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Artifact Discovered In China Suggests Human Ancestors Left Africa Over 2 Million Years Ago

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A team of researchers uncovered tools and bones in China that suggest human's early ancestors left Africa and migrated to Asia 270,000 years earlier than perceived. Until this recent discovery, skeletal remains found in Dmanisi, Georgia, which was over 1 million years old, were assumed to be the earliest evidence of human civilization outside of Africa.

From Africa To China

The researcher's analysis uncovered 80 newly found artifacts that reveal human ancestors colonized in East Asia more than 2 million years ago. The tools were found at Shangchen, which is in the Chinese Loess Plateau by the researchers that were led by Professor Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The artifacts that were uncovered included scrapers, cobble, a notch, pointed stones, and hammerstones.

The researchers state that all of the artifacts show signs of being used and most were made of quartzite and quartz, which more than likely came the foothills of Qinling Mountain. The researchers also uncovered an animal bone that was over 2-million-years-old.

Professor Robin Dennell from Exeter University said that this new discovery means it is important to reconsider the time when the early humans left Africa.

The Loess Plateau 

Professor David Lordkipanidze, the General Director of the Georgian National Museum, stated that prior to these new findings, it was always believed that humans left Africa at least 1 million years ago. He continued that many experts believed that the early humans already had sophisticated stone tools and that the anatomy of their bodies was advanced; however, this new discovery is different.

Archeologists believed that the first true humans evolved in Africa over 2 million years ago, they were known as Homo habilis. These humans were then followed by the Homo erectus, who thought to have a more athletic build and left Africa to colonize Europe and Asia. In 2015, experts claimed to have found a common ancestor for all humans, the homo sapiens.

A lower jaw that was uncovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia was thought to belong a new species from the homo family and researchers digitally reconstructed other ancient jaws that they claimed matched this fossil. 

"To have a glimpse of the very earliest phase of our lineage's evolution is particularly exciting. LD 350-1 reveals that many of the anatomical patterns we see in 2 million-year-old Homo were established much earlier in the evolution of the genus,"  Dr. Brian Villmoare, of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas stated in 2015.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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