The ancient skull fragment, discovered in Israel, could shed new light on the early migration of the modern humans out of Africa. The findings could give the scientists relevant new insights on when the modern humans first started interbreeding with the Neanderthals.
According to the experts, the modern humans first appeared between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago in Africa.
The scientists believe that the modern humans started to leave Africa and explore other regions between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago.
Researchers say that this mass dispersal still remains a scientific mystery because there are very few human fossils as evidence from those times.
Researcher have recently a discovered 55,000 year old skull in Israel, which they believe, dates back to the times when modern humans started to expand out of Africa and migrate towards what is now known as Europe.
The experts who analyzed the skull fragments report that the anatomy of the fossils may offer some clues on how the early Europeans looked like.
The skull fossil was unearthed by accident in 2008, when a bulldozer was digging as part of a construction project and came across a cave.
The skull was discovered in a cave in Manot, situated in the northern side of Israel.
The cave had its entrance sealed by rocks which covered it approximately 30,000 years ago.
Ofer Marder, one of the authors of the new study, said that for more than 30,000 years the cave has been kept like a time capsule.
The skull fossil was named Manot 1 and features only the top part of the skull, known as the skullcap.
According to Bruce Latimers, a paleontology expert at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland , the skull contained a brain of approximately 1,100 milliliters, a relatively small brain compared to that of a modern human, which measures about 1,400 milliliters.
The scientists published the new findings in the journal Nature.
Image Source: cbc