they would have found themselves living alongside Neanderthals.

Both species were living in spaces once occupied by Homo erectus, an early human ancestor that had reached southern Eurasia by 1.75 million years ago. Understanding which species lived here—and when—is crucial to reconstructing the story of our ancestors’ expansion.
Who, where, and when
And the Misliya-1 fossil is definitely human, not Neanderthal or an early hominin like Homo erectus.

The shape of the jaw and the nasal floor look distinctly human, and so do the shape and arrangement of the teeth. Misliya-1’s presence brings the fossil evidence into line with genetic studies, which suggest that modern humans first interbred with Neanderthals around 200,000 years ago somewhere outside of Africa.
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