Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fossil Raises Doubts on Evolution Theory

The oldest fossil of a human skeleton found in China shows features that challenge the theory that modern people evolved directly from African ancestors.

The 40,000-year-old Tianyuan Cave skeleton, one of the oldest remains in Asia, has traits that match modern humans and the earlier Neanderthal people, researchers said in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings suggest that today's humans evolved from early modern people who migrated from Africa and archaic groups such as the Neanderthal. One theory of human development holds that modern people descended directly from African ancestors after a wave of migration between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago replaced earlier human species in Asia and Europe.

"This provides us with our first good fossil evidence for both the timing and the biology of early modern humans spread across Asia," said coauthor Erik Trinkaus, a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. "Yes, they spread out of Africa, but as they did, they blended with populations that were already there."
via Washington Post

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