Some unlikely tools unearthed near the Persian Gulf show that our ancestors may have migrated far out of Africa as early as 125,000 years ago - about 60,000 years earlier than was previously believed.
The finding, published online Thursday in the journal Science, also provides evidence that early humans took a different route during their migration than scientists had assumed: crossing eastward, directly into southern Arabia from East Africa, rather than following the Nile northward to the northwestern edge of Arabia, according to Los Angeles Times.
Stone tools found buried in the baking Arabian Desert show that our early forebears may well have left the natal continent 125,000 years ago and in an eastward direction, before turning north and moving up into Europe and Asia, a groundbreaking new study says.
"The discovery of the site in southeast Arabia, which was occupied by early, anatomically modern humans . . . solves a deep gap in our knowledge about the appearance of our own species outside Africa," says German archaeologist Hans-Peter Uerpmann, the study's senior author, Toronto Star reports.