An international team of researchers led by an Israeli professor from Tel Aviv University has found what has been confirmed as the earliest fossil of a modern human ever found outside of Africa, a discovery that pushes back the date of the human migration from Africa by at least 50,000 years.







The fossil of a modern human jawbone discovered in the Misliya Cave

The fossil of a modern human jawbone discovered in the Misliya Cave Photo credit: Tel Aviv University

A fossil of a modern human from over 170,000 years ago, found in the Misliya Cave on Mount Carmel in northern Israel, is being regarded by some as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in history, one that could rewrite the history of mankind.

The fossil, an upper jawbone, was discovered by an international team of researchers led by Prof. Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University’s Anatomy and Anthropology Department. It is the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa, suggesting that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously believed.

“The new finding from Misliya sheds a new light on the question of the modern human – when did it appear? When did it leave Africa?” Prof. Hershkovitz said. “It shakes the common theory and changes the historic timetable and the very definition of a modern human.”

According to common scientific theories, modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago and started to spread across the world about 100,000 years ago.