Jebel Irhoud, about 100 kilometers west of Marrakesh in Morocco, is the region where the new fossil originates from, and based on new dating techniques, it has about 300 000 years, putting the emergence of the first populations of Homo Sapiens, around 100 000 years earlier than previously thought.
Although the region being today an agglomerate of rocks uninhabited, the region was back in the days, a region full of caves, that acted as homes and shelter to our distant ancestors, the Homo Sapiens.
The first fossils were found in the region back in the 1960s, and based on their characteristics, the researchers defined that these fossils, were simply Homo Sapiens, that just went to that region to live there, but in 2004, a new excavation, found other fossils of about five individuals and some stone artifacts.
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the National Moroccan Institute of Archeology and Heritage, have led a team of researchers in the process of advanced dating, both in the materials and in the fossils, that were discovered more recently, and to the first ones of the region.
The applied process, known as Termoluminescence Dating, works by measuring the electrons contained in the crystal pockets, as the material is heated through sunlight or fire. The artifacts they analyzed using this technique, have shown to be about 300,000 years old, putting them about 200,000 years earlier than the others previously found.
The electron resonance spin dating process was also use, while normally applied in buried teeth, and reliable, the process needs to be based on the previous radiation of the background where the object was discovered. When the process was first used, at the time of the initial discovery of the fossils, it dated them to being about 160,000 years old, but thanks to the radioactivity analysis of the surrounding sediments, it is now estimated that they are about 300,000 years old.