The bodies are still missing, but a prehistoric toolkit discovered in the United Arab Emirates has led some archaeologists to propose a more complex scenario for humanity’s emigration out of Africa.
Uncovered at a Jebel Faya rock shelter, just west of the Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the tools are 125,000 years old. Previous estimates placed the dispersal of modern humans from North Africa around 70,000 years ago. If correct, this new study indicates that humans in eastern Africa left earlier, and traveled to Arabia.
The tools include small hand axes, scrapers and notched tools called denticulates. They’re described Jan. 27 in Science. According to researchers led by University of London paleogeographer Simon Armitage, the tools resemble those made in the same era by humans in eastern Africa, rather than tools found at later sites along the Mediterranean’s eastern border.
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