Georgian skeletons challenge 'out of Africa' theory

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A set of skeletons discovered in Georgia indicates that early man took a bit of a detour on his way out of Africa.

The six skeletons are the earliest human remains ever found outside Africa, dating back 1.8 million years. They indicate that our ancestors left Africa around 800,000 years earlier than previously thought - but then returned, before evolving into modern humans and migrating out of Africa for a second time.

The skeletons belong to a race of early humans who stood about 1.5m high, with brains half the size of those of modern humans. They were found alongside stone tools, animal remains and plants. The skeletons are believed to belong to two males and three females.

The remains were discovered at Dmanisi, southwest of the Georgian capital Tblisi. They're in the Georgian National Museum.