Homo sapiens, la sua origine sarebbe più antica di 100mila anni


Scoperti nel sito di Jebel Irhoud, in Marocco, resti fossili, tra cui un cranio e una mandibola, che risalirebbero a circa 300 mila anni fa. Si tratterebbe dei più antichi reperti di questo antenato dell’uomo scoperti fino ad ora

 

Le origini dell'Homo sapiens sarebbe molto più antiche di quanto ritenuto fino ad ora e risalirebbero a circa 300mila anni fa, ovvero 100mila anni prima rispetto alle precedenti stime. La scoperta si deve al gruppo di ricerca guidato dal professor Jean-Jacques Hublin del Max Planck Institute for evolutionary anthropology di Lipsia, in Germania. E i risultati sono stati descritti in due studi pubblicati sulla rivista "Nature".

I reperti scoperti in Marocco

Fino alla scoperta di nuovi fossili nel sito preistorico in Marocco, i reperti più antichi di questi antenati dell'uomo risalivano a circa 200mila anni fa ed erano stati rinvenuti in Etiopia. Questi invece, tra cui un cranio e una mandibola, arrivano dal sito di Jebel Irhoud, nei pressi di Sidi Moktar, circa 100 km a ovest di Marrakech. E hanno permesso di scoprire che, in realtà, l’homo sapiens avrebbe origine più antiche, di circa 100 mila anni. Ma soprattutto che, prima di migrare in Europa, si sarebbe stanziato in tutta l’Africa e non solo in Etiopia e nell’area sub-sahariana del continente, come ritenuto fino ad ora. "C’è questa idea – ha detto all' "Independent" il paleoantropologo Jean-Jacques Hublin – che da qualche parte nell’Africa sub-sahariana esista una sorta di ‘Giardino dell’Eden’ dove la nostra specie ha avuto origine per poi diffondersi al di fuori di essa. I nostri risultati mettono in discussione questa tesi". I fossili trovati in Marocco, abbinati agli altri reperti rinvenuti fino ad ora nel continente africano, suggeriscono che l’homo sapiens sia stata l’evoluzione di una varietà di diversi tipi di ominidi esistiti in tutta l'Africa.

I sapiens grandi cacciatori

Dall'analisi dei campioni fossili rinvenuti in Marocco è emerso che questi appartenevano a cinque individui che rappresenterebbero la prima fase evolutiva dei sapiens. Questi reperti, in particolare il cranio e la mandibola, presenterebbero diverse caratteristiche "moderne". Come ad esempio nella faccia, nei denti e nella scatola cranica più larga. La seconda ricercapubblicata su "Nature" dal gruppo guidato da Shannon McPherron, archeologo dell'Istituto Max Planck, ha permesso di datare gli utensili e i resti animali del sito archeologico. Anch’essi risalirebbero a un periodo compreso tra i 300 e i 350mila anni fa. Per Teresa Steele, ricercatrice dell'Università della California che ha analizzato i resti, sembra che questi nostri antenati fossero grandi appassionati di caccia. L'analisi dei resti animali ha, infatti, indicato il probabile "menù" dei primi rappresentanti dell’Homo sapiens, tra cui ci sarebbero state carne di gazzella e, occasionalmente, uova di struzzo. I tagli e le fratture delle ossa animali rivenute indicherebbero, inoltre, che gli uomini le rompessero per cibarsi anche del midollo.


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