Finger bone that could change the history of human migration out of Africa

An early human finger bone has been found in the desert in Saudi Arabia, which could radically revise our idea of when and how Homo sapiens left Africa. The finding suggests that early humans took very different routes than previously suspected.

A bone found in the Great Nefud desert in Saudi Arabia is the oldest remnant of Homo sapiens found outside Africa and the Levant. Scientists put its age at around 85-90,000 years old. The fossil is only 3.2 centimeters long and is a middle phalanx bone.

To date, among theód scientistsóin the prevailing view mówished that the first humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago, and stuck to the coastline of the Mediterranean SeaóThe earth, living off the resourceóin marine. – Faced with a new find – A finger bone dated to 85-90 thousand years old – One can venture the thesis that Homo sapiens emerged from Africa much earlier than 60,000. years ago – said Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the Institute for the Study of Human History of the im. Max Planck University of Science and Technology in Jena, Germany.

– It supports a model of not one, the rapid spread outside Africa of 60,000. years ago, but a much more complicated migration scenario – admitted Petraglia headóThe author of the scientific article, whichóThe satellite images suggest there may be as many as 1,000 lakes in the area, added the researcher „Nature Ecology & Evolution”.

The phalange bone was discovered by Iyad Zalmout, a paleontologist with the Saudi Geological Survey, in 2016. – All studies have confirmed that the fossil belongs to Homo sapiens, said Huw Groucutt of Oxford University, who led the research, at a press conference. – The shape of the finger boneóin Homo sapiens is just noticeably different in cfóin comparison with other species of – He explained, adding at the same time that the bone probably belonged to an adult, but it is unclear whether it was a female or male.

The Great Nefud Desert today is an extremely dry environment, but 85,000. years ago, according to the researchers, there were freshwater lakes frequented in large numbers by many species ofów. The scientists found the fossilized remains of a hippopotamus thereów, an extinct species of wild cattle or antelope. Moreover, tools made of stone were also found there.

Scientists believe that it is possible that at that time monsoon rains periodically transformed the region into a humid, pódry grasslands crisscrossed by rivers and lakes, which encouraged animals living in Africa to migrateówek to present-day Saudi Arabia. – Of course, the animals were followed by hunters – noted Petraglia.

It is possible that the Great Nefud desert may contain even more evidence of theóin on the presence of Homo sapiens. – We are one of the twoóch projectów currently working at the site. Satellite images suggest there may be up to 10,000 in the area. remnants of lakes – Petraglia added.

– The discovery shows for the first time unequivocally that the first representatives of our species colonized a vast region of southwest Asia and were not limited to the Levant – emphasized Groucutt. Levant is the name used to describe the siteów on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean SeaóDean. – The ability of these early humans to widely colonize the region casts doubt on the long-held view that early próThat the exits from Africa were limited and unsuccessful – added the researcher.