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Our species got to Europe 165,000 years earlier than we thought

The first modern humans were not supposed to have reached Europe until 45,000 years ago, but a skull from a Greek cave turns out to be 210,000 years old

By Michael Marshall

10 July 2019

Geek coastline

The ancient skull was found along this Greek coastline

Benny Marty/Alamy

HOMO SAPIENS lived in Greece 210,000 years ago. The finding rewrites human prehistory, suggesting our ancestors migrated out of Africa – and reached Europe – earlier than we thought.

The evidence comes from Apidima cave in southern Greece. Two hominin skulls, both missing their lower jaws, were discovered in the cave in the 1970s. They were thought to be from Neanderthals, who lived in Europe long before modern humans arrived.

Katerina Harvati at the University of Tubingen in Germany and her colleagues have…

Article amended on 16 July 2019

We corrected the spelling of "Greek" in the first picture caption.

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