La formation Omo Kibish est le site éthiopien qui a révélé la présence du plus ancien H. sapiens connu, sous une couche de cendres volcaniques. © Céline Vidal

The oldest Homo sapiens fossil is at least 33,000 years old!

The dating of the oldest fossil is undisputedsane man Estimated 200,000 years ago. Radioactive dating of a volcanic stratum in Ethiopia makes it possible to reassess the age of our species thousands of years ago.

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How old are these species? sane man ? L ‘Appearance of of species in Africa during ice Age Late and Formation Omo-Kibish in southwestern Ethiopia contains the remains of Omo I that have been dated to date less than 200,000 years. in a A study published in the journal temper natureNow, a team of researchers is reassessing the lifespan of Omo I.

Older than 230,000 years

The Omo Kibish Formation is located in the valley of East African riftIt is an area that has known and continues to experience strong volcanic activity. However, the authors explain that each volcanic eruption has a kind ofdigital printing, which makes his identity distinctive and unique. The remains of Omo I lay under a thick layer of volcanic ash whose date was uncertain until then because the ash was too fine for absolute dating It is implemented.

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However, the study authors used pumice stones from the same layer of ash for radiometric dating. Thus, they were able to determine that the age of the ash layer above the remains of Omo I was caused by the eruption of the Shala volcano, located 400 km from the site, 230,000 years ago. The authors also point out that fossils Older people are sometimes referred to as Early stages of descent H. sane But this first omo is by far the oldest indisputable fossilsane man Because of anatomical features such as the raised spherical vault of the skull, as well as the chin.

Homo sapiens is 35,000 years old

From paleontologists Australians and Americans review the history of human fossils discovered along the Omo River in southern Ethiopia.

Article by France Sciences, published February 28, 2005

Monday skulls, the Baptists Omo I and II, were discovered in 1967 and dated to an initial estimate of about 130,000 years old by rate analysis thorium And’uranium I found oysters in sediment (A controversial date because it was believed that the age of modern humans could not exceed 100,000 years).

But the new methods available led Frances Brown of the University of Utah, John Flegel of Stony Brook University (New York) and Ian McDougall of the Australian National University to another conclusion: the two fossils are contemporaneous despite their morphological differences. , dating back approximately 195,000 years (within 5,000 years).

The researchers focused particularly on the decay rateargon feldspar crystals from sediments below the fossils and ash taken from much higher (about 50 meters); The former indicated an age of 196,000 years and the latter a minimum of 104,000 years.

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the Speed From sedimentation Of the importance of the Omo River at that time, the age of the remains would be closer to 196,000 years. Until then, the oldest human fossils were considered to be those discovered at Hirtu, also in Ethiopia, estimated to be between 154,000 and 160,000 years old. This work confirms recent analyzes in paleobiology that locate the origin ofsane man Between -150,000 and -200,000 years ago.

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