LONDON, July 12 (UPI) — A new discovery suggests early man may have moved into Northern Europe’s colder climates hundreds of centuries earlier than previously thought, scientists say.
Stone tools found on Britain’s southeastern coast suggest early hominids reached Northern Europe about 800,000 years ago, almost 300,000 years earlier than many scientists had believed, ScienceNews.com reported last week.
“We suspect these tools were made by the last dregs of a larger hominid population that had come when the area was warmer but hung on and survived under challenging conditions as the climate cooled,” says Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, co-author of a study appearing in the journal Nature.
Researchers had previously believed early humans spread northward when temperatures rose but retreated south when the going got cold.
One archaeologist says the new findings contradict that.
“Now it’s anyone’s guess when our earliest ancestors came this far north,” said Robin Dennell of the University of Sheffield.
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