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“ evolution happened on a continental scale,” Gunz says.Support for that picture comes from the tools that Hublin’s team discovered.He got 14 dates that yielded an average age of 314,000 years, with a margin of error from 280,000 to 350,000 years.This fits with another new date of 286,000 years (with a range of 254,000 to 318,000 years), from improved radiometric dating of a tooth.Brill, humanoriginsphotos.com; SHOP The fossils suggest that faces evolved modern features before the skull and brain took on the globular shape seen in the Herto fossils and in living people.“It’s a long story—it wasn’t that one day, suddenly these people were modern,” Hublin says.Once Hublin saw the date, “we realized we had grabbed the very root of the whole species lineage,” he says.

In 2007, researchers published a date of 160,000 years based on radiometric dating of a human tooth.So you might expect to find hints of our species somewhere in Africa well before 200,000 years ago, he says.One of the few people who continued to ponder the Jebel Irhoud skull was French paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin, who had begun his career in 1981 studying a jaw found at Jebel Irhoud.For decades, researchers seeking the origin of our species have scoured the Great Rift Valley of East Africa.Now, their quest has taken an unexpected detour west to Morocco: Researchers have redated a long-overlooked skull from a cave called Jebel Irhoud to a startling 300,000 years ago, and unearthed new fossils and stone tools.

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