A facial reconstruction builds the skull of one prehistoric human whose bones were found in Morocco. Scientists say the bones come from a Homo sapiens who lived more than 300,000 years ago. Nature

Human fossils from about 315,000 years ago could rewrite a lot of what we know about man's evolutionary history. Scientists say they are the oldest known Homo sapien remains ever found, and they were dug up in Morocco, not East Africa experts have previously said humans exclusively evolved.

A report on the findings in the journal Nature explains the skull, face and jaw bones recovered from the Atlantic coast of the country in northwestern Africa are about 100,000 years older than the previous record-holder for oldest Homo sapien bones, which were found in Ethiopia. If the new remains truly belong to Homo sapiens, that substantially pushes back the timeline of when modern humans emerged and changes the location of where that happened.

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The bones “do not mean that H. sapiens originated in North Africa,” Nature commentary said. “Instead, they suggest that the species’ earliest members evolved all across the continent.”

Scientists analyzed their findings, based on bones from several prehistoric people as well as stone tools at the Jebel Irhoud archaeological site, in two articles in the journal.

Although some of the features are different from today’s humans — including bigger teeth and more elongated skulls that suggest a difference in the brain’s shape — they are also strikingly similar to modern man.

“It’s a face you could cross in the street today,” Jean-Jacques Hublin, a study author from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, said in the Nature article. He said facial features may have evolved before the brain finished evolving into its current shape.

But the more dramatic discovery is where they were found. Hublin referred to the discovery expanding what we think of as the human race’s “Garden of Eden” where we evolved into the species of today, from a location in sub-Saharan East Africa to a wider region: “I would say the Garden of Eden in Africa is probably Africa — and it’s a big, big garden.”

The Associated Press reported modern humans could have simultaneously emerged about 300,000 years ago in different spots on the same continent if they were living in communities that were part of a larger network that exchanged and shared both genetic material and things they had learned.

The age of the bones is crucial to this idea, and the scientists dated them by analyzing “fire-heated flint artifacts” that were found with the remains.

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Even though the modern human precursors would have dispersed throughout Africa, back in that time, Nature explained, Africa was a much different place and more environmentally unified than it is now.

“The Sahara was green and filled with lakes and rivers,” Nature said. “Animals that roamed the East African savanna, including gazelles, wildebeest and lions, also lived near Jebel Irhoud, suggesting that these environments were once linked.”

The assertion these prehistoric remains belong to Homo sapiens comes only about a month after another big discovery about our evolutionary species: another human species whose remains were found in a South African cave and whose age suggests they lived briefly alongside Homo sapiens, as well as other human species. The bone fossils of the extinct human relative came from several members who were buried in the cave.