Daniel Richter: The age and origin of our species. Chronometric dating of Homo sapiens at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco

The first of our kind. Two views of a composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) based on micro computed tomographic scans of multiple original fossils. Dated to 300 thousand years ago these early Homo sapiens already have a modern-looking face that falls within the variation of humans living today. However, the archaic-looking virtual imprint of the braincase (blue) indicates that brain shape, and possibly brain function, evolved within the Homo sapiens lineage (Picture credit: Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig, License: CC-BY-SA 2.0)


by Daniel Richter,
from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig



Anthropological and genetic data provide multiple lines of evidence for Africa as the place of origin of our species (Homo sapiens). The oldest occurrence is commonly assumed to represent the place of origin and thus East Africa is often considered as the cradle of modern human kind. New anthropological data reveals early Homo sapiens in Northwest Africa in the site of Jebel Irhoud (Morocco). Its chronometric dating with a specific thermoluminescence method is in agreement with direct ESR dating and provides ages older than the East African locations. The earliest numerical dates for the Levallois technique in Africa are now in broad agreement with the development of Homo sapiens. While the origin of our species is older than previously assumed, the region where Homo sapiens developed within Africa is far from clear. A multiregional origin of our species (and Levallois?) is thus quite conceivable.

Read more

Event Information:

Date, Time:03/06/2019, 16:00 h – 17:30 h

Location: HS XVIIb Main Building UoC, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, Cologne

All Events