But modern techniques dated fire-heated flint artefacts found alongside them to about 315,000 years ago and a tooth from one individual to about 286,000 years ago, both estimates had a margin of error of more than 30,000 years.Professor Rainer Grün, who helped date the fossils, described how quickly our understanding of human evolution had changed over the last few decades.“It really seemed like people were fond of hunting,” said Professor Teresa Steele, of University of California, Davis, who analysed animal fossils at Jebel Irhoud.Commenting on the research, Professor Robert Foley, an expert in human evolution at Cambridge University, told that the researchers had made “an important contribution to understanding modern human origins”.“In contrast, Neanderthals buried their dead but they ate them as well, leading to bone accumulations in caves.” Among the remains were animal bones with tell-tale cuts made by human butchery techniques.Some bones were broken open so the people could eat the nutritious marrow.“There is this notion that somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa there is this sort of ‘Garden of Eden’ where our species first developed, then spread inside Africa and outside of Africa.
They also had a large braincase, but its shape had similarities with earlier types of humans.
Most of the bones were from gazelles but the remains of hartebeests, wildebeests, zebras, buffalos, porcupines, hares, tortoises, freshwater molluscs, snakes and ostrich egg shells were also identified.
Small game made up only a small percentage of the bones.
In addition to being the oldest known remains of modern humans, the fossils, which include skulls, corroborate a fragment found in South Africa that had been tentatively dated to 260,000 years ago.
This suggests that Homo sapiens evolved from a variety of different types of Hominins which once existed across Africa.