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Earliest modern human found outside Africa

Earliest modern human found outside Africa

Science
Researchers have found the earliest example of our species (modern humans) outside Africa.A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals.The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.The findings are published in the journal Nature.Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as ...
Chinese tombs yield earliest evidence of cannabis use

Chinese tombs yield earliest evidence of cannabis use

Science
Researchers have uncovered the earliest known evidence of cannabis use, from tombs in western China.The study suggests cannabis was being smoked at least 2,500 years ago, and that it may have been associated with ritual or religious activities.Traces of the drug were identified in wooden burners from the burials.The cannabis had high levels of the psychoactive compound THC, suggesting people at the time were well aware of its effects.Cannabis plants have been cultivated in East Asia for their oily seeds and fibre from at least 4,000 BC. But the early cultivated varieties of cannabis, as well as most wild populations, had low levels of THC and other psychoactive compounds.The burners, or braziers, were found at Jirzankal Cemetery,...
Tiny T. rex relative among earliest Cretaceous tyrannosaurs in N. America

Tiny T. rex relative among earliest Cretaceous tyrannosaurs in N. America

Science
Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new tyrannosaur species, a miniature T. rex that roamed North America some 96 million years ago. The new species, Moros intrepidus, is the oldest Cretaceous tyrannosaur yet found in North America. The early fossil record has provided evidence of a diversity of medium-sized, primitive tyrannosaurs dating to the Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago. And 80-million-year-old Cretaceous deposits have offered plenty of fossil evidence of large tyrannosaurs. Until now, paleontologists have learned little of the 70-million-year gap separating the two fossil-rich deposits. The newly discovered species could help scientists better understand how T. rex and its ferocious peers became apex predators. "When and how quickly tyrannosaurs went from ...
Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Science
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An ancient Mongolian skull thought to belong to the a unique species of Pleistocene hominin, dubbed Mongolanthropus, is actually the earliest evidence of modern humans in the region. Using radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis, paleontologists determined the skull belonged to Homo sapiens. The discovery is described in a new paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. As a result of compromised dating efforts and the fossil's archaic skull features, some researchers previously hypothesized the hominid remains hailed from the mid to late Pleistocene and belonged to Homo erectus or the Neanderthals. The new analysis posits that the modern human specimen lived sometime between 34,950 and 33,900 years ago. Because the skull is contaminated with a variety of...