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Find out about the latest evidence in our What’s Hot in Human Origins section.
The layers that contain fossils and archeological clues can be dated by more than a dozen techniques that use the basic principles of physics, chemistry, and Earth sciences.
Millions of stone tools, figurines and paintings, footprints, and other traces of human behavior in the prehistoric record tell about where and how early humans lived and when certain technological innovations were invented.
Study of human genetics show how closely related we are to other , all over the world.
"The new dating puts it on the landscape at a time from which we find lots of tools in Africa in the middle stone-age.
One of the implications of the new dates is that it's no longer automatically possible for us to assume that early homosapiens that were making these tools." Associate Professor Eric Roberts said they are confident of the new dates.
It means that a primitive hominid persisted on the landscape in Africa for a very substantial period of time.
Well beyond what paleo-anthropologists predicted to be possible." He said the structure of 's hands meant it could have been a toolmaker.
But, for a single culture site the method is quite reliable.
Advances in the dating of fossils and artifacts help determine the age of those remains, which contributes to the big picture of when different milestones in becoming human evolved.
Exciting scientific discoveries continually add to the broader and deeper public knowledge of human evolution.
In the evolution of anatomically modern man and his subspecies most specialists have concentrated on investigating geographical areas other than Africa as the possible area of origin.
In this study 20 fossil hominids and associated faunal remains from South and East Africa were dated by microanalysis, radiocarbon, and amino-acid dating in order to see whether modern man appears later, was sympatric, or even predated Neandertal man.