Humans may have been traveling by sea as many as 700,000 years ago—tens of thousands of years earlier than was previously thought. Archaeologists on Crete recently discovered tools on the island between 130,000 and 700,000 years old. Since Crete separated from the mainland about 5 million years ago, the person or people who made the tools likely traveled to the island across 40 miles of sea, the AP reports.
"Up to now we had no proof of Early Stone Age presence on Crete," says one archaeologist. Previously, the earliest evidence of travel on the open sea goes back 11,000 years in Greece, or 60,000 years worldwide. This discovery changes “our understanding of early hominids' cognitive abilities,” says the Greek Culture Ministry in a statement; it also challenges our belief that our ancestors traveled from Africa to Europe via land alone.