Dating sites for scientists
Until now, the earliest remains of modern humans found outside of Africa, at the Skhul and Qafzeh Caves in Israel, were dated to between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago.
“This finding completely changes our view on modern human dispersal and the history of modern human evolution,” said Prof.
But this at least helps demonstrate that the brutish stereotypes we now associate with the word "Neanderthal" might be incorrect.
A jawbone with teeth recently discovered in Mount Carmel’s Misliya Cave dating back 177,000 to 194,000 years, proves Homo sapiens were present in the Levant at least 50,000 years earlier than previously believed, Israeli scientists announced on Thursday.
Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.
Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.
Take the extinction of Neanderthals, which occurred in western Europe less than 30,000 years ago.
Two distinct sediment layers have formed in the lake every summer and winter over tens of thousands of years.
The researchers collected roughly 70-metre core samples from the lake and painstakingly counted the layers to come up with a direct record stretching back 52,000 years.
By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.
But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.