Summary of On the Origin of Our Species

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Chris Stringer and Julia Galway-Witham, researchers at the Natural History Museum in London, take you back to the very origin of our species, Homo sapiens. They provide a fascinating overview of fossil discoveries at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. Scientists had misdated previous finds. State-of-the-art dating of new finds indicates that Jebel Irhoud fossils are older than previously thought, making them the oldest remains of H. sapiens reported. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in learning how modern humans came to be.

In this summary, you will learn

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

About the Authors

Chris Stringer is a merit researcher and Julia Galway-Witham is a research assistant in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum in London.

 

Summary

What do scientists know about the origin of Homo sapiens?

When and where H. sapiens evolved from its ancestors remains unclear. Fossils indicate the presence of modern H. sapiens in Africa 200,000 years ago. However, DNA from fossils and living humans indicate that “our lineage diverged from that of our close relatives, the Eurasian Neanderthals and Denisovans, more than 500,000 years ago.”


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