Homo sapiens left Africa, according to a study, a lot more and 150,000 years earlier in Europe settled than previously thought.

The analysed skull of a modern man come from the site Apidima in Greece, country reports, scientists at the universities of Tübingen and Athens in the scientific magazine “Nature”. An independent researcher expressed some reservations about the results.

According to the University of Tübingen, Germany, from Wednesday, the researchers studied a human skull that had already been in the 1970s, in a Greek cave discovered. Among other things, they reconstructed the damaged parts virtually, and dated him on a age of 210,000 years. Because of its characteristics, such as a rounded back of the head to associate it to an early Form of Homo sapiens. The skull came from the oldest modern humans found outside of Africa. Previously known Homo sapiens remains in Europe are more than 150,000 years younger.

It is considered to be consensus in the scientific community that the anatomically modern humans developed in Africa and from there to all over the world has spread. The research results showed that a first propagation wave have a lot of taken place earlier and geographically more far-reaching to Europe had failed, as previously thought, said lead author Katerina Harvati, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Tübingen.

A second skull from the same area the researchers identified as the remains of a Neanderthal. Of their knowledge after he is 170.000 years old. The scientists conclude that in the epoch of the middle Pleistocene in present-day Greece, an early Population of Homo sapiens and, later, the Neanderthals lived. The cranial analyses indicate that the latter were later displaced by newly arrived anatomically modern humans.

According to Faysal Bibi from the Museum for naturkunde in Berlin, the results of the research add in a series of discoveries of the past few years from Israel, or China, the history of Homo sapiens, getting older and more complex seem.

He expressed reservations, because the now re-imagined skull bones from Greece only in the fragments available. In addition, the researchers used radiometric Dating method is controversial. In the past, they have delivered often incorrect results.

“It needs more and better fossils, in order to convince everyone that Homo sapiens lived so early in Greece, and data to confirm,” said Bibi. “The new study, however, provides excellent reasons to look further to new discoveries.”

dpa