88,000-Year-Old Finger Bone Pushes Back Human Migration Dates

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More than 85,000 years ago, the Arabian peninsula looked very different from the vast, sandy expanse people see today.

The region was a lush grassland, seasonally greening with every rainy period, and dotted by hundreds of freshwater lakes. Researchers have found evidence in the sands of aquatic- and semi-aquatic mammals, such as hippos, which are more commonly associated with the African subcontinent. They’ve also found stone tools the suggest an early human presence on the peninsula, but no direct fossil evidence—until now.

A single human finger bone discovered in 2016 at an ancient lake site in Saudi Arabia called Al Wusta has now been dated to approximately 88,000 years ago, according to a new study in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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