An ancient jawbone found in Morocco suggests that modern human ancestry emerged 100,000 years earlier than previously believed—and in Africa, rather than Europe. Until now, scientists believed that modern humans didn't emerge until 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. But the Moroccan bone is 160,000 years old, with teeth that show a lengthy childhood—indicating the ability to create a complex society.
Although homo sapiens are believed to have emerged around 200,000 years ago in Africa, this is the first evidence on that continent of a capability for human society. Chris Stringer, a leading evolutionary scholar, questions the study's exact findings, but says it shows "that North Africa may well have played a significant part in our origins."