New skull discovery shows mankind may have arrived in Europe 150,000 years earlier than previously
Mankind may have arrived in Europe 150,000 years earlier than previously thought, researchers say, after reassessing an ancient skull found inside a cave in Greece in research led by the Universities of Tübingen and Athens.
The skull was found the cave in the 1970s, and initially identified as Neanderthal. But new techniques have allowed for further analysis of the skull, and scientists found to their astonishment that it is in fact a 210,000-year-old skull belonging to a Homo sapiens.
The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.
Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.
One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.
The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as a rounded back to the skull, diagnostic of modern humans.