TWO human skulls discovered in Africa have been confirmed as the oldest known examples of our species.
The remains, unearthed in Kibish, Ethiopia, are estimated to be about 195,000 years old and come from around the time modern humans are thought to have emerged.
The fossils, called Omo I and Omo II, were uncovered in 1967, but experts have disagreed over their ages. However, a report in the journal Nature says the two fossils were the same age and humankind’s oldest relics, despite the fact Omo I’s features were more "modern".
Frank Brown, of Utah University, a co-author of the study, said the redating pushed back the known dawn of mankind, the record of which, in most cases, starts only 50,000 years ago.
He said: "This would mean 150,000 years of Homo sapiens without cultural stuff such as evidence of eating fish, of harpoons, anything to do with music, needles, even tools."
Previously, the oldest human fossils were thought to have been up to 160,000 years old.