The most recent research reveals that the oldest fossilised remains of humans are one million years older than previously believed. At the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site southwest of Johannesburg, in the Sterkfontein caves, Australopithecus fossils have previously been discovered.
More Australopithecus fossils were found there than at any other location in the globe. ‘Mrs Ples,’ the most well-known, was one of them.
The most intact Australopithecus africanus skull ever discovered in South Africa in 1947 is known as Mrs. Ples.
In the past, specialists guessed that Mrs. Ples and other fossils discovered in the cave at a comparable depth were between 2.1 and 2.6 million years old. The earlier measurements now seem to be inaccurate.
As per the new radioactive dating techniques, Mrs Ples, and the others discovered around her, are actually one million years older than thought.
In the latest study, French scientist Laurent Bruxelles, noted that the ‘chronologically that didn’t fit’. Bruxelles is one of the authors of a study published Monday in the PNAS science journal.
He told the news agency AFP, ‘It was bizarre to see some Australopithecus lasting for such a long time.’
According to recent tests, the earliest humans likely roamed the planet between 3.4 and 3.7 million years ago. They might have roamed the planet at the same time as their East African ancestors like the well-known ‘Lucy.’
Homo habilis was already present in the area 2.2 million years ago. But at the depth of the cave where Mrs. Ples was discovered, there were no indications of Homo habilis.
The earliest member of the Homo genus, which also includes Homo sapiens, is Homo habilis.