Skulls, teeth, bones and tools discovered at an archaeological site in Jebel Irhoud in Morocco throw doubt on the earlier assumptions that Homo sapiens evolved in a single isolated region of East Africa.
It has long been thought that early humans developed in a so called “Garden of Eden” around 200,000 years ago, but the recent discoveries in Morocco by Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin suggest a much earlier origin for Homo sapiens––more like 350,000 years ago––and also that their distribution was widespread, potentially all across Africa, rather than isolated to one solitary ‘cradle of humanity’.
For me, it is intriguing to speculate whether some of these pockets of evolving humans, rather than develop into the people we see around us today, instead took other evolutionary pathways, some of which we have yet to discover.
I have always been fascinated by Lyall Watson’s account of his discovery on a beach in southern Africa of a small human skeleton with a proportionally large skull, which he christened a Strandloper. He imagined the Strandloper as a human possessed of limited physical attributes, but blessed with an extraordinary gift of imagination, capable of living a full and rich life within the mind. The Strandloper might be considered an evolutionary dead-end or, perhaps, it might just be a glimpse of our own future, as we embrace a world increasingly more virtual than real?
© Bradley Dunbar; Image credit © VH
Cryptozoology expert Bradley Dunbar dances as excitedly as Chris Martin whenever he hears about new fossil discoveries.