London, November 4 (ANI): The discovery of an 110,000-year-old putative Homo sapiens jawbone from a cave in southern China's Guangxi province, may challenge the commonly held idea that modern humans originated out of Africa.
According to a report in New Scientist, Jin Changzhu and colleagues of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing found the ancient human fossil.
The mandible has a protruding chin like that of Homo sapiens, but the thickness of the jaw is indicative of more primitive hominins, suggesting that the fossil could derive from interbreeding.
If confirmed, the finding would lend support to the "multiregional hypothesis", which says that modern humans descend from Homo sapiens coming out of Africa who then interbred with more primitive humans on other continents.
In contrast, the prevailing "out of Africa" hypothesis holds that modern humans are the direct descendants of people who spread out of Africa to other continents around 100,000 years ago.
"This paper acts to reject the theory that modern humans are of uniquely African origin and supports the notion that emerging African populations mixed with natives they encountered," said Milford Wolpoff, a proponent of the multiregional hypothesis at the University of Michigan.
The present analysis of the mandible focused almost exclusively on determining the fossil's age.
The researchers said that a follow-up study would give a more complete treatment on what exactly the find represents. (ANI)