It’s the earliest indication of our species on the continent, but the lack of supporting archaeological evidence raises some questions.
The human fragment, dubbed Apidima 1, is just the back of the skull and was dated to 210,000 years ago, making it the oldest evidence of modern humans in Eurasia.
Our species emerged in Africa around 100,000 years prior, with the earliest evidence of our species dating back to the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco and the remarkable discovery of 315,000-year-old human fossils.
Moreover, the earliest prior evidence of modern humans outside of Africa was discovered in Israel’s Misliya Cave – a partial jawbone dated to between 175,000 and 200,000 years ago.
Regardless, this interpretation suggests a complicated migration scenario for early modern humans, as this is potential evidence of multiple dispersals from Africa, rather than one major exodus.
“These results suggest that two late Middle Pleistocene human groups were present at this site – an early Homo sapiens population, followed by a Neanderthal population,” wrote the authors in the new study.