Credit: Sarah Freidline, MPI-EVA, Leipzig

NEWS BRIEFING: Ancient skulls show we humans are 100,000 years older than we thought

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

***BRIEFING RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE*** The fossilised skulls of five ancient Moroccans show that modern humans - Homo sapiens - have been on the planet a whole lot longer than we thought, a whopping 100,000 years to be exact. We previously believed humans originated in Africa 200,000 years ago, but these remains show we've actually been around for 300,000 years, and that we'd spread across the entire African continent by then. The remains - skulls, teeth and bones - were dated by an international team, including Australian researchers. Join us for this online briefing to hear from two Australian experts who helped determine the age of the fossils using a pair of modern techniques. They'll discuss the fossil finds, how they went about determining their age, and what the implications are for the newly extended story of our species.

Journal/conference: Nature

Link to research (DOI): 10.1038/nature22335

Organisation/s: Griffith University, Southern Cross University, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany

Media Briefing/Press Conference

From: Australian Science Media Centre

Date: Wed 7th June 2017
Start Time: 10:30am AEST
Duration: Approx 45 min
Venue: Online

Journalists can follow the briefing online via audio and video streaming.  Each presenter will speak for 5-7 minutes followed by questions. Journalists will have the opportunity to ask questions online.
1. Go to the briefing web portal by clicking here 5 minutes before the start time or anytime during the briefing.
2. Enter your name and email address
3. Click "Join".
If you are having difficulties logging in, we suggest you try pasting the link into a different browser.
(System requirements: You will need a broadband connection and speakers/headphones to hear the event. Allow 1-2 mins for your computer to be configured correctly, install ActiveX, if asked)

1. For phone only access please call: 02 8518 1927.
2. Enter access code 572 831 387#.
Radio stations can also record the briefing over a phone line. If you would like to make sure that you can connect, please contact us to arrange a quick test before the day.
If you have any problems joining the briefing online, phone Webex on 1800 493 239 quoting event number 572 831 387.
Audio files will be posted here as soon as possible after the event.
For further information, please contact the AusSMC on 08 7120 8666 or email


Note: Not all attachments are visible to the general public

  • Springer Nature
    Web page
    Composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) based on micro computed tomographic scans of multiple original fossils. Dated to 300 thousand years ago these early Homo sapiens already have a modern-looking face that falls within the variation of humans living today. However, the archaic-looking virtual imprint of the braincase (blue) indicates that brain shape, and possibly brain function, evolved within the Homo sapiens lineage. Credit: Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig
  • Springer Nature
    Web page
    Virtual palaeoanthropology is able to correct distortions and fragmentations of fossil specimens. This reconstruction of the Irhoud 11 mandible allows its comparison with archaic hominins, such as Neandertals, as well as with early forms of anatomically modern Humans. Credit: Jean-Jacques Hublin, MPI-EVA Leipzig
  • Springer Nature
    Web page
    Paper 1: the URL will go live after the embargo ends.
  • Springer Nature
    Web page
    Paper 2 (with Australian authors): the URL will go live after the embargo ends.
  • Australian Science Media Centre
    Web page
    Recording of AusSMC online media briefing

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