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A set of ancient teeth discovered in China have been found to be about 80,000-years-old. Scientists in Southern China discovered human teeth, which have been found to be at least 80,000-years-old. This means that the teeth have been there for more than 20,000 years before modern humans were believed to have left their widely acknowledged origin in Africa and begun their long march of evolution across the world. The 47 teeth were discovered in Fuyan Cave, a limestone cavern in Daoxian, in China’s Hunan province. Interestingly, while these ancient teeth may indicate that modern humans first migrated from Africa to Asia 80,000 to 120,000 years ago, it might also mean humans might have evolved out of Africa as well.

This essentially questions the most basic models of evolution that have been commonly accepted, said María Martinón-Torres, a forensic anthropologist at University College London. The teeth indicate the presence of humans or Homo sapiens at a location that, according to standard archaeological theory, shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Moreover, the discovery of these teeth in China indicates the presence of humans in the area, at least 20,000 years earlier than any previous research had indicated. The most commonly accepted theory of human migration is called “Out of Africa,” because the available scientific data strongly suggests that modern humans originated in Africa about 70,000 to 80,000 years ago, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

Thereafter, with great struggle, these relatively primitive relatives to modern day humans successfully completed their migration to the rest of the world in a single huge wave between 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. However, the presence of the ancient teeth in China not just challenge the theory in terms of timing, but the very core idea of evolution of humans in Africa as well, said one of the study’s lead researchers, Liu Wu, from China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP). The ancient teeth also suggest there may have been a struggle between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens over territory, which the former had occupied for a long time.

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