Summary of On the Origin of Our Species

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Chris Stringer and Julia Galway-Witham, from the Natural History Museum in London, take us back to the very origin of our species, Homo sapiens. In plain language, they provide an overview of fossil discoveries at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. Scientists had misdated previous finds at that site and wrongly assumed them to be remains of Neanderthals. Dating of new finds indicates Jebel Irhoud fossils are the earliest known remains of H. sapiens. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in learning what makes us modern humans.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What skeletal traits are typical for modern humans,
  • Why the discovery of new fossils is important and
  • Why Homo sapiens and Neanderthal brains might have evolved independently.
 

About the Authors

Chris Stringer is Merit Researcher and Julia Galway-Witham is Research Assistant in the Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London.

 

Summary

What do we know about the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens?

Fossils and preserved DNA have told us most of what we know about human evolution. When and where H. sapiens evolved from our ancestors remains unclear. Fossils indicate the presence of modern H. sapiens in Africa 200,000 years ago. However, scientists believe that H. sapiens diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans over 500,000 years ago.

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