Dating of Irhoud (05:52)
In 2009, dating expert Daniel Richter got the first results from thermal luminescence of burnt flint found at Jebel Irhoud. His preliminary findings indicated the site was 300,000 years old, much older than Homo Sapiens were previously thought to be.
Virtual Archeology (02:44)
Given the importance of the discovery, another dig begins at Irhoud. The oldest ever Homo Sapien remains are digitized and the team works on facial reconstruction.
Impact of Irhoud (08:02)
The discovery called into question the origin of Homo Sapiens in Africa, putting it 100,000 years earlier and not in East Africa. Archeologist Jean-Jacques Hublin believes the focus on the Great Rift Valley, which had good conditions for preserving human fossils, biased theories of human origins.
Middle Stone Age (04:49)
Hublin does not believe Homo Sapiens originated in North Africa because of the presence of stone tools. The tools were made from flint with more craftsmanship than earlier tools.
Ancient Climate in North Africa (04:56)
To answer how early Homo Sapiens survived in the Sahara region, paleo-climatologists study North Africa. They determine the Sahara underwent drought and rainfall cycles. The climate was similar to East Africa, which also supported early human life.
Homo Sapien Movement (04:49)
Carved shells found throughout Africa show that early Homo Sapiens traveled great distances. Experts theorize North African groups migrated south during drought periods in the Sahara. The comingling reframes the evolution of modern Homo Sapiens.
Digital Face Comparisons (04:53)
Using virtual archeology, researchers compare the skulls from Jebel Irhoud to those of other hominoids from different periods. Irhoud faces are closer to modern humans than ancient ancestors like Neanderthals; some face shapes still exist today.
Digital Brain Comparisons (06:59)
Though faces are the same between early and modern Homo Sapiens, skull shapes are not. Digital models reveal that the shape of the brain and brain case have changed. The modern brain developed about 35,000 years ago.
Credits: Sapiens: The New Origins - Part 2 (00:58)
Credits: Sapiens: The New Origins - Part 2
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